The Marlborough Historical Society

The Marlborough Historical Society The Marlborough Historical Society is dedicated to the historic preservation, education, and celebration of Marlborough, Massachusetts. www.HistoricMarlborough.org.
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The Marlborough Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, education, and celebration in Marlborough, Massachusetts. It is the only organization of its kind in Marlborough and depends on donations of time and money, memberships, purchases, and special events to fund ongoing preservation and education, free monthly programs, and special celebrations. Other than a few small grants for specific programs, the Society receives no city, state, or federal money. As an all-volunteer organization, 100% of your donation funds the Society's historic preservation and education.

Mission: The Marlborough Historical Society is dedicated to the historic preservation, education, and celebration of Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Operating as usual

We hope you all have a safe and happy Independence Day!
07/05/2020

We hope you all have a safe and happy Independence Day!

This intriguing octogon Merit Gas station was on the site of the later Eddie's Service Station.  It was about where the ...
07/03/2020

This intriguing octogon Merit Gas station was on the site of the later Eddie's Service Station. It was about where the memorial to Women Veterans stands now - in the triangle between lower Maple, Mill, and Comtois. It was gone by the 1960 aerial photo (nearby resident says gone by mid 50s), see comments. Thanks to Bob Kane, who researched with Paul Polewayck. Thanks to MK Pitman who found a copy of the photo.

Home of a grandson of John Howe, in Boylston MA
07/03/2020

Home of a grandson of John Howe, in Boylston MA

This was the Phineas Howe house, built in the Georgian style between 1727 and 1730. Phineas was a grandson of John Howe, first settler in Marlborough. From a 1923 news article "The first winter he spent alone in a rude log cabin, and then built his house. He married Abigail Bennett, one of his nearest neighbors who resided on the farm now owned by Samuel C. Butterfield and long known as the Leonard Brewer place. The Bennett house was a garrison for protection against the Indians." At the time this property was in the limits of Shrewsbury, but it's now Boylston MA. This photo was taken before modifications sometime 1912-29, when the original windows and entry were replaced. It's still here, see modern photo in a comment.

The Wayside Inn
06/27/2020

The Wayside Inn

Like many other historic sites, The Wayside Inn has a long and complex past that mirrors the sociohistorical history of this nation’s story. Enslaved individuals like Portsmouth—purchased by Ezekiel How in 1773 and mentioned in the journal of Ezekiel’s granddaughter Jerusha (first photo)—were considered property, as evidenced by the Bill of Sale in the second photo. Ten years later, in 1783, slavery was effectively abolished in Massachusetts by a Supreme Judicial Court decision in the case of Commonwealth v. Jennison. While Portsmouth was free because of this ruling, he remained as a family “servant.” Portsmouth died on August 26, 1799 and his death is recorded in the First Parish parishioner death records maintained by Reverend Jacob Bigelow. It is said that he is buried somewhere on the property, but this has never been confirmed, nor a specific location ascertained.

Portsmouth was remembered fondly in Jerusha’s journal and Ezekiel How left instructions in his will (transcript in third photo), for Portsmouth’s care and a “decent and Christian burial” which indicates some level of concern on his part. However, despite Portsmouth’s loyalty to the family and any bonds of care or friendship between slave/servant and owner, he was more than likely buried in an unmarked grave (if a headstone was provided, care was not taken to preserve it). Like so many stories about enslavement, the story of Portsmouth and the How family is one steeped in contradictions.

The events of the past few weeks across the country demonstrate that in 247 years since the purchase of Portsmouth by the How family, and the additional decades of time since he was torn away from his family and home on the western coast of Africa, the legacy of slavery is something we are still struggling to confront and rectify in the United States. Like so many of our colleague institutions, we are probing deeper into the documents in our collection and other primary sources available to us to gain a better understanding of our own history. The story of Portsmouth is one we wanted to further examine and share.

Transcription of Jerusha’s journal entry:

“The negro man who took care of me when a young child and to whom I become very much attached was purchased by Ezekiel How my grandfather of Mr. William Baldwin of Sudbury Administrator of the estate of Capt. Reynolds for forty four pounds lawfull [sic] money the 8th day of April 1773. The instrument said he was then about 33 years of age but must have been older. Named Portsmouth Messimus. Said he was taken from the Guinea Coast while at play with other children and carried aboard ship. He remembered screaming for his mother when shipmen took one under each arm to carry them off. He became an intelligent man, had acquired great knowledge of the Bible, and was blest with a strong retentive memory.”

From the Journal of Jerusha Howe, 1817-1841 (entry is not dated), currently held by the Goodnow Library

Wayside Inn has an interesting followup from a Feb meeting.  "Early American taverns, including our own, were gathering ...
06/10/2020
The Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn has an interesting followup from a Feb meeting. "Early American taverns, including our own, were gathering sites for discussions on a variety of social and political topics"... Click the 'see more' to read the full post, the preview is for a resource link in their post.

