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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hmmm, A Puzzlement.

The mystery deepens.

I wrote to Bob Briere, our resident historian, and asked him to identify the house in the previous posting.  Bob wrote back, and sounded very definite that the house was an old farm house I had happened to drive by the other day while I was out taking some photos around town.  The current photo at the top of the page was taken at this old farm.  Here is what Bob wrote:

"Hi Wally,
That's an easy one. I knew it as the Finlay farm, on Finlay road (past the golf course on Holland Road). Looks the same today as in the picture because of neglect by a most recent owner. Jim Malloy blew this one. Had over a hundred acres with a pond and it was foreclosed on by the FHA(?). The property is adjacent to the Heins Farm which the town bought which in turn is adjacent to the land that goes northerly all the way to the river in Fiskdale. What a sanctuary for birds and animals that would have been. The town could have had it for taxes because that owner was so far in arrears."

Well, an anonymous comment was also left stating the house was on Fiskhill Road, so I went there, and to Finlay Road, as Bob feels this is the house,  to take some photos.  Now the mystery deepens.

You judge for yourself.

The Ed Nichols House
Note the location of the chimneys and the side windows.  The house also looks like it is on a hill, and both of the suggestions are for houses on hills.

This is the house on Finlay Road that Bob feels is the correct house.  Could be, but there are a couple of problems with this: 1)  the chimneys don't match, and 2) the side windows don't match at all.  There is not an attic window as seen in the old photo, either.
 This is a house on Fiskhill Road.  Now, I am not sure if this is the one suggested by the person that left the comment, but it sure could be.  The chimneys don't match up, but with the advent of central heating, it would have been far easier to remove chimneys than to add them in a different location.  The side windows also are a closer match.  The first floor window may have been moved forward when the addition was built.  This has the attic window.

This is another Federal style home on the north end of  Fiskhill Road.  No chimneys, but they could have been taken down long ago, and the center, second floor window doesn't match at all.

There are several other Federal style homes in town, maybe one near you.  Is it a match to the Nichols House, or is that house long gone?

1 comment:

  1. Wally:

    I had originally thought that the Ed Nichols house might be Lloyd Pote's house at the intersection of Fiske Hill Road and Whittemore Road, because a paper and map written by a member of the Brooks family had identified the Pote house as being built by Cutting. Upon further review, this is not the case.

    This paper, a copy of which is in the Sturbridge Historical Society's cabinet at the library next to the elevator, identifies the house on the right as you come up Fiske Hill from Route 20, before McGilpin road, as being the Ed Nichols place. (I believe that is the house you mentioned that the chimneys could have been changed.)

    Clifford Chamberlain wrote a paper for the 1938 Bicentennial, these photos you have from Mrs. Tillyer must have gone with the paper Mr. Chamberlain wrote. (A copy of that paper is also in the SHS cabinet.)... [ comment split. Second part posted under "Are they still standing? Where?" --ed.


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