The Berkley Historical Society

The Berkley Historical Society The Berkley Historical Society works to preserve the unique history of Berkley, Massachusetts.
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Preserving and Sharing the history of Berkley, Massachusetts.

Monday Moments from the Museum......Another look back at school days.  This is Class 8A in the old brick school that bec...
05/26/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum......

Another look back at school days. This is Class 8A in the old brick school that became the Junior High School after the BCS was built. Then of course the old building became the Town Hall for many years. The year is not included on this photo. Ernie Cardoza shared this photo with the BHS.

Monday Moments from the Museum....on Tuesday. Let's continue the post from last week with another peek at some of the lo...
05/19/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum....on Tuesday. Let's continue the post from last week with another peek at some of the local Berkley items to be seen inside the Museum.

Picture #1 This is a wagon wheel jack. When a horse drawn vehicle suffered a broken wheel this is what was used to lift the wagon, cart or carriage to remove the wheel for repair. The saw tooth lever allowed the vehicle to be raised to the correct height needed.

#2 This is a kerosene parlor heater. It is ceramic with a metal outer layer. Behind it you can see the 1 gallon glass bottle that would be filled with kerosene and then placed upside down on the sprocket in the rear of the unit and the kerosene would drip into the fire box. This was donated by the Cabral family to the BHS.

#3 Levi L. Crane was born and raised in Berkley. At the age of 19 he enlisted in the Union Army for the Civil War. Levi fought in 6 battles, and suffered 4 injuries by gunfire: June 27, 1862 he was shot in the left shoulder. July 1, 1862 he suffered 2 injuries in same battle including one to the head. This is the hat that he wore at that time and the bullet that grazed his head is sitting in front of the hat. December 13, 1862 he was severely wounded in the left leg. A year before his passing at age 86 he donated all his Civil War encounterments to the Berkley Public Library. They are on loan at the Berkley Historical Society Museum and can be seen there.

#4 This is a guillotine mouse trap; most likely home made.

#5 A weight scale with basket for weighing babies. Notice that the pound indicator only goes up to 24 lbs. #6 Try to imagine typing on this 1920 typewriter. We had a lovely young lady who visited the Museum one day and commented how she really liked seeing the "old fashioned texting machine".

Gov Baker has indicated that Museums will be allowed to open during Phase 3. Stay connected with the BHS for upcoming information on the re-opening. Meanwhile, stay safe out there!

Moments from the Museum......On WednesdayIt is really tough to be home when we want to be at the Museum welcoming visito...
05/13/2020

Moments from the Museum......On Wednesday
It is really tough to be home when we want to be at the Museum welcoming visitors and answering questions. But that day will come....hopefully sooner than later!

These pictures give you a peek at some of the Berkley history artifacts. #1 this is one of the 5 remaining benches from 1849 that were used by Berkley townsmen when they attended the meetings at the Town Hall. The hand harrow in front of the bench was used on the Cabral farm on Berkley St. Also the beautiful wood floor is original to the building of the Town Hall in 1849. There were 4 layers of floor covering over it when the BHS was given permission to use the building for the museum. #2 & 3 This chair was hand made circa 1799 by Theophilus Shove for his personal use. Theophilus was one of the first non-native residents of Assonet Neck. #4 At 84 No. Main St there was a working dairy for several years from the early 1800s. The property changed hands over the years and the name of the last dairy at that spot was Elmwood Dairy operated by L G LaFrance.

To all our Faithful and Newest followers of the Berkley Historical Society page.....THANK YOU!!!   We are now 8...
05/09/2020

To all our Faithful and Newest followers of the Berkley Historical Society page.....THANK YOU!!!
We are now 800 strong!

Monday Moments from the Museum......This week you see another point of history of the Weir Bridge that we have all cross...
05/04/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum......