February’s Tavern Talk – A Follow-up…

In February, our Tavern Talk discussion (one of a series we had planned for 2020) focused on the topic of race and ethnicity with the following prompt from Living Room Conversations:*

"The expressed American ideal is the creation of a society that is fair and has opportunity for all, regardless of individual or group identity. Even as we work to build a nation that reflects those ideals, there are challenges to living into its fullest expression. This conversation series is an opportunity to explore our varied experiences of race and ethnicity in the American context. Where are we and what do we aspire to for ourselves and our communities?"

Some participants were curious about why we had selected this topic. Our response that evening was two-fold:

1. Early American taverns, including our own, were gathering sites for discussions on a variety of social and political topics, most notably during the period leading up to the Revolutionary War. During that time, topics were not off-limits merely because they were difficult or controversial. Our Tavern Talk series was designed to encourage dialogue in that spirit.
2. Despite its idyllic setting and rich history, there is evidence that the inn was once a site of slavery. As such, it is our job, as an historic site to honestly discuss our own past. This history does not diminish the love we have for The Wayside Inn. It instead makes us want to learn more so that we can better understand the complex nature of our story and all those who played a role in its making.

Given current events, we encourage all of our visitors and social media followers to take some time to reflect on these issues and engage in discussions with friends and family on the topic of race, and its racism counterpart, for the two are inextricably linked in our nation’s history. As a starting point, we recommend the resources recently made available by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race), in addition to the Living Room Conversations series on the issue of race and ethnicity (https://www.livingroomconversations.org/race-and-ethnicity-conversation-series/).

*Living Room Conversations is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 as a result of a transpartisan partnership focused on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation. To learn more, please visit https://www.livingroomconversations.org/about-us/.

Some excellent, well-researched resources for understanding Race and Inequality through History.  Marlborough had a stro...
06/06/2020
Resources for Understanding Race and Inequality Through History

Some excellent, well-researched resources for understanding Race and Inequality through History. Marlborough had a strong abolitionist presence but in early years we had slavery too. Equality has not yet been acheived.

Change starts with education. Onsite and online, we’re committed to sharing America’s enduring story — especially those that have long gone untold. Here are some resources from our museum and other cultural institutions to help us all learn from the freedoms denied in our past and understand h...

Main and Maple at Colleary Square was known as Fairbanks Corner because this was  the Fairbanks' store in 1875, on the n...
05/26/2020

Main and Maple at Colleary Square was known as Fairbanks Corner because this was the Fairbanks' store in 1875, on the north east. By 1910 when this photo was taken it was Houghton's. From Bigelow pg 180 "Down at the corner was the house of Jacob Fairbanks, a well known wheelwright and trader, who built the house where he carried on country store. ..As Bigelow's store in the west part was the centre place for social talk and favorite post for news of the day. so was Fairbanks store a popular one in the east part, of the town. These two stores—East and West, were the only ones in town and a pleasant rivalry was always enjoyed."

In memory of all those who lost their lives in service of our country...
05/25/2020

In memory of all those who lost their lives in service of our country...

Great time capsule from the Telegram today!
05/11/2020
Photos: Historic A city of Marlboro time capsule from our archives

Great time capsule from the Telegram today!

For the last few months, we’ve been publishing photos from our archives. Today, we feature the city of Marlboro (or Marlborough). Either way you spell it, this city of 40,000 residents is home to the Assabet River Rail Trail, John Brown Bell and New England Sports Center. It was also once a major ...

This is the July 14th 1910 'Fireman's Parade' for the 250th anniversary.  The white building at center is the George Hal...
04/30/2020

This is the July 14th 1910 'Fireman's Parade' for the 250th anniversary. The white building at center is the George Hall & Co Store on the corner of Lincoln and Prussia St. If you're not sure where that is - it's because the road was swallowed by the parking lot at Big D. The photo was taken approximately in front of the Armory and the building with the cream ale sign is the Marlboro Hotel. The parade route was similar to the bigger 'Military and Civil parade' the day before except it went the other direction. See comments for a map and other info. (Thanks to Bob Kane for digging out this info, and the others that helped!)

If you're home and looking for something interesting to do, check out the 1960 aerial photo basemap in the City of Marlb...
04/25/2020

If you're home and looking for something interesting to do, check out the 1960 aerial photo basemap in the City of Marlborough's geographic information system. They have 1939 and 1960 aerials with a street grid overlay in the local basemap section.
https://www.axisgis.com/MarlboroughMA/

245 years ago tonight, William Dawes took his not-so-famous ride along with Paul Revere.  After the war Dawes not only m...
04/18/2020
Six Fun Facts About Paul Revere's Ride - New England Historical Society

245 years ago tonight, William Dawes took his not-so-famous ride along with Paul Revere. After the war Dawes not only moved to Marlborough and ran a store downtown, he was one of the few people that George Washington really wanted to visit with when he came back through town.

