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Old 05-20-2015, 07:57 AM
 
Location: North Quabbin, MA
578 posts, read 668,255 times
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Time stopped in Royalston in about 1860! It's pretty amazingly preserved and isolated.

Hardwick has another great classic ye olde New England town common I'd recommend in central Mass.

New Salem too - nothing like a deadend Main Street (because of the Quabbin) to preserve your town's common.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Boston
102 posts, read 319,262 times
Reputation: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCMA View Post
Time stopped in Royalston in about 1860! It's pretty amazingly preserved and isolated.

I like well preserved towns stuck in time -- kind of a revelation with all this eastern seaboard development! I can hardly wait to visit Royalston!

Hardwick has another great classic ye olde New England town common I'd recommend in central Mass.
What a tremendous suggestion, thanks! I have been to Hardwick and was so impressed by its "New England" small town authenticity.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:20 AM
 
Location: near a beach
13,923 posts, read 13,197,295 times
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Rowley has a picturesque town common, unspoiled, and they use it for town events. It has a huge "Christmas" tree that gets all lit up for the holidays.

I wish I could remember the name of a town common I took a fall picture of one time. It even had an old fashioned pump where people used to get their water. Somewhere around central MA.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Boston
6,682 posts, read 13,667,427 times
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First of all, congratulations!

I know you'll be bombarded with suggestions, but I figured I need to add a few.

Fairhaven is beautiful. The Common is in front of the the Unitarian Church. Thanks to Henry Huttleston Rodgers, the town has incredible architecture. Look at town hall, the Millicent Library and the Unitarian Church on Google Maps.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:50 AM
 
1,285 posts, read 2,710,801 times
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I have an old book, "Village Greens of New England"-- maybe 1940s? You might want to get ahold of that, Eric. Also check out the WPA guide to Massachusetts written in 1939 or so and reissued in paperback about 30 years ago. The guide goes into great detail on towns and cities. Here are some suggestions from my own experience:

Longmeadow: the common is a "long meadow" that gives the town its name. Very nice and unusual.
Hadley: similar long meadow-style common that stretches north and south of Route 9 and flanked by houses.
South Hadley has a small but cute common that's unusually picturesque with the Mt Holyoke campus on one side, early 19th century buildings on another, and the post-modern architectural 'village commons' complex on another side.
Amherst has a beautiful and historic village green, and much livelier than many because it's Amherst (duh).
Springfield: Court Square is small but very handsome and stately.
Framingham has a handsome common, rural-seeming considering it's Framingham.
Dedham has a beautiful town center with a small but handsome common.
Cohasset's common is a 19th century facsimile but very picturesque
Hingham, Cohasset's parent town, must have something but I'm not sure.
Concord, definitely
Both Dorchester and Roxbury, ancient towns going back to the Bay Colony settlement, have handsome commons with stately white churches like the one in your pic of Lexington. Roxbury's is known as John Eliot Square and Dot's is on MeetingHouse Hill, corner Adams and Bowdoin Sts.
Cambridge and Boston, of course. Also Charlestown-- the "training field"
Wrentham has a nice one as does Franklin.
Falmouth is very good.
West Tisbury (I think) has a beautiful rural common.

Worth pointing out that many old towns have no common because of different settlement pattern. More a linear main street such as Sunderland or Braintree or Stockbridge. And some towns don't have one because after splitting from the parent town they didn't create one. For example, Somerville and Westwood.

Don't forget the one that tugs at the heartstrings-- Dana, where the common remains but the town is gone. Gate 40, Quabbin Reservoir.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:04 AM
 
Location: North Andover
345 posts, read 221,277 times
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Olde Center in North Andover
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
5,487 posts, read 5,549,025 times
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Some of my favorites
Groton
Winchester
Hopkinton

Hopkinton truly has everything New England, from being the head of the Marathon to the beautifully preserved architecture and historic character. The library alone is stunning.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Boston
102 posts, read 319,262 times
Reputation: 162
Default Town Commons

Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
Rowley has a picturesque town common, unspoiled, and they use it for town events. It has a huge "Christmas" tree that gets all lit up for the holidays.

