Monthly Archives: August 2010

Clark’s Block, Natick (1874)

Another building constructed in the immediate aftermath of the Natick fire of 1874 is Clark’s Block on Main Street. As described in the History of Middlesex County, Vol. I (1890):

This, which is the largest business block in Natick, or in this part of the Commonwealth, stands partly upon the site of a similar but smaller structure, which was erected in 1872, only to be burned in the great fire of 1874. That block was about 100 feet in length and three stories high, while the present structure is of the same height, but 260 feet long. The latter, as was true of its predecessor, was built and is owned by Mr. Nathaniel Clark, who, after a long and useful business life, is passing the time of old age with the respect and affection of the entire community.

The chief frontage of this block is on Main Street. The lower story, which is devoted to stores, is occupied as follows: Edward Clark, grocer; E.M.Marshall, watch-maker and jeweler; W. L. Doane, boots and shoes; Qardella & Cuneo, fruits; barber; W. F. Cleland & Co., dry-goods; C. H. Whitcomb, hats and furnishing goods; Arthur W. Palmer, readymade clothing and tailor; James H. Frost, apothecary; Charles W. Ambrose, watch-maker and jeweler; W. F. Demeritt, tailor; W. H. Jones, boots and shoes; George L. Bartlett, dry-goods; Miss C. H. Travis, milliner; Daniels & Twitchell, druggists; Harrison L. Whipple, art-store, dealer in pictures and picture-frames—sixteen stores.

In the second story are the rooms of the Natick National Bank and of the Five-Cents Savings Bank (elsewhere described), of O. J. Washburn, dentist, Judge Null’s law-office and Dislrict Court-room; the offices of tax-collector, of the selectmen, of the overseers of the poor, of the assessors, of the town clerk, of the School Committee and of the chief of police ; the law-offices of James McManus, I. W. Parker, C. Q. Tirrell, G. D. Tower and L. H. Wakefield; office of Dr. William Richards; rooms of John F. Dowsley, dentist; of Miss L. M. Hart, dress-maker, Palmer’s sewing-room and four large rooms occupied by the Natick Citizen Printing and Editing Company. In the third story are four halls, the largest of which—Concert Hall—is more than 100 feet long and well furnished for an audience of 1200 or 1400. This the town uses for all town-hall purposes.

The Italianate building has been restored and rehabilitated over the years and continues to have retail space on the ground floor, with offices above.

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Masonic Block, Natick (1874)

A while back, I had a week on this blog featuring buildings in South Natick. Now I’ll be featuring some buildings in downtown Natick. In 1874, a massive fire destroyed 35 buildings in the downtown. New brick and stone structures were soon built to replace the lost ones. One of the these is the Masonic Block on Main Street, constructed of Vermont marble and completed in 1874. The polychromatic High Victorian Gothic building was designed by S.S. Woodcock and has commercial space on the lower floors and rooms on the upper floors used by the Meridian Lodge, originally established in 1797 by Paul Revere. A glimpse of the building’s occupants in the late nineteenth century can be found in the History of Middlesex County, Vol. I (1890):

Masonic Brick and Marble Block.—This was erected in 1874, and belongs to the estate of the late Leonard Morse. The front is of marble, the other walls are brick. It is occupied on the lower floor by the Atlantic Tea Stores Company, Messrs. Wilde & Soule, who deal in teas, coffees and crockery; by James F. Gray, manufacturer of confectionery and keeper of fruit for sale; by Leonard P. Stone, dealer in meats and vegetables, and by Beals’ Clothing and Furnishing establishment. In the second story are Mulligan’s billiard-room, Finn’s barber-shop, Dr. Abbott’s rooms for dentistry, and Miss Mabel Morse’s musicroom. The third and fourth stories are wholly occupied for Masonic purposes.

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