Chelmsford, a suburban town of about 34,000, is located 22 miles northwest of Boston. Named for Chelmsford in Essex, England, it received its charter in May 1655. Until railroads and streetcars arrived in the late 1800s, South Chelmsford, East Chelmsford, and Chelmsford Center were primarily agricultural with the support of blacksmiths, carpenters, general storekeepers, millers, sawmill operators, and wheelwrights. These vintage photographs transport readers back in time to stroll Central Square, to discover a millpond that no longer exists, and to see the evolution of Center Common. Discover which farm was later subdivided into a familiar neighborhood, find out where the lumber came from, view homes the way they looked more than 100 years ago, and learn about Chelmsford’s past residents and their places of worship.
Author Bio: A Chelmsford resident since 1971, Fred Merriam was introduced to local history after accepting an appointment to the Chelmsford Historical Commission in 2003. Merriam has since become passionate about preserving vintage images and making town history accessible to everyone. He has drawn together extensive research with rare photographs from the Chelmsford Historical Society collection and other sources to take the reader on a journey through Chelmsford during the early days of photography.
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