Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - The Journal, Southbridge, MA, Thurs. June 7, 1888
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

The Journal, Southbridge, MA, Thurs. June 7, 1888




Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Main Street, looking W. Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Main Street, looking W. Southbridge, Mass.
Postcard 



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Marcy Street School
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Marcy Street School
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge, Mass., Post Office Square, looking West - 1907
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge, Mass., Post Office Square, looking West - 1907
Postcard 



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Co. Works, Southbridge, Mass. - 1909
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Co. Works, Southbridge, Mass. - 1909
Postcard 



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Co. - 1910
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Co. - 1910
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - St. Mary's Church
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

St. Mary's Church
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Residence of J.C. Wells
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Residence of J.C. Wells
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - High School
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

High School
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Main American Optical Co. Factory, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Main American Optical Co. Factory, Southbridge, Mass.
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge Tool Company, Charlton Street, Southbridge, MA - 1941 - Edgar Tremblay, Archie Gagnon, Joseph Seremet
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge Tool Company, Charlton Street, Southbridge, MA - 1941 - Edgar Tremblay, Archie Gagnon, Joseph Seremet
photos belonging to Jeannette Lippe Tremblay 



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - A Portion of the American Optical Company Plant, Lensdale, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

A Portion of the American Optical Company Plant, Lensdale, Southbridge, Mass.
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Company, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Company, Southbridge, Mass.
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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge Tool Company, Curtis Street, Southbridge, MA - 1949 (approx. 5,000 sq ft of space)
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge Tool Company, Curtis Street, Southbridge, MA - 1949 (approx. 5,000 sq ft of space)
photos belonging to Jeannette Lippe Tremblay 



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - Ad for Southbridge Tool Company
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Ad for Southbridge Tool Company
Click here to go to source1949 Manning's Southbridge Directory Page 72



Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Company
Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Company
Postcard 




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Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
People, Pictures and News From the Past

Where is Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA?  The area was initially inhabited by the Nipmuck and Mohegan tribes, with the Quinebaug River dividing their territories. As early as 1638, John Winthrop, Jr. purchased a tract for mining lead at what is now Leadmine Road in Sturbridge (it was thought at the time that where there was lead, there should be silver nearby).

Southbridge was first settled by Europeans in 1730 and incorporated in 1816; among the first settlers was Moses Marcy, who owned a home on the site of what is now Notre Dame church and was elected to Congress, and the Dennison family. Water power from the Quinebaug River made Southbridge a good location for sawmills and gristmills in the 18th century, and textile mills in the 19th century. After the Civil War, many immigrants of Irish and French Canadian descent came to work and live there; by the 1930s they had been joined by Poles, Greeks, Italians and others.
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Old Photos of Southbridge
Great old photos of Southbridge can be found here:
Digital Treasures

Added: 9/19/2009 12:37:05 PM - 1  Updated: 2/21/2013 1:20:36 PM - 1

John Winthrop, Jr. purchased a tract of land around 1638 in what was to become Southbridge. It was purchased for mining ore for graphic deposits.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 8:59:11 PM - 1  Updated: -

In 1732 (Southbridge), Moses Marcy built a saw mil and a few years later, a grist mill.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 9:01:16 PM - 1  Updated: -

By 1775, small businesses like coopering and carpentry were started in Southbridge. The town reached a population of about 400 inhabitants and a school and a meeting house were erected.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 9:02:59 PM - 1  Updated: -

By 1814, some textile mills were built in the Globe section of Southbridge, and downstream, in an area known as Centre Village, the business district began to establish itself.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 9:04:35 PM - 1  Updated: -

February 15, 1816, Southbridge was officially recognized as a town. Population 830.
The first town meeting was held several weeks later, March 6, 1816, which included the election of five selectmen. They included Capt. Gershom Plimpton, Maj. Samuel Fisk, Joshua Mason, William Morris and Fordyce Foster.

Plans were made for constructing a large water-sewer line crossing Main Stree...
Read MORE...


