Keeping Our Past Present
A passionate group of residents interested in preserving the history of Bridgewater met in 2008 to discuss developing a local historical society. This small group was notified that a neglected brick schoolhouse built in 1803, and owned by the town, was in jeopardy of being torn down as it had not been used for a number of years. Our focus was to save this building. In 2010, we signed a long-term lease with the town for the old red brick schoolhouse. It is now our headquarters, located at 12 North Bridgewater Road.
This two-story brick schoolhouse was built in 1803. In 1840, a bell tower and second story were added, creating a large room with a unique vaulted ceiling. The ground floor has a fireproof concrete vault, as the town office was housed here at one time. After the new village school was built in 1914, the building served various uses including living quarters, barbershop and a community center.
The Bridgewater Historical Society’s first public program hosted Howard Coffin, a well-known author and Civil War historian. A closing comment was made that in August 1854 the townspeople met at this very same building to “favor the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act (Law)” The saving of the schoolhouse not only marks that event, but also honors the soldiers from Bridgewater who served in the Civil War, and subsequent wars.
Today the Society maintains the building and its collections as well as provides educational programs to the public.