The site descriptions, naming conventions and location groupings on this page were published by the Attleboro Historical Commission in June of 2003. Locations with a (NR) in their title are on the National Register of Historic Places. The original Historical Commission document can be found in .pdf format at the Historical Commissions page linked above.
#1 Bates Opera House – Corner of Park and North Main Streets
The prominent builder Mr. William H. Goff erected the original Bates Opera House in 1886. It was demolished by fire and the present structure was built to replace it. The theater was said to be of the finest in design and material. Here famous people of the theater, as well as local entertainers, performed. Many people living today graced that stage or sat through movies or stage shows. The last picture show was shown in 1952. Since then the entire building has been converted into office, store and apartment space.
#2 Bolkum’s Tavern Site – Corner of Park and South Main Streets
This tavern played an important role in Attleboro’s history. One such event was the organizational meeting of the “Washington Rifle Corps” 4th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 5th Division. Orders dated July 3, 1815, issued by Brig. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, of the 2nd Brigade, directed Mr. Martin Whitney “to assemble with your associates in a petition for raising a Company of Rifle Corps, at the House of Capt. Benj. Bolkcom, Inn-holder in Attleborough on Thursday the third day of August next, at two o’clock in the afternoon, for the purpose of electing the necessary officers, for said company.” On June 24, 1815, an “L” of the tavern was dedicated for the regular use by the Bristol Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for their first meeting. For a period in the mid-19th Century, the mail was kept at the Inn. The tavern site also served as the first jewelry shop in East Attleborough.
#3 Union Hall – Railroad Avenue
Union Hall was built in the early 1850s. Here two of Attleboro’s churches had their beginnings. On June 19, 1875, Murray Universalist Church held its first service here. Later, in 1883, the Rev. John J. O’Connell held the first Catholic service here for St. John’s Church. It is said that (in 1882) Union Hall being a theater, as well as a place for worship, had a problem. Saturday night shows often left unswept peanut shells that were still on the floor when worshipers came for Sunday services.
#4 First Church in East Parish – 50 Park Street, by the railroad overpass
In 1743, the members of the original church who lived in this part of town asked to be set off as the East Parish. By the fall of 1748, a meeting house was ready for use and the Rev. Peter Thatcher accepted the call to serve as its first minister. The meetinghouse, “for the public worship of God”, was built “on the plain where the roads meet or cross each other” on land given by John Sweet. In 1824, the decision was made to build a new meeting house/church rather than repair the old one. Land was purchased from the Franklin School, and two additional strips of land were also purchased. The building was erected in 1825 and lengthened in 1857. In May 1904, the present church building was erected. The beautiful 1825 edifice, known as the “White Church”, was taken down in 1951.
#5 Old Kirk Yard – Behind the Second Congregational Church
The Rev. Peter Thacher, the first minister of this church, is buried here along with many other familiar names in Attleboro’s history. Many American Revolution and Civil War veterans are also buried here, including Col. John Daggett and Lt. Darius N. Cole, “who was killed at Spotsylvania, and whose headstone bears the inscription, “He died for his country”.
#6 First Post Office, East Attleborough – Near Emory and Park Streets near center of the City
About 1820, Ezra Bassett was assigned the position of Postmaster and used his office as a post office. Rev. Nathan Holman was next appointed (probably in 1821) and kept the mail in the drawer of a table in his home. At that time the mail was brought by the “stages running between Taunton and Providence.” Six years later Orville Bolkcom was appointed the third Postmaster, and from that time until 1850 the mail was kept at Bolkum’s Tavern. Several more locations have served this purpose such as the Bates Opera House building and the Park Hotel.
#7 (NR) United States Post Office Building – Park Street
Located on Park Street. between Union and Pine Streets, the city’s main post office was built in 1916. In October 1991, it was closed when the post office was moved to a more modern building on Pleasant Street. The Park Street building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was sold to the City of Attleboro on November 4, 1994.
#8 19th Century Training Field – Behind the old U.S.P.O Building on Park Street
This field served the Washington Rifle Corps, off and on, from 1815 to 1841. The regular Attleborough Militia also used it as a training field.
