EAST BRIDGEWATER MA
Built - 1970
East Bridgewater was once part of an area called Bridgewaters but went on its own in the 1600s when the land was divided up into smaller portions as compensation to the first settlers who braved these unchartered lands to set up farms and for other usage.
In the 1700s, the manufacutre of iron, small arms and cannon were produced in the area and by the late part of the century, edged tools and machine-made nails were being produced. Soon after, textile mills sprung up. The Keith Brothers of East Bridgewater operated one of the earliest iron'slitting mills in the southeastern part of Massachusetts. By the late 19th century, the arival of the railroad stimulated even more industrial growth which now included shoe manufacturing. When trolley lines reached the town, a growing residential community began and expanded after World War 2.
East Bridgewater's bandstand was designed by the First Parish Church's minister back in 1970 with funds solely contributed by the church for local band concerts on the town common. The bandstand was built by a local carpenter - Ralph Sampson, who was well-known for his splendid work which shows in the bandstand situated on the rather sparse and lush common area. East Bridgewater had another bandstand built in 1930 which fell into disrepair and ruin during the war years.
Since its inception, the bandstand has seen such professional bands play on it as the South Shore Concert Band and on many occasions, the East Bridgewater High School Band. Even though these wonderful band concerts are the primary use of the structure, many weddings, funerals, art and antique shows have been held on or around the bandstand so it has thus served many functions for the community and has always been a focal point to the community.
The common area itself has a rich history especially during the Civil War days when the troops would train and muster on its grounds. Many brave residents have left for the war from their beloved common area with much fanfare and the citizens of East Bridgewater, who have made the ultimate sacrifice, have their names etched in stone on a monument on the far end of the common area near the bandstand, for all to read.
INFORMATION FURNISHED BY:
Mary Ahern, Chairperson
East Bridgewater Historical Society