Town Life Before the Reservoir (1800’s)

BeforeRes 1

Here are some cool pictures of West Boylston before the reservoir. First, a man drives a horse-drawn cart up a dirt road. The description attached to the photo is “Driving Up From the Valley.” The valley housed many of West Boylston’s businesses, mills, and houses; now, of course, it is the Wachusett Reservoir. Though this…

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Then and Now (date not known)

ThenvsNow, photograph

Have you ever looked around West Boylston and wondered, “What did this look like 100 years ago?” In some places, it looks relatively the same. For example, take a look at the “Then & Now” photo below of the fill near the Old Stone Church. One is a photo from only a few years after…

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Statues (1800’s)

Satchues 2

The south entrance of the Beaman Memorial Library houses two beautiful bronze statues. The Rawsons received “La travail” as a wedding gift in 1888 from Eli Holbrook, a local mill owner, grandfather to George Rawson, and a prominent resident of town. Then, years later, in 1943, Mrs. Rawson donated the statues to the library. The…

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Railroads (1890’s)

Railroads, photograph

In the 19th century, the railroad played a critical role in West Boylston’s economy. Trains transported goods in and out to the local store, they brought people to work in the town’s factories and mills, and they provided a fast, efficient transport system to connect the little town to the rest of the state. The…

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Oakdale Hauntings (1899)

Oakdale hauntings, photograph from newspaper

A series of eerie hauntings plagued the village of Oakdale in 1899. Three woodchoppers who lived together in a shabby barn begged the sheriff for help after a spirit began terrorizing them in the dead of night. They believed the ghost was that of Fett Gilman, a thief who died two years prior, months before…

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New Year’s Celebration (1897-1898)

New Years, news article

Happy New Year! At midnight, we’ll ring in the new year with raucous parties, bad singing, and counting backwards from 10. How did people 120 years ago ring in the New Year? Check out Mary Cook’s summary of events on December 31st, 1897 as the Young Men’s Social Club prepared for 1898. The Young Men’s…

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Farmer’s Almanac (1792)

The Old Farmers Almanac Cover, photograph

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest consistently published periodical in the United States, first published in 1792 by Robert Bailey Thomas. Published annually, the Almanac provides meteorological, astronomical, and botanical information—as well as a slew of recipes, anecdotes, and related articles—of that current year. But what makes The Old Farmer’s Almanac so important to…

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Calendar (1902)

Calendar, photograph pamflit

In 1902, West Boylston was a town in the middle of a significant transition: the Wachusett Reservoir neared completion, and its construction had already displaced many people and their places of work. The town issued a calendar for 1902 to commemorate the old town and welcome the rebuilding of a new town. Below, you can…

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Alumni Association (1889)

alumniassociation, news article

Another program from West Boylston’s past: Grand Entertainment at Sawyer Hall, April 22, 1889! For this event, the High School Alumni association put on entertainment to raise funds for their reunion. What’s more: they’ve invited a class from the Worcester Y.M.C.A., led by Prof. L.C. Havener, to show off their skills. The night starts with…

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Life in West Boylston

Image of the Watering Trough outside the Library

On the small triangle of grass in front of the library sits the Beaman Watering Trough. We’ve mentioned the trough in past posts. Maj. Ezra Beaman, Esq., our Town Founder, placed it in 1808 outside Beaman Tavern in the shade of a buttonwood tree. According to local legend, Ezra filled the trough with rum punch…

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