In 1997, a collaborative of Uxbridge students and the Uxbridge Historical Society published a brochure "Historic Uxbridge and Her Villages" from which this information is derived.

CENTER - John Cornet Farnum House - Built between 1710-15, this was the site of the first Town Meeting on July 25, 1727. At that time, the town of Uxbridge covered roughly 29 square miles with about 50 families living in town. The present population is over 13,000. Three main rivers, the Blackstone, the Mumford and the West River, all contributed to this settlement and growing development of Uxbridge. The John Cornet Farnum House is open on some Sundays for visiting.

ELMDALE -The Elmdale Mill - 14 Elmdale Road - The former Elmdale Mill stands on a site which has been used for woolen manufacturing since 1810, although no building in the complex predates 1879. In 1810, oin this site, Daniel Day (1767-1848) built a wool processing mill and farmed out the product for home manufacturing. It was the first woolen mill in this part of the country.. Later, he added hand looms and in 1825, the Day Mill enlarged to include water power manufacturing of satinettes. The mill burned in 1844, was rebuilt and bought by by Samuel W. Scott. In 1878, it burned again, was rebuilt, named the SF Scott & Sons Elmdale Mill, and became known for its production of melton cloth. The mill remained in the Scott family until 1930. After closing in 1958, this complex became an early local example of an industrial park, housing several diversified businesses. In the surrounding Elmdale village are mill houses and former residences of the Scott family that are now privately owned. Now home of Berroco yarns.

WHEELOCKVILLE - The Waucantuck Mills - 325 Mendon Street - In 1824, Luke Taft, having experience working in the Elmdale mill with his father - in - law Daniel Day, built a dam ont he West River to create water power for his mill. A year later, the mill burned. It was replaced in 1838 by a mill building with bell tower and was called the East River Manufacturing Co. In the 1840s, Taft sold the mill to Jerry, Silas and Charles Wheelock who named it Waucantuck. They manufactured woolen cloth, satinettes, then cassimeres. As Waucantuck Mills, they became a family enterprise headed from 1923 to 1961 by John T. Brady. Today, it is occupied by a few small enterprises.

CALUMET - The Central Woolen Mill - 146 Mendon Street - In 1852, Moses Taft (50 Main Street*) bought the old Blackstone Canal Co. and laid the foundation for his mill. Upon completion, the mill was leased by Israel M. Southwick and Richard Sayles. During the Civil War, the mill was in 24 hour production to make the "indigo-blue goods" for officers and suiting. Moses sold the mill in 1865 to Robert and Jacob Taft. They built a dam at Rice City , greatly increasing water power and by 1866 put in a 80 horsepower steam engine. By 1883, the Calumet Woolen Mill was incorporated with Isaac Fenno of Boston and Silas and Arthur Wheelock making fancy cassimeres until 1905. At that time, their properties, the Calumet Mill and Hecla Mill, were liquidated and sold at auction. The mill was bought by Arthur and Stanley Wheelock and named Stanley Woolen Mill Co., Inc. During WWI, they made 500,000 yards of khaki for the U.S. government and overcoatings for the Italian and French governments. Until its 1969 closing, the Stanley Woolen Mill was the longest running family owned woolen mill in the country.

CALUMET - The Richard Sayles House - 90 Mendon Street - The Richard Sayles Hopuse was built between 1820 and 1825. The original owner is unknown, but likely a prominent mercantile family, as the stonework is similar to that of the Eagle and Crown Mill built between 1823-27. SAyles was a Rhode Island native who worked in a groecery store for a year to pay for a year's education at the Uxbridge Academy. He was employed by Uxbridge Woolen Co. until 1852 when he went to work with Moses Taft, supervising construction and equipment of the Central Woolen Mill. He and Isreal Southwick (76 Mendon St*) manufactured woolen goods including around-the-clock production for Civil War uniforms. In 1864, they bought Rivulet Mill (44 Rivulet Street) from his brother-in-law David McBride. It became known as the Richard Sayles Co. Sayles was also chairman of the building committee for the North Uxbridge Baptist Church. In 1887, the house was sold to Calumet Woolen Co., possibly for worker housing.

