fos newsletter - Spring

Summer 03
Spring 2004
Discover Saxonville – A Day in the Park
Saturday, June 12 – 10:00 – 3:00
Danforth Park on Danforth Street
By Carla Fink
Living in a neighborhood like Saxonville provides a sense
of history to our every-day lives. We might be telecommuting to work and keeping in touch with the kids by cell
phone, but all we have to do is step outside to come faceto-face with something that reminds us of a quieter, simpler time, something from the past that has lasted into the
People who grew up around here may not realize it, but not
too many places in America can boast the sense of history
that we experience. Go to Tucson or suburban Chicago
and you will see homes and neighborhoods that sprouted
just in the past few decades, where the trees haven’t even
had a chance to mature, never mind homes that have withstood 6 hurricanes in 100 years.
Friends of Saxonville is dedicated to honoring the past,
while living in the present. That’s why this year, Friends
of Saxonville is hosting an old-fashioned “Day in the
Park” where you can meet your very contemporary and
interesting neighbors over a hot dog and a lemonade and
where your kids can get away from the Nintendo box and
make some new friends – all while enjoying the recent
improvements to this Town-owned park and playground!
Inside this issue:
• Discover Saxonville 2004
• FHSM House Tour - Saxonville feature homes!
• Business Buzz
• Postcard from the Past
• Edwards Church history
• Update – Cochituate Rail Trail
centerpiece of the 2004 Discover Saxonville day will be a
neighborhood Flea Market and Craft Show. At the Flea Market
anyone can become an exhibitor for a small, $15.00 fee, and
local and regional crafters can display their wares for a mere
$25.00. So, if you’ve been putting off cleaning your basement
or attic, do it NOW to get ready for June 12th. You will find
information about participation in the Flea Market and Craft
Show in this newsletter and at many locations around town
throughout the Spring.
At the same time that adults are searching for treasures, there
will be many activities for kids: play soccer, get tattooed, or
take a children’s yoga class - to name a few. And, of course,
there will be plenty of summer food to get everyone through
the day - hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, a lemonade stand, –
and an ice cream social (courtesy of Breyer’s Ice Cream) to
make it a truly timeless day. In addition to Breyers’ contribution, Discover Saxonville 2004 is being sponsored by Framingham.Com, Patterson & Gerry, Framingham Cooperative Bank,
Kathy Foran of RE/MAX realty associates and Middlesex Savings Bank
Lots more activities and events are in the process of being
planned as this newsletter goes to press, so check in at to see a full schedule of the day.
"Without ice cream,
there would be darkness and chaos."
- Don Kardong, 1976 U.S. Olympic Marathoner
Cochituate Rail Trail
We’re happy to report significant progress in the development
of the Cochituate Rail Trail (CRT)! As you may know, the
property is currently owned by two state agencies: the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA). In December 2003, the
Town of Framingham and the MTA reached a critical agreement that will allow the Town to open a short section (1/2 mile)
of trail this summer. We expect this agreement to be finalized
over the next few months. In the meanwhile, the trail is not
open to the public.
A sure sign of progress located at the CRT crossing
of Old Connecticut Path,
near the Cochituate Brook
The Town also continues to pursue a long-term lease on the
longer portion of the MBTAowned section of the trail. Framingham is an active member of a consortium of 30 communities, the EPA, MassBike, and the DEP working together to draft
a standard lease for rail trail development along dormant
MBTA corridors.
The Framingham section of the Cochituate Rail Trail has been
under development for more than two years. This multi-use trail
will follow the abandoned Saxonville Branch rail line, and will
extend 1-1/2 miles from Route 30 (near The Home Depot) to
the Sudbury River in Saxonville.
General Growth Properties' proposal for expanding the Natick
Mall using the old Wonder Bread property represents a unique
opportunity to connect the CRT to one of the largest retail districts in Massachusetts. Wonder Bread was serviced by rail until 1998, and the abandoned spur could be used to connect the
CRT to the Natick Mall (and beyond). The Framingham Cochituate Rail Trail Committee is working with representatives
from Natick to ensure that the CRT plays a key role in this future development by providing an attractive transportation alternative.
Keep an eye out for the recently installed “Future CRT” signs at
the Route 30 and Old Connecticut Path entrances to the trail. In
addition, we have created a new CRT website at, and are developing a new e-mail list for
keeping people up to date on CRT happenings. Go to the
"Contact Us" page on our website to sign up.
