15 South Street, Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02324
Phone: 508-697-3331 email@example.com
The Common still exists today as proof of an enduring love of beauty, proper respect for the past and a devotion for the future.
The Town Hall was built in 1843, three years before the railroad came to town. It is said that Town Hall was built by ship's carpenters from Kingston. That is why the staircases leading to the upstairs are so steep. Since 1843, Town Hall has been the center of community life. Every form of entertainment, movies, operas, plays, minstrel shows, political rallies, roller skating, has been held in the Town Hall down through the years. During the days of prohibition it was the storage place for confiscated liquors.
This is the third building erected by the Town for use as an Academy. The first Academy was built in 1799 after a law was passed by the General Court calling for the establishment of an Academy for use of the boys and girls of Plymouth County who were interested in going to College. There were no high schools at the time. The original school, built on the northeast corner of the lot that later became the Common, burned down in 1822. It was rebuilt near where the present Academy building is now located. Students came from all over the County and boarded in the large houses located around the Common. The present building was erected at the close of the Civil War. In 1869 public high schools were established . The Trustees of the Bridgewater Academy leased the building to the Town for use as a high school. It was then that the two wings were added to the building.
First Parish Cemetery
The First Parish Cemetery was the first burial place in the South Precinct, known as Bridgewater. The first person buried there was Rebecca Washburn, wife of John Washburn who donated the land to the town for use as the location for a Meeting House and cemetery. John Washburn was buried there in 1719. A post and rail fence was built around the land in 1736. In 1796 a stone wall was erected in one day due to the efforts of the whole parish. Lt. John Washburn, son of the donor, was the sexton and dug all the graves from 1739 until the time of his death in 1797 - a total of 706. It has been estimated that there have been at least 2,000 internments in this yard. In 1842 the Mt. Prospect Cemetery was established and very few burials were made in the old cemetery. A complete record can be found of this cemetery in Latham's book entitled Epitaphs, which can be found in the Historical Room at the Public Library.
This church was established in 1716. Two buildings preceded the construction
of this church in 1845. Its beautiful Christopher Wren steeple with its famous
Paul Revere bell was toppled by Hurricane Carol in 1954.
The Parker-Gates House
The Parker-Gates house, located on the corner of Cedar and Grove Streets, is the finest example of the Queen Anne style in Bridgewater. The house was originally built by Joseph Ames Hyde in the late 1800's as a wedding present to his daughter Frances. Frances married a graduate of Harvard School of Medicine who later became a self-taught portrait painter. His studio was located in Boston. For a number of years, one of his paintings was hanging in Faneuil Hall.
After the Parkers passed away, Samuel P. Gates took over the house, where he lived with his sister. Upon their deaths, the house was left to Bridgewater State College which still uses it today.
Tour written by James Kenneth Moore, edited by DLD, and Betty
Gregg, photos by DLD.