ROGERSON'S - The Clapp Mill - 84 East Hartford Avenue - The Clapp Mill was the earliest building of Rogerson's Village. It was built about 1810 by Forbes and Benjamin Clapp, who were the first to manufacture cotton thread goods in Uxbridge. The village is named after Robert Rogerson who bought the mill from the Clapps, made it mill housing and built his own mills, The Crown (1823-5) and Eagle (1827) on the Mumford River. The Crown and Eagle Mill was the oldest stone mill with a clerestory monitor roof in Massachusetts. This outside stair and bell tower design allowed access doors to the tower from each floor to escape from fire, a common mill hazard. The mill village consisted of bricjk workers housing, machine shop and a community building/company store which later became the Darcy Block. In 1841, The Crown and Eagle Mill was sold to the Whitin family who renamed it the Uxbridge Cotton Mills. The mill closed in 1923. In 1975, a fire gutted the former mill, which was then rebuilt as elderly housing.

NORTH UXBRIDGE - The Samuel Taft House - 87 Sutton Street - The Samuel Taft House, which was the Taft Tavern, is situated on the Old Hartford Turnpike. It was built from 1774-1778 by Samuel Taft (1736-1816) who was a father of 22 children, a farmer and a Revolutionary War soldier. The ell was once a weave shop and the rooms called Shop Rooms. President George Washington was an overnight guest of the Taft family in November of 1789. In gratitude to the two Taft daughters, who waited on him during his stay, President Washington sent a gift of 30 yards of chintz fabric and coins. President William Howard Taft visited the tavern in 1909. The house, which stayed in the Taft family for over 200 years, is one of 5 center chimney, gambrel roofed homes of this era in town.

NORTH UXBRIDGE - The North Uxbridge School - 65 East Hartford Avenue (Blanchard School). In 1732, Uxbridge voted to have a schoolmaster in each part of town. By 1760, the town had 13 school districts with one-room schoolhouses, and by 1796 only 11. The North Uxbridge School was one of those serving North Uxbridge and Rogerson's Village. The structure, now the Blanchard School, was erected in two sections, the back dating 1870-75 and the front circa 1900. It is cited as the last school continuously in operation in one of the original districts in the state.

IRONSTONE - The one-room Ironstone schoolhouse was designed by Leander Aldrich and built in 1914 by William Cass Aldrich. The former schoolhouse built in 1797 burned and classes were held in the Ironstone Mill until this school was completed. One teacher taught the class of eight grades, where the older pupils often helped the younger ones. In the early years, children would attend only spring and winter sessions as they were needed in the summer and fall months on the family farms. In 1948, this was the last of the rural school houses to close. Since 1949, the structure has been maintained by the South Uxbridge Community Association. Ironstone Village was influential in the early history of Uxbridge. It was an agricultural community until 1734 when Benjamin Taft established an iron forge. Prior to 1800, Caleb Handy had a sawmill and a triphammer shop and also made guns and scythes. The Boston, Hartford and Erie railroad depot came to Ironstone int he late 1860s and local goods were shipped to markets east and west.

IRONSTONE - The Ironstone Mill Housing - 135 Ironstone Street - About 1815, William Arnold built the Ironstone Cotton Manufacturing Company to produce cotton yarns. Like most cotton mills of the day, the Ironstone factory spun yarn from raw cotton which was sent to local families for weaving. This structure was one of two tenements reported to have been built by Arnold around 1820 for the mill workers. He increased water power and installed power looms at the mill which required more workers. William Arnold owned the mill from 1820-32 and transformed Ironstone from a rural stopover on the Providence- Worcester stagecoach route to an important Blackstone Valley mill village. He also built a store at Ironstone and established a post office. Immediately west of the building, on the same lot, is the cellar hole of the former Ironstone Mill. The Mill burned and was rebuilt twice, but not after the fire of 1875.

ALDRICH - The Friends Meeting House - 479 Quaker Highway (now Lydia Taft Highway) - The Friends Meeting HOuse was built in 1710 and served the Quaker community until 1910. The brick structure's interior divides into two entrances with two separate meeting areas, in the Quaker custom of dividing males from females in meeting. At times, the attendance was so large that many had to sit in the balcony and listen through the opening in the ceiling designed for that purpose. The Quakers did not believe in war, and Moses Farnum, the first leader of Meeting, pled the cases of many Friends who refused to pay war taxes during the Revolution. The Friends Cemetery was purchased from Moses Farnum in 1800. The only slate headstones are the graves of Cornet John and Abigail Farnum, which were moved from the original town burial ground on South Main between 1865-1875. In 1852, the Quaker Meeting hOuse Association was formed to restore and maintain the meeting house and cemetery.

