Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oak Street, 1849

The first developed portion of Oak Street appears to have been the section north of Center Street. The street was opened along the division line between the 17 acre parcel Dr. William R. Wells had acquired in 1846 from Susan Erpel on the east and James A. Leonard’s estate on the west. Wells sought to develop the remaining portion of this land as what is today Pearl Street. As early as August, 1849, there is a reference to Oak Street as the “New Muttock road”, in distinction to the old Muttock road, that is, North Street. In deeds, Oak Street was also known as the highway leading from the depot to Muttock. In the mid-1850s when Middleborough's streets were named, it came to be called Oak Street.

"Middleborough Four Corners" detail from H. F. Walling, “Map of the County of Plymouth, Massachusetts”. Boston:
D. R. Smith & Co., 1857.

The map shows the layout of Oak Street as well as the rapid residential development it underwent in the period following 1848-49. The arrival of the railroad in Middleborough in the 1840s created an economic boom and a consequent need for new residential housing. Oak Street helped fill that need, though it initially served the professional rather than working classes.


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