This week you see another point of history of the Weir Bridge that we have all crossed at some point in time. This picture was taken in 1953 during the dedication of the Weir Bridge that is still being used today, 67 years later. Quite a crowd gathered in the rain for the occasion. They are standing on the north side of the bridge looking down the Taunton River. Notice the structures behind the crowd. With this point of view we see a building right behind one of the large umbrellas with the words 'grain co.' painted on it. This confirms Byron Holmes comment of a grain business having occupied the current H&H Machine Company lot. Do you see a man standing in the window of that building? He probably had the best view and was comfortably dry also!
Bonus points to the person who can share what the make and model of the car is that just crossed the bridge. 😊

Atlas Obscura
04/30/2020
Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura

During the 19th century, and especially in its later years, snacking in cemeteries happened across the United States. Since many municipalities still lacked proper recreational areas, many people had full-blown picnics in their local cemeteries. The tombstone-laden fields were the closest things, then, to modern-day public parks. (via Gastro Obscura)

Monday Moments from the Museum.....This picture is not technically from Berkley history but because of its location it w...
04/28/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.....

This picture is not technically from Berkley history but because of its location it will be quite familiar to most of Berkley residents. This photo show the Staples Coal Company offices in 1898 located on the corner of Weir St and the Weir Bridge. Currently this site is now the location of the H&H Machine Company (see 2nd photo) The Staple Coal Co became New England's largest coal distributor. In 1893 they had a fleet of 10 tugs, 32 barges and 13 lighters and scows. It transported 150,000 tons of coal in the same year. After off loading from the barges in the Weir, it would then be distributed by wagon to either trains for long distance travel or by horse and wagon to local customers. The SCC had a stable of 400 horses to deliver locally. Next time you cross the Weir Bridge into Taunton, look to your right to see the location of the first picture. Photo credits courtesy of Carol O'Connell Soares

Monday Moments from the Museum.....Berkley Public Library has been serving the Berkley townspeople for over 102 years ke...
04/20/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.....

Berkley Public Library has been serving the Berkley townspeople for over 102 years keeping all ages of the population engaged and helping them with research projects and so much more. This photo is from early 1960s. Do you see yourself in this photo or someone you know? Comment on where you or they are sitting on the stairs. Left click on photo to enlarge.

Monday Moments from the Museum......on TuesdayA interesting slice of Myricks history before Myricks became part of Berkl...
04/14/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum......on Tuesday

A interesting slice of Myricks history before Myricks became part of Berkley in 1879. This 1871 map shows the basic location of the Bristol County Cattlemen's Show fairgrounds. The Fair ran from 1860 to 1876. The Fair drew huge crowds of people from all over SE Mass. Most of them traveling by train to attend the 3 day fair. The fair grounds extended on the southern side of Mill St where a 1/2 mile racetrack offered exciting horse races to watch from the grandstand.
In addition to the map I have included excerpts from the book Myricks Massachusetts: A Farming Settlement, A Railroad Village by Gail E Terry. The book tells of the fascinating history of Myricks.

Over 100 Years Ago, Artists Were Asked to Depict the Year 2000, These Were The Results
04/14/2020
Over 100 Years Ago, Artists Were Asked to Depict the Year 2000, These Were The Results

Over 100 Years Ago, Artists Were Asked to Depict the Year 2000, These Were The Results

Here's something I think you'll find quite interesting... These crazy images were created by French artist Jean-Marc Cote, and a few others back in 1899, 1900, 1901, and 1910. The point being.. Well, basically they were asked to imagine what life would be like in the year 2000. According to Collecti...

A little humor can lighten any mood......and it's history related.  :)
04/08/2020

A little humor can lighten any mood......and it's history related. :)

Sharing this story from the Old Colony Historical Society.  It is about one of Berkley's own residents, Charles S Crane,...
04/08/2020

Sharing this story from the Old Colony Historical Society. It is about one of Berkley's own residents, Charles S Crane, whose father, Ezra Dean Crane lived in the Babbitt house and left Berkley as a young boy for life on the sea. He had quite a life of accomplishments.

