Centennial Celebration (1808)

Photograph of the Centennial Medal

West Boylston was incorporated in January 1808. The town’s first century concluded with the destruction of the town’s financial and industrial center. Still, the town witnessed huge celebrations for its centennial. The first occurred on January 30, 1908, exactly one hundred years since the town’s official incorporation. The ceremony took place at town hall and…

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Trains (1889-1908)

Photograph of trains in West Boylston

More trains chug through West Boylston as the reservoir’s construction comes nearer and nearer. The first image depicts a hillside covered in tree stumps, a symbol of the construction already underway. Within a few years, the water would rise to consume the land and the rails.  Second is a postcard from 1898: “West Boylston from…

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David Lee Child’s Books (1800’s)

Childsbooks, photograph

David Lee Child was a journalist, lawyer, and expert on beet culture who became nationally renowned for his civil rights activism. He was born in West Boylston but moved around the state during his lifetime. Child died in Wayland in 1874. To honor his hometown, Child’s widow—noted abolitionist and editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard,…

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Oakdale (1900’s)

Oakdale, photograph

We have a lot of old photographs in our local history room, and they tell the story of our town from 100 years ago. Below are a few photographs of long-gone buildings in Oakdale. Unfortunately, none of these structures survived the past century, and the places where they once stood yield little to no evidence…

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The Library (1912-2017)

Library, photograph

Here’s another Then & Now view: first, the library from 1912 after its construction and dedication. Second, the library now, taken this past Wednesday evening. Though relatively the same view, there are a few notable changes. The most recent addition sticks out in the back, and some of the trees along Newton Street are now…

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Trolley Lines (1905)

TrolleyLines, news article

For several decades, the trolley was a vital method of transportation for people across the country. Central Massachusetts had numerous trolley lines. Worcester’s citizens especially relied on its trolleys. Today, little evidence remains that they ever existed. West Boylston had a trolley line running through it starting in the 1900s. On July 19th, 1905, construction…

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Town Halls (1900’s)

Townhalls, booklet

West Boylston has had a series of town halls in its history. After the reservoir had stripped the valley of its buildings, the town decided to construct a new, permanent town hall. Below is a picture of the Program from the new Town Hall’s Dedication on January 18th, 1904. The town hall stood where the…

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Town Hall

TownHall, photograph

Shortly after construction on the reservoir began, the town of West Boylston decided to build a new Town Hall in an area that would remain above the water level for at least a few decades. So, construction began on the brand new, beautiful town hall just down the road from the modern location of our…

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Town Change (1897)

Town Changes, news article

1897 is a critical year in West Boylston history. That year, construction officially began on what would become the Wachusett Reservoir. Businesses were sold or moved. Homeowners sold their property to the state and went elsewhere. But, despite these new changes, the real destruction of the town had yet to begin. Below are two clippings…

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Christmas Eve (1917)

christmas eve, news article

Christmas Eve 1917 wasn’t such a cheery day for West Boylston. The townspeople awoke to find that, during the night, Town Hall had burned to the ground. The fire started around 2:30 in the morning and raged until the whole structure had crumbled. Neighboring homes and businesses caught fire as well but were extinguished quickly…

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