Wednesday, September 2, 2009

View from Middleborough Town Hall No. 6, c. 1902


This view taken from the top of Middleborough Town Hall looks eastwards directly over Thatcher's Row and Center Street. Directly below in the center foreground is the H. L. Thatcher & Company print shop with a skylighted roof. This was the first building erected on Thatcher's Row and, in addition to housing Thathcer's printing business, for a time was also the home of the Middleboro News. It burned in 1978 and was replaced with the structure which now houses the T. M. Ryder insurance agency. Just beyond are visible the greenhouses of Levi P. Thatcher who operated a floral business for nearly 35 years. In 1905, these greenhouses were relocated to the corner of Wareham and Benton Streets by Timothy F. Creedon who had managed the Thatcher greenhouses for 27 years. Behind the greenhouses, the rear of the commercial buildings on Center Street are visible. The large block in the center of the photograph is the Thatcher Block which housed numerous businesses over the years including Lucas & Thomas, grocers; Fayette Hayden, the occulist, "whose sign of the winking eye was sufficiently dim to convince all that the aid of spectacles was a necessity and the added flicker of the gas jet made one wonder how blind he really was"; D. B. Monroe, boots and shoes; and William Egger, furniture dealer and undertaker, in the rear of whose "establishment was located the mortuary where, if one was innocent, he might stumble upon an inert form which only yesterday might have held a cigarette, rather than a lily, in its hand." The Middleborough Post Office was also located here until 1902 when it relocated to the Peirce Block. Adjoining the Thatcher Block to the right is the Middleboro Clothing Company building, now the Middleborough Art Gallery. The next large building to the right is B. F. Tripp's candy store, followed by the Middleborough Savings Bank Building (on the Center Street side of which is painted an advertisement for "Boots & Shoes"). On the opposite side of Center Street from left to right are visible the T. W. Pierce hardware store (now the site of Benny's), Whitman's department store (now the site of Sovereign Bank), Shaw and Childs drug store (now Hollyberries gift shop), the Sproat House which housed Oneto's fruit store (now the site of Reedy's Archery), the Lovell Building which had once been the home of the Middleboro Gazette, the Sylvester or Lincoln Building and the Peirce Block. Other landmarks visible in the picture include the Reverend Henry C. Coombs House on School Street (the large white-painted residence with a rear ell at the left of the picture) which at one time housed students at Peirce Academy and was consequently known as the "Beehive" from the activity surrounding the building; the Peter H. Peirce House on North Main Street; and the Star Mill, the presence of which is marked by its smokestack seen in the upper right corner.


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