Charles S. Crane

In the second week of September 1939, a small group stood in front of the old Babbitt house, beside the Taunton River in Berkley. Leading the party were Taunton Mayor Arthur E. Poole and retired Taunton High School history teacher Charles A. Hathaway. Their guests were Charles S. Crane and his wife, Hazel, who were in the midst of a two-month cross-country vacation. At the time, Charles Crane was the mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii.

As they stood there, Crane had a good story to tell, because almost 100 years earlier his father had walked away from that house, never to return. Ezra Dean Crane, born there in 1823 and one of 13 children, had gone to sea as a boy and had become an accomplished sailor working on merchantmen and whalers. During their long voyages to and from the Indian Ocean hunting grounds, New Bedford whale ships often stopped in the Hawaiian Islands to take on water and supplies. Crane saw the islands for the first time in 1844, loved them, and settled there 10 years later.

In 1866, Ezra married Emma Still, a schoolteacher whose passage around Cape Horn had removed any desire for future ocean travel. As they raised their children, Ezra had a successful career as master of the schooner Nettie Merrill, one of the fastest and most reliable inter-island packet ships. Hawaii was a monarchy then, and the royal family traveled with him whenever they had official business. He was 65-years old when the Nettie Merrill was wrecked off the island of Kauai, and that persuaded him to retire from the sea. He spent the last 10 years of his life working for the Honolulu Waterworks and died in May 1898.

As Ezra’s son Charles stood in front of the Berkley house telling exciting stories about his father, he may not have realized it, but his own life was about to see some excitement too. When he returned to Honolulu, Hawaiians were looking westward, warily eyeing an aggressive Japanese government that seemed intent on war. Many islanders were fearful of an invasion, or at least a blockade, and over the next several months the Honolulu media began to pressure the mayor for a plan of action in case of an attack.

By all accounts, Charles Crane was an affable, honest public official. Born in 1869, he had spent most of his career on the business and production side of Honolulu’s newspapers. In 1931, he left publishing and served several years on the Board of Supervisors for the city and county of Honolulu. He was appointed mayor by his colleagues upon the unexpected death of his predecessor and was then elected to his own three-year term in November 1938. That is how he found himself in the midst of a hornets’ nest.

As the summer of 1940 dragged on it became apparent that a great deal of work would have to be done, much of depending on the cooperation of the military, if Honolulu was going to be adequately prepared for war. Mayor Crane was up for reelection in November, and a spirited opposition, including the editorial pages of the Honolulu Star Bulletin, charged him with dragging his feet in the vital work that had to be done.

In retrospect, Crane may have been in a no-win situation, and his defeat could have been predicted. Losing by almost 3,500 votes, he was gracious in defeat and left office in January 1941—just months before Pearl Harbor was attacked. In November 1942, he was elected to the territorial senate and reelected in 1945. Charles Crane died beloved, at age 89, in September 1958, just eleven months before Hawaii joined the Union as the fiftieth state.

Monday Moments from the Museum.....Today's picture isn't exactly Berkley history but it was part of growing up in the mi...
04/07/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.....

Today's picture isn't exactly Berkley history but it was part of growing up in the mid 1950s. The name of the show was "Father Knows Best" and it ran for 6 years between 1954-1960. Back in the day it was one of the favorite weekly TV shows. Do you know the names of the cast?

History At Home.....Middle School LevelLesson 2: Virtual Tour of the Museum of the American Revolution     Learn about t...
04/03/2020

History At Home.....

Middle School Level

Lesson 2: Virtual Tour of the Museum of the American Revolution
Learn about the experiences of 2 young boys living during the American Revolution and see George Washington's acutal field tent that has survived 250 years.

https://www.amrevmuseum.org/education-museum/students-and-teachers/virtual-field-trip?utm_source=History+events+in+New+England&utm_campaign=dbda6354ca-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_18_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4221dc88a-dbda6354ca-1210451493&mc_cid=dbda6354ca&mc_eid=94bcccc85c

History at Home....Lesson 1The Berkley Historical Society will be posting interesting historical facts that will be usef...
04/03/2020
Lighthouse Keepers, the Ultimate Social Distancers - New England Historical Society

History at Home....