#9 (HR) D.E. Makepeace Company – Corner of Dunham and Pine Streets
D.E. Makepeace founded the company in Providence, RI in 1885, and relocated to Attleboro in 1888. The Attleboro factory building was constructed in 1900. The company was engaged in the manufacture of all kinds of materials used by jewelers. In 1952, the company was acquired by Englehard Mineral Co., which closed the plant in 1979. The building became Gardner Terrace in 1983 with 92 units of housing for elderly and handicapped people. In 1985, the building was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places.
#10 Massachusetts Volunteer Militia National Guard Armory -Pine Street
This building was built, after much debate, in 1901 as an armory. When that program was phased out, the city took over the building and now uses it as a community center for recreational activities. In the past numerous events such as concerts, balls, shows, and various sporting events were held here.
#11 Attleboro Refining Company – 42 Union Street
The former Attleboro Refining Company building was built in 1899 for Harold D. Baker. Handy & Harmon Co. purchased the building in 1968 and used the building until the facility was turned over to the Attleboro Chamber of Commerce in 1976. As part of the city’s Bicentennial Celebration, the Attleboro Bicentennial Commission created the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum which serves as a non-profit repository for historical data relating to area companies, past and present.
#12 (NR) Northbound Train Station – 7 Mill Street
This train station was built in 1906 and still serves train passengers today. A tunnel (presently closed) for foot passage once connected the north and south bound stations. The Station was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
#13 (NR) Southbound Train Station – 3 Mill Street
This train station was built in 1908. The upper floor served passengers of south bound trains while the American Railway Express Co. used the lower floor. The building closed to railroad service in the 1970’s. In 1985, it was purchased and made into an office building. The Southbound Train Station was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Many political candidates stopped to speak here on their “whistle-stop” campaigns.
#14 (NR) First Parsonage, East Parish – South Main Street, across from the Sun Chronicle offices
The first parsonage for East Parish (East Attleborough) was built in 1822 at what was 41 South Main Street for the East Parish Church’s third minister, Rev. John Ferguson. Rev. Ferguson lived here with his wife and eleven children for thirteen years. Moses Wilmarth was the next owner, and eventually it was the homestead of Joseph W. Capron. After 1945, it was used as an apartment building and was sold and resold many times. The property was finally purchased by the Attleboro Sun Chronicle which converted the property to a parking area after the house was razed on November 27, 1998.
#15 (NR) East Attleborough Academy – 28 Sanford Street
This is the only remaining building that was a part of the original village of Attleborough. The school opened in 1842 as a private academy and became the first home of East Attleborough High School. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands on what was known as “School House Hill”.
#16 Attleboro Public Library – 74 North Main Street
Opened in 1907. Joseph L. Sweet, who also provided a permanent endowment, gave the land for the library. A public subscription drive raised funds for the original construction. The library’s collection includes many works relating to the history of Attleboro and the surrounding area.
#17 First Mayor’s House – 80 North Main Street
The home of Harold E. Sweet, the first Mayor of Attleboro (1915-1918) was constructed at the turn of the 20th Century. It features elaborate ornamentation and fine craftsmanship. The Sweet family owned surrounding land including the site of the Attleboro Public Library on the next lot.
#18 Old Peck House – Corner of North Main and Elizabeth Streets
Owned by the Attleboro Chapter of the DAR. The Peck House was moved from its original site to its present location. It is part of the original house built by Hezekiah Peck and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It serves as the meetinghouse for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
#19 Old Peck Family Yard – North Main Street
Located on a small hill opposite Elizabeth Street and the Old Peck House, it is the second oldest burial ground in the city and is the burial place for the Peck family, early settlers in Attleboro, and many of their neighbors. The oldest marker is for Hezekiah Peck who was buried here in 1723.
#20 (NR) Blackinton Houses and Park – 200 North Main Street
This site includes two houses which were constructed in the mid-19th Century by Col. Willard Blackinton for his family as well as the location of the old Shuttle Shop where Col. Blackinton began manufacturing shuttles for power looms in 1827. In 1937, the Sweet family donated the park area by Blackinton’s Pond, along with the Memorial Bridge on North Main Street, to the city. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
#21 Woodlawn Cemetery – North Main Street
Opening in 1865, the cemetery includes a number of graves relocated from the Old Kirk Yard Burial site due to the taking of land from there by the railroad to create a right-of-way through Attleborough. Many individuals and families prominent in Attleboro history have markers here.
