Framingham Blog Posts
Shopper's World Track
On Sunday morning, while waiting in front of Toy R Us, we saw a person running around the Framingham Shopper's World parking lot several times. That got us wondering what is the total distance running around the parking lot.
Thanks to Google Maps, I was able to figure it out:
Thanks to Google Maps for the measurement.
Total area: 740,366.42 ft (68,782.29 m)
Total distance: 3,873.50 ft (1.18 km) or (.73 Miles)
If you were doing a 5k, you would need to run a little more than 4 times around the parking lot. The good thing about this is that the parking lot is very flat. The bad part about organizing a 5k here is that you would need a lot of barriers to prevent people from cutting across the parking lot.
That guy that was running, he kept a really good pace, and to be up before the crack of dawn...well that's dedication.
Better 5K Location
If you're planning a 5K race in Framingham, the better place would be near the Cushing Memorial Park.
The race would start on Dr. Harvey L Cushing Way and the runners would head towards Winter Street. The would take a right on Winter and head down over the river and then a right on Maple Street. At the end of the street, they would take a left on Franklin St, then a right on Maple Street. At the end of the street, they would pass by the Minutemen Monument and down Main Street, then a right onto Walnut Street. After passing Bowditch Field they take a right on to Mount Wayte Ave and head back to the parking lot at Cushing Park.
This is a standard 5k route and it's a pretty much level field, with some elevation on Mount Wayte and Winter Street.
Here's a map of the route:
In the early days of Framingham, there were many farms all over the town. There were so many that every year there was an agricultural fair where farmers could showcase thier crops.
According to the current Framingham town records,, there are now two active farms in the town of Framingham. The town remaining farms are Hansons Farm and Stearns Farm. The two farms are practically neighbors located near Callahan State Park.
The two farms are on land that was once part of Danforth Farms - the first farm of Framingham.
Hansons Farm Pumpkin Picking
We were lucky that there weren't that many people at the farm. We parked across the street and walked over to the farm stand.
Bring your Camera and Creativity
In front of the farm stand there are all sorts of fall displays - perfect as a background for fall pictures. There was an old tractor where kids can pretend they are riding it while Mom and Dad take pictures.
At the pumpkin patch, there is a large field with the Callahan State Park in the background. This is a great place to take fall pictures. Occasionally you'll see
At the first pumpkin patch is an oversize pumpkin where kids can go in and parents can take a picture to remember the day. Come back every year and you can see how much the kids have grown.
The pumpkin patch is a short walk from the farm stand to the field with all sorts of Pumpkins. Make sure to bring one of the red wagons - you'll need it.
There are a lot of pumpkins to select from. We found that it was best to keep the red wagon in the middle of the field until we found the perfect pumpkin.
In 2016, the pumpkins cost $.69 a pound. They had Cheese, Large, Cinderella, Goosebump, Mini and Batwing Pumpkins. You could buy quality Cornstalks, Hay bales and Indian Corn for awesome home fall displays.
Fun Facts that I learned about the Hansons Farm
- Hanson's Farm is a 5th Generation Farm located at 20 Nixon Rd. in Framingham, Mass. They grow 52 acres of Fruit and Vegetables and over 100 acres of Hay.
- The actual farm building is on 23.19 acres, but the Hanson Family owns a lot of the surrounding land.
- Open since 1913 (When it became Hansons Farm, prior to that it was known as Child's Family Farm)
- According to the Framingham town records, the Farm House was built in 1760. Think about that the next time you visit the farm. The house is 256 years old!
- The Hanson Farm is the oldest continuing operating farm in Framingham.
- On Friday/Saturday nights in October, they get transformed to Hanson's Haunted Farms from 7pm to 10pm
- They have Strawberries picking in June and July.
- You can get fresh cut flowers from Mid-June to the first frost. (A special treat for someone!)
- Pumpkins are ready from September to November.