1826 - William Beecher comes to Southbridge
In 1826 William Beecher, a jeweler and watchmaker, settles in Southbridge, a small town on the Massachusetts/Connecticut border. He is part of a relatively new trend — jewelers expanding into the business of spectacle making.
(massmoments.org)
Added: 1/9/2014 7:36:20 PM - 1  Updated: 3/7/2014 11:52:55 AM - 1

1830 - Water Snakes
Mr. Ephraim Wheelock, of Southbridge, Mass. while mowing, came in contact with a large water snake, measuring 3 feet 9 inches. After killing it, he cut it open, and found it to contain 43 live ones.
Huron Reflector
Norwalk, Ohio
September 14, 1830
Added: 4/2/2014 4:27:58 PM - 1  Updated: 6/4/2015 8:50:46 AM - 1

1833 - Manufacturing of Spectacles Begins
Within seven years of his arrival in Southbridge, William Beecher opens a shop above his jewelry store to manufacture spectacles. Business prospers. Beecher teaches one of his apprentices, a 14-year-old boy named Robert Cole, to craft the first steel-framed spectacles made in America... Southbridge ...Read MORE...


1845 - SOUTHBRIDGE. [Pop. 2,031.Inc. 1816.]
Southbridge was composed of portions of Sturbridge, Charlton, and Dudley.

The Quinebaug passes across the township, and affords abundance of water-power.

The chief manufactures are cotton and woollen cloths, boots and shoes.

Distance from Worcester, 20 miles ; from Boston, 6...
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1848 - Southbridge
SOUTHBRIDGE was originally a part of Sturbridge, Chariton, and Dudley. It was incorporated as a town in 1814. The first church was organized here in 1801, and Rev. Jason Park was ordained the first pastor in 1816. He was succeeded by Rev. Henry J. Lamb, who was ordained in 1833. His successor, Rev. ...Read MORE...


French Canadian Emigration to the United States 1840-1930
Source:
Marianopolis College
faculty.marianopolis.edu/ c.belanger/ quebechistory/ readings/ leaving.htm


"...the emigration of French Canadians to the United States was internally caused by demographic pressures, rural poverty created by indebtedness and a host of other ills related to the cli...
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1862 - Robert Cole Takes Over
Southbridge, Massachusetts - William Beecher, prominent spectacle maker, retires in 1862 and Robert Cole takes over the firm... George Wells, a schoolteacher from nearby South Woodstock, Connecticut, leaves his job to become an apprentice at Robert H. Cole and Co. Young Wells has a genius for mechan...Read MORE...


1863 - Fire
A fire in Southbridge, Mass., on Saturday morning, destroyed the Baptist church, the Tammany Hall Building, the Amidon brick block, and Dr. Hartwell's block of stores. The whole loss is about $30,000.
The Windham County Transcript
Danielson, Connecticut
November 19, 1863
Added: 1/8/2009 10:35:13 AM - 1  Updated: 6/4/2015 8:49:33 AM - 1

1869 - American Optical is Formed
Southbridge, Massachusetts - The merging of two competing spectacle making companies results in the formation of the American Optical Company.
(massmoments.org)
Added: 1/9/2014 6:47:43 PM - 1  Updated: 3/7/2014 11:54:56 AM - 1

Blacksmith Shop in Westville
"The Blacksmith shop, located between the bridge and the river bend, was operated by Mr. Charles Anger, maternal grandfather of the large Laliberte family... Waggons, buggies and farm equipment were repaired. Young boys like to stop there and watch the way different things were repaired. If the blac...Read MORE...


1879 - George Wells accumulates AO stock
George Wells has accumulates a majority share in the stock of the American Optical Company. Wells builds the A.O. into the largest optical company in the world.
(massmoments.org)
Added: 1/9/2014 6:42:34 PM - 1  Updated: 3/7/2014 11:56:54 AM - 1

1883 - Bound to Get Away
BOSTON, June 22. - J. P. Olds was arrested at Southbridge to-day on a charge of stealing large quantities of gold from the American Optical Company. Olds had been a respected citizen, and has had change of the valuable stock of the company. When arrested he was place in an upper room of the factory ...Read MORE...


1884 - FIRE RECORD. AT SOUTHBRIDGE.
Worcester, August 9. - The Columbian mill at Southbridge, with a boarding house and tenement, burned this morning. The mill had 9,000 spindles and employed 60 hands. It was owned by Providence parties.
Fort Scott Daily Monitor
Fort Scott, Kansas
August 10, 1884
Added: 4/2/2014 4:02:23 PM - 1  Updated: 6/4/2015 8:50:30 AM - 1

1889 - Largest Spectacle Factory in the World
Southbridge, Mass., has the largest spectacle factory in the world. More than 3/4 of the gold spectacles and eyeglasses made in this country are made in Southbridge, one company alone in that town turned out 1,600,000 pairs last year.
The Indiana Democrat
Indiana, Pennsylvania
March 14, 1889
Added: 4/2/2014 4:05:25 PM - 1  Updated: 6/2/2015 7:06:06 PM - 1

1889 - Early to Bed
Southbridge goes to bed early as a rule. A stranger in town always notices how quiet the streets are after 9 p.m. Ten o'clock usually finds scarcely any one on the streets except the night watchmen, unless there happens to be entertainment at one of the opera houses. There are a number of reasons fo...Read MORE...


