Postcards from Worthington Center

by Evan Spring 

Worthington Center, previously known as “Center Village,” lies at the town’s geographic center along its main north-south artery. The Center has hosted the Congregational Church since 1790, and holds the town commons. Town Hall was dedicated in 1855, and the Consolidated School (now known as Russell H. Conwell School) joined the neighborhood in 1940.

Most of these Worthington Center postcards were printed from 1907 to the 1920s, the “golden age” of postcard writing and collecting. The originals are stored in the WHS collection.

Our first card, postmarked 1909, looks north from the intersection of Huntington Road (now Rte. 112) and Sam Hill/Harvey Roads. Town Hall is straight ahead, with the Congregational Church just visible to the left. Note the well-used footpaths on both sides of the road:

The next card, postmarked 1907, shifts perspective to capture the Church:

The next card takes a wider view, with the store on the right:

This strip of road was then known as “Main Street.” The following postcards also capture Main Street, but from the opposite direction, facing south:

The southern boundary of Worthington Center was never set in stone, but we’ll begin our postcard house tour with the “Chauncey Pease House” at 343 Huntington Road (Rte. 112), above the Radiker Road intersection. The WHS postcard collection includes many house portraits, as homeowners would commonly contract with photographers to issue postcards of their homes. Built around 1888, this elaborate house was architect-designed in late Gothic Revival style as a summer retirement home for Chauncey Pease, a New York-based piano manufacturer. The extra-wide veranda survives today, if not the tennis court:

Moving north we come to Pine Brook Farm at 311 Huntington Road. This property was bought by Canadian native Alberie E. Albert in 1932, and became the headquarters for the Albert family’s vast potato business. 

The next postcard shows a croquet match in progress:

The next photograph was taken from the east side of Huntington Road, near the present remains of the air strip:

Continuing north and turning right, we shortly arrive at the “Ames House,” also known as “Hilltop Farm,” at 22 Harvey Road. In 1883, a nurse from Boston named Bessie Ames bought the property and hired an architect to design this Colonial Revival home. Ames boarded summer visitors until the late 1930s, accommodating 16 to 20 people per season at $10 per week. The house later belonged to potato farmer A. E. Albert, who leased it to his employees. More recently the house was restored by John Newell and Lyn Horton:

At the southwest corner of Huntington Road and Sam Hill Road (4 Sam Hill Road) is the “Hewitt House,” first built in 1837 and initially owned by Daniel T. Hewitt (1797-1879) and his wife, Matelda (née Parish, 1797-1840). For several years Mr. and Mrs. Franklyn Hitchcock operated a restaurant here called The Golden Horse, a reference to the barn’s weathervane. This postcard dates from around 1918:

The next postcard of Hewitt House faces west along Sam Hill Road. Note the fire hydrant under the street sign. In 1912 John D. Willard, a Worthington minister, described “Center village” for the periodical Western New England: “Here we notice a feature unusual in the hills; fire hydrants. Worthington has just installed a new system of water supply, of unusually good quality.”

The house pictured below is at 217 Huntington Road, across from Hewitt House at the northwest corner of Huntington and Sam Hill Roads. This winter postcard from around the 1930s faces west down Sam Hill Road:

A later postcard features the same house after the paving of Main Street:

Across the street, at the northeast corner of Huntington Road and Harvey Road, was the Brewster Store (now 218 Huntington Road). In the early 1900s it was simply known as “the Center store,” with a substantial inventory of staples, tobacco, medicines, fabrics, clothing, tools, and hardware. The store closed in 1941 and is now a residence. This postcard is postmarked 1907:

The next postcard shows a team of oxen hitched to a sleigh in front of the store. The sign reads “Franklin H. Burr,” who ran the store for about a decade starting in 1906:

The next postcard identifies the owner as H. J. Welch, and the sign at the right reads “Horse Shoeing / General Jobbing”:

The next postcard, from around 1918, captures the street view looking north:

Just north of the former store is the “Brewster Homestead” at 212 Huntington Road. The house was first built by Elisha Brewster, who fought in the Revolutionary War. This postcard, with leaves obscuring the house, refers to judge Elisha Hume Brewster (1871-1946), the first president of the Worthington Historical Society:

The house in the next postcard is across the street at 209 Huntington Road. John Z. Frissell (born Peru, MA, 1861) and his wife Edna Leslie Frissell (born Worthington, 1868) ran a boarding house advertised as “Ideal country home, beautiful location. All fresh fruit and vegetables served in season; home cooking. Terms reasonable.” The Frissells are buried in North Cemetery.