We would like to thank the following people and organizations
for their recent contributions
to the Cochituate Rail Trail project:
· Framingham Board of Selectmen
· Framingham Department of Public Works
· Framingham Parks & Rec Department
· Chris Petrini, Framingham Town Counsel
· Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Board
· Bill Tuttle, MTA Real Estate Department
· Peter Cavicchi, MTA Engineering Dept.
· Debby Blumer, Mass.State Representative
· The MathWorks, Inc., sponsor
Page 2
We welcome you to join us for our Spring Clean-Up,
scheduled for Saturday, May 1 (rain date Sunday,
May 2), from 9am-3pm. Our clean-ups are popular
community events where volunteers help remove
trash and brush from the trail. Please see our website
for details.
Volunteers are crucial to the development of the CRT.
Our Committee encourages the public to donate a skill
or service, or to participate in our monthly meetings. For
more information please see our website,, or contact Mark Lamkin at 774-2490789.
Thank You,
Framingham Cochituate Rail Trail Committee
From the American Planning Association Economic
Development Division:
News and Views – Spring 2004
Why We Want a Rail Trail – Let Us Count the Ways
“...studies show that the economic benefits of trails and
greenways include increases in property values, increases in tourism and visitors, increases in business
opportunities for entrepreneurs to serve the trail, increases in the posture of the community to compete for
corporate citizens, and increases in the likelihood of
revitalization of existing properties…
...Trails and greenways also encourage overall planning
benefits such as preservation of open spaces, encouraging physical fitness, creating new recreation opportunities, creating new non-motorized transportation opportunities, and preserving cultural and historical resources.”
From an article written by Mary Albertson, Planning
Director for the City of Leominster, describing the
benefits of railbanking a CSX corridor in its commu-
Business Buzz in Saxonville
By Debbie Cleveland
People have been buzzing about the changes to the business
buildings as well as the new businesses that have come to
Saxonville in recent months.
One of the most noticeable changes has been the
facelift, or rooflift, at Pinefield Shopping Center. Pinefield
now boasts a red metal roof, similar to the green roofs seen in
the newer malls like Shopper’s World. Pinefield’s parking lot
has also been repaved and striped. These updates are due to
Pinefield’s already popular new anchor store, Robinsons Ace
Hardware. Robinsons Ace has a parent store celebrating 40
years in Hudson. The owners, Jeff, Derek, and Kim Underwood looked at sites in Fitchburg and Clinton before settling
on the Pinefield site. Even before opening the Saxonville
store, manager Jeff Underwood began making donations to
the Friends of Saxonville. He even incorporated a Friends of
Saxonville fundraiser into the store’s Grand Opening festivities. Jeff is happy to be in Saxonville and his customers are
happy about his store’s great service, extensive inventory, and
convenient parking.
After a long awaited opening, Robinsons Ace’s
neighbor, Hometowne Hotdogs, opened to crowds in March.
Owners Jon Goldberg and Mike Connery grew up in Framingham and their friendship goes back to middle school.
They share a passion for sports and hotdogs with interesting
toppings, as well as for Framingham. Hometowne Hotdogs is
the result. Mike, who is Italian on his mother’s side says,
“Who knows food better than Italians?” and his cousin is Lou
Merloni. The walls are decorated with both sports and Framingham memorabilia included some signed by Lou. Their
hotdogs, cheeseburgers, and homemade Italian sausages are
so popular that they have already had to extend their hours to
accommodate the customers that are sometimes out the door.
Even before they opened, Hometowne Hotdogs also supported the Friends of Saxonville by supplying hotdogs for the
Friends to sell during Robinsons Ace Grand Opening.
A short stroll across the parking lot brings you to
Saxonville’s newest florist, Leviris Flowers & Gifts, located
next to Circle of Friends Preschool. Leviris is owned by Ginnette Bowen, who is from Costa Rica. Ginnette is a very busy
lady. She had a pushcart for Leviris at the Natick Mall and is
in the process of opening a new restaurant, La Casona “the
big house,” in the former Hawaiian Village restaurant on Rt.
30. La Casona will feature American food with Latin American accents prepared by chefs from Costa Rica. Leviris features not only flowers, but also balloons, gift baskets and collectable lines such as: Pretty As a Picture, Precious Moments,
and Gund Teddy Bears.
Around the corner in McGrath Square, Dennis Marzakis has moved his Sewing Machine Service one door up
into the former Povall’s Clock Shop on Elm St. Now Dennis’s customers can park in the back parking lot and bring
their machines in through the rear door. Dennis used to be in
Joann’s Fabrics on Rt. 9 in Natick. About one and a half
Page 3
years ago, when the company decided to change their
policy about leasing to Dennis, he chose to move his
shop to Saxonville as he has lived in the area for 28
years. He said he also chose Saxonville because he likes
how the property owners are remodeling and refurbishing their homes and buildings. In addition to selling
three brands and servicing all makes of sewing machines, Dennis also has an embroidery service. He embroiders shirts, hats, towels, and for an excited first time
grandmother, diapers!
