Chelmsford Historical Society
Outline of Interview Apr 10, 1975 Eleanor Parkhurst
12-born in Chelmsford, 51 Acton Road
20-memories of Open Streetcar, conductor would swing back and forth, standing on outside step to collect fares while car was moving
31-open cars were very windy, moved rapidly, rocking from end to end
37-the open car "was always a sign of Spring", when they were taken off the line it was a sign of winter
53-electric car route went out as far as Warren Ave. corner of Boston Road
56-gray house on Boston Road was the end of the track
65-remembers watching the motorman change overhead equipment which connected the car to the wire
72-there was a long metal rod connected to the overhead wire this allowed reversal of direction
79-the motorman moved the handle regulating the power to the other end of the car
87-it was just a crank which increased power, and a hand brake also was moved to the front
98-fares varied
101-a $1.00 "punch" ticket provided 8 to 10 rides
110-student tickets
132-everybody walked in those days
137-started school at "Old Yellow Schoolhouse" on North Road
145-in 1917 went to school on Billerica Road
151-Miss McFarlin, short, plump, white haired
159-fire escapes
161-many improvements in town were imposed by state law
174-Miss McFarlin worked after school, with kerosene lamp, driver took her home by horse and wagon
177-house on Riverneck Rd., the house is still there on the right just before McFarlin Rd.
187-the man who worked on her farm drove her to and from school each day
200-previous to the new high school construction, there had always been two, one in the Center and one in North
204-this is likely due to the lack of transportation betweem the two sections, and also because of a difference in educational philosophy
208-"North Chelmsford was the place where the mills were and the people who worked in the mills were the people whose children were expected probably to do something more like manual labor."
214-"The people who were here, the Center, had a different kind of business and industry and I think without any reflection on the North, there were more people here who were professional people who were in business for themselves, or in the professions"
222-Center School gave a general education, also a classical, college oriented one
224-North had a little "domestic science", cooking, sewing etc. There was little equipment, some vocational work
232-Arthur Truby was the Principal, enthusiastic about teaching the boys to make things, occasionally had exhibitions of their work
239-"the emphasis was on vocational work"
241-before the combination of schools, those seeking vocational educations went into Lowell
245-there was a direct electric car track from North to Lowell
247-maybe a few from the Center went to vocational school also
250-when the schools got together there was still some interest in vocation but "it never really got off the ground" until Nashoba Valley Regional was built
253-impetus behind the merger of the two schools
256-Town Reports indicate that some people in North wanted a better education
265-as "motor Trucks" supplanted horse drawn barges,the combination occurred
273-"The merger had to wait for the development of technology. It couldn't have happened in horse and buggy days"
276-hostilities between North and Center, "they were feelings rather than hostilities"
282-feelings arose because interests and backgrounds of prople in the two villages were so different, "it wasn't like two groups of the same people saying we don't like each other. It was again due to the fact that there were the mills up there which drew an entirely different group of people from those that were here. Those people were of various nationalities,differing religious faiths,different educational levels,their interests were different. Everything was different and of course this goes back to the purely geographical fact that the Merrimack River was up there, furnishing power for the mills and it wasn't down here. That's the way North Chelmsford really began as a small manufacturing and industrial community"
302-"When the mills came along that simply carried on and intensified that trend. All nationalities were attracted there to work in the mills, certainly Irish People and people of French background
314-"It was simply like a different world in many ways and those interests and ours down here just were not the same and probably one way of dealing with that was to have a Town Hall and School up there,"
323-"I'm quite sure that several generations ago there was some thought that North Chelmsford might just as well be a separate town, but I'm very much convinved that it's just because interests were different then and were not subordinated to the interests of the town as a whole"
333-a view of the whole town should supercede neighborhood interest
343-Center section, business and shopping area; South was a farming community
361-store in Central Square, the meeting place, center of business activity
364-store in each section
368-Center people quite often worked in Lowell when transportation became available
384-Mother was a secretary in a Lowell Railroad office
393-people from the Center who worked in Lowell were generally in the professions, or they worked in the large stores. Very few worked in the mills
397-couldn't have afforded transportation, if their only reason for travel was to work in the mills
398-there was a plentiful labor supply in Lowell
400-women didn't usually work outside the home, the men were in management
405-Chelmsford didn't have any great connection with the mills
409-businesses in the Center:
      chain store A&P
      Plumbing Shop, over Beaver Brook,once operated by Isaac Knight
442-Mrs. Knight sang with Miss Parkhurst's mother in a Musical Group singing at funerals
446-in those days groups or individuals could be hired to sing at funerals
449-there were no funeral homes
457-Parkhurst's Store took up the entire first floor of the present bookstore, a pot bellied stove in the Center of the room heated it, there was a long counter with seed corn and peas for planting, also there were buggy whips