#22 The Bolkcom Neighborhood Burial Yard
This burial ground was in the path of the construction of Route 95. The Commonwealth moved the graves to North Purchase Cemetery and placed a single memorial monument over them.
#23 (NR) Capron House – 42 North Avenue
Attleboro’s first designation to the National Register, the house was built about 1740. The Caprons were some of the original settlers in Attleboro, and the house remained in that family for over 200 years. Very few structural changes have been made to the house, and it remains the only 18th Century farmhouse in the immediate area.
#24 Capron Park – County Street
In 1901, the Capron family donated land to the town that was to be used as a park in memory of their father, Dennis Capron. Later families gave the fountain, entrance gateway, and the garden in honor of their loved ones. The first building erected on the grounds was the Perry Memorial Casino, which was originally used as an ice cream parlor. The Capron Park Zoo was opened in the late 1930’s. Visitors to the park will also discover many monuments and memorials of historical interest.
#25 Wisconsin Glacial Rock – 1 Thacher Street at the railroad bridge
This large ledge of bedrock was extremely scoured by the final phase of the Wisconsin Ice Age about 25,000 years ago. Although badly damaged by graffiti, the ledge remains a fine example of nature’s role in shaping our environment.
#26 First Minister’s House – 333 South Main Street
Built by Rev. Peter Thacher in 1750, the house remained in the family well into the 20th Century. Rev. Thacher served as minister to the Second Congregational Church of East Attleborough. He and his family played prominent roles in Attleborough’s early history.
#27 Dodgeville Mill & Village – South Main Street
The village of Dodgeville is an almost complete example of an original mill village. The mill, having started in 1809, is one of the oldest examples of an early cotton mill. Here, and at the Hebronville Mill, owned in the beginning by the same company, the famous “Fruit of the Loom” cotton fabric was made.
#28 Dodge Island Cemetery – South Main Street
An island, near the Dodgeville Mill, serves as the burial ground for members of the Dodge family who first operated the mill and for whom Dodgeville is named.
#29 Hillside Cemetery – South Main Street
The original land for this burial ground was given by Capt. Joel Robinson, who is buried here with his family. This beautiful place has many other graves of familiar old family names, some of whom fought in the American Revolution (Tiffany and Wilmarth).
#30 (NR) Hebronville Mill Historic District – Knight Avenue off South Main Street
Here in 1816, the Atherton Manufacturing Co., a cotton mill, was established on the Ten Mile River. The site also included “Chaffee’s Mills” where a sawmill and a gristmill were located. From the beginning the Hebron Mill had many owners all of who were connected with the Dodgeville Mill. Near the mill, much like it was in the 19th Century, are houses built for the workers as well as a Post Office, store, schools, etc. Knight Avenue was the original road, South Main St. being a later highway.
#31 Hebronville Methodist Church – 1188 South Main Street
The oldest church structure in East Parish still standing, the church was completed and dedicated on April 5, 1883. The church was built with the assistance of the B.B. & R. Knight Company, the owners of the Hebron Manufacturing Company, and reflected the company’s interest in tending to the religious needs of its employees.
#32 Solomon Family Burial Ground – Between 18 and 22 Solomon Street
The family of Dr. James M. Solomon is buried here. An obelisk, where the names of the family members are listed, is in the burial yard.
#33 Bishop’s Forge Site – Pike Avenue near Bishop Street
Here was located the old Bishop House which was built about 1765. Zephaniah Bishop, a blacksmith, lived here. Guns used for the American Revolution and the War of 1812 were forged here. Zephaniah Bishop was an active patriot and soldier in the American Revolution. His oldest son enlisted and died aboard the British prison ship Jersey. His other sons were soldiers in the War of 1812.
#34 Follett Family Burial Ground – Pike Avenue
This small deserted area is where members of the Follett family are buried. Apolius Follett set the land aside as a family burial ground. The oldest stone is dated 1815.
#35 Coombs Burial Yard – Pike Avenue
The single grave of Edwin S. Coombs, who died June 19, 1879, can be found here.