Lesson 1

The Berkley Historical Society will be posting interesting historical facts that will be useful to all and particularly those who are participating in homeschooling during this time of Social Distancing.

Speaking of social distancing, here is an example of people who have been doing it for years as part of their job.
And helping to save lives as they work.

Enjoy!

https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/lighthouse-keepers-the-ultimate-social-distancers/?fbclid=IwAR3BZia2lPUgv-JWsdOFhlhrSF18sdnNm5U2SpTTu-utAFs_1KdvQUvFkvg

Think sheltering at home and social distancing are something new? Not to lighthouse keepers who lived with isolation and boredom while working from home.

Monday Moments from the Museum.......Hello!  We sure do miss seeing you at the BHS Museum on Tuesday during the turbulen...
03/30/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.......

Hello! We sure do miss seeing you at the BHS Museum on Tuesday during the turbulent times of the pandemic. We hope you are all well and making the best of the situation. Thankfully we can still touch base via FB!

Another Blast from the Past class photo for your viewing pleasure. This is a Berkley Junior High School class at the old brick building that started as a school and then was repurposed as the Town Offices building. The building was demolished to make way for the new Town Hall and COA.
Who do you recognize in this photo of 1968-1969? The photo came to the BHS courtesy of Mr. Ernie Cardoza himself. 😊 Everyone is so somber! Did the photographer forget to ask, "Say Cheese" ?

Monday Moments from the Museum......We hope all our faithful followers are well and coping with social distancing. The M...
03/23/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum......

We hope all our faithful followers are well and coping with social distancing. The Museum will remain closed until further notice as we want to be compliant with directives of the State. However, we can still offer you a look at Berkley history via FB.

Today's feature on MMM is this lovely couple Frank and Lora Kostka. Quietly and methodically they have been uncovering a long forgotten and little known feature of the Dighton Rock State Park in Berkley. About 1 month ago they ventured on a walk through the Park for the first time and were intrigued by the terrace work they found near the Blue Trail. Frank, a Taunton native, is a retired civil engineer who worked for 30 years at the United States Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA . He has passion for nature and history. Over the course of the past several weeks, Frank and Lora are uncovering the terracing and finding clues to the activities that took place there when the area wasn't DRSP but rather a community of cottages alongside the Taunton River.
Stroll through the pictures below to see the before and after of the work they have done. There are several pictures but really......we all have time to look, right?

If anyone has information or stories told to them by family or neighbors of the cottage community that was here, we would love to have you share them as there is very little information at the BHSM. Thanks in advance to all .....enjoy the pictures.....and be safe by staying home!

PS: Frank has permission from the DRSP Rangers to do this work. He is not being paid....it is his hobby.

Monday Moments from the Museum.....January 15 thru May 1 is the burning season to rid your yards of fallen tree limbs, b...
03/16/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.....

January 15 thru May 1 is the burning season to rid your yards of fallen tree limbs, brush, and agricultural clearing. It is necessary to obtain a permit from the Fire Department and the fee is $20. Below is the permit form used back in the day over 30 years ago. The old format does not have a number as is required today. And it is unclear if a fee was paid in order to have an open fire. Also, the permit was good for only 2 days. Do you have memories of spring brush burning? Share with us if you do.

Monday Moments from the Museum.......1973 Berkley Junior High Class 8AThe Museum is OPEN tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10 fro...
03/10/2020

Monday Moments from the Museum.......

