Thanks so much for the great response to this blog!
A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!

I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.

Monday, July 29, 2013

This and that memories

Since writing the past few posts, more postcard photos have become available through the Facebook page I'm From Taunton.  I am sharing them here.  
They are very exciting, giving us more of a peek into the past.

The first is proof positive of two things: one, there is the famous carousel to the left of the entrance to the Sabbatia Lake Park back in the 20's and 30's and perhaps beyond.  Second, there are the trolley tracks we were so sure brought people to enjoy the park on day trips.  This is an awesome photo
and we thank Dave Melanson for sharing it.

These next photo is of the Taunton Green. cobblestones and all.
The red building left is a bit of a mystery.  There is some thought that there was
an opera house in Taunton, might this be it?  Clearly seen is the building on the corner of Court St.
This photo thanks to Dave Melanson also.  What would we do without our collectors?
Someone must have kept these postcards safe over the years.

Another photo with horse and buggies and horseless carraiges.
Thanks to Joseph L. Lequin for this winter scene postcard.

The next one is from 1931.  A Christmas Green photo.  Of interest is the fact that the above
red building we spoke of is gone, and construction is under way for the Post Office still
there today.  A trolley is seen on the right, as well as a diner along the Green.
Love the cars.....  Thanks, Carol O'Connor Soares.

There will be more great photos in the next Post.  I love looking at such photos as it
gives me a look into what my grandparents and parents saw in their day.  Brings them closer,
I have done extensive genealogy studies on my grandparents so this ties it all together.
Taunton in when it was quite something....I experience just the tail end of it all.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Meandering Along the Taunton River

It is wonderful to receive more information about the long gone Sabbatia Lake Park in Taunton. I hope to get more photos in the future and we will come back to this again.  For former Tauntonians, you may be interested in an invitational Facebook page.  Once accepted and registered you can participate in a great nostalgia dialogue.  The page is well administered and does not allow advertisements or personal information other than sharing nostalgia in photos, comments and stories.
 It is delightful. Look for  I'm From Taunton on Facebook.

There is another "cool" subject in Taunton history: the  Taunton River.  Once you start researching, it is fascinating to read of its importance all through Taunton history.  Forgive me the number of websites linkages I allude to, but the subject is unending for a former Tauntonian.

We are talking early 1900's and earlier, no doubt right back to the Native Americans who inhabitated Taunton.  There is a good website about many aspects of the river at this site.


From that site, I gleaned that:
   "Various cultures made the Taunton River central for their people.  There are remains of historic sites such as Native American trails (especially the Wampanoags who called it 'The Great River') , river crossings, settlements, remains of colonial grist mills, ship building yards, industrial iron works as well as paper and textile mills.

The River played a central role in battles between the Wampanoags and colonial settlers in the historic King Phillip's War in 1675, statistically considered one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. History.
The Taunton River flows for approximately 40 miles from the (beginning of the mysterious Hockomock Swamp) confluence of the Town and Matfield Rivers in Bridgewater, MA and continues through the towns of Halifax, Middleboro, Rayhnam, City of Taunton, towns of Dighton, Berkely and Freetown to the confluence of Mt. Hope Bay to the City of Fall River and town of Somerset.  

In 2009 the Taunton River advocates won designation as Wild and Scenic. This is important, as the website article quoted below explains, to protect it from the federal government allowing permits and funding which would endanger the River.  Historic cleanup has occurred to date. The River hosts the largest herring run (a symbol of Taunton) with up to 2 million fish swimming upriver annually.  When we were kids the herring run was a must see for all of us families each year. This vintage postcard from,+ma&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8dates dates back to 1911 --- and today the herring still run!!! 

There is a fine slide show of the event at the following link.   

  The River is the cornerstone of a 562 mile fresh water system providing essential services such as water filtration, flood protection and recreation to 38 towns.  Rainbow smelt, striped bass and bluefish enter it to feed. It is home to the rare Northern Redbelly Cooter turtle and the rare Brindle Shiner Fish as well as the river otter, 45 other species of fish and many species of shellfish, 154 types of birds including 12 rare types, mink, grey fox and deer.

Relating to the importance of the River to industy in Taunton I found this interesting. Though it has taken years to clean-up the river, there is little doubt that it was once the lifeblood of the city for the jobs in provided early immigrants as well as the way supplies came in to Taunton.

We can date the photograph below at around 1907 by researching the
history of Staples Coal, Co.
That company was incorporated in 1888 and was still going in 1930
when someone researching their grandfather on Ancestry found him working there at that time.  The company had 6 tugs and 22 barges and shipped coal from as far away as Cuba.  They had coal silos on Dana St. in Taunton adjacent to railroad tracks.  The advent of oil heating put an end to companies such as this.  That is just a bit of researching one can do into the history of the Taunton River.

