Life was simpler then

© Bolton Historical Society. Used by permission.

Intersection of Main Street and Wattaquadock Hill Road. Elapsed time between photos, approximately 107 years.

The private residence on the left in both photos is the Caleb Wheeler, Jr. house, c. 1815. Wheeler was an influential town leader of the time. He led the militia formed to escort the Marquis de Lafayette while Lafayette was in Bolton in 1824. The house is remarkably well preserved and features restored stenciling attributed to Moses Eaton, Jr.  Also visible, the “Old Brick Store” a/k/a The Cracker Barrell, c. 1827. It was Bolton’s largest general store (and liquor store) until the middle of the 20th century when it was converted to a real estate office and apartments. Information is from the Historical Properties Survey of the Town of Bolton, available at the library. More information is also available here.

-Roland

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This entry was posted in Bolton Center National Register Historic District, Historic Preservation, Village History and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Life was simpler then

  1. Susan Rodman says:

    I am of an age somewhere between the two pictures and I remember as a kid-when there were school field trips the teachers would let the 4/5 grade kids walk down to the “Cracker Barrel” and get penny candy to bring along. This involved crossing the street..without supervision to get from the Houghton School to the best selection of penny candy in the world. My how far we have come!

  2. Margaret Campbell says:

    As the time lapsed photos attest, development and change will come whether we like it or not. The goal of the master plan and the efforts of the UMass students was to put the town in a leadership position with regard to development of our town center. I believe that it is imperative that the Town direct anything that happens in regard to business development in town.

    Roland has pointed to a few important features of the UMass Plan, I’d like to point out a few more. Notice that across from Wattaquadock Hill Road there is NOT a road, but instead a walking place. In fact pedestrian and bicycle transportation were corner stone to the UMass plans and should be something our community strives to incorporate into all development. When I have been in discussions about the town center it is almost always taken as a point of common sense that the road entering the smith property would go straight across main street creating a cross intersection. It is disturbing to me that this critical design element is an assumption. Traffic calming design as has been successfully used in Cambridge Mass for example would call for the road design as presented in the UMass Plan. Any plan to widen Main Street is designing for the benefit of the motor vehicle at the expense of the people. It is imperative that what ever is done in town center is done with People in mind. Straighter and wider is the road design of the past. This only encourages more pass through traffic and at a higher speed. We must take control of our Town Center and our Main Street. This means any development should not be allowed to widen and straighten Main street. On street parking should remain, always, as this should return to a simpler time when one would walk from the library to the general store and now on to a restaurant/cafe. Any traffic study goals should be to determine where town center parking will be and what road design features are needed to bring the automobile speed down to 20 – 25 MPH. There are traffic calming engieers available locally and any developer should be required to employ one for this projects design.

    Notice that there is town home style residences built on a back street. Through focus groups and surveys the Master Planning committee found that residents felt that Bolton lacked a sense of Community. The town center development should strive to build community in Bolton. This is the value of the smaller residences located in the center and on a back street. Another thing the UMass plan incorporated was businesses ON THE STREET. This would mean the eventual turn over of the residential property and public gathering places such as the outdoor theater.

    • Joan Entwistle says:

      I agree that there should not be a road opposite Wattaqodoc Hill Road. A road there would certainly necessitate a new traffic light.
      As Margaret Campbell points out, the town needs to drive how the development in the town center goes forward, not just be reacting to what developers want to put in and accommodating their traffic requirements.
      We need better sidewalks through the town center, and on the feeder roads (Wattodquodoc, Harvard, Manor, and Sugar), and bike paths connecting around the perimeter of the town center and from Harvard to Green roads. There is a study currently being commissioned to plan a bike path from Bolton to Hudson. Perhaps someone can provide a link on this blog. Enhancements such as these will improve the environment for existing business, and increase property values. Increasing the suburban sprawl will not, according to the studies referenced on this blog.

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