The Boylston Social Library was founded in the town of Boylston in 1792 as a private organization. In 1880 its librarian, George L. Wright, persuaded the members to donate the collection to the town, to start a public library. Wright was also the town’s historian. Located for a time in the Town Hall, the library constructed its own building, at 695 Main Street, in 1904. It was built of field stone on the site where the second meeting house of Boylston’s Congregational Church stood between 1793 to 1835, followed by the second Centre School House, built in 1841. Funding for the new library was provided by Miss Salome E. White of Brooklyn, NY and it was named in memory of her mother, Mrs. Harriet Sawyer White. The Craftsman-style library was designed by Fuller & Delano of Worcester.
In 1811, the Bond family opened a store at the corner of Main and Central Streets in Boylston. When the store burned down in 1929 it was replaced by a new building, which today has the appearance of an American Foursquare house (1 Central Street) set above a modern storefront on its west side (700 Main Street). It was known as the Bond Corner Store, then the Boylston Center Store and is now the Boylston Deli.
The cornerstone of the old Town Hall of Boylston was laid on August 21, 1830 and the building was completed later that year. Construction of the granite ashlar building was made possible by donations from Ward Nicholas Boylston, a prominent Boston merchant who appreciated that the town had been named for his family in 1786. The first floor of the Town Hall housed a school room, while the upper floor contained a hall for public meetings. The building is now the museum of the Boylston Historical Society.
At 701 Main Street, near the town Common in Boylston, is a Federal-style building, believed to have been constructed with bricks made at the Boylston brickyard of Captain John Howe. The building, which has a large ball-room on the second floor, was built in 1818 by Silas Hastings (1780-1833), who operated it as an inn and tavern until his death. The tavern was then run by Hastings’ son-in-law, Elmer Loring, until his death in 1839. After that time, it ceased to be used as a tavern. It was sold by Loring’s widow, Mary-Martha Hastings Loring, (they had married in 1827) to Captain John Andrews in 1844.
The origins of the First Congregational Church of Boylston go back to 1742, when the North Precinct in Shrewsbury (now Boylston) was incorporated. The congregation’s first meeting house was built near the site of the present Old Cemetery. When the time came to build a new meeting house (constructed in 1793), there was a protracted controversy over where in town it should be located. After the decision was finally made to build the Church on the site of the present Sawyer Memorial Library, residents in the western side of town, who had wanted the church built closer to their homes, began the process which eventually led to the incorporation of West Boylston as a separate town. The third meeting house was built in the Greek Revival style in 1835. After it burned in 1924 it was replaced, on the same site, by the current church, completed in a similar style in 1927. The original bell of the third meeting house is used in the present building.
The building at 4 Church Street in Boylston, known as the Abbott Tavern or the Christian House, was built c. 1800 and perhaps has portions built earlier. The property was acquired in 1803 by Capt. Jason Abbott (1772-1843), who operated a tavern there from 1806 to 1809. He later became a blacksmith. Squire Aaron White (1771-1846) acquired the property between 1809 and 1812 and either rebuilt or, more likely, just remodeled the existing tavern to become his mansion house. His wife, Mary Avery White (1778-1860), was an abolitionist and a prolific diarist and letter-writer. Charles Bray of Boston, a building contractor, bought the building in 1863 and also remodeled it. In 1963, it was acquired by the First Congregational Church of Boylston for use as offices and meeting rooms. Read More