Returning to the east side of the street and continuing north, we come to the “Isaiah Kingman House,” also known as “Russell Cottage,” at 202 Huntington Road. This property was once a tavern. The following postcard dates from around 1915:

Further north is “Dr. Lyman’s house” at 196 Huntington Road. Dr. William Robinson Lyman (1880-1957) lived and practiced from this house in Worthington during the opening decade of the 20th century:

Continuing up the east side of Huntington Road/Rte. 112, we come to the “W.B.S. Parsonage”  at 188 Huntington Road, built in 1894 by the Women’s Benevolent Society (originally the Ladies Aid Society) in an unadorned Queen Anne style. A number of ministers lived here with their families. In the 1930s the house was leased to the town nurse, Florence Berry, for patient services and hospice care. The house was transferred back to the Church In 1945, and was sold as a private residence in 1977.

Next up is a particularly prized photo in the WHS postcard collection, showing the Congregational Church that was built around 1825. This church burned down in 1887, and the current church is at the same location. The viewpoint is the Corners, and the smaller building to the left is Town Hall. As the photograph dates from 1887 or before, this is a rare case of an early 20th-century Worthington postcard using a historic photo:

The current Congregational Church was dedicated in 1888, the year after the fire, complete with steeple, bells, organ, and new stained-glass windows. This church is a major star in our postcard collection:

Town Hall, built in Greek Revival style to celebrate our democratic heritage, was dedicated in 1855. This postcard shows Town Hall before the lettering was added to the front:

Power lines came to Worthington in 1928:

The next postcard view is “from the Town Hall,” according to the caption, but the viewpoint is from across the street, below the church, facing south across the town common to the W.B.S. Parsonage:

Behind Town Hall was an unusually shaped house that was donated to the Town by Ralph Moran but recently demolished. The house was once known as “Parsons camp”: 

Our postcard tour of Worthington Center ends with the Russell H. Conwell School, originally called the Consolidated School and built in 1940:

This is the third in a series of four exhibits of Worthington postcards. The fourth installment will cover the golf course, waterfalls, stagecoaches, country lanes, and everything in between.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Evan Spring is a jazz historian and freelance editor serving as WHS president. He moved to Worthington in 1998. 

Posted May 18, 2019.

4 thoughts on “Postcards from Worthington Center

  1. Lyn Horton

    The E.J. Bligh building is a photograph of what would become Corner Grocery. This is located at Worthington Corners, rather than Worthington Center. It is misleading as having anything to do with Worthington Center.
    As you have cited, C.K. Brewster, brother to Judge Brewster, once owned “The Store” at Worthington Center, eventually owned by Frank Hitchcock.

    Reply
    1. whs Post author

      Hi Lyn, thanks for your comment. I think you are responding to one of our header photos, which are not part of the blog posts and change each time you load a new page on the site. I agree these photos are sometimes confusing. I’ll think about how to change them.

      Reply
  2. Lyn Horton

    Regarding the history of 22 Harvey Road:
    This house was also owned by Albert Farms to house migrants workers prior to 1973. I know that several townspeople, including Dot Nelson and some of the Granger family, lived here when it served in another phase of its being a boarding house. They could also have been working as potato harvesters, I am not sure. However, all three floors were used at that time.

    Historian, Dan Porter, brother to the now deceased owner of the Sam Hill Road property which extended from their house to the baseball field of Conwell School behind the church, mistakenly claimed that John Newell and Lyn Horton restored it. This was stated in the Worthington calendar he compiled before his death. The Newells bought the house from the Kievetts in 1978 and only partially restored it by revealing some original architectural elements in the ’80s. They also knocked down the original shed attached to the house as shown in one of the postcards for Hilltop Farm. The full restoration took place between 1973 and 1978. Ronald Kievett, who was married to Bonnie Albert, bought the house from Ben Albert for $1. Kievett gutted the first and second floors and rebuilt the interior as a single family home.

    As of 2019, no one else has owned in the house since 1978 when the Newells bought it.

    Reply
  3. Eileen McCarthy Hauber

    The McCarthy family moved into the hewitt house in the early 70s . We always remember the fun with the Sheldon family and Mrs Mollison!!!

    Reply

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