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Life in Holliston in 1949

by Bobby Blair
November 15, 2018

The year was 1949 and tradition says there was supposed to be a celebration for the town's 225th anniversary -- but it didn't materalize. Most locals said that after the events of WWII the townspeople just weren't in a festive mood. Holliston was still a small town by today's standards with less than 3,753 residents. The entire police budget for the year amounted to $8,000 of which $7,208.77 was expended for salaries. Holliston Reporter's police log writer Paul Saulnier may have been out of a job back in 1949 as there was only 1 arrest for drunk driving and only 2 arrests for speeding for the entire year. The HHS Class of 1949 consisted of 27 graduates.

The high school (above) in 1949 was located on the hill behind the 1st Congregational Church and was in use until 1957. The budget for all schools that year was $89,600 with $1,350.26 being returned at year's end as unexpended.

Police Chief Lewis T. Holbrook, above, commanded a staff of five officers. Of these, some were part timers and it was not until the mid 1960's that the town had a duty officer on patrol on Sunday's. Incidently the first baby born in town in 1949 was that of Sharon Holbrook on January 4th to Henry and Elizabeth Holbrook the nephew of Lewis T. Henry Holbrook who would follow in his uncle's footsteps and become the town's police chief. The town's police station was located in town hall with the cell located in the cellar.

Louis W. "Buck" Moore was the Superintendent of Streets in 1949, and on November 1st his department moved "into our own garage." The snow account for that year amounted to $5,400 of which $3.74 was returned to the town. The big projects for the department that year was the resurfacing of 14 town roads not including the reconstruction of 3,200 feet of Highland Street and 2,500 of Mill Street. As in many small town's Moore served a double role as that of Assistant Fire Chief.

Fire Chief Bert Chambers had a budget of $5,805.00 for 1949. One expenditure listed $11.75 from Walters Dairy. Perhaps frappes for the boys after a big brush fire. With all things being relative, home prices in 1949 averaged $14,500, a new car $1,650, a stamp .3 cents, and the minimum wage was 40 cents. A building boom on the municipal side of things in town included the new highway barn (cost $17,000)  plus the Juvenile Building at Goodwill Park. This granite building (above) was donated to the town by Arthur Ashley Williams a local industrialist. Local lore says that Williams offered to build a new high school for the town if they would name it in honor of his son, but the town turned him down. Up unitl the 1960's the town ran the disbursement of welfare monies to local residents. The budget for 1949 was $6,000.

 

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Comments (11)

I am particularly happy knowing that my class (1957) was the last to graduate from Holliston High. I loved it there. I remember in the summer of 1962 (was married then) I drove up Cutler hill to take a look at my old Alma Mater. It was devastating to find there was nothing left of the building that was once my high school, except a pair of hand rails along what was the walk and stairway to the front door. In tears, I sat in the parking lot for a time thinking of the wonderful years I had known there. Those good memories are still with me today. Thanks Bob.

- Shirley (Hamlet) Chipman | 11/17/18 12:16 PM

Great article about a great town --growing up there in the 50's becomes more special as the years go on.

- Dick Lockwood | 11/16/18 9:49 PM

A fun, safe, and very good place..

- Joan Morse | 11/16/18 2:52 PM

Very interesting - went to school in that building. Fun town to live in growing up - wish I was still there

- Andra Harmon Stone | 11/16/18 11:00 AM

Great job Bobby.

- Kevin FitzGerald | 11/16/18 7:09 AM

Interesting article Bobby! Really like the picture of the police car. That is a 1955 Ford (with a V-8).

- Ted Mottor | 11/15/18 10:17 PM

Thank you

Loved the article. Wish my parents were here to read it. Sharon

- Sharon Holbrook Vaughan | 11/15/18 8:27 PM

Nice article Bobby. I have many fond memories of growing up in town in the 60's and 70's.

- Glenn Morris | 11/15/18 9:51 AM

Loved reading this and learning more about the town's history.

- Terry Maguire | 11/15/18 9:40 AM

What a treat!!!!! Thank you, very appreciated this a.m. from my work desk ;( Really nice to see the budgets and pictures!

- Kate | 11/15/18 9:20 AM

Thanks for a great article. It was great to grow up in Holliston. Remember Chief Holbrook sitting in the Cruiser in town. Going to the park. We could walk across Washington Street and there was no traffic to speak of.

- Tom Shirley | 11/15/18 8:01 AM

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