Highlighted by the Keene House, the oldest residence in Bourne, as the Briggs-McDermott House, Historic Bourne Village boasts some two dozen buildings to view along a walking tour.
Here are highlights:
66 Sandwich Road – Known as the Arabella Parker House, widow of Captain Charles, who was lost at sea off the Long Island coast. She returned to town to live in her father’s house, which he built between 1838 and 1844. Her son Leon lived there in the mid-1900’s.
60 Sandwich Road – Was the home of Richard Waterhouse and his wife Georgina. He was the son of Moses Waterhouse who lived at 59 Keene Street. He had a garage out back and did auto inspections for the state. The house was originally built in 1892 by Calvin Parker for his daughter, Arabella Ellis Parker. It was built as a two-family house, but was not used that way by the Waterhouses, who purchased it in 1914. Richard was a musician, surveyor, artist and garage owner and mechanic. His wife was also a musician.
56 Sandwich Road – Built in 1888 by Albert Eldridge for Moses Daggett and later owned by Harry Avery, a WWI veteran, a State Policeman, and a Selectman. His parents lived there prior to their son buying it.
59 Sandwich Road – Built by Captain Ellis Swift, and in time went to Ordello Swift and then to his son Thornton and wife Alyce. Thornton became the third consecutive Swift to be appointed postmaster in Bourne and Alyce assisted him.
85 Sandwich Road – Now called the Coady Junior High School (for Kempton J. Coady, a long time high school principal), but originally it was the Bourne High School, opening in 1905. In 1934, there was a fire, and when repairs were done, a new section was added to the rear for an auditorium. The school became the Junior High School in the fall of 1960. It was closed down in 1990, and in 1992, leased to the Waldorf School, a private institution. There had been a house on the property known as the Maxim house, owned by Ursula Wing when it was taken down. Seth Maxim was one of the first cranberry growers in Monument (now Bourne).
53 Sandwich Road – Bourne Post Office – Part of the Blackington house near the wooden bridge of the Monument River, at the foot of Bridge Street (east end of today’s Keene Street). It was moved to this location about 1913 when the canal was being built. It had been used as a post office in that location. The postmaster was Ordello Swift whose son Thornton was postmaster after him.
46 Sandwich Road – Built in 1888, was the home of Frank and Ella Eldridge. Frank was the brother of Albert who lived across the street at #43. His first store was at the foot of Bridge Street (the east end of today’s Keene Street), but it was moved to the corner of Perry and Sandwich, next to the Manomet Building, when the canal was built. He later sold it, retired, and eventually built a small store in front of his home and sold notions, shoes and boots.
43 Sandwich Road – Built in 1889 for Albert Eldridge who had started Eldridge Lumber Yard in 1878, located on the Monument River near the foot of Bridge Street (the east end of today’s Keene Street). Albert was very active in town affairs and was one of the early selectmen. The present owner is Gladys Eldridge Burgess and her daughter, Deborah, great-granddaughter of Albert.
40 Sandwich Road – The Methodist Church had a building in back for the horses and wagons to be left during services. In the mid-1930s, the property was sold to a Walter Stacey, who tore down the barn and used the lumber to build the present house.
38 Sandwich Road – Originally sat in the road and was moved back when the road was widened. It pre-dates 1854, when it was sold to a Phoeby Kelly upon the death of Thomas Perry. In 1856, it was sold to Ezra Blackwell. The second husband of his daughter Helen, Walter Browne bought the house in 1900. In recent years it has had many owners.
36 Sandwich Road – The Monument Academy, built in 1840, and originally located down County Road on Academy Hill, and moved east of here in 1866. The present library was built as an elementary school and when it opened in 1925, the grades were moved to the new school. The building was then moved to the present location, and became the home of the American Legion, Major General Leonard Wood Post #230. The Post had a museum featuring artifacts relating to General Wood that unfortunately disappeared when the Post disbanded and the building reverted back to the town for use as offices for the Bourne School Administration. The town also used it for senior citizen, and the Bourne Archives had a room there until moving to the Jonathan Bourne Historical Center in 1989.
37 Sandwich Road – Bourne United Methodist Church, built in 1831-32, and has been enlarged several times. The addition to the side was built in the 1960s. In 1883, Jonathan Bourne gave a bell which cracked in 1908 and had to be recast the next year.
20 Sandwich Road – Briggs-McDermott House, due to its history the house is known today by these names, however, it started out as a small Cape-style house built by Josephus Keene in 1802, enlarged about 1830, and became the property of George I Briggs when he married Thirza Keene, the granddaughter of Josephus. He raised the roof and added the kitchen. Their daughter Mercy married William McDermott and she was the town librarian for many years. After her death, her daughter Elizabeth sold the property to the school department. The property fell into disrepair and was slated to be demolished when a group of concerned citizens worked hard to register the house with the Massachusetts Historical Commission in 1974. In 1979, the Bourne Society for Historic Preservation was formed and through their efforts the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Also on the property is the Alonzo Booth Blacksmith Shop, moved to this location in 1998 from Shore Road and restored as a forge. It was used as a blacksmith shop and Mr. Booth also shoed horses, including President Grover Cleveland’s when he was at Gray Gables, his summer White House.