Ken Kane moved his Kitchen Design Studio
into Dennis’s former space in January. Ken has been
designing and building kitchens for 20 years and provides design, renovation, and installation and will do the
job himself or work with your contractor. For complete
personal attention, he sees customers by appointment
only and uses the Elm St. studio as a showroom for clients. He purposefully keeps his business small so all jobs
will be done right. He says in the coming months, look
for new lighting and displays in the window and new
signage, with a Victorian ambience, courtesy of his landlord, Rob Harrington, for all the tenants in the building.
Ken not only sells quality national brands that have been
in business for over 50 years, but also employs a Saxonville cabinetmaker and blacksmith for customwork. Ken
has lived in Saxonville since 1971 and considers himself
a townie and has lots of stories about the area and its
character and characters.
Saxonville now has its own Subway shop, run
by genial Manoj Shah from Nashua N.H., in the former
Saxonville Convenience Store & drycleaner building
next to Liberty Music. Manoj likes the area and the people.
What’s a village without a clocktower? Now
we have two,including the new Print Resource building
at the corner of Concord and A Streets. The building,
built by Friends of Saxonville benefactor The Nexum
Group, replaces the former Village Package Store. Print
Resource led by owner David Sears, offers full service
design, printing, signage, fulfillment, and promotional
items all under one roof. The Print Resource team places
your print project with the best printer for the job and for
maximum efficiency. It’s one stop shopping for an entire marketing program whether direct mail, CD-Rom’s,
or trade show giveaways. Underneath that demure gray
exterior is a dynamic marketing force. Print Resource
provided Discover Saxonville signage for FOS last year.
Friends of Saxonville welcomes these new
businesses to Saxonville and wishes them well!
Page 4
Edwards Church, Saxonville
By Cynthia Buscone
Off the beaten path on Edwards Street, situated on a beautiful prominence of land north of the falls, stands the second
oldest church edifice in Framingham and the oldest in the village, built in the year 1827 ~ Edwards Church. At the time
of its building Saxonville was a small, but thriving mill community; the Union consisted of twenty-three states; John
Quincy Adams was president, and Abraham Lincoln was a teenager.
This jewel of a quintessential New England church site encompasses the Church, its parsonage, Edwards Hall, Jonathan
House, the newly completed (2002) graceful complement to the original edifice named the Education Building, and the
separately owned town burial ground that sweeps down the hill from the church toward the river. Built first as the
Saxonville Meeting House by the Saxonville Religious Society, and of unusual enough construction, including some
joinery that is without nails, that some think the original builders may have been shipwrights, the Church was dedicated
in September of 1827. It was used at first by various congregations including Unitarians and Methodists. Then, in 1833,
twenty-nine members of Dr. Kellogg’s Framingham Center church were discharged for the purpose of forming a Congregational Church in Saxonville. The name Edwards originates here and is in reference to Jonathan Edwards, the 18th
century evangelist and theologian of the “Great Awakening.”
As the 150th anniversary committee for the church reflected, “There is something inherently impressive about a small
association… which has lasted for a century and a half, and … manifests over the years a power of renewal from
within.” Down through the years this capacity to persevere and to renew has shown itself again and again in Church
annals, right to the present. In this spirit, the Parish Committee invited the Reverend Corbin Kidder to take pastoral
charge in 1833. He, and succeeding ministers, served faithfully and successfully, and by the early 1860’s the Parish was
authorized to borrow money to enlarge the Church – not to exceed $200! These enlargements, alterations and repairs
were made to the Meeting House in the summer of 1864, at which time church records note that “the Parish Committee
be authorized to see that no horses are tied to the Meeting House”! A number of years later, however, sheds were built
to accommodate the displaced horses. The parish ladies, an important and hardworking group throughout the church’s
history, at this time called “The Ladies of the Sewing Society” were invited to get up a fair or some sort of social to
help meet church expenses.
(Continued on page 6)
Postcard from the Past
Page 5
- Focus on Saxonville!
by Charlene Frary with
Excerpts from Event Program/Guide
As was reported in our Winter edition, Carla Fink, FOS member and
volunteer, worked with Jan Harrington,
FOS Vice President to submit a grant to
the Town of Framingham’s Community
Development Block Grant Program.
