Posted by: norstarnewengland | April 22, 2011

Finding Coordinates and Shovels in West Bridgewater and Easton

On this road trip, I tracked down where N42 and W71 met, and visited North Easton where, at one time, about a quarter of the world’s shovels were produced.

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9JT9_N42_W71_West_Bridgewater_MA_USA – I had at one time perused GoogleEarth to find out locations of the points closest to me that were not claimed in the category, yet. I found out one that was not only nearby, but it seemed to be positioned right in the center of a road. So, I finally found a day to go for it. Despite how easy it was to access, I had the usual luck of getting close, but seeming to always find the wrong road and travel in a completely different direction. Finally, I found the road and parked my car on the side of the road. It was on a residential road which connected between major roads. Actually finding the point was rather easy, and exactly were GoogleEarth and a topographic map indicated. While walking around to get the exact point, I noticed that the owner of the house where I left my car had looked down my way a couple of times. I wonder a) if he knew what I was doing, and b) how many other people stop to do the same thing!

I’ve been to North Easton a few times before. It is a beautiful little village, with several Richardsonian Romanesque style buildings and several long, stone multi-storied buildings. It is a great example of an industrial town that had a family of company owners who bestowed much of their earnings back to the town.

The factory was for the Ames Shovel shop http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9QXT_North_Easton_Historical_District_Easton_MA . The waymark provides more information about this. The company, now Ames Tru-Temper, is based in Pennsylvania, and the company has long since vacated the buildings. Now they are somewhat occupied by a variety of operations, including a YMCA: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9R78_Old_Colony_YMCA_Easton_Branch_Easton_MA .

There is a historical society museum in the old stone railroad station. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9R4B_Easton_Historical_Society_Museum_Easton_MA . In the past, the museum has been closed, with no indication when it would be open. But, this time, it was open for visitors. In it was a person talking with a couple about things. Then they left and he turned to me. It was a great conversation that brought me up to date. In short, the museum was now open weekly. The shovel shops were not too long ago threatened with demolition or radical reconstruction. In one year, these buildings were placed on the Massachusetts Historical Society’s list of endangered buildings. In the last year (before August 2010) literally a crane was brought in to do the work, but an injunction was placed to prevent destruction. In the last few months, the property changed hands, and the new owners plan on a different kind of development. This is still in the works, but the museum curator felt that this was good news.

Other buildings and features include these waymarks.
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9R43_Unity_Church_Unitarian_Universalist_Easton_MA
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9R3M_The_Rockery_Memorial_Cairn_Easton_MA
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9QY0_Oakes_Ames_Memorial_Hall_Easton_MA
The Ames family, which lived in town and were well liked by their employees, either gave money to have things built or hired architects and had the buildings built. They spared no expense, hiring Richard Hobbs Richardson, who brought in Fredrick Law Olmsted to do landscape design all over the village. The Rockery is a lasting example of his work.

I will be checking back in the future. I hope others will visit and keep me posted on changes in the meantime.

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