   It is obvious from these old postcards that the river was once well utilized for recreation as well as industry.  How far we have come when now we have to work so hard to bring these waterways back to their pristine conditions. Still various waterway alliances are working to do just that.


There is a book written by Tauntonian Timoth Brown "On the Taunton River in Taunton, MA - a Journey down the River and Back in Time" which looks to be an interesting historical 
read on the River.

                                    Taunton even had its own Boat Club once upon a time....
what a lovely buccolic photograph.

When I said I was going to meander, I surely did just that didn't I?  I also promised that when I began this summer series, saying that summer is just for that.  Meander along with me with more of your thoughts and photos....there is surely so much more to share about this subject.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cooling off ---way back when

Doing research for a blog like this is a journey easily detoured.  Often one finds treasures just a bit removed...or even a lot...from the subject at hand.  Such was my experience when I wandered through old photos of Taunton summers on the net.  To be sure, all Tauntonians, including Villagers, enjoyed these cooling venues.  Come along, then, who knows where we will end up.  I do not have a whole lot of information on these photos, but we will let imagination roam.....and also hope some readers who chip in with stories and photos.

Here is a 1908 photo of what must be Bay St. but is labeled Sabbatia Lake Road and Lake.  The lake is just off Bay St. in the Whittenton.  Only memories of what is was, remain in the soft echoes of the water sounds.

But, back in the early 1900's this was a destination!  The trolley took Tauntonians all the way to "Sabatia Lake Park."  According to this old linen map shared by a fellow Tauntonian, Dave Melanson, there was a Merry-Go-Round there which has its own place on the map.  Incidentally, in a story worthy of The Pickers on T.V. Davefound a whole set of linen maps blowing in the breeze on a table at a flea market.  Apparently, in those days architects often recorded plans and maps on linen.  The moral of that story is always to treat flea markets with respect, one never knows the finds awaiting discovery.  Here is  one of Dave's maps, for which we are grateful,
showing Sabbatia Lake, the Pavillion and Merry Go Round.

Below a postcard photo (source:Cardcow) of
Main St. in Taunton in the early 1900's.  You can see the
web of Trolley tracks crisscrossing the streets.

Here is another postcard, but taken in 1946.  So clearly, when I was a child,
Sabbatia was still a destination where families could cool off.

The Park reportedly included amusements, such as the Merry Go Round we mentioned.  Also, dancing and such as well as places to purchase food.  Knowing my folks, we probably brought our own however.  As cars because more commonplace, fathers drove families further and we were to be found in the early 50's at Swift's Beach and such. The highway system that has become a voracious beast needing constant feeding and a technological age has taken our focus from simpler pleasures and gathering places of generations past.  Yet today, many of us seek out remnants of those places, get excited when we actually get to stroll down a country road or is we can, go for a quiet bike ride. In the days of yesteryear those were the norms....we still seek out those norms today.

 1940's photo from Pinterest that could 
    have been taken at the old Sabbatia Lake Park...

        Here is a little musical interlude helping us to get in the mood for a different day long ago....

Thursday, July 11, 2013

More Summer Memories and Thoughts....

Summer seemed endless in the days of our youth.
Previously, we mentioned the smell of freshly mown grass
taking us back to those summers.  But, the one that does it for me....whoosh...
is the aroma that pine needles give off baking in the sun.
They take me to one place: Myles Standish State Park.
 For our family, and many other Tauntonians, this was a favorite day trip.
 Like Swift's Beach, it was an easy drive and little to no traffic.
 It offered safe swimming in the ponds and easy children-
viewing by parents nesting in the pine groves.

The State Park is in Carver, MA and consists of 14,635 acres of pitchpine forest, the largest such north of Long Island.  No wonder it gave off such a wondrous scent 
and so imbedded itself in my memory.
It is ecologically significant as it has 16 "kettle" pond left over from 
melting glaciers 12,000 years ago. Who knew they flowed in and out 
of the surrounding aquifer 
 giving you the fresh water in which you swam?

What did we know....we kids splashing into the calm pond waters?  We knew it was hot and we were at one of our favorite spots.   Our family often had mini-reunions there.  Our parents, aunts, uncles and cousins loaded up with picnic stuff from the cars and trotted down to a site we could adopt for the day.  Chairs were unfolded, tables set with vinyl tablecloths. 
We were there til sunset when
we would be called in from the water by both the smell 
of hotdogs and hamburgers and
 the beckoning voices of parents at water's edge.