ALDRICH - The Jacob Aldrich House - 389 Aldrich Street - Aldrich Village is a community of homes, farms, and various businesses of the Aldrich family, established in the 1820s-30s. Most of the structures are built of beautiful pink brick made in a kiln off River Road. The Aldriches were a self-sufficient Quaker family. The Jacob Aldrich home was a dairy farm with horses, chickens, and orchards. In 1850, Daniel Aldrich (364 Aldrich St*) had a sawmill, a wheelright shop, and a blacksmith shop that produced wagons, shingles and lumber, using hand and water power from Aldrich Pond. They had an ice house on Aldrich Pond and the one room school house was nearby. Seth Aldrich lived in the third brick home just east of the pond (317 Aldrich Street*). The Aldrich family cemetery is on Glendale Street.

CHOCOLOG - The Captain Joseph Richardson Jr House - 685 Chocolog Road - This house was built in 1819 by Joseph Richardson Jr (1784-1825) a farmer and a captain in the French and Indian War. His father, Joseph Richardson Sr (1755-1835) was also a farmer and native of Burrillville, RI. His mother Molly was the sister of Hon Bazallle Taft Sr. The Richardsons were one of Uxbridge's largest landholders and wealthiest citizens. When Jospeh Sr was asked "How under the heavens did you come by so much property?" He replied "Any fool can make money, but it takes a wise man to keep it!" Joseph Jr resided ont he farm until his death of small pox, when it passed to his son William. The home still remains qith Richardson family descendants.

CHOCOLOG - The Elisha Southwick House - 255 Chocolog Road - The home was built c.1820-30 and by 1855 the farm of Elisha Southwick, a wagonmaker. His annual production in 1850 was 12 wagons, 2 carts and 2 sleds. In 1836, Elisha and his brother Jonathan rebuilt the burned Ironstone Mill and installed woolen machinery to manufacture Kentucky jeans. They also operated a tannery and Jonathan ran a brick yard off River Rd in Ironstone. By the 1870s, David Southwick, a farmer lived in the home and had a blacksmith shop across the street. David was a wheelright and made wheels for the Conestoga Wagons that made their way westward in the late 1800s. The first store in Uxbridge was kept by George Southwick in Quaker City and it also housed the first post office and a lending library. George's home was adjacent to Elisha's with the family cemetery in between. This burying ground is possibly the oldest one in the community.

 

CENTER - Capron Mill - 19 Depot Street - The Capron Mill was built around 1820 by Effingham Capron. Over the next 65 years, the mill operated under the names of Taft, Day & Co., Taft and Capron, Capron and Hayward, and Davis and Brown Woolen Co.. From 1907-1957, the mill was known as Uxbridge Worsted Co owned by CA Root and Louis Bachman. They also bought the Rivulet and Davis and Brown Mills. They were internationally known for the development of "Uxbridge Blue", patented color uniforms worn by the United States Air Force during WWII. Dye houses straddled the river so kettles of used dyes could be dumped directly into the water. Observers say the river ran blue when the kettles were emptied. Uxbridge Worsted Co. also designed uniforms for the nurses corp. They receieved a personal letter of thanks from President Roosevelt for their help in the war effort. From 1962-89, Emile Bernat acquired the mill and it became the third largest mill in the country for producing yarn. Today the Bernat mill houses a variety of businesses and a community youth center.

CENTER - The Uxbridge Town Hall - 21 South Main Street - The "Great Hall" has served as the site for local government since its dedication on February 25, 1879. Under contract awarded to Worcester architect, Amos P. Cutting, it was built by Ira Southwick on part of the original town burial ground. For almost 60 years it has been the location of many town meetings, balls, concerts, operas, the first movies, roller skating, basketball games, school programs and high school graduations. In 1882, the jail was built in the basement. The fire station was built in 1928 and joined to the hall by a brick arch. The hurricane of 1938 tore apart the main tower. In 1939 a wing was added to the structure, but the tower was not restored to its original height. The front was latered to accomodate a handicapped access ramp in 1995. The interior remains intact with original metal ceilings wooden wainscotting and paneled doors.

