M. Diana Hill Bandstand
N. Asa Waters Mansion
Built - 1993
The town of Millbury is approximately 5 miles south of Worcester in central Massachusetts. It was the home of Josiah Holbrook who in 1826, established the first branch of the American Lyceum which was an organization that brought lecturers, who had all sorts of knowledge of different topics, to cities and towns around America. The Lyceum Movement was named after the place where Aristotle lectured to the youth of ancient Greece. Holbrook's proposal called for his lyceums to spread learning, especially of the natural sciences which he was most interested in.
Millbury's ornate bandstand sits on the grounds of the Asa Waters Mansion which is an 1826 town-owned building and a work of art in itself. The mansion once housed Asa and Andrus Waters who held several patents on gun making.
Prior to the building of Millbury's bandstand, members of the Millbury Cultural Council approached the town's Board of Selectment with the idea of building a bandstand for the town and the M. C. C. started contributions off with $1,000 to begin the process. A community fund drive was then established for donations for the new bandstand to be built and labor and other materials were given to the cause with one of the carpenters owning a lumber yard which was a giant step forward for the town to reach this new goal of having a bandstand in their community. The builders estimated that, given the man hours and materials used that were not contributed, the cost would be around $30,000.
Initially, the fund drive did not generate enough income and construction did not get underway immediately until some of the carpenters volunteered their services working every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day until the beginning of November. They also worked many evenings enjoying their time donated to their community.
Prior to poor wintry weather, much of the construction was completed with only the finishing touches to be made in 1994 prior to dedication ceremonies. The 21-foot octagonal structure turned out to be magnificent and places Millbury's bandstand in the top 10 in New England. Most of the carpentry work is quite detailed with the bandstand being an 8-sided ornate cupola with balustes and chrysantemum design duplicating the widow's walk design atop the Water's Mansion's premises where the bandstand is located nearby within eyesight. The top of the bandstand also has two rows of "dental work." Each of the 700 blocks were handmade. Thus the bandstand has many ornate features which makes it very special and quite striking in appearance.
The dedication ceremony was held on May 22, 1994 with the Hill family being special guests along with the Millbury High School Band and other town officials along with a large crowd of residents of the town and area. The dedication was given after a ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches given then the bandstand was handed over to the town by the Friends of the Millbury Bandstand.
This new bandstand was the second one the town has had with the original one being the one that stood at Millbury Center. It had to be demolished after the hurricane of 1938 which hit the area hard. Many functions have occured on the structure since 1994 including concerts, weddings and fashion shows. Also the town had a special Civil War Weekend where James Getty, an Abe Lincoln impersonator, gave a presentation.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Grace M. LaFlash, Secretary &
former member of the
Millbury Bandstand Committee