Southbridge, Massachusetts 1890
Southbridge is a prosperous and important manufacturing town lying in the southwesterly part of Worcester County, 27 miles from the city of Worcester, and 70 miles. from Boston; being connected directly with the latter by a branch of the New York and New England Railroad. Charlton lies on the northe...Read MORE...


1894 - DEADLY RAILROAD CROSSING. TWO KILLED OUTRIGHT AND MANY ARE INJURED.
WORCESTER HAS ANOTHER ARGUMENT AGAINST THE GRADE CROSSING.

Worcester, Mass., Nov. 30. - The most horrible accident which ever occurred in Southbridge happened there yesterday morning, and turned the day into one of sadness instead of thanksgiving, as the lives of two young men were shut out in a ...
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1899 - $2,000,000 for Southbridge People?
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASS., March 17. - It is believed here that the family of Mrs Lucier, mother of Michael Lucier, of Southbridge, has fallen heir to $2,000,000. Word was received here to-day of the death of Rev. F. R. L. Belthosor at San Jose, Cal., who, it is said, left this fortune. Mrs. Lucier is his ...Read MORE...


By 1900, Southbridge had a population of 10,000, with an estimated 6,000 of French-Canadian ancestry.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 9:06:08 PM - 1  Updated: -

1904 - Town Stricken With Diphtheria
Southbridge, Mass., Oct. 24. - An epidemic of diphtheria prevails in Southbridge to an extent that alarms the members of the board of health, who will appeal to the state board for help in stamping out the disease. A total of ninety cases and nine deaths is reported.
Pittston Gazette
Pittston, Pennsylvania
October 24, 1904
Added: 4/2/2014 4:16:27 PM - 1  Updated: 6/2/2015 7:07:11 PM - 1

1906
Southbridge, a banking post-village in Southbridge township (town), Worcester co., Mass on the Quinebaug River, about 32 miles E. of Springfield, and on the New York, New Haven and Hartford R. It has manufactures of cottons, optical goods, shoe-knives, general cutlery, shuttles, etc. Pop. of the tow...Read MORE...


1910 - BANK TREASURER NOT FOUND.; Shortage in Southbridge Savings Bank Believed to be About $100,000.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass, Jan. 22. - John A Hall, the Treasurer of the Southbridge Sayings Bank, which was closed yesterday by an injunction after the discovery of discrepancies in its accounts, is still missing to-night. Some of his friends here say that the missing man is a suicide, and the woods near the ...Read MORE...


1913 - REVIVE GRAND TRUNK WORK. Construction of Southern New England Line to be Resumed.
Special to the New York Times.

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 22 - Work is to be resumed immediately on the Southern New England Railway, the Grand Trunk subsidiary planned to connect the Canadian system with tidewater at Providence.

The construction stopped ten months ago, and it was charged that ...
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1918 - Help Wanted
Help Wanted - Help Wanted in Southbridge, Mass., to work in Hamilton Woolen Co., established nearly 100 years, employing 2,000 hands. Easy work, steady employment, best of wages, especially good for boys and girls. Southbridge is a proseperous town with a population of 15,000, situated on N.Y. N.H....Read MORE...


1934 - SOUTHBRIDGE DIRECTORS VOTE TO LIQUIDATE MILL
MEANS THAT 1,000 WOOLEN WORKERS MUST FIND JOBS ELSEWHERE

Boston, Dec. 19 - (AP) - The board of directors of the Hamilton Woolen Co. of Southbridge late today voted to recommend the liquidation of the company.

Their decision was arrived at after several hours debate behind closed doors and it w...
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1938 - New Mask Invented - His Face Is Dirty
His Face Is Dirty - Seeking to combat silicosis, lung malady suffered by those who work in dust, researchers for the American Optical Company of Southbridge, Mass. have developed a mask. Its efficacy is demonstrated by the laboratory worker above, who has taken off the mask, after emerging from a ch...Read MORE...