465-they also sold a special garment to keep flies off horses, this was a problem in the summer
471-he sold a lot of chewing tobacco
473-there were tins of unpacked cookies, penny candy
478-kerosene stored in the basement and drawn up by a hand pump. People brought their own tin can with a potato on the end to keep the fuel from spilling out through the spout
486-Window Putty was made of a combination of linseed oil and whiting, mixed with a hoe in a big box
495-people would go into the store and choose the groceries they desired, these would be delivered later by the grocery man OR a man would come to the house with an order book, OR the order was phoned in
504-service was rather restricted
509-there were other types of wagon deliveries; the fish man Mr. Lancey from Lowell
511-milk was delivered daily
513-meat wagon, butcher wagon with a white cover
519-people often slaughtered their own animals for their meat supply
522-Grand Union Tea Company, small horse drawn covered vehicle
526-horseradish man came from Lowell, carrying a wooden bucket called a "furkin"
535-there was a Italian fruit man "a very fierce looking Italian"
544-Hurdy Gurdy Man with a minkey came to town in the Spring, played on street corners
551-Ice Man
564-Clarence Nicklaus was the ice delivery man
569-the ice melted and drained into a pan which had to be emptied periodically
575-homes in 1902 were heated by small wood stoves, there was one in each room,later people converted to coal furnaces
586-wells provided water supply
589-it was quite a chore to heat water for washing
590-the Parkhurst's had a tank in the attic to store water, it led down to a tank attatched to the stove; this was the hot water supply
600-recreation, walking
602-Lowellians came out on Sundays
605-groupss of immigrants spent the day on farms there would be 20 or 30 of them having a picnic
613-in those days people were more self sufficient in providing
their own recreation,many just sat on porches in rocking chairs
615-there were band concerts on the Common in the South, Center and North
619-recreation was more associated with Church groups or the Village Improvement Association
621-VIA was instrumental in getting the first kerosene street lights and the put in sidewalks
631-Minstrel Shows
633-traveling lecturers
635-social programs
636-in summer there were lawn parties, ice cream parties
642-there were picnics at Baptist Pond
646-"It was just a very much more relaxed environment and people didn't feel they had to have recreation"
648-politics- feelings are sometimes stronger in a small town
652-Calvin Coolidge spoke at town hall when he was governor
655-there were a couple of torchlight parades, but there were no tremendous rallies or distribution of pamphlets or solicitation by telephone, no political ads
663-many state politicians were from Chelmsford Mr. Robins, Rep. Muse, Walter Perham was a Representative Senator and on the Governor's Council
670-there was not nearly the degree of jockeying for votes and influence as there is today
671-Town Meeting Attendance, men only, a one day affair and people felt obliged to go
674-"The women were permitted to serve a dinner at noon"
676-voting occurred at Town Meeting
681-the Town Warrant was usually concerned with appropriations, repairs, town celebrations
690-as the town has grown, meeting attendance has declined
699-roads were dirt and extremly muddy in spring, those with cars kept them on blocks for the winter because the roads were impassable, they were not plowed because sleds needed a snow and ice surface

9-horse drawn sidewalk plow
18-traffic kept the roads clear enough except where snow drifted
27-there was a snow drift on Dupee's Hill up to the telephone wires
47-roads were very muddy, with deep ruts; cars were always getting stuck
63-later, the main roads were oiled because of the sufficient number of cars which caused a demand for better roads
83-Macadam Surface, Rte. 110 was oiled
96-Women's Suffrage-there was no strong opposition, some Chelmsford women went to Lowell for suffrage meetings before the amendment was passed; after it passed only a few women voted
110-women seldom held town office, though a wife would occasionally fill out a term for her husband
124-there was a woman librarian "That was suitable for women. Women could be teachers, librarians and they could be secretaries, but they couldn't be very much else"
129-there was no great movement for or against suffrage
145-Blacksmith Shop in the Center, Mr. Santerre was the most recent blacksmith
160-Tony Mello's Barber Shop was in the same block as E.T. Adams store, Mello came out daily from Lowell on the electric car
165-Davis Shoe Store was in the rear of the Odd Fellows Bldg.
168-Chinese Laundry, Falls and Burkenshaw Drug Store
182-Care of the Poor, in the 1700's the poor were auctioned off for a stated period to the lowest bidder who took the destitute person to work for him
198-Change in philosophy, Town Farm established on the corner of Mill Road and Turnpike Rpad, people were expected to work there
206-the second Town Farm was at the corner of Billerica and Golden Cove Roads, there was also a tramp shelyer
217-Towns had a responsibility for caring for tramps; the State law provided means for the care of tramps
225-those in the infirmary were originally cared for by their family, old, mentally retarded, sick, mentally ill, orphans
230-later it was a place for people for people who were really infirm and unable to do anything
237-0ld Age Assistance allowed for care of these persons elsewhere during the 1930's
242-Town Farms went out of existence
250-Mr. and Mrs. Sinai Simard were operating the infirmary at the time it closed
258-Perham Cider Mill
269-Walter Perham always wore overalls in town; he was also an undertaker
283-cider sold to SS Pierce
292-skating and sledding in winter
305-Maypoles on Mayday, Miss Awkington taught people how to dance around the Maypole
320-"All of this entertainment was home grown"
326-Mrs. Clarence Woodward was the first girl scout leader in town

End of interview
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