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Sharon, Massachusetts is a town so rich with history. It has evolved and changed and has had so many different identities over the last 250 years. Sharon started as an agricultural town, rich with natural resources. It later became an industrial town, a summer resort, and now a residential suburban community. In 2013, Money Magazine named Sharon the number one place to live in the United States because of its natural beauty, excellent schools, diversity, and location.
The students pictured above are 3rd graders from the Cottage Street Schoo.l They are waiting for the walking history tour of Sharon center to begin. Recently I lead all four 3rd grade classes on the tour on two separate days.
When I was teaching, I loved touring with my own third grade students, so I volunteered to come back and lead their tours. It was great to catch up with my colleagues and to be with students again.
The tour starts behind the school on a section of Massapoag Trail that leads to Mann's Pond, our first stop. The trail is wonderfully maintained by the town's Boy Scouts. I noticed that the usually soggy areas now have well constructed bridges over them. Thanks Scouts!
Pictured above is an old image of Mann's Mill where cotton duct fabric was manufactured. It was one of the many mills that were here in Sharon in the 1800s.
Mann's Pond is one of the many ponds in Sharon that gets its water from Massapoag Brook, a large stream that is fed from Lake Massapoag. The brook eventually winds its way into Canton and empties into the Neponset River. Its flow was strong enough to power many mills along its path.
The Paul Revere Copper Company, owned by Paul Revere, in Canton, MA, once owned the rights to the flow of water from Lake Massapoag. They could control the flow of water using dams. This effected the water level of the lake, which would sometimes become undesirably low. The situation created a lot of tension between the town and the Copper Works. A lawsuit between the town and the Revere company ensued. The court sided in favor of the Revere Copper Works.
Some more recent photos of Mann's Pond and the surrounding area.
Natural resources were very instrumental in the town becoming a thriving industrial community. The cedar swamps near the lake provided tall trees that were harvested for ship's masts. The cedar was also used to make roof and house shingles. Iron ore, "bog iron", was grappled from Lake Massapoag, and melted in Sharon foundries. It was used to make cannonballs and cannons, the first ones cast in the nation. They were used in the Revolutionary War.
Many other industries were are part of Sharon's history. Shoes, tools, charcoal, carriages and stove polish, were some of the items manufactured here. Ice was harvested from the lake and stored in ice houses like this one along the lake to be used by hotels in Boston and Providence and by the residents of Sharon.
A favorite stop on the tour is the Sharon Police and Fire Museum. It is housed in a historical building that was once a Sharon school, then later the was the administrative office of the Sharon School Department.
The Building once had two floors, but the top floor was removed. The reason for doing so is unclear.
The museum is a result of the hard work and vision of these two men and their families, John McGrath and John Ford.
They took this empty space and transformed it into a museum that has to be seen to be believed. It's truly amazing. Visitors, particularly the students, can learn so much, not only about police and fire history, but about their town. History shapes all of us. Kids are captivated by thoughtfully put together displays and the enthusiastic tours that the men give.
Students also learned about fire trucks from Sharon Fire Fighter and fellow history lover, Dave Martin.
Officer Leavitt shares the police motorcycle with the students
Officer Fitzhenry shows the inner workings of the police cruiser.
After eating lunch, we are off again.
Here are a few more stops we make along the way.
The Sharon Historical Society is a great place to visit. We were unable to go in on this date, but we usually do. It is worth checking out.
The recent addition of the rain garden was planted by students at Sharon's Binah School. The rain garden controls stormwater runoff and lessens pollution.
Third graders of the past had a part in raising funds used in the construction of the building. The style of the building mimics an old school house because there used to be an old school on the spot where the adjacent parking lot now is.
This is that school being torn down when it was no longer safe for use. When it was open, there was an entrance for boys on one side and another on the other side for girls.
I will end with Sharon Center. I don't have the date of this picture.
This is South Main Street in 1911. To the right is where Eastern Savings Bank now is. It was The Quaker Inn. Trolley cars ran up and down the street and horse drawn carriages were used.
Sharon center January 1, 2015, First day of celebrating Sharon's 250th year.
Our town is truly worth celebrating!
What happens when two wonderful people that have two great families meet, fall in love, and marry? A bigger blended family with more love is created. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to record their special wedding. There was so much love in the air on that beautiful day in May. (Erin, very much a part of this family, was unable to be here because she is serving in the military.)
Not much work needed here. The bride, Kristine, is so beautiful already, both inside and out. Kudos to the makeup artist, Michelle Beattie. She really knew her stuff and was so nice to work with. Everyone looked so pretty.
Kristine's daughter and ......
her new (step) daughter are looking stunning and ready for the ceremony.
Before her makeup was finished, Kristine decided to open the card and gifts from her groom, Larry.
This was a good choice. Any smudges from the misty eyes can easily be fixed now..
Three generations have this under control. I am off to check out the groom and the other males in the wedding party.
Larry is very touched by his bride's gift to him in it's own special wooden case. Both Larry and Kristine are police officers, hence the badge on top of the case.
I just love this picture! Larry's oldest son is reading a card from Larry to Kristine's youngest son, and ring bearer. He said, "Thanks Larry!" But his face really says it all.
The back yard of the groom's parent's house is beautifully decorated and the day is perfect. Here are a few photos of the details.
Everyone is ready. Where is the bride?
Here she is, with her dad.
The ceremony was beautiful, filled with words of love. Each family member was highlighted and the children of the bride and groom all participated. Two families were becoming one.
I love how each family member got to pour some of their own colored sand into the jar to make the beautiful keepsake that represents the joining of two families.
Let the party begin!
Congratulations Kristine and Larry....... and Erin, Kelsey, Lydia, Cameron, Connor and Josh! The Brady Bunch, of sorts!
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.