Historical banners hung in North’s downtown

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Matt Slobogan hangs new banners along N. Washington Street on Saturday, Sept. 12. The banners, paid for through a grant, feature four historical sites in North Attleborough. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

A new decoration celebrating the town’s history can now be seen in North Attleborough’s downtown area.

Banners featuring four historical buildings—First Baptist Church, Woodcock-Garrison House, H.F. Barrows Manufacturing Company, and Attleborough Falls Gasholder—were posted by Annie and Matt Slobogan on Saturday, Sept. 12, along North and South Washington streets. In total, 51 banners were hung and it is hope this can be expanded to other areas in town. The banners are a deep red color, synonymous with North Attleborough and feature a depiction of each of the historical buildings.

Previously, banners with different business or town office names had been posted by the Downtown Association of North Attleborough. These have been taken down, with permission, and soon red plaques with the business/organization names and logos will be added below the banners.

It benefits all of us as a community,” said Annie of the new banners.

This change to downtown represents a number of different volunteer efforts. Annie designed the banners at no charge, working with Historical Commission Chair Susan Taylor to gain insight into which buildings should be featured. The printing was paid for through a grant, meaning that the entire project comes at no cost to the town. Annie said this project had been in the works the last five years as a part of different efforts to revitalize the downtown area.

Everyone’s worked to get this done, which is really good,” said Annie.

Building backstories

The Attleborough Falls Gasholder Building—a historic industrial building at 380 Elm St. It is a rare surviving example (of which not more than three were identified in the state in 1987) of a mid-19th century natural gas storage building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The North Attleborough Gas Company was established in 1855. Its Attleboro Falls plant was expanded in 1874, and this structure was built in 1882 as the third in town to store gas in order to meet increased demand. Adjacent to it was a coal-processing facility at which the fuel was produced. After a series of acquisitions, the assets of the company became part of the Vermont Light Company in 1940. Roy Underhill, a gas company employee, purchased the building in that year, and was responsible for saving it from destruction by developers. It remains in private hands, with preservation restrictions.

-Source: The National Register of Historic Places

The Woodcock Garrison House—What is today called the Woodcock Garrison House actually was an addition – likely built in the 1710s – to the original Woodcock building, which was torn down in 1806. The addition served as a tavern, a dwelling house and then a private residence before being purchased by the North Attleborough Historical Society.

-Source: The National Register of Historic Places

The H.F. Barrows Manufacturing Company Building,–now the North Attleborough Police Station, is a historic industrial building at 102 South Washington St. The elegant brick building was built in 1905-06, and was home for many years to one of the town’s most successful jewelry businesses. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

The H.F. Barrows Company was founded in 1854 in Attleborough Falls by Henry Francis Barrows, Sr. The firm passed to his sons Henry, Jr. and Ira, who had this building erected in 1905-06. The firm was widely known for its gold chains, but it successfully diversified when watches with chains fell out of fashion after World War I.

-Source: The National Register of Historic Places

First Baptist Church—in 1745, 73 persons began to gather a church in Attleborough. The first meeting house was started sometime before the outbreak of the Revolution. For many reasons, completion of the building had to wait until 1784.

The meeting house at North Attleboro had the bare essentials of protection from the weather, clapboard exterior and small windows, unpainted pews, with an open fireplace, a pulpit and little else. A school was later built on the site. By the year 1815, the need for a new house of worship became imperative. A house and lot were, bought form the Cotton Manf. Co for a parsonage. The location was on the north side of what is now Whiting Pond. The site of the second meeting house was on Baptist Common, a prominent piece of land between the north and south roads.

-Source: www.firstbaptistna.org