Archive for August 2011

An old Dedham barn…

August 23, 2011

These three shots were taken in 1981 for a photography class I was taking at Bridgewater State College. At the time I took the photos, the brick building that stands on top of the hill was the S.M.A. Fathers’ Queen of Apostle Seminary. The barn once stood on the George Nickerson estate on Common St., on property now owned by Northeastern University. Nickerson was the brother of Albert Nickerson, who built the castle at his “Riverdale” estate, which has been home to Noble and Greenough since 1922.
The barn, which was red, stood behind the seminary. There was also a run-down log cabin in the woods of the Wilson Mountain Reservation.


The grainy quality of this picture was not my attempt at being artsy. The negatives were stored in my basement for years, and this one got stuck to its glassine envelope.


This is the artsy picture. Kind of Stephen King like…

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1889 Dedham Directory Part 2

August 16, 2011

Reading through the 1889 Dedham Directory gives you a pretty good picture of life in Shiretown in the late 19th century. The population at the time was 6,641, including those living in West Dedham who would become residents of Westwood in 1897 when that town seceded. Dedham also had about twice the land area that it does now.

For a small town, it offered just about everything you needed for your home, your business, and your social life. All of the following products were produced in town in 1889: boots, cabinets, chocolate, carriages, cigars, dresses, harnesses, slippers, suspenders, soap, tools, watches, and whips. The directory lists 10 blacksmiths, 6 boarding houses, 5 hotels, 2 ice dealers, 17 grocers, 7 physicians and surgeons, 4 lawyers, 17 dressmakers and 1 dentist. Remarkably, this town of under 10,000 residents had 7 post offices! Almost all of these were located inside railroad depots or grocers.
The listing of residents includes occupations as well as addresses. In 1889, a great number of Dedhamites either worked in the mills or for the Old Colony Railroad.


Those are pretty big raisins! Walnut Hill was the name given to the area surrounding the intersection of High St. and Walnut St. in East Dedham.


Penniman Square was the name given to the intersection of Mt. Vernon St.and Auburn St. (Whiting Avenue)

1889 Dedham Directory

August 6, 2011

Here are a few ads from the 1889 Dedham Directory. The directory lists Dedham residents, businesses, town officers, and organizations. It also has a brief history of the town, and pages of these great ads.


Wardle’s is the oldest continuous business in Dedham. It opened in 1858 as B.F. Smith’s Apothecary, and was taken over by Harry L. Wardle in 1882.


Maybe the pianos are played by cows?


Talk about going out in style…


The Walley family still operates a business in Dedham, Walley Insurance on High Street. President Frank Walley III assures me that he doesn’t pay so much attention to interfering and overreaching anymore. At least not in his business.