CENTER - The Hon Bazaleel Taft Sr House - 240 South Main Street - This sophisticated Georgian home was built in 1794 by the Hon. Bazaleel Taft (1750-1839). He was a staunch Federalist, a soldier int he Revolution, served as a state senator and representative to the General Court for more than 30 years. His father died when he was just a boy and his wodowed mother, Lydia, by virtue of her landholding pwer, voted at town meeting in favor of tax support for the Wars. That act in 1756 made her the first legal woman voter in the U.S. After Bazaleel's death, the house was owned by Joseph and Chloe Taft Thayer, his daughter. Thayer, a law graduate of Brown University, was active in establishment of the Blackstone Canal and the providence Worcester Railroad. The home that was associated with three generations of the Tafts is now the Cocke n Kettle restaurant. A 200 year old Hessian sword was found between the plastered walls of the home during renovation. Its origin is unknown.

CENTER - The Charles Capron House - 2 Capron Street - Charles Capron (b. 1841), a local manufacturer, and third generation of the locally prominent Capron family, built this family around 1874-79. He manufactured shoddy and satinettes with his cousin Henry Capron at the Capron Mill. They later enlarged it and in 1882, became the Capron Woolen Co. in the 1880s. Charles was responsible for the introduction of telephone and electric services to Uxbridge, having built and maintained a small pwoer plant at his own expense. He was also a committed public servant, town clerk and treasurer (1876-1881), selectman (1876), trustee of the library (1895-1898), and representative to the General Court.

CENTER - The Deacon William Capron House - 1 North Main Street - This structure was built about 1821-27 an is associated with a prominent mercantile and manufacturing family. Deacon William Capron (1799-1875) was married to Chloe Day, the daughter of Daniel Day who started the town's first woolen mill in 1810. It is likely that the home was built about the time of this marriage and that its elegant design plus formal garden reflected the prosperity and social standing of the two families. After 1875, their son Henry lived here. He was town clerk and treasurer (1856-76), a trustee of the Uxbridge Savings Bank (1870s) and the Uxbridge Free Library (1881-1895).

CENTER - The Uxbridge Passenger Depot - 20 South AMin Street - The first steam train came through Uxbridge in 1848. The earlier depot was torn down and replaced by the present one in 1894. The depot remained in use as a train and bus station until the mid-twentieth century when declining train travle led to its closing. It then served as a bus station and housed different businesses until 1976. The structure was then bought, restored and owned until 2005 by Savers Co_operative Bank when the Bank decided to purchase the former Uxbridge Inn and restore/remodel it as its new branch. On April 3, 1905, President William Howard Taft's train stopped here. He exclaimed "Uxbridge! I suppose I have more relatives here than any other place in the country." Today, freight trains rumble through Uxbridge, their whistles the only reminder of a fond past.

CENTER - Prospect Hill Cemetery - 35 Mendon Street - In 1737, Daniel Taft deeded land along the westerly side of South Main Street to the town for a burying place. In 1795 and 1855, the town bought Mendon Street land from Jonathan Farnum and Deacon William C Capron for a new burying ground called Prospect Hill. Remains were removed from the old burying ground to Prospect Hill between 1865-1875 to clear the way for the building of the Old Center School, Town Hall and the Methodist Church. The wall and entrance to Prospect Hillwere built in 1901 from donations by the Ladies Union Association of Uxbridge. Also, in the community are St Mary's Cemetery and 31 smaller burying grounds.

CENTER - The George Carpenter House - 53 South MAin Street - The George Carpenter House is one of three sophistocated Federal houses built in the early 1800s. Capt George Carpenter was a local manufacturer of textile machinery. He owned the Shuttle Shop which was osuth of DOuglas and Carney St on Drabble Tail Brook. He was one of 12 partners in the Rivulet Mill, which was built in 1814. George and his brother John built a billy and jenny for the mill and put in a carding machine and a picker. In 1820, they built a billy of 40 spindles for the Capron Mill. In 1824, they built a billy of 50 spindles and a jenny of 120 spindles for the same mill. By 1850, John was making tables, bedsteads, and coffins by hand. It seems likely that the brothers adapted part of their water-powered mill to cabinet making in addition to turning spindles and producing shuttles.