1939 - When World War II broke out, Southbridge had a population of 16,801.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
Added: 12/17/2014 9:08:06 PM - 1  Updated: -

1945 - Maker of Bomb Very Depressed
Maker of Bomb Very Depressed - Southbridge, Mass. August 17 (UP) - A scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb said today, with permission of the War Department, that he became so depressed over the possibilities of the projectile, that he hoped its eventual use "would fail".

Dr. E. D. Tillyer...
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1945 - Radio Phone for Pocket Use to Be On Market Soon
"Radio Phone for Pocket Use to Be On Market Soon -- Southbridge, Mass., August 23 (UP) - A pocket-size radio telephone for civilian use, which will cost about $25 and will be effective for distances up to three miles, will be placed on the market within six months, Richard Mahler, general manager of...Read MORE...


1946 - Women See Colors Better
Women See Colors Better - Southbridge, Mass (UP) - The American Optical Co., studying the incidence of color blindness, discovered that 90 percent of the nation's color blind are men.
Oswego Palladium Times
Oswego, New York
Tuesday, December 24, 1946
Added: - 1  Updated: 6/2/2015 7:08:34 PM - 1

1951 - New Goggles
American Optical Co. of Southbridge, Mass. has a new airtight industrial goggle for use in working with gas fumes or smoke. The headband of the goggle is fastened to the outer frame. The inner frame is of rubber and when fitted perfectly give a gas-tight seal.

Utica Daily Press
Utica, New York
Saturday, July 7, 1951
Added: - 1  Updated: 6/2/2015 7:10:28 PM - 1

1951 - New Machine Take Blood Directly from Veins for Red Cross
New Machine Take Blood Directly from Veins for Red Cross - Southbridge, Mass. - (UP) - A new miracle machine that takes blood directly from your veins for the Red Cross was announced today by the American Optical Company.

Thursday, July 26, 1951

The machine is the culmination of years of work ...
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1955 - WESO On the Air
March 20 - Radio Station WESO goes on the air for a first time. Announcers and newscasters are Bob Binet, John Bunnewith, Joe Capillo, Esther Costa, Bob Harris, Mildred Henshall, Bill Mindy, and Bob Nims.
(oldewebster.com)
Added: 1/9/2014 6:03:39 PM - 1  Updated: 6/2/2015 7:10:58 PM - 1

1958 - Ames Worsted Textile Company
Milton and Irving Gilman open their first store in the Ames Worsted Textile Co. mill in Southbridge. This is the start of Ames Department Stores, which at its peak operated 700 stores in 20 states.
Added: 1/9/2014 6:01:59 PM - 1  Updated: 3/7/2014 12:02:49 PM - 1

1961 - Keeping Out Noise
Southbridge, Mass. (UPI) - A new plastic, anti-noise ear plug for military and commercial aviation purposes has been developed by American Optical Co.

The device is about three fourths of an inch long and comes in three sizes - small, medium and large. While the device sharply reduces industrial...
Read MORE...


1975 - Ames Has Grand Opening At New Amenia Store
From a humble beginning in an old factory building in 1958 to a modern new store in Amenia to serve the residents of the Harlem Valley area, Ames Discount Department Store has developed a unique history in the modern age of discount store retailing.

In 1958, Ames opened its first small store in a...
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1980 - Making Eyes
In the days of old, someone who lost an eye wore an eye patch. That was replaced by getting a glass eye: now, American Optical of Southbridge, Mass. uses a light-weight plastic eye that can be modified in shape and size so the fit is exact. Here, an artist paints an eye to match the real one its own...Read MORE...


THE BACK ROAD (About the AO Tunnel) by Joe Capillo
Over the years, hundreds of thousands have walked its darken underground paths across the Quinebaug River.

The AO service tunnel was a Wells family engineering marvel but after 80 years of existence it will no longer be in use.

Franklin Realty Advisors, leasing agent for the Southbridge Busine...
Read MORE...


2002 - Out of Business
Ames Department stores, which began in Southbridge in 1958, goes out of business
Added: 1/9/2014 5:38:58 PM - 1  Updated: 3/7/2014 12:07:19 PM - 1


Ancestors Who Were Born Here

We currently have information about 314 ancestors who were born in Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
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Ancestors Who Died Here

We currently have information about 309 ancestors who were died in Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
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Ancestors Who Were Married Here

We currently have information about 109 ancestors who were married in Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.  View Them Now





Cemeteries in Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA








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