I wish I could remember the name of a town common I took a fall picture of one time. It even had an old fashioned pump where people used to get their water. Somewhere around central MA.
That's right, thanks for reminding me about Rowley! They really have a nice town common. I believe nearby Wenham also has a nice one.

Not sure about the central Massachusetts town common with the old fashioned pump. For some reason, I am thinking West Brookfield, but probably not. Thanks again, I will definitely add Rowley to the book!
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Boston
102 posts, read 319,262 times
Reputation: 162
Default Town Commons

Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
First of all, congratulations!

I know you'll be bombarded with suggestions, but I figured I need to add a few.

Fairhaven is beautiful. The Common is in front of the the Unitarian Church. Thanks to Henry Huttleston Rodgers, the town has incredible architecture. Look at town hall, the Millicent Library and the Unitarian Church on Google Maps.
Thanks LR Fox, appreciate that very much! This book will be a work of love, as there will be a lot of heart put into the content to complement the descriptions and perspectives.

Fairhaven is an excellent suggestion. I really need to take a second look at the town common but if it anything like the downtown district, it must be fabulous. Why don't more people know about Fairhaven? It is such an impressive town.

Today, I was in Taunton and have to say that its village green is spectacular with all those historic buildings surrounding the open space. I see tremendous potential with the downtown, and hope it can return to its luster that I remember as a kid. I also visited Assonet, and talked with some very nice folks at Town Hall that directed me across the street to the town common with gazebo. At first, it didn't look like much, but after seeing the gazebo, green space and water view, I felt a very nice connection to the place. Most importantly, I am told that the space gets put to good use, particularly with the Strawberry Festival.

Just wondering, do you know if Darmouth, Westport, Marion and Rochester have nice town commons? They are such beautiful towns. I know Mattapoisett has a gem, right by the water. Also, how about New Bedford?

Thanks again, I am grateful for all the information on this thread!
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Boston
102 posts, read 319,262 times
Reputation: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
I have an old book, "Village Greens of New England"-- maybe 1940s? You might want to get ahold of that, Eric. Also check out the WPA guide to Massachusetts written in 1939 or so and reissued in paperback about 30 years ago. The guide goes into great detail on towns and cities. Here are some suggestions from my own experience:

Longmeadow: the common is a "long meadow" that gives the town its name. Very nice and unusual.
Hadley: similar long meadow-style common that stretches north and south of Route 9 and flanked by houses.
South Hadley has a small but cute common that's unusually picturesque with the Mt Holyoke campus on one side, early 19th century buildings on another, and the post-modern architectural 'village commons' complex on another side.
Amherst has a beautiful and historic village green, and much livelier than many because it's Amherst (duh).
Springfield: Court Square is small but very handsome and stately.
Framingham has a handsome common, rural-seeming considering it's Framingham.
Dedham has a beautiful town center with a small but handsome common.
Cohasset's common is a 19th century facsimile but very picturesque
Hingham, Cohasset's parent town, must have something but I'm not sure.
Concord, definitely
Both Dorchester and Roxbury, ancient towns going back to the Bay Colony settlement, have handsome commons with stately white churches like the one in your pic of Lexington. Roxbury's is known as John Eliot Square and Dot's is on MeetingHouse Hill, corner Adams and Bowdoin Sts.
Cambridge and Boston, of course. Also Charlestown-- the "training field"
Wrentham has a nice one as does Franklin.
Falmouth is very good.
West Tisbury (I think) has a beautiful rural common.

Worth pointing out that many old towns have no common because of different settlement pattern. More a linear main street such as Sunderland or Braintree or Stockbridge. And some towns don't have one because after splitting from the parent town they didn't create one. For example, Somerville and Westwood.

Don't forget the one that tugs at the heartstrings-- Dana, where the common remains but the town is gone. Gate 40, Quabbin Reservoir.
Wow, this is tremendous information! I am familiar with several mentioned here, but was wondering about Springfield and Framingham. I have been to the others with Longmeadow, Wrentham, Franklin, Dedham, Concord, and Boston being my favorites.

Now that you mention it, yeah, Somerville, Westwood and Braintree don't have much in terms of a town common. You would think Westwood would, but you are right -- it is just the way it was built up.

That's a great call on Gate 40. Who would have known? Lots of history behind that one, no doubt!
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