If you’ve never had the immense
pleasure of taking part in the
Framingham Historical Society
and Museum’s Annual House
Tour, this year is a great year to
start! Included in the all-antique
lineup of Framingham treasures
are not one, not two, but THREE
Saxonville homes – Circa 1790 to
1840! And in true village style,
you can park your car and easily
walk to all three!
The application sought funding to equip
the Athenaeum with access features for
people with disabilities. Aside from the
practical need, the absence of these features prevented additional funding considerations.
Look carefully at the 1882 map of Saxonville and you’ll
see two of these homes at the bend of the Sudbury River.
Taking full advantage of the spectacular water view, the
home below offers a family room addition with enormous windows. Upstairs, the sky blue master suite includes a hot tub on its private deck. The kitchen is
cheery with its peaked ceiling, Russell Range, original
cabinetry and cobalt blue accents.
Next door, a pristine Greek Revival cottage is a more
elaborate version of a mid-century cottage quite popular
in Saxonville. The tapered, sunken panel piers are of a
distinctive type common to the village. The portico
porch extends to what appears to be an original wing
with a sweeping river view. The kitchen, reminiscent of
the period with its original fireplace and bake oven, is
also oriented toward the River. Don’t forget to stroll
among the stately, magnificent trees and enjoy the waterfront before you move along!
(Continued on page 6)
The Selectmen are recommending approval of an award in the amount of
$13,000, which still requires approval by
Town Meeting and HUD to be “official”.
If approved, Tom Sydell will be the project manager.
In 2001, Bernard Goba was hired by
Friends of Saxonville to complete design
plans and cost estimates for returning the
Athenaeum to community use. Fulfillment
of those plans are the inspiration for many
of Friends of Saxonville’s fundraising efforts.
FHSM House Tour
MAY 16
12:00 – 5:00
Page 6
(Continued from page 5)
(Continued from page 4)
In a village where Michael Simpson ran the mill, owned
much of the land, and held benevolent sway, the land on
which a Chapel was built as a social hall in 1871 was
donated by the Simpson Family (This edifice, still standing at the corner of Elm and Chestnut Streets, was converted to commercial use in 1961).
Was the home pictured below once a barn? Today it
is a whimsical, cottage style home that is charmingly
decorated and chock full of collections! A fanciful
exterior includes hexagonal roof shingles and curved
walkway. A screened porch connects the home to its
inviting garden and sweet garden shed. The interior,
including a study with wet bar and built-ins, houses
the owners’ wonderful collections and original artwork. See what love and caring can do for small
The annual House Tour is a fund-raiser for the Fram-
ingham Historical Society and Museum,
cosponsored this year by the accounting firm Patterson
and Gerry and local Realtors MetroWest Homes.
Now in its fourth year, the Tour attracts more than 800
attendants and utilizes more than 100 volunteers.
Complimentary refreshments are served at the Edgell
Memorial Library, where the exhibit Abbondanza!
may also be viewed. Ticket prices remain unchanged
at $20, with a $2 discount for FHSM members. After
May 13, the ticket charge increases to $25. To purchase tickets, send your check and SSAE to FHSM
House Tour, PO BOX 2032 , Framingham, MA
01703. For more info, phone 508-872-3780 or visit
Later Mr. Frank Simpson, son of Michael, would, with
his sister, Helen (Mrs. W. W. Seeley), gift to the church
a magnificent and rare organ. Installed by the Cole Company of Boston and built in the mid-nineteenth century,
it had earlier adorned a Boston church and is the only
known three manual tracker William Stevens organ in
existence. The installation took place in 1905 at the
same time that electric lighting was put in place and a
new furnace was installed. With this work and the earlier
addition of stained glass windows (1883), the church
edifice, inside and out, assumed much the appearance it
retains to this day ~ that of a perfect diminutive village
church, its serene oak pewed interior mirrored in the
stately organ pipes backing the chancel, all in harmony
with the sturdy exterior and its well proportioned tower.
In a further act of generosity, Frank Simpson in 1916
conveyed to the church the title to the land on which it
sat. Clear title to the land had been a church concern for
many years.
Solid as this foundation of one hundred years was, as the
church moved into its second century troubles beset the
little congregation that would require every bit of its
capacity to persevere and renew. The Depression Era
with World War II following hard on its heels hit the
church hard as it did many other areas of life in general.
The congregation struggled with upkeep, with membership and with the urgent need for a resident pastor. “Our
membership is small, very small…the new year finds us
ready to do what we can,” wrote Herbert Brown in 1935.