- The Farmstand is open from May 15th to November 1st. (170 Days)
Center of Framingham
Where is the exact center of Framingham? How is it calculated?
According to various historic records, the Framingham Center green, where the town commons is located, is the physical center of town. I wanted to see if that was the case.
There are different methods to find the exact center of a city/town because there is no official definition. For many small towns, it has a certain meaning: they can leave their anonymity and can build a monument.
Geographical Center of a Town
Obviously the physical center of gravity is seen as the geographical center of an area. This can easily found by cutting out the town map on a piece of paper and then trying to get it to balance on a pencil.
Using the Circular Method
Using the Circular Method is an easy way to find the center of a location. You simply draw a circle around the outer points of the town, and then find the center of the circle.
Using the Circle Method is one way to find the center of a town. Using Affinity Designer is an easy way to pinpoint the center of the circle.
Using this method, with the help of Affinity Designer, I was able to determine that 53 Grove ST, Framingham MA appears to be the center of the town. This is the site of the Edgell Grove Cemetery.
Map Geo Confirmed!
If you visit Framingham's MapGeo, by AppGeo, and zoom in you'll land at the same location in the Edgell Grove Cemetery. This is because when the site opens to the view of the entire town when you zoom in, you zoom to the center of town.
Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove
Cushing Memorial Park, formerly called Tercentennial Park, is a 57-arces open park on the site of a WWII army hospital. The park features open space & trails and a chapel. There are several Framingham Park buildings where some “Playgroup Program" classes are held.
Over the past few years there has been attempts to improve the park. There is a master plan where the Parks and Recreation Department has a clear strategy to improve the park. The town has added:
- Phase 1 - Construction of new lighted parking area near the Chapel, new gardens around the chapel
- Phase 2 - New park entrance near Keefe Tech new parking at the southern edge of the park.
- Phase 3 - Reconstruction of major pedestrian corridors near Barbieri School. New Entrance by Winter Street
- Phase 4 - Reconstruction of major pedestrian corridors near Winter Street. New pergola seating area with park history
- Phase 5 - Added a new Playground: Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove. (Officially Opened July 8, 2015)
Phase 5 Improvements
In 2014 there was a sign near the new playground that read:
The Parks and Recreation Department recently received a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant to implement Phase 5 improvements at Cushing Memorial Park.
Approved Phase 5 concept plans create a naturally themed gathering area for park patrons which will include picnic amenities, a children's grove with formal and informal play equipment, ADA accessible pathways, formal landscape plantings, tree plantings and continued installation of hardscape features including benches, signage and ground surface treatments.
Final Design is currently underway with construction targeted to begin during July of 2014 with completion in the late spring of 2015.
Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove Fun Facts
- Prior to the new playground, a Train play area and slide set was at the location.
- Playground cost $665,000
- Parks and Recreation Department won a $400,000 state grant from the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs agency to cover the cost.
- Playground is designed for children’s 5 to 12
- There is a water pump that is available for children to play with, it’s open from the Spring to Labor Day weekend.
- Picnic Tables were added so parents can socialize while the children play.
- Potentially there will be a serpentine pond with landscape banks across from the Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove.
- Six Swings including an Adaptive Swing Seat which is ADA compliant (American Disabilies Act)
- Log Seasaw
- SuperNova 2 - Modern Day Spinning Wheel
- Loopy Whoop Spinner - Single person Merry-Go-Round
- Duet Musical Chimes by Freenotes Harmony Park Outdoor Musical Instruments.
My five-year-old daughter likes the Cushing Memorial Park Children's Grove playground for a little bit. After a while of play, she shifts gears and would rather go over to the playground behind Barbieri Elementary School.
She likes the large slide selection and the different play areas that are available. She feels that there isn’t that much to play at the Cushing Memorial Park Children’s Grove.
Framingham Presidential Election Results
Fresh off of Donald Trump win of the White House, I thought it would be interesting to see how Framingham performed against the actual winner of a major presidential election.
