A Northborough Common
By Robert Ellis, former NHS Historian
(Click images to see larger versions.)

Recently there has been a movement to convert several West Main Street main stproperties just east of the lot on which the Civil War monument stands into a town common. It is an interesting prospect for a stretch of land that has seen better days. A few photographs, two of them more than a century old, illustrate one phase of the history of this downtown location. main st The area designated 39 West Main Street includes land extending to the border of the monument lot.

In 1895 a house that one can scarcely imagine stood close to the center of town stood there. Subtract the porch and the seated woman, the back portion of the house, the barn, the horse, and a few rustic touches and it becomes the building that stood there until just a few years ago. The woman looking out on a peaceful Main Street was probably Ada Lawrence, disabled throughout the last thirty years of her life. Now this lot is an empty patch.

main st Immediately east of this property stood a piece of Victorian elegance, fronted in this picture by two young females and a large dog. Dr. Baird lived and no doubt practiced here in the late nineteenth century. As you can see from the recent picture, this building still stands, altered as only modernity can alter. main st Across the street from these buildings stood the three-story Northboro Hotel until it burned in 1926.

I could find no picture of the next house to the east, where another doctor, Dr. Ira Guptill, lived until his death in 1918. In the 1930s a Texaco station reminds some of us of what gas stations looked like in the days of our youth. main st The larger gas station now on the site will surely remain when the adjoining properties, once fashionable homes and later places of business, are to be converted into something else—perhaps a town common that would blend nicely with the Civil War monument at their western end.



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