CENTER - The Bazaleel Taft Jr House - 195 South Main Street - The house called "Elmshade" was built in 1807 for Bazaleel Taft Jr (1780-1846) by his father. The younger Taft was a Harvard LAw School graduate who practiced law from his office in the brick building adjacent to the home. He also served as state senator, memeber of the state Executive Council and representative to the General COurt. He was also active in founding and was president of the Blackstone National Bank from 1829-1846. The home remianed int he Taft family for five generations which included his son the Hon Henry Gordon Taft (1832-1903) farmer, hardware store owner and county commissioner. His son, George S Taft (b. 1859) also lived here. He was a lawyer for 53 years, private secretary of US Senator George Hoar (1883-1887) and district attorney from 1883 to the early 1900s. It was largely his influence that led to the building of the Court House , Lincoln Square, Worcester. "Elmshade" hosted the 1874 Taft Family Gathering where it is thought that a young William Howard Taft, future president, attended.

CENTER - The Taft Brothers Block - 2 South Main Street - A town map of 1792 shows a school house on or near this site. Later, John Capron built the Capron Block, and by the 1840s, sold it to Robert and Jacob Taft. The building housed offices for the Blackstone National Bank, a public hall and the Taft Brothers dry goods store. Prior to the town hall being built in 1879, some town meetings were held in the public hall. In 1896, a fire burned five business blocks including Capron Block. In 1902, the Taft Brothers built the block in their name and reopened their business. The brothers also branched out and leased the Uxbridge Woolen Milland manufactured woolen goods throughout the Civil War. Currently, the Taft Block is occupied by several small retail shops.

CENTER - The Thayer Memorial Building - 15 North Main Street - The earliest known public library in the community was called the Uxbridge Social and Instructive Library and was managed by George Southwick at his store in Quaker City from 1775-1812. In 1874, through the effort of Charles A. Wheelock, the town voted to establish a Free Public Library. Books at the time were circulated from the Barnes Jewelry Store until 1880 when the library was moved to the newly built town hall. The Thayer Memorial Building was given to the town in 1893 by Edward C. Thayer in memory of his parents, Jsoeph and Chloe Taft Thayer (daughter of the Hon Bazaleel Taft Sr.). Dedication of the building was held June 20, 1894 and at its opening the library contained 6,750 volumes. Today's holding total over 44,060. It houses the portraits of 24 prominent Uxbridge citizens including Jerry Wheelock, Luke Taft, John Capron and Moses Taft.

CENTER - The Capron Grist Mill and Gun Shop - 16 Mendon Street - The home, terraced gardens and orchard of John Capron were adjacent to this site in 1767. Where there were orchards, there is now the Capron Pond formed when a log dam was built across the Mumford River (modernized in 1910). Additions were made in 1831 and 1855. Charles Capron manufactured satinette here along with his mill on the south side of Mendon Street. Cloth was finished int he parlor of his home which was demolished in 1967 to create a parking lot for Lynch's Liquor Store. There were also outbuildings, one being a grist mill. Over the years, this mill structure also housed a gun factory called Bay State Arms (c.1885), an ax works, an electrician's shop and upstairs, the Knights of Columbus Hall.

CENTER - The Hotel Wilson - 6 North Main Street - The Hotel Wilson was built in 1882 by Levi Wilson with hopes of attracting tourists, businessmen and the summer visitors to the mineral springs in town. Within a year, Wilson sold the hotel to George F. and J.W. Day who named it Hotel Windsor. Charles Ames bought the hotel in 1909 and named it the Uxbridge Inn. By 1920, the hotel was owned by Charles A. Root, mill owner and Charles Whitney. The wide veranda on the front was a reviewing stand for parades and ceremonial events. Through the years, it has been a popular spot for travelers whether arriving by horse-drawn coach, train or autombile. The mills attracted many European visiotrs to the inn. Before 1800, the first public house was built on this site and moved in 1833 to South Main Street. The second public house built the same year was called the "Waucantuck House*". It was moved in 1881 to nearby 16 Douglas Street where it became rental housing.

