Built - 2000
Halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Connecticut River sits the quintessential New England community of Ashburnham. The town is also close to the New Hampshire border and once was part of a Canadian province called Dorchester but the land was awarded as part of a land grant to satisfy claims against the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
In the 19th century, Ashburnham was a renowned furniture manufacturing hub but today is mainly an historic residential community and home to such diverse enterprises as the Frederick Collection of Historic Grand Pianos and the prestigious preparatory school - Cushing Academy which draws over 400 students from all over the world. Ashburnham also touts having the greatest marching band in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - The Oakmont Overlook Marching Spartans.
The town of Ashburnham's Business Council (ABC) set out on a 2-year project to collect donations and plan the building of their bandstand which they felt was greatly needed to enhance the town's downtown area and develop a locale where the townspeople could enjoy concerts and other summer events. The project began in the spring of 1998 after the selectmen approved the ABC's request. This new structure, upon completion, would become the second bandstand the village had erected, the first one many years prior. Through looking back at the town's history, it has been found that the last concert had been held, before this new bandstand was constructed, over a hundred years prior on the bandstand in Bandstand Common in South Ashburnham. At that time, the village band had put on concerts for the residents in those early days at the turn-of-the-century.
The financing of the new bandstand was done by local individuals, councils and businesses at a final cost of $14,000. One woman donated money with her condition being that people would be able to park their cars nearby which comes from a town tradition of honking car horns at the end of each piece during the concerts.
The bandstand was built in a colonial-style to match the nearby library and town hall with the grassy area in front providing ample space for listeners to spread out. All who volunteered to build the structure did so in their spare time and were pleased with their efforts and the immediate usefulness of it and expect much usage in future years. The bandstand has already served many functions including band concerts, school plays, police and town officials' business, and even for weddings.
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY:
Scott Foster, past President ABC
Foster Insurance - Fitchburg MA