It limped through the war years with a grant received
from the Congregational Conference Center. Membership was down to thirty-two. Still the tiny church
staunchly refused to accept recommendations for closure
and struggled on. “We are few in number. The burden is
heavy,” Mr. Brown conceded.
Then great encouragement for the hard pressed congregation arrived in the person of its part time minister, Mr.
Quentin Sewell. In the early fifties, with many new
families moving into newly built housing, Mr. Sewell
actually went door-to-door encouraging new families to
come and worship. So successful was his grass roots
campaign that by 1954 the congregation was able to
invite Mr. Sewell to continue his services on a full-time
basis, and the choir, forty-five members strong, directed
(Continued on page 7)
Page 7
(Continued from page 6)
by Mrs. Sewell who had taught music at Saxonville Junior High, mounted a much praised concert, “Fall Festival
of Music” at the school auditorium. Church membership
was on the rise!
Yet more renewal was afloat! By 1955, with the new
parsonage complete, Mr. Robert Sisson became the first
resident minister in twenty-seven years, and in 1956 his
ordination marked one of the highlights of the church
community’s year. The Church also voted to merge into
a new denomination called the United Church of Christ.
In the ‘60’s, the Church complex was shaped into the
site we know today. The Kirkpatrick residence (now
Jonathan House) was purchased. A new social and educational building was dedicated as Edwards Hall, after a
successful fund-raising campaign by Rev. Johnston.
Jonathan House kindergarten was up and running with
eight students. In a beautiful Maundy Thursday service
in 1965, Rev. Johnston led the congregation in the ancient Tenabrae service using four chalices and a tankard
which were part of the original communion service implements of Edwards Church. Perseverance had yielded
By 1975 Elizabeth Hambrick–Stowe was enthusiastically voted to be the Church’s 35th full time minister ~
and the first woman to serve in that capacity. Other distinguished women have followed in her stead, including
the current minister, Rev. Dr. Deborah L. Clark. The
lovely education wing, featuring the church’s original
lectern in a place of honor, is in full use, serving the
congregation for education and gatherings. Thus today
Edwards Church, just past its 175th birthday still stands,
serene and solid on its peaceful hilltop, the dreams of the
stalwart membership of the difficult earlier years being
fulfilled, for “… out of many a struggle has come leadership and influence. We hope for this church a rising
power for good in this community.”
History of Framingham, Temple. Framingham: An
American Town, Herring.
Michael Simpson, The Saxonville Mills and The Roxbury Carpet Co. Reid.
Various Edwards Church Publications.
File, Framingham Room.
Special thanks to Rev. Dr. Deborah Clark, Karen
Dolliver, and Bill Dyan.
From the Mailbox:
“ ...I am a former Saxonville resident (ca. 19721982) and have very fond memories of that community. I try to visit when I’m back in that area,
and can’t help but remark on all the changes...and
all the things that are the same. On the first category is your organization, which I am happy to see
playing such an active role. (I keep abreast
through your fabulous website!) Keep up the good
From W.D.
Washington DC
The editor of this newsletter welcomes your comments, suggestions, story and story ideas. Please
write to Charlene Frary, PO BOX 3236, Saxonville, MA 01705 or
Our fiscal year began in April. Please renew
your membership today. If you have already
paid your 2004-2005 dues – THANK YOU!!
Board of Directors
Friends of Saxonville
Jim Barry, President
Jan Harrington, Vice President
George Dixon, Treasurer
Charlene Frary, Secretary
Tom Sydell
Brett Peruzzi
Susan Silva
David Longden
Friends of Saxonville thank Cliona McAllister
for her many years of valuable service on the
Board of Directors. While we count on her
continued “Friendship”, her resignation leaves
the Board with a vacant seat. Anyone interested in working on the direction of our nonprofit organization should contact President
Jim Barry at, or send a letter
of interest to, or mail
same to POBOX 3236, Saxonville, MA 01705.
W W W . S A XO N V I L L E . O RG
Non-Profit Org.
US Postage
Permit No. 159
Framingham, MA
Friends of Saxonville
PO BOX 3236
Framingham, MA 01705
Friends of Saxonville Membership Form
(detach and return to Friends of Saxonville, PO BOX 3236, Framingham, MA 01705)
The mission of the Friends of Saxonville is to educate the public about the special
identity of Saxonville, an historic neighborhood of Framingham, Massachusetts, and
to preserve, enhance and protect its cultural, environmental and historical qualities.
Day Phone:________________________
Evening Phone:_____________________
CONTRIBUTION $_____________(Minimum annual dues are $15)
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