1973 Berkley Junior High Class 8A

The Museum is OPEN tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10 from 10 am to 1 pm.....come visit and walk down memory lane as you see Berkley History on display. If you are new to town there is no better way to get acquainted with Berkley's beginnings and growth through the years. Admission is FREE and so is the coffee, tea and tasty treats. 😊

Address

2 North Main St.
Berkley, MA
02779

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 13:00

Telephone

(508) 823-7327

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Our Story

Since 1975, The Berkley Historical Society actively works to preserve and perpetuated the history of Berkley, Massachusetts through a collection of documents, relics, records and any other material containing historical facts and biographical anecdotes related to Berkley history. The BHS shares with members and residents to foster fellowship and cooperation in the preservation of historical sites and landmarks. The BHS remains a non-profit, non-commercial social organization. New members are always welcome in this pursuit.

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Comments

The intersection of Seymour and Padelford
Photo of my dad, his older brother, who was born in Canada, my dad's father, born in England, standing in the front yard of their house in Berkley. My dad first generation in US...and first generation starts in Berkley.
Photo of my mom holding my brother with my two other brothers. She was pregnant for me..I was born not too long after this picture taken, May of 1949.
Address of house He was born in
My dad on the front porch, house in Berkley He was born.
I'm not sure if you can use these photos. My father, George Watkins was born in Berkley, September 1920, and I've been trying to locate a picture of the house. Well my son brought some old photos to me last night and in them, was a picture of my dad and his older brother, Roy sitting on the front steps of that house. Although, not the whole house, the address was written on the back. So I thought I'd share. My father was the first born in the US, and born in Berkley. I'm sharing a couple more of my mom standing on the front porch at the green house I was brought back to after I was born. You have her ribbons won at the Michigan State Fair. In these pictures she holds my older brother, and was pregnant with me. My other two older brothers were there as well. There is one more of my mom sitting on the front porch of the house holding me. If you can use fine, if not that's fine as well. Joan "Watkins" Fox Sparks.
Took a class on tombstone cleaning at the Westport Historical Society. My wife and I are interested in proceeding to clean tombstones in Berkley. We need to ensure there will/are no surviving family that would have objections. We will contact the cemetery board prior... hope this is appreciated and welcomed.
I just thought I would share something about growing up in Berkley in the 50s and early 60s. There was no Little League. We played baseball on the common when it was baseball season, but often did not have enough kids for a game. So, we played basketball. As far as baseball went I played shortstop and did some pitching for the Jr. High team. I didn't play until eighth grade as I had a paper route. First time I played in a game that was umpired was eighth grade. i did manage to hit .444 for the season. Not bad for a kid that never had any coaching until eighth grade! Basketball on the old blacktop court was another story.for another post.
My wife ( Sarah White ) and I attended this. I think this would be great for Berkley. Thoughts? We could "train" all interested....
Found this in the state digital library. Taunton had land within the boundaries the town of Berkley. This goes back to the 1735, their Is a list of family’s that had land with in the boundaries Berkley that their land belonged to Taunto. Chap. 0039. An Act to set off certain lands belonging to the town of Taunton, and to annex them to the town of Berkley. Sect. i. 13E it enacted by the Senate and house of Reprefentatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That all the lands belonging to Simeon Burt, Abner Burt, Edmund Burt, and the heirs of Stephen Burt, deceafed, which belong to the town of Taunton,but lie within the bounds of the town of Berkley, with allthe buildings {landing on the same,be,and they arehere-by set off from the town of Taunton, and shall be annexed to, and made a part of the town of Berkly : Provided however, That the said Simeon Burt, Abner Burt, Edmund Burt, and the heirs of Stephen Burt, shall be holden to pay their refpedlive proportions of all llate, county, town, and parish taxes assessed upon them, and due to the said town of Taunton, prior to the date of this act. Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That there shall be taken from the town of Taunton, and be added to the town of Berkly, three cents in the flate valuation, which shall be the rule for affefling the said towns for flate and county taxes, until there shall be a new valuation taken. [This act passed Feb. 6, 1810.]
Bucksworth 1976
The Berkley Historical Commission is in need of new members. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Commission (appointed by the Town Selectmen) please contact me: [email protected].