9 Sandwich Road – Known as the Keene House, it was originally on the other side of the road, a little closer to the Briggs-McDermott House. It was built by Benjamin, the youngest son of Ezra Perry, between 1690 and 1694, and is probably the oldest house in town. Betsey Keene and her husband Warren bought it about 1910, and since then this house has always been known as the Keene House. Betsey is the author of the History of Bourne, and the property is owned today by one of her granddaughters.
1 Sandwich Road – Known today as the Manomet Building, but was originally built in 1824 for Elisha Perry. It had a grocery and dry goods store in it, and in 1828 the first Bourne Post Office was in it. This was also a stage coach stop for two coach lines where they would change horses. In the 1920’s Moses Waterhouse purchased the property and remodeled it into a Knights of Pythias Hall. Meals were served there to the public. It was used for some town meetings, and dances were held there in the 1920’s. Later on, probably around the early 1940’s, Steve Day Sr., bought the property and remodeled it into apartments, which is how it is used today.
2 Shore Road – Once housed the George Douglas Grocery Store. The building was moved here from Bridge Street when the canal was being built and onto property owned by the Canal Company. The building was moved on skids, pulled by horses and oxen, and the store was able to conduct business during the entire move. The builder was Elliott Blackwell, and he built it for his stepson, George Douglas. Preston and Katherine Blackwell, step-brother and step-sister of George, worked in the store until it was closed in 1956. John Manchester, a local plumber then bought the building as a plumbing shop. It later sold to a realtor, but at present times it remains vacant.
7 Shore Road – This house predates 1822, having been built by the Reverand Heman Perry, who occupied it until it was sold about 1969, to the Bourne Methodist Church for use as their parsonage. Later the property became the property of the Harbros, then the Heikles, and Annie Neal purchased it when they died. Her heirs still own the property.
2 County Road – Listed as being #2 County Road, but faces Shore Road. It was built by Deacon Gershom Ellis, a noted builder who built many of the houses in this area. He built it for his daughter who married Captain Edwin Blackwell, later becoming owned by El. Alston Blackwell, the father of Pearl Rainey. It is now owned by her daughter, Dr. Frederica Cobey.
9 Keene Street – Originally a blacksmith shop which was moved here and used again as a shop. Sometime after 1913, William Greenwood (owner of #23 Keene Street) had it made into a cottage. It has had many owners since it was a 2-story house by the mid-30’s, and had a major renovation in 2004.
15 Keene Street – Built by Ned Nickerson, the undertaker, for he and his first wife Edith. In the mid-30’s, it was occupied by the son of the Greenwoods of #23.
14 Keene Street – Built by Albert Eldridge for his sister Emily George. She and her son Ned lived there until their deaths at which time it became the property of Gladys Eldridge Burgess, and later sold to the present owner.
20 Keene Street – Originally belonged to Persia Harmon, and was built after the road was built to the library (now the Jonathan Bourne Historical Center). Later this property was owned by Mary Bourne Gammons, whose husband was a minister at the Bourne Methodist Church. It has had several owners since, and is now operated as a Bed & Breakfast.
23 Keene Street – Originally belonged to William Reynolds, a Civil War veteran. His widow married James Greenwood and lived here until her death. The property went to her grandson, Morris who later sold it.
Boulder – Between 30 and 38 Keene Street. In the early days of this settlement, the four sons of Ezra built a block house (near the path that goes down to the canal from the east end of Keene Street), for their mutual defense. They would stay there at night during the “seasons of greatest dangers”. The foundation was discovered when the first road leading to the first bridge was being built in 1825. When these early settlers would return from a trip, they would use this rock as a shelter, fire into the house so as to scare off any natives who might have been sleeping there during the day, If any had ever done this. Halfway between this rock and the block house was a spring that provided water to the early Perry families and other settlers.
60 Keene Street – Owned by Ordello Swift, the Bourne Postmaster and the Town Clerk and Treasurer. After his death, his daughter Margaret became the Town Clerk and Treasurer, and his son Thorton became the Postmaster.
59 Keene Street – Built by Moses Waterhouse in the 1880’s. Mr. Waterhouse was a well known contractor and builder who later in life went to law school and became a lawyer, a state representative and a large landowner.
98 Cotuit Road – Owned by Robert and Libby Brightman, was moved from Bridge Street (east end of Today’s Keene Street)when the canal was built. It was later owned by their son Sterling, who had previously built a house at #92, a converted barn owned by Persia Harmon who owned all of the land that these two houses sat on as well as the next lot at #88.
88 Cotuit Road – Bought by Ermina Rowe in 1913, when it was moved from the riverbank near Bridge Street (east end of today’s Keene Street) during canal construction. The house was split in two sections for this move. Her son, Louis worked on the house, enclosing porches and added a small apartment on the north side for his mother. His wife Ethel was hired in 1927 by James Peebles, the School Superintendent, to start the Home Economics curriculum in the Bourne school system.