Built - 1937
The town of Freetown's early economy was mostly based on agriculture as most of the New England towns were but soon developed grist, saw and fulling mills after 1695 once the water power of the Assonet River was used. A century later, the town's industries including tannery, and one of the state's first trout hatcheries was established that supplied some of the finest seafood to many railroad dining cars and luxurious dining rooms on ocean liners.
The town was the closest port to the iron-producing towns of Middleborough and Lakeville which encouraged iron foundries and nail works as well as shipyards to be built in the area. The last ship was launched in Freetown in 1848 when demands for larger ships outgrew the depth of the Assonet River and the extension of the railroads was soon killed of by coastal freighting. The town then had to turn to small gardens, dairy production and lumbering. Residents are proud of their resiliency and their strong patriot support during the American Revolution and from that point.
Freeport's badnstand was built in 1937 with the WPA and town Boy Scouts raising the necessary monies to build the structure. It was built behind "Terry's Store" and where the Green Dragon Tavern had sat but was torn down. The Boy Scout Band used to play in front of this tavern and used the light from the store. They didn't particularly like playing in that spot since it was too close to the road thus, the bandstand was built.
When the Green Dragon was demolished, local residents "filled in" the house site where the bandstand was to be built. The local Nichols family donated the gravel and Charlie Evans donated use of his truck on weekends for the building project. Town resident John Henderson worked for WPA and headed up the construction project. In April of 1937, the bandstand was completed with the first concert held in the spring of that year.
The bandstand has been extensively used since that date and is a venue for the Apponequet High School Chorus and local bands. The Tuesday Club's Annual Strawberry Festival is held on Father's Day near and on the structure and on Christmas, it is decoraged by the local Girl Scout troop.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Melanie Doddskoff, Curator
Freetown Historical Society