Framingham Massachusetts, 1890

Framingham, one of the most beautiful towns in the Commonwealth, lies in the southwestern part of Middlesex County, some 20 miles southwest of Boston, nearly the same distance east of Worcester, about 25 miles south of Fitchburg and Lowell, and 30 miles north of Taunton. It is bounded on the north by Sudbury, east by Wayland, Natick and Sherborn, south by Ashland, and west by Southborough and Marlborough. The assessed area is 14,543 acres, 2,544 of which are well covered with pine, oak and chestnut. The formative rock is upper gneissic, from which good stone is quarried for cellars and walls of buildings. The Sudbury River takes a general northeasterly course through the town, somewhat eastward of a medial line. Along its western side the land is quite level, the plain expanding westward from the centre. Other parts are hilly; Nobscot Hill at the north, rising to the height of 602 feet; and Ballard's and Merriam's hills along the southern border. The town has four beautiful ponds stored with trout, black bass, pickerel, perch, eels and other fish. Farm Pond, the largest of these, containing 168 acres, separates South Framingham from the central village, and is connected with the Boston Water-works,—which has, besides, Basins No. 1, 2 and 3 in the town. Shakum Pond, of 93 acres, and Learned Pond, of 42, beautify the southern part of the town.

[the State Normal School, Framingham.]

At South Framingham the Boston and Albany Railroad intersects the Northern Division of the Old Colony; and from its large and excellent station sends out a branch southward to Milford, another northward to the central village; while a third branch connects with Saxonville, at the northeast, noted for its woollen blankets and carpets. The other villages are Nobscot, Hastingsville, Millwood, and Parker's Corner. The name of the Para Rubber Shoe Company, of this town, is familiar to many. There are also manufactures here of rubber clothing, and other articles of this material, a large product of straw hats and bonnets, of boots and shoes, lasts, and carriage wheels; also carriages, trunks and valises, furniture, wooden boxes, meal and flour, and dressed beef by wholesale. In the last census year, the value of rubber goods made here was nearly $600,000; and of boots and shoes, nearly $500,000. The entire manufactured product was estimated at $3,581,185. The farms, 168 in number, are devoted to the usual crops, with perhaps an excess in cereals and vegetables; the aggregate product being $273,586. There is one national bank with a capital of $200,000; and two savings banks with deposits amounting to $2,163,760. The valuation in 1888 was $7,173,570; with a tax of $13 on $1,000. The population was 8,275, of whom 1,933 were voters. The dwelling-houses numbered 1,513.

The public schools are graded, and have the advantage of association with one of the oldest Normal schools in the State. Eighteen buildings are occupied by the town schools, whose value is about $150,000. There is a public school library of nearly 2,000 volumes; and the Town Library and Reading Room, in the Soldiers' Memorial Hall, has about 12,000 volumes. The " Tribune" and the " Gazette," weekly journals, are well adapted to their excellent field. The Congregationalists have three churches here; the Baptists, two; the Methodists, two; the American Episcopal Church, one; the Universalists, one; and the Roman Catholics, three. All are of wood.

The Old Folks' Home is one of the institutions of the town, showing its founders possessed of an admirable human quality. Elm-wood Opera House, an excellent building for its purpose, illustrates another side of village character. The agricultural interests of the county are localized here in the fine establishment; of the Middlesex Agricultural Society; and Lake View, in this place, is reckoned a New England Chautauqua.

The Normal School has an elegant building with attractive portico in front of its entire height, and is beautifully situated among numerous trees on Bare Hill, in the central village. On Mount Wait is the camp-ground of the Methodists; and near at hand is the State military parade ground. Harmony Grove, on the shore of Farm Pond, has long been a noted picnic ground. An extensive and very handsome park, the property of David Nevins, is courteously made tributary to the pleasure of the people, with certain proper restrictions. The cemeteries of the town, especially the largest, are beautiful places. Though all the villages of this town have interesting features, the central village is specially attractive for its finely shaded streets and handsome residences, with a certain finish that can come only with age. The southern village, also, has many fine places; and the buildings and grounds have a well-kept appearance; while an unmistakable air of thrift gives a comfortable feeling even to the casual visitor.

In the Tax Act, as early as October 13, 1675, this town was mentioned as "Framingham." For a long time previous to its incorporation as a town, which occurred June 25, 1700, the place was familiarly known as "Mr. Danforth's Farms." It had its name from a town of this name in the county of Suffolk, England. Parts of its territory were annexed at various dates to the towns of Southborough and Marlborough, and a part was taken to form Ashland. It also gained some territory from Holliston and Natick. The Boston and Albany Railroad was opened to this place in 1835. Framingham contributed freely her part in men and money to the war for the Union; and the names of the 27 who fell are inscribed on a marble tablet in the Memorial Hall.

On the 1st of February, 1676, a party of Indians, led on by Netus, approached the house of Mr. Thomas Eames, on the southern slope of Mount Wait, killed Mrs. Eames and three of her children, and, after destroying the stores and buildings, carried the remaining five or six children into captivity. Mr. Eames was absent from his family at the time. A partial depression in the surface of the land, with the surrounding apple-trees, still indicates the spot where this massacre occurred.

The first church was organized Dec. 8, 1701; and, in the same year, the Rev. John Swift was ordained as pastor. The church in Saxonville was incorporated Feb. 23, 1827.

pp. 314-317 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890