#36 Thayer Family Burial Ground- Wilmarth Street near Pike Avenue
The burial ground of another early family of settlers has ten graves. The earliest death date is 1845.
#37 Talalquega Park – 1000 Oak Hill Avenue
This early 1900’s park was built to encourage people to ride the trolley along the railway. The building housed a casino that opened in 1902 and had a five-cent admission. Along with a dining room and dance hall, a “Grande Theatre” offered entertainment such as vaudeville and circus acts, and well-known bands played the popular songs of the day. Lovely gardens provided an enjoyable place to stroll while listening to the melodies drifting from the building. This became the location of the Bristol County Sanitarium for many years.
#38 Briggsville Burial Ground – Park Street near Rehoboth/Attleboro line
This burial ground is often called the “broken column cemetery” because of the large broken column monument which is located here. The land was given by Stephen Wilmarth to be used by the families of the early settlers as “a burying place”.
#39 Solomon Sanitarium – Park Street (LaSalette Shrine)
The original building was constructed in 1900, and Dr. James Solomon opened the sanitarium in 1903. Olsten Mayo Hagins designed the building, which later was known as Attleboro Springs because of the natural spring, which is still on the property. In 1941 the building became LaSalette Seminary, and the LaSalette Shrine opened in 1943. The massive field-stone building was destroyed by fire in 1999.
#40 (NR) Captain Joel Robinson House – 111 Rocklawn Avenue
Captain Joel Robinson built this house in 1790 for his bride Margaret Blackinton. Captain Robinson served in the American Revolution and was a captain of the regular Attleborough Militia after the war. He was a farmer and housewright. The house faces directly south, close to the road, on a high bank. The road was originally called Meeting House Road but was changed to Rocklawn Avenue by Charles Phillips about 1890. The name “Rocklawn” was taken from the large red rock glacial boulder in the yard. It is said that “many a Town problem was settled here in the old barn and barnyard”.
#41 Newell Cemetery -1502 West Street. (Rt. 123)
Established in 1715, this is the oldest burial ground in Attleboro. Here are buried many well-known personages who assisted in the original settlement of the town, including members of the Tingley family.
#42 Tingley Stone Mill Site – 1502 West Street behind Newell Cemetery
The Tingley family of stone cutters, from 1723 to the mid-1800s, conducted their business here. Famous up and down the East Coast, the family designed and cut many of the gravestones found in the Newell Cemetery. The exact location of this site is now lost.
#43 17 & 18th Century Training Field
From 1723 to the mid-1800s. the Tingley family of stone cutters conducted their business here. The men used the fields near the Tingley house for military training. The house, built in 1723, is one of the oldest houses in Attleboro and was the home of the famous Tingley family of stone cutters. The house was later the home of ancestors of the famous Tiffany family of New York City, known for their glass and jewelry.
#44 Herbert Austin Sadler House – 574 Newport Avenue
Built in 1906 by Samuel Fuller for Herbert Sadler, the senior partner of Sadler Brothers, this is one of the oldest and largest businesses in South Attleboro. The building has historical significance at the local level for both the landmark qualities of its architecture and as a monument to the prosperity of the South Attleboro jewelry industry at the turn of the 20th Century.
#45 School House 17 – Roy Avenue at Hill-Roberts Elementary School
This District schoolhouse was built in 1846 and is a fine example of an early one-room schoolhouse. Originally located on Lindsey St., the school building was restored by the Attleboro Bicentennial Commission and was moved to its present location in 1976.
#46 Barrows Tavern Site – 384 Washington Street
Three houses made up the original tavern, each facing one of the two roads that today are Route 1 and Route 1A. For years after the stagecoach lines had retired from activity, the famous old building continued as a place of entertainment. Later, after being a private residence for some time, the three sections were separated, and two were purchased and removed to nearby land. The third was demolished. The first U.S. Post Office for South Attleboro was located in the tavern.
#47 Toll House – On corner of Route 1 and Mendon Road
Built in 1732, this building is believed to be the only toll house in Attleboro. Mendon Road was the first town-built road. Because many of the settlers in the area were related to those in Rehoboth, the road was necessary to connect the two areas.