Built - 1875
In mid-18th century, two brothers, Israel and John Glines, hunted and trapped in the area now known as Whitefield. Israel was quite at home camping out on the stream, now known as Israel's River while John camped nearby in Whitefield by a stream also, now John's River.
Some years later, Asa King first settled in Whitefield Village buying the "Mill Lot" in 1815, as it was called then which comprised the present common and grist mill on the northern side of John's River, a saw mill on the southern side along with the water rights between the two mills. Fifteen years later, he sold all of the property and buildings to his son Nathaniel, and son-in-law Joseph Colby for a consideration of $1,800. Immediately after, the new owners donated the current Whitefield Commons area to the town as "a playing ground for the boys." The business area around the common is called King's Square in honor of Asa and his initiative in settling the wilderness encompassing Whitefield and Lancaster. A carpenter and joiner by trade, King's skills were a great asset to the original settlement and is still considered to be the one resident more indebted for the town's glow of success and prosperity.
In 1875, the bandstand was built in the center of the common, where it has stood as a "beacon' throughout these many years. Little has been kept on the specifics of the structure, but it is known that it was dedicated with appropriate ceremony. The Whitefield Amateur Band offered lively entertainment for many years dressed in dapper hats offering promenade concerts and an occasional "strawberry supper." It is noted that members were fined 25 cents for any "disturbances." A later band with 15 members was formed in 1907 and offered summer concerts on the common every Saturday night.
The bandstand and common area has always been the focal point in the town since those early days of the 1800s. Most anything happening in the town includes the common area and bandstand which has always stood sto proudly. Summer breakfasts on the common, bazaars, flea markets, winter carnivals and ice skating have taken place on the common. The earliest event occured in 1882 when glass blowers demonstrated their art and the crowd in attendanc was served lemonade from huge blocks of ice carved into barrel shapes.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Ruth Harris & Margaret O'Donnell
Whitefield Historical Society