CENTER - The Robert Taft House - 6 Court Street - This home was built around 1820 and by 1855 was occupied by Robert Taft (1819-1891), merchant and manufacturer. He was born near Hecla Village, son of John Taft, an incorporator of the Uxbridge Woolen Co. By the 1840s, Robert and his brother Jacob formed their own dry goods and grocery business int he Capron building on South MAin (later site of the Taft Bros block). They also leased the Uxbridge Woolen Mill and manufactured woolen goods during the Civil War. From 1865-1883, they owned the Central Woolen Mill and leased it to Daniel Taft. Following Robert's death, his son Arthur resided in the home. He was engaged in farming, banking and real estate. He was selectman from 1893-6 and in 1898 Uxbridge's representative to General Court. He was also director of the Blackstone National Bank, a trustee and vice-president of the Uxbridge Savings Bank and president of the Uxbridge & Northbridge Electric Company.

CENTER - The First Congregational Church (Unitarian) - 21 North Main Street - Following the separation from the First Congregational Society , the First Congregational Society Church (Unitarian) was built in 1834 on land purchased from the Caprons, the site of the first meeting house. Reverand Samuel Clark, the pastor, preached the dedication service in 1835. The bell was donated by Hon Bazaleel Taft Sr and Dr Josiah Flagg of Boston gave the lamps. The church has the distinction of "wearing" the town clock which was a public gift to the town by Willard Judson in 1869. The original organ was purchased with aid from Robert Rogerson and was replaced by the present Hook and Hastings pipe organ, given tot he church by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Root in memory of their grandfather, Charles A. Wheelock.

CENTER - The Simeon and Deborah Wheelock House - 33 North Main Street - Simeon Wheelock (1741-1784) was born in Mendon and married Beborah Thayer in 1763. They built this house in 1768. He was a blacksmith by trade and his shop was across the street on the later site of the Uxbridge Academy/Masonic Hall. Active in local affairs, Wheelock served as town clerk (1773-77) and was a revolutionary War officer in the militia and ultimately lost his life in Springfield during Shay's Rebellion. Of the eight Wheelock children, son Jerry became important in the development of the textile industry. The house was later owned by two other blacksmiths, Royal Jefferson and Elihu Brown. Royal built his blacksmith shop next door on the site of the present bank building. Owners Mr. and Mrs William Hayward donated the house to the Deborah Wheelock Chapter of the D.A.R. in 1910.

CENTER - The First Evangelical Congregational Church - 8 Court Street - Organized in 1727, the First Church of Christ was formed from members of the church in Mendon. The First Congregational Society was incorporated in 1797. In 1831, a difference between a Calvinistic and a liberal group led tot he formation of two different societies. In 1833, the First Evangelical Congregational Society built their church ont he west side of the Common and in 1834, the First Congregational Societry (Unitarian) built their church on the east side of the Common. The churches have remained separate except during WWI when they united for services from 1917-19. In 1922, the Taft stable, adjacent to the home of Robert Taft (6 Court Street*) was sold to the First Evangelical Congregational Society. It was renovatyed as a parish house to include a public hall and a bowling alley. It is now used for community events and art exhibits.

CENTER - The Uxbridge Academy and Masonic Hall - 10 Court Street - The Uxbridge Acadaemy marked the establishment of local secondary eductaion. The town erected the first floor of the building in 1818. Solomon's Temple Lodge of Masons built the second floor in 1819. This uncommon dual possession existed untilt he Masons purchased the lower floor from the town in 1941. The acadamey, using the first floor, existed from 1820-1855 and at times, was either all male, all female or co-ed. The reputation of Dr. Joshua Macomber, principal from 1841-50 attracted students from 35 towns and 6 states. By 1867, the academy closed and students transferred to the newly built Center School, at the corner of Park and South Main. The 2nd District Court of Southern Worcester County occupied the first floor of the building for s few decades in this century and during that time, the building was readily recognized as either Court House or Masonic Hall. Throughout the building's history, the upper story has always remained in use as a Masonic Hall.

 

 

 

 

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