Norman McRay Bandstand
Town Hall Common
Built - 1980
The town of Webster once housed the first power spinning mill in America in the part of town that was first known as "Oxford South Gore." This important early industry came into being in Webster through the enterprising efforts of Samuel Slater, a son of a yeoman farmer in Derbyshire, England. Mr. Slater was born in 1768 and at a young age he became apprenticed in the textile industry in England and rose through the ranks becoming a superintendent in Strutt's Mill in Derbyshire. After he believed that the textile industry in England had reached its peak, he secretly emigrated to America and was forbidden to take out of the country any plans, specifications or drawings but carried the plans in his head. Other new settlers, who emigrated to America before him, had textile manufacturing experience also but he was the only one who knew how to build, as well as operate, textile machines. From that point onward, he settled in Oxford and established the Slater Industry in 1812, an industry that would soon become one of the great textile industries in the United States. The Slater Mills of Webster soon encompassed three big plants, at East, North and South Villages, and operated for more than 125 years in the same family.
In the 1940s, this lower central Massachusetts town of Webster had to demolish their first bandstand due to its unsafe condition. After around 50 years, the town found it necessary to consider building a replacement to house their own Pulaski Brass Band as well as having a sounding stage for their Youth Christian Organization and music. So through the generosity of McKay Roofing Inc., of Webster, a new bandstand was built with the only question being where to build it. After some discussion, it was decided that a new structure would be best served in front of the town hall in their common area quite convenient to all who use it. The bandstand was then named after the founder of McKay Roofing, Norman McKay, and has been extensively used during the summer months and into the fall season and has been a very welcomed addition to the town.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Mark Stankiewicz, Town Administrator