This Old Town: Downtown Medfield in 1950

Downtown Medfield in 1950. (Photo courtesy of the Medfield Historical Society)

By Richard DeSorgher
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

Earlier this month at the urging of the Medfield Board of Selectmen, the Medfield Economic and Development Commission (EDC), in conjunction with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), held our first Downtown Summit.

The intent was to hold an open house-type-setting where town residents could give their opinions and views as to what Medfield’s Downtown should look like; current strengths and weakness’ and what their priorities are for the Downtown.

More than 100 people attending the “Open House” held in the Memorial Public Library and those results are currently being tabulated. Both the Selectmen and the EDC hope to use the information to develop a master plan for the Downtown and begin to work on improvements for this important section of Medfield.

The above photo shows part of our Downtown in 1950. It is interesting to see what changes have taken place over the past 66 years and what has remained unchanged.

From the above photo, how many changes can you list? (Answers are listed below.)

Changes

The Town Hall in 1950 had a flat roof, which replaced the steep roof following the 1923 fire. The current steep roof, a replica of the 1872 original roof, was added back to the building in 1996. The fire horn can be clearly seen on the back left section of the roof of Town Hall in the 1950 photo.

Note the marquee mounted on the front of town hall that used to display what movies were playing at the Medfield Movie Theater (yes we had a movie theater, playing the current movies. The privately run theater was upstairs in what was formerly a grand hall with balcony).

The Town Hall in 1950 held the police department in the front left section of Town Hall and the Fire Department and the Highway Department downstairs in the back of Town Hall. Route 109 was much narrower, with much less traffic (and no Tresca trucks) and there were no traffic lights in the center of town at that time. The front of Town Hall was a parking lot unlike today’s green area. There were three 100-year-old-plus trees along Route 109 in front of Town Hall. The town granite bubbler was directly in front of Town Hall (today located in the front left area).

Ord’s Block(far right in the photo), currently under renovations to house a new restaurant with office space on the second and third floors, in 1950, held from left to right, Wills Hardware, Clove Farm Milk and Bread Store and The Paper Store (newspapers) and Allan’s Insurance Company which operated out of the backroom.

In 1950 the A&P, Alfred’s Barber Shop and a hair dresser’s shop(far left in the photo) was located between Town Hall and the old Mobil Gas Station, today a green area and Starbucks.

Richard DeSorgher is a Hometown Weekly Correspondent. To reach Richard, email news@hometownweekly.net

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