Often the trip would include stopping at nearby Edaville Railroad in Carver. It was a chance to take a train ride through the deep red cranberry bogs.  In those bygone days, most family members were close by and such excursions were more common.  Today, it would be a major endeavor to gather us  from 
all over the country.  There is also one child here not a cousin, but who was brought along anyway.  This would happen often with one or another neighborhood child.  
After all, we were a Village....

Ah, days gone by.  When it got hot, you turned on a fan or gathered together to go off to a pond like this where memories were made. 
 Of all the seasons summer seems to evoke the most memories.
Those summers were spent in the raw sweltering arms of Mother Nature. 
 Home air conditioners were rare.  You loved it when a thunderstorm broke the heat.

You ran in the heat....all day and into the evening.  You drank when you were thirsty.
You swam 'til you were tired out.  You learned how to swim pretty quick.
You laughed and giggled.  
You learned the art of interrelationships with brothers and sisters, and cousin
buddies without reading a book.  
 Everyone in your class was your buddy, too, as were all the kids in the Village.
 You read....a lot, and loved it.  From there you learned 
a vocabulary, you learned history and geography.  
You learned from storytelling when we families gathered at times like these
at  Myles Standish as the parents relayed experiences
 and family stories.  You listened and appreciated. You learned the art
of storytelling yourselves.
You absorbed.  You were used to prayer in public places as was everyone. 

 It was another time,
far, far removed in so many ways, 
yet right nearby. Those times still offer us
the values, the mores, the traditions we so need in these
confusing days we live in.  If we seek quiet more often,
perhaps their lessons would comfort us in times like these.

Remembering our group wanderings, out of parents views in the neighborhood
 I recently came upon this quote:
"Hypercaution has saved lives, but it has diminished lives in the bargain." 

Seems that there was less worrying then, more living.....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summers in the Village: Post II: Cloud Gazing and Other Activities

Simpler pleasures of childhood days back in the Village.  Life in your backyard and everyone else's, too, was uncomplicated, at least for us children.

In the 50's in the Village summer activities included drowsily lying on a blanket on a hot summer day. Only thing to do was look for cloud pictures and daydream.  Dream about what
wonders you would do as an adult.

This, of course, after household chores were done.

                                                                   One of my Mom's photos 

Cloud watching might be accompanied by the drone of bees visiting the honeysuckle.  No loud boom boxes then.  The most you might hear was the push lawnmower chewing up
the grass with the help of a Dad or a brother. 

You might also hear the ccrrraackkk of a wooden bat colliding with a baseball as some boys got a
pickup baseball game going nearby.  Totally spontaneous, the boys in the Village 
homed in on it like ants at a picnic. 

Way back "in the day" Arlene Gouveia tells us that a group of neighborhood
girls formed their own baseball team. Ahead of Title IX they played at what was then
called the Winter St. Playground, land near Ventura's Grain on
Longmeadow Road.  So we will pretend there is a ponytail hidden under this cap. these
girls who were 
The Village version of a League of Their Own.
By all accounts they were quite good. Emma Andrade
and Mary Medeiros Veira Fontes were members, Mary being the catcher.
(Emma Andrare and Leo De Mello shared this with Arlene).

Precious is the time now when one can manage to sit under a shady tree (or grapevine more often in those days) letting thoughts roam where they would. You might then have also heard the soothing cluck-cluck of chickens in the next yard chicken coop as they scratched the dirt looking for food.

In the time before air conditioning the outside was the coolest place to be.  People learned to minimize activities during the hottest part of the day.  Grandmothers could be seen fanning themselves on front porches.  Laundry hung lazily in the heat, hardly moving in the rare breeze.  In the house you learned to find air flows, opening as many windows as possible with a portable screen that slid open and shut.  Babies were bathed in kitchen sinks to cool
them off. Then dressed only in diapers (cloth)  they were placed 
in their carriages in the shade with
a net over the opening to keep bugs out.  
Then, everyone for an afternoon nap!

 One of the cooling treats - besides the coming of the Ice Cream truck-
 was  Mom's chilled homemade root beer.   

I can still taste those root beer floats....root beer with vanilla ice cream.

My Mom made root beer from scratch every year.  There was big excitement
one summer as somehow, in the heat, the capped bottles started to explode, one by one.  What a racket, and what a frothy mess!!  Back then one did not think violence or terrorism,
 today we would all hit the floor!

                                                                Ah, simpler days.

               Just a treat to lull you if you are fortunate to be lazing on a summer day....  or not. 

I find myself listening to it over and over.  Thanks Van Morrison.