Of Historical Note: Homage to Choate endures
By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Southborough – The photo of this shingled domicile was taken at 28 Main St. in Southborough. Once a maternity hospital, the site became a Community House for the Southborough Village Society in 1922 when Charles F. Choate donated the property for that purpose with the condition that an addition be constructed to accommodate the Leo L. Bagley Post of the American Legion. That's per information in Richard E. Noble's book, “Fences of Stone: A History of Southborough, Massachusetts.”
According to Noble's account, a daily ritual at the Community House was an afternoon tea served to the ladies of Southborough by Mrs. Toombs, a woman who worked as the facility's first caretaker along with her husband, Amos. Noble's book also mentions a holiday tradition that started the first year the Community House opened: An evergreen outside its doors was adorned with colorful lights, and decorating that tree became an annual affair. Inside, Legion members, their Ladies” Auxiliary and Village Society members gathered the week before Christmas to wrap gifts. The yearly rite culminated Christmas night when families convened there to sing carols and swap presents.
A plaque outside the Community House doorway pays homage to the site's donor. It reads:
“In loving memory of
Charles Frances Choate, Jr.
Whose time, money and friendship
Were expended to create
Southborough Village Society
And to assure its
Continued existence and success
This tablet is erected
By the society
In grateful recognition and
Remembrance of his service
And of the gift in his memory
By his wife
Louise Burnett Choate
December 19, 1928.”
Generations have continued to enjoy the facility and special touches have been added. A bench on the porch was donated by Boy Scout Troop 92 in December 2009. Signage there also marks the site as the VFW Choate-Post 3276.
Of Historical Note is a weekly segment of the Community Advocate that features a hidden or well-known landmark from one of our newspaper's six communities.
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