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Southbridge, Massachusetts

Southbridge - Then and Now

Wells Blg on Main St in Southbridge-
Original Site for Wells Musuem (what became Old Sturbridge Village)

Postcard image

May 2009 - Dick Whitney photo

The "Great Room" Antique collection of A.B.Wells which later became Old Sturbridge Village
Read about Helen Digregorios recollectiton of visiting this with her grade school class
Photos courtesy of OSV

This Buidling was designed by the Famous Architect Daniel Burnham, who was a friend of the Wells Family. Recently,

Margaret Morrissey (Library Director of Jacob Edwards Library researched this and wrote: "Mr. Burnham was the father of Albert B Wells wife -  Ethel Burnham, who married in April 18, 1900.  Their son George B Wells married Ruth Adams Dyer November 10, 1928.  This is Ruth Wells who lived at the QVCAH building and had the house in the rear built. The George B Wells Center on Pine St. is named in his honor. The Wells and the Burnham families used to vacation together.  There is a 1912 picture of them in a car in Europe in the David Simmons book on The Wells Family and the Early Years of Old Sturbridge Village, on  page 15. The book is available at JEL if you are interested in looking at it but the information about the BurnhamWells connection starts on page 12.

Another curious fact, Mr. Burnhamís business associate Frederick Law Olmstead came to Southbridge in 1916, to review the landscape for the Mary E Wells High School (corner of Marcy St.)

The same Mr. Burnham is also mentioned in the book
Larson, Erik.

Title Devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America / Erik Larson.
Published New York, NY : Crown Publishers, c2003.
Edition 1st ed.
Description xi, 447 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Larson's ambitious, engrossing tale of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 focuses primarily on two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect who was the driving force behind the fair, and Henry H. Holmes, a sadistic serial killer working under the cover of the busy fair. After the 1889 French Exposition Universel wowed the world with the Eiffel Tower and high attendance numbers, interest began to grow in the U.S. for a similar fair. Chicago and New York were the top contenders for the location, and in February 1890, Chicagoans were overjoyed to hear they had won the honor. Burnham and his partner, John Root, the leading architects in Chicago, were tapped for the job, and they in turn called on Frederick Law Olmstead, Louis Sullivan, and Richard M. Hunt to help them build the world's greatest fair. They faced overwhelming obstacles: inhospitable weather, bureaucracy, illness, and even death. Unbeknownst to any of them, Holmes, a charismatic, handsome doctor, had arrived in the city and built a complex with apartments, a drugstore, and a vault, which he used to trap his victims until they suffocated. When the White City opened for business in May 1893, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to it, although a plummeting economy and several accidents did nothing to help business. A shocking murder concludes the ultimately successful fair, and that's before Holmes claims his final victims in the cruelest act of his career. A magnificent book. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association.

Yes, very interesting information.  Due to the wide geographic range and impact of the AO in its hayday, Southbridge was very well connected with many famous people."

Lapiere Construction photos of renovation in 1987 courtesy of Marc Lapierre


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