Perhaps you once had to memorize "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But there's more to know about it. Here are 6 fun facts.

I am trying to find out when the house disappeared; the last known photo was taken by James Bigelow in the late 1920s.  ...
03/21/2020

I am trying to find out when the house disappeared; the last known photo was taken by James Bigelow in the late 1920s. It was on Rte 20 east between the fire station and Burger King, from old maps, where Village Drive is now. The 1960 aerial shows the clipped-roof Greycroft Motor Lodge and its cabins which were across from McGee Vet farm. I'm also trying to determine orientation - I think the gable front faced the Post Rd, but there's a long barn in the 1960 photo that could indicate it faced west. The Villages wasn’t built until around 1998. The home site was originally owned by Dr. Alcock (Alcott) who was the major landowner in ‘The Farms’ before it was annexed officially to the town. His heirs sold to Stephen Morse, who built this Greek Revival house on the site probably between 1830 and 1850 by the style. There was a small wing on the east side that is possibly an earlier house, although it also could be an addition.

Since our speaker on the history of the Irish in Boston was cancelled for now, you might find this story interesting...
03/18/2020
Teen Debunks Professor’s Claim That Anti-Irish Signs Never Existed

Since our speaker on the history of the Irish in Boston was cancelled for now, you might find this story interesting...

A 14-year-old girl has proven that historical scholarship is not solely the realm of tweedy academics. Armed with her curiosity and an Internet connection, Rebecca Fried has debunked a history professor’s claim that “No Irish Need Apply” signs were not historical realities, but “a myth of vi...

Due to the current health situation we are cancelling our event 'Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Bosto...
03/16/2020

Due to the current health situation we are cancelling our event 'Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston' scheduled for 3/24. Stay healthy everyone!

Marlborough had smallpox houses, guests would get inoculated and then quarantine themselves together and get through a m...
03/03/2020
New England Historical Society

Marlborough had smallpox houses, guests would get inoculated and then quarantine themselves together and get through a milder version of the disease; unlike most of today's vaccines they used live virus. The Barnes house at the top of Ash Street was one of them.

In 1730, Marblehead, Mass., did everything it could to ward off the dread smallpox disease then raging in Boston – everything except smallpox inoculation.
https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/1730-1774-marblehead-riots-smallpox-inoculation/

HISTORY
03/01/2020
HISTORY

HISTORY

Women's History Month begins today—and this year marks the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, passed in 1920. Explore the decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. #WomensHistoryMonth

I am hoping for a more definitive identification on this house.  It is has a tentative id as the Jonas Brigham house onc...
02/24/2020

I am hoping for a more definitive identification on this house. It is has a tentative id as the Jonas Brigham house once at 191 Elm Street, which had the right aspect to the street, tall tree at that position, and entry porch just seen through the trees. But I hadn't seen other photos of the right wing that had that gable with double windows Does anyone who grew up in the neighborhood know if it ever looked like this? There's an old truck that might help date the photo, for any car buffs? I'll post the known photos in comments.

This a fun link to browse, although a little sad that our entry (about halfway down the page) was demolished 2013-14.  I...
01/19/2020

This a fun link to browse, although a little sad that our entry (about halfway down the page) was demolished 2013-14. It was the 1855-60 Andrews – Boggs house on Mt. Pleasant Street. Photo from its inventory form. https://www.octagon.bobanna.com/MA.html

Merry Christmas from the Marlborough Historical Society!   You might get a jolly chuckle out of these vintage cards...
12/25/2019
Some of the Earliest Christmas Cards Were Morbid and Creepy

Merry Christmas from the Marlborough Historical Society! You might get a jolly chuckle out of these vintage cards...

Santa kidnapping children and murderous mice were par for the course in the Victorian-era Christmas card tradition.

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for history tours and cookies, at our Christmas on the Farm event!
12/15/2019

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for history tours and cookies, at our Christmas on the Farm event!

1688 Peter Rice Homestead, the Marlborough Historical Society's home base...
12/14/2019

1688 Peter Rice Homestead, the Marlborough Historical Society's home base...

Please join the City and Society at Evergreen Cemetery, on December 7, 2019, at 11:00 AM as the City of Marlborough Re-I...
12/04/2019

Please join the City and Society at Evergreen Cemetery, on December 7, 2019, at 11:00 AM as the City of Marlborough Re-Inters Remains of Revolutionary War Hero

PRESS RELEASE
On December 7, 2019, at 11:00 AM the City of Marlborough will hold a ceremony re-interring the remains of Robert Eames (1738-1821) of Marlborough who fought in both the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian Wars. Eames’ Tomb at Wilson Cemetery, where his remains have laid since 1821, had been damaged by years of tree and vegetation overgrowth, poor mid-century preservation techniques and
vandalism. Mayor Arthur Vigeant has emphasized his desire to revitalize all the City’s cemeteries as both a source of civic pride and a commitment to showcasing the City’s historical past.

