An unrestored tower at Saxonville Mill stands with it's windows boarded, unused for decades.
Historic / Nature Walk
In a description of the area for the proposed Saxonville Historic/Nature Walk, Stephen Herring, (former Framingham Town Historian), writes;
"...The area from the Concord Street Bridge to Central Street is surrounded on three sides by the Sudbury River, giving it the early name of Otter Neck. Framingham's first settler, John Stone, built his home at Otter Neck in 1647. We do not know the exact site of the homestead. Native Americans of the Nipmuc tribe had a village and fort here before the arrival of European settlers. For almost two hundred years this part of Framingham was known as Stone's End due to the dominance of the Stone family. It became Saxonville when the textile industry was established here, one of the early companies being named the Saxon Factory Company"....
In 1992 the area from Watson Place up to the Edwards Church was entered into the National Register of Historic Places as the Saxonville National Historic District
Below is list of some of the sites in the Saxonville National Historic District:
Saxonville Fire Station
Saxonville Falls and Dam
- Saxonville Fire Station (1902)
"High Victorian Style" design.
Built when the canvas hoses needed to be hung in a drying tower after each fire.
The only other such tower in town is at the Hollis Street Fire Station.
- Athanaeum Hall (1847)
First called the Saxonville Town Hall, this Town building has served as a school, meeting hall, jail, and hospital over the years.
Recent renovations will preserve the building for future generations.
- Saxonville Mills, Building #7 (1850)
Building #7 is the oldest in the complex, and the only mill building to survive the great fire of 1883, probably because of its brick construction.
A railroad spur used to go right inside this building.
All other buildings in the complex were built in 1884 or after.
- McGrath Square
Named for James J. McGrath, a Saxonville boy killed during World War I.
The square was the site of the Town pump, the only water source for the entire neighborhood before indoor plumbing.
- Saxonville Mills, Main Tower (1884)
The tower reflects the "Second Empire" or French Mansard design that was very much the fasion at that time.
The mill bell can still be seen.
This bell set the routine for village life in Saxonville for many years.
The clock faces were added in the mid 1990's.
The bell used in the original mill complex was cast by the Paul Revere foundry, but melted in the great fire,
(the Framingham Historical Society has a piece of the original bell on display).
- The Saxonville Falls and Dam (1865)
The water power at these falls has been used to drive mill wheels since 1659 when John Stone built his grist mill here.
The transition to steam power began in the late 19th century.
The current dam dates back to 1865.
- Liberty Apartments / 11-13 Central Street (1823)
Typical multi-dwelling housing for mill workers dates back to the earliest textile mills of the 18202's.
Before its name was changed to McGrath Square, this area was called Liberty Square.
- 7-9 Central Street (c.1880)
One of the many commercial and private Saxonville buildings either built or remodeled in the Second Empire style.
This building was moved in the 1980's to center it between its neighbors.
The old Saxonville fire station was located to its left.
(Being right accross the street from the mill when it burned down in 1883 did not seem to help).
- 1-5 Central Street - Mill Store Block (c.1830)
Significantly remodeled in the Second Empire style about 1880.
- 50 Elm Street - Site of Michael Simpson's "Cottage".
Michael Simpsom took over the Saxonville Mills in 1859.
He lived in a mansion on this site that he reffered to as his "cottage".
From the hill he could survey hundreds of acres that he owned.
Simpson dies in 1884 and his mansion lasted into the 1930's.
- Optional excursion to Edwards Church (1827) and Cemetery (1838)
Framingham's second oldest church was built just one year after the First Baptist Church
which still stands at Framingham Centre.
First built as the Saxonville Meeting House for use by various denominations, it was soon taken over by the Congregationalists.
The cemetery is owned and manged by the Town.
- Stapleton School (1922)
This elementary school replaced an old wooden school building that stood on this site since the 1850's.
The older building served as the Saxonville High School until the 1890's.
Named for Mary E. Stapleton, a long time Framingham school principal and School Board member.
- Old Methodist Church (1880)
The Methodist Church in Framingham goes back to the 1790's.
They built this church with a tall steeple in 1880.
The steeple was lost in a hurricane.
After the Methodists built their modern Firth Methodist Chuch on Water Street, this church has
been used by the Baptists, and is now a Taiwaness Church.
- Old Edwards Chapel (1871)
Built by the Edwards Chuch as a social hall, it was converted for commercial use in 1961.
- Turnpike Rug (c.1877)
Another Second Empire commercial building.
Turnpike Rug was so named because the business was originally located on the Worcester Turnpike.
- Site of Fuller's Store
Luther Fuller was a Saxonville postmaster, and was Framingham's State Representative for many years.
His general store and post office no longer stands, but his name is remembered in Fuller Street, just down the road.
- Optional excursion down Danforth Street to Danforth Street Bridge (c.1890)
Lined with worker housing on the 1870's, this street leads to Danforth Street Bridge and Cottage Hill.
An Indian Fort was located at Danforth Park at the top of the hill.
This street and the park were named for Samuale Danforth, a 19th century builder, not Thomas Danforth.
Saxonville was never part of Thomas Danforth's Farms.
- Parking lot at Danforth and Concord Streets - Site of Simpson Block
A wooden three-story commercial building on this corner housed Saxonville's first library,
called the Simpson Reading Room.
- Mechanic Street
Named long before auto mechanics, this short street housed carriage makers and other craftsmen.
- Fuller Street
Was originally named Church Street because the Methodist Church was located at the foot of the street until the church on
Chestnut Street was built in 1880.
Name change to Fuller honored Luther Fuller.
- Saxonville Village Apartments
Site of the rail yards of the Saxonville Branch Railroad which connected Saxonville with Natick Center in 1846.
When these apartments were built about 1980, the excavation was interrupted by the discovery of the old locomotive turntable.
It would not be surprising if these apartments are also sitting on the place where John Stone originally brought his family when he built at Otter Neck.