When you visit the Old Stone Church, you might see some rocks poking through the grass and goose droppings. Chances are, these aren’t just rocks—they’re stones from the foundations of long-gone buildings. The stones in these pictures are likely from St. Anthony’s Church which stood directly next to the Old Stone Church. The structure was torn down in the early 1900s, but the congregation now meets at Our Lady of Good Counsel in the center of town. And these foundation stones aren't the only ones you can see in the area surrounding the Church. History is everywhere!
The Old Stone Church is West Boylston’s most famous landmark. Built just a few years before the construction of the reservoir, the Church remained as a relic of the washed away town. You can see the church on the far right in this photo nestled between St. Anthony’s Church and a house across the street. If you visit the Old Stone Church today, you can still see where the road once was. The road ends at the water's edge.
You can also see the foundations of houses if you visit the site today—stones lined up in the grass. The houses and the other church which once stood on these foundations have either been moved or are now entirely demolished.
The next time you take a walk around the Old Stone Church, keep an eye out for those foundation stones, and try to picture the buildings that stood there over 100 years ago.
Postcards! We love postcards here at the Beaman Library. Mail your friends and family a scenic location or monument and share the beauty with them (or make them jealous).
Take a look at this old postcard. The photo, taken sometime between 1893 and 1903, depicts the Old Stone Church, then a newly built baptist church, and its neighbor, St. Anthony's Church, which was eventually destroyed. The buildings around the Old Stone Church were all leveled, but the Church we know and love today remained--it was only a few years old when the reservoir was built, and the state let it remain as a relic of the drowned town.
When you visit the Old Stone Church, keep an eye out for stones visible through the grass and dirt of the surrounding area. The foundations of several structures are still visible!
We’ve seen the Old Stone Church from so many different angles that there definitely isn’t one we haven’t seen—right? Well, here’s a new one for you. The below photo was taken from the steeple of the Brick Congregational Church looking west. The Brick Congregational Church was located on East Main Street (now called Beaman Street) and was located on that “triangle” of land where Routes 140 and 12 split. We’ve labeled the Old Stone Church and the steeple of its neighbor St. Anthony’s for you because they’re hard to find otherwise! The building on the left is the Howe Morton & Lovell Shoe Shop. This is a cool angle that we haven’t seen a lot in our old photographs, and it shows us how lush and green this area by the causeway was before the reservoir came in. Where this photo shows us a sea of leaves we now have a glittering blue reservoir, and only one building pictured has survived the past century.
West Boylston has become known for the Old Stone Church: a steely remnant of the flooded town, an entry on the National Register of Historic Places, a frequent attraction for visitors from around Worcester County, and, most recently, a PokéStop. But, of course, the Old Stone Church is not the only church in West Boylston's history.
The First Congregational Church, now at the crossroads of Central Street and Route 140, once stood next to the Old Stone Church. If you look close enough in the first picture, you can see the Congregational Church's steeple looming above the trees, and the Old Stone Church sitting in front of it at the edge of the hill.
Featured next is the Old Brick Church, which once stood beside Thomas Hall, the town's former town hall, down in the valley. This church was not as lucky as the Congregational Church and was dismantled during the construction of the reservoir.
The final image depicts a building which still stands, the Baptist Church on Church Street. This church houses the stained glass windows and numerous furnishings from the Old Stone Church. The building now serves as the town's Masonic Lodge.