The Tea House at Whitin Park, Whitinsville (Northbridge)

From the plaque at the site " Sarah, or Tannie as she was affectionately called, was a graduate of Wellesley College where she became a trustee after her husband's death. Mrs. Whitin had a keen interest in the world around her, and she participated in a variety of philanthropic programs.

 In 1898, her interest in astronomy led her to fund the  construction of an observatory for Wellesley College. She oversaw every aspect of the design and the purchase of  the equipment.  The Whitin Observatory is still very active today.

Mrs. Whitin died in 1917.

In 1938, the Tea House was spared by the devastating hurricane that damaged much of the surrounding landscape. In 1943, the Whitin mansion was razed, and the Whitin family deeded the upper property of the estate to the George Marston Whitin Memorial Association."

The Gerry Gaudette Pavilion was built in 2006 near the location of the Tea House on the John C. Whitin estate. Gerry Gaudette had been a strong advocate of the Blackstone Valley throughout his lifetime.

"The design of the new Tea House by Manitou Architects of Boston recalls several design elements of the original tea house.

In 1875, John C. Whitin married his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Pratt). The little tea house, nestled in a grove of evergreens, served as a retreat where Mrs. Whitin would entertain her guests." The tea house became structurally unsafe and was torn down in the 1970s but the new tea house now stands.

Tea House not fully completed 8.20.06

 

The pavilion is a feature of the master landscape plan adopted by the WCC Board of Trustees for the restoration and adaptive re-use of Whitin Park.  The pavilion also serves as a memorial to Gerry Gaudette, a leader and lifelong resident of the Blackstone Valley, who passed away in 2003.  With a passionate eye for progress, Gerry led the Development Advisory Committee of Whitin Community Center on a path of raising capital and community interest towards the revitalization of historic Whitin Park.  Gerry’s dedication and his strong leadership have come to life in the beautiful park that stands today.

 The Gerry Gaudette Pavilion was built near the location of The Teahouse on the John C. Whitin Estate.   The pavilion was designed by Manitou Architects of Boston and recalls several design elements of the original teahouse. 

 John C. Whitin married his second wife Sarah Elizabeth (Pratt) in 1875.  The little teahouse, nestled here in the shade of Norway Maples, served as a retreat where Mrs. Whitin would entertain her guests. 

From the mid 1940s through the 1960s the teahouse was used as a site for a variety of  programs for children.  It became known as the Girl Scout House and was a favorite meeting place for many youth programs. 

By the 1970s, the teahouse was no longer structurally safe, and it was demolished.  The Gerry Gaudette Pavilion stands today as a reminder of this retreat from time past.  The Gerry Gaudette Pavilion was built to enhance community life by providing a site for programs, social gatherings, and personal respite.  Construction of the pavilion was made possible through contributions of many who were inspired by Gerry’s vision.  The pavilion stands in memory of a dear friend and is a tribute to all people of this community who continue to make the Blackstone Valley a wonderful place to work and live. 

According to Mrs. Barbara Hopkins Gaudette, “Gerry really supported the improvements planned for the park and wanted to see it all happen.  The pavilion was a very important thing for Gerry and he would have loved to see it built and enjoyed by the public.  Building it fulfilled one of his dreams.”  

 

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