Whitney Web Page -
Southbridge History & More
Why is the Oak Ridge Cemetary Entrance So Narrow?
Rev 8-Jan-10

I recently came across a Seaver Rice account of the reason why the Oak Ridge Cemetary is so narrow and it is copied below.
In Ruth Wells' book, she stated that Channing Wells was responsible, while Seaver (and historian Steve Brady) stated it was "Bill Edwards".
Both accounts are provided here; you decide!

Post card image from Paul Coiteux's Collection.

Here is Ruth Wells' Account:
“Just how far Channing (Wells) would go to avoid a "scene" Is part of a legend about him.Next door to the home of which he was so proud was the Oak Ridge Cemetery. On Sunday mornings, when he enjoyed taking his ease, there were often funerals.  One hardly thinks of a cemetery as a source of disturbance, but In his case, It was. Someone else might have complained about the funeral processions, but not Channing.  Instead, he consulted with the local authorities that controlled the cemetery and asked If they would not be happy to have a stone gate with a wrought Iron archway at the entrance from Main Street.  They were enthusiastic and accepted his proposal.  The stone posts and the archway were erected. It just so happened, however, that the gateway was slightly too narrow to accommodate a hearse.  However, the Imposing entrance remained.  But from then on funeral processions entered by way of Everett Street and Channing could take his ease undisturbed on Sundays.” - Page 101

To read more about the Wells Family and OSV, this book is still for sale at the
Old Sturbridge Village Book Store or visit www.osvgifts.org

Seaver Rice Version

Printable File of Above Article (PDF)

With regard to Ruths version from her1979 book title "The Wells Family - Founders of The American Optical Company and Old Sturbridge Village", a descrepancy was observed calling it into question.. The reason it is doubtful that Channing Wells did this, as it was pointed out that he arch is dated 1878, and yet the book records Channing Wells was born in 1870! This was noticed after studying the posting on this site. Whether this can be attributed to Channing Wells or not,  it is very true that the Wells Family had this type of influence on the town.

Post card images from Paul Coiteux's Collection.


William Beecher Gravesite (Southbridge Cemetery) visited by Diane Matuck (MA Opticans Assocation)
Read her Fall 2009 Article on AO History in the MA Opticans Association Newsletter

Recollection of Southbridge

Southbridge Page

Whitney Home Page

Last update Jan 8, 2010