Whitney Web Page - Southbridge History & More
Southbridge, Massachusetts
"The Eye of the Commonwealth"
and birthplace of American Optical.
 
 

Origins of District Names in Southbridge



SHUTTLEVILLE: [extract from Levi Chase article, 1889]
The QUINEBAUG flows quietly through the valley of Sturbridge, then turns eastward through a gorge between rocky hills.  Before it quite passes the narrow valley, one-half o the width of it, by lines established, becomes included in the territory of Southbridge.  Then it flows unhindered through the ruins of the old dam at Westville, past the old mill foundation, the bridge and the little village that has seen better days.  Immediately afterwards, being confronted by a large hill, it turns squarely to the north, imparting power, as it passes, to the LITCHFIELD SHUTTLE SHOP, and beyond glimmers brightly along a secluded valley, beautiful in its varied scenery of wooden grove and dell, level intervals, sloping field and hill-side pasture, ending abruptly, northward, at a high rocky precipice.  In ordinary times the river flows shallow in this valley.

 [extract from Southbridge paper October 10th, 1896]

It is doubtful if there is in all New England a more prettily located industrial plant than is that of the Litchfield Shuttle company in Southbridge.  The site is a mile and a half up the Quinebaug from the railroad station, and the view from the works commands stretches of the river that are of unsurpassed beauty and hills and fields up the valley.  The original of the present works were established in 1843 by the brothers Pliny, Libya M., Festus C. and Laroy Litchfield…In 1878 the business was incorporated under the name of the Litchfield Shuttle company.

LENSDALE: [extract from Levi Chase article, 1889]
The course of the QUINEBAUG from this point is in a southeastward direction.  The site and ruins of the DRESSER MANUFACTURING COMPANY’s factory is beneath the Cliff, and beyond, a fourth of a mile, is the large establishment of the CENTRAL MILLS COMPANY.  Next, is the large and many-lighted building of the AMERICAN OPTICAL COMPANY, about three-fourths of a mile further down the river; close by which is PLIMPTON’s laundry, J & L.D. CLEMENCE’s lumber-working establishment and I.P. HYDE & CO.’s cutlery works.  Beyond, is the large brick building recently erected by the AMERICAN OPTICAL COMPANY, in which they are commencing the extensive manufacture of lenses.  This plant is on the site of the old COLUMBIAN MILL, and the locality is now called LENSDALE.

SANDERSDALE: [extract from Southbridge paper October 10th, 1896]
The Southbridge Printing Co. – The business of the Southbridge Printing company is not, as the name might suggest, the printing of paper, but of cloth, and more particularly that made wholly of cotton.  Such a plant is known as a print works and a majority of these plants print cloth on commission or orders and do not make the cloth they print.

The plant of the Southbridge corporation is located in the village of Sandersdale, named in honor of its founder, the late James Sanders.

Globe Village:

 [extract from Southbridge by Rev. Abijah P. Marvin, 1879]

The main river is the Quinebaug, which comes in from Sturbridge on the west, and runs across the township north of the middle in an easterly and southeasterly course.  The river is fed by Globe, Cady and McKinstry brooks on the north, and Hatchet, Cohasse and Lebanon brooks on the south, all of which empty within the limits of the town.

 [extract from Quinebaug Historical Society Leaflets vol. 2 p. 94, March 27th, 1905]

Globe Village lies entirely within the bounds of Sturbridge and its early history must be sought in the records and documents concerning the town…Soon after the Globe Mill was started, parts of Sturbridge, Charlton and Dudley were united into a township and incorporated February 15, 1816 under the name of Southbridge.

There was a post office in the Globe Village in 1896.  In the Southbridge newspaper article October 10th, 1896  - The post office was located in the 1850s in the Union Block which was reputed to be the commercial center of Globe Village.  Furthermore the first telegraph office for the town was located in the same building.
 

Hooker district:

There is a Hook Street in Southbridge, between Central and Hamilton Street, at the side of the Quinebaug river.
 

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Special thanks to Margaret Morrissey for providing this summary

How Southbridge Got its name

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