Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Thursday, February 11, 2010

But Wait, There's More...

Submitted by Raoul O. Desy

"Hello and thanks for your informational articles. Here's a little history from Brian Burn's book, "Sturbridge a Pictorial History," copyright 1988, which illustrates the churches in Sturbridge, and includes the same mystery church picture as is at the top of your web site. In the 1800's there were, at one time or another, 3 churches in the vicinity of the town hall.In the 1830's there was a church on the site of what was, when Brian wrote the book, "the present day police station," which we now know, once more, as the old center school. (That church was moved to Fiskdale, next to what is now the Southbridge Credit union on Main Street. Eventually that church was moved to Old Sturbridge Village.)In 1892 there was a church located where the once Sturbridge Candy and Gift Shop, and now Sadie Green's is located. THAT IS THE CHURCH IN YOUR PICTURE. Brian's copy of that picture is in black and white. Yours must have been colorized. The caption under his/your picture reads "Looking west from Town Hall, the spire of the Unitarian Church clears the trees to the right. Just beyond the church is the present highway overpass. ~ Courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library."The church at the site by the town hall, where the Federated Church is today, was a Congregational church which was reported to have 124 years old when it burned down in 1908. The new church (today's Federated Church) was dedicated in 1910 and had extensive renovations done in the 1960's.According to Burns, the town hall was at one time only one story tall (and sixteen feet shorter than it was previous to our ongoing renovation). Needless to say, there were no columns, and a picture in his book shows that. He writes about the town hall: "When the annual fairs took place on the Common, the building served as as an exhibit hall..." interesting stuff..."

Thank you, Raoul! Excellent information. Both you and Bob came to the same conclusion. Now, I am going to have to find another old photo to test the likes of you, Tom, and Bob. --ed.

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