Marlborough resident Lieutenant Commander Matthew Sargent, United States Naval Reserve, and Trustee of the Marlborough Historical Society will give a brief speech of commemoration. The remains of Robert Eames were removed in early October by Richard Collins of Collins Funeral Home and sequestered on his property until the Wilson Cemetery tomb was fully revitalized. Marlborough’s DPW, along with a
restoration specialist, not only restored the burial tomb inside and out but also cleaned, repaired and straightened over 140 Wilson cemetery monuments. “By bringing Robert Eames back to a pristine resting place at Wilson Cemetery, we not only show respect for a fallen hero but also openly honor the character of all Marlborough’s residents, past and present,” Said Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant. “It’s rather fitting, that this ceremony should take place on Pearl Harbor Day. Pearl Harbor opened a flood-gate of enlistments to protect America’s homeland. Robert Eames heard the call of Lexington and Concord and did not hesitate to enlist as one of America’s first Minute Men. I would like to thank Commissioner Ghiloni and the entire Marlborough DPW for their work on these important restorations.”

Bob Fagone, Chair of the Marlborough Historical Commission, noted: “we’ll stand behind all of Mayor Vigeant’s and the DPW’s initiatives to rejuvenate and display Marlborough’s historic cemeteries, most of them already on the National Register.”

11/25/2019
Amazon Sign-In

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Address

377 Elm St
Marlborough, MA
01752

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 12:00
Thursday 13:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(508) 485-4763

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Comments

I've lived in my home on Essex Street for more than 17 years and have tried off and on to find photos of what the house originally looked like. I know the street had a different name then, but now I'm not remembering since the last time I did any research was at least 10 years ago. Are there any photos available? I would love to know what my house looked like before the 2 porches were enclosed and siding was added. There is no name for my house. Just a house built in 1890.
Does anybody know anything about 111 Newton Street? I was jogging (alone and apart!) in that area the other day and I stopped in awe! There are huge panels of stained glass on the side of the residence and I'd love to see what that'd look like from the inside!
One of your Early Citizens signature on a couple of documents I recently added to my collection. Luke Drury is the Administrator for Dr Timothy Darling of Grafton in 1784.
Best Wishes, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, Greetings To MHS from Dr. Krishna Aathreya, 27 Mackay Dr, Marlborough, MA 01752 - Cell 1+ 423-523-5249 E M : [email protected]
With sadness we announce the peaceful passing of our father, Bill Downey age 84. Lifelong resident of Marlborough, Ma. Born and raised here. Purveyor, President & CEO of Downey Insurance Agency, Inc. for 40 years. owner of the former Ganis house 190 east main st circa 1860's. His wake will be Thursday March 7th, Main st. Marlborough, Ma at the John Rowe funeral home. 4 - 7 pm. Funeral services will be held Friday March 8th at St Mathias church, Hemenway St. Marlborough at 10:00 am followed by his burial at evergreen cemetery, Wilson st. All friends and well wishers are welcome.
Get your tickets early! Available on Eventbrite! juneedward.com
A daguerreotype from my collection of Abner Haven Wenzel at age 16. Did Marlborough have a newspaper in 1871? I'd sure like to learn more about this incident and the rumor that caused it. The photograph was taken about 1847. By the way, my mother grew up in Marlborough. She was one of the daughters of John E. Rice, attorney and owner of Rice Orchards.
My great uncle was Franklin G. Taylor, a noted citizen and decorated officer from the Spanish War. On Dec 4, 2010, on a Marlborough Historical Society Page, Brandon Weigand asked about a picture. I don’t know how to contact him, but yes, that was Franklin G. Taylor. Any suggestions how to let him know?
MGC WILL HELP YOU MEET YOUR GENEALOGY GOALS FOR 2018. Register today for our 2018 Seminar ~ featuring a DNA track with Jennifer Zinck, an all-day track with Dr. Thomas Jones, and a variety of other talks. http://www.massgencouncil.org/2017/2018-seminar/
How do I get the 2018 Calendar ?
Lebbeus Cook, my third great grandfather, who lived in Marlborough on a farm purchased by his father Ananias Cook in 1800. The property was in the family until about 1908 or so and is now the Hillside School. Ananias took part in the American Revolution. Ananias is buried in the Robin Hill Cemetery and Lebbeus is in Berlin in the Pleasant Street Cemetery.
Brilliant love the stories