Framingham is clearly a blue town, at least that's what it has shown on every election result since 1972. The only year that the town went Republican was in 1984.
Here is a table highlighting how the town votes
|2016||7,031||20,277||Donald J. Trump / Mike Pence (R)|
|2012||8,938||18,340||Barack Obama/ Joe Biden (D)|
|2008||8,430||17,839||Barack Obama / Joe Biden (D)|
|2004||8,448||17,239||George W. Bush / Richard Cheney (R)|
|2000||7,347||17,308||George W. Bush / Richard Cheney (R)|
|1996||6,669||16,836||Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D)|
|1992||8,114||15,165||Bill Clinton / Al Gore (D)|
|1988||12,745||15,826||George Bush / Dan Quayle (R)|
|1984||15,074||14,368||Ronald Reagan / George Bush (R)|
|1980||11,979||12,275||Ronald Reagan / George Bush (R)|
|1976||13,903||15,387||Jimmy Carter / Walter Mondale (D)|
|1972||12,975||15,652||Richard Nixon / Spiro Agnew (R)|
Data used in the above table came from the Massachusetts PD43+ Elections Statistics Database.
Curbside Refuse Collection Planner
Its autumn time in New England. While the color on the trees is delightful, may homeowners are frightful of having to do fall clean up.
In Framingham, there're only a few weeks out of the year where the Department of Public Works will pick up your bag leaves that you leave by the curb.
I created a quick reference guide to the various pickup schedules for November, December, and January. Once the 2017 schedule is published, I'll create a schedule for that.
Some Notes about Curbside pickup
- Pickup start time is usually 7am, but I have found they tend to do the trash first, and then do leaves in the afternoon.
- All leaves must be in large paper bags. (Available at Stop and Shop, Lowes, Home Depot, Christmas Tree Shops and Monarch Supply)
- The bags must be crumble at the top.
- Place the bags near the edge of the road.
- Any major storms in November will impact the schedule, follow DPWFramingham on Twitter for the latest news.
In Colonial America, there were many fighters that fought for the freedom of this country. Among the farmers and tradesmen on the battle lines were black slaves who fought with the hopes of gaining their freedom.
One of the 5,000 blacks and free men who fought alongside the farmers and tradesmen was Peter Salem from Framingham, Massachusetts. For many years he was a slave to Captain Jeremiah Belknap. He was then sold to Major Lawson Buckminster. Just before the start of the Revolutionary War, Mr. Buckminster set Peter Salem free so he could enlist in the militia and fight in the American Revolution.
Peter Salem served under the Framingham militia and was part of Colonial Nixon's Regiment. At the battle of Bunker Hill, Peter was ordered to support Colonial Prescott. As the militia was faced with some difficulties, the British Major Pitcaurm, seeing victory was near, said: "The Day is Ours!" Peter Salem shot the Major, and Major Pitcaurm fell into the arms of his son. He would later die in a house in Boston.
The death of the British Major was an inspiration to the colonial militia and gave hope to those fighting for the American Revolution.
Life after the Revolutionary War
Peter stayed with the Framingham Militia throughout the war. He fought at various battles including Saratoga and Stony Point.
After the war ended, he headed to Leicester, Massachusetts. He lived in various parts of town where he did odd jobs including farming, making and mending baskets and fixing chairs.
Peter Salem didn't really do well in his business and resorted in support from the local government. The town of Leicester sent him back to Framingham where Peter lived his final days in a poor house.
Peter Salem died on August 16, 1816. He was buried at the Church Hill Cemetery (Old Burial Grounds) in Framingham, not far from the Belknap and Buckminster farms where he served as a slave.
Grave at Old Burying Grounds
Since he had no money, Peter Salem was buried in an unmarked grave at the Old Burying Grounds. In 1882, the town of Framingham spent $150 to honor Peter Salem with a monument. (Equivalent to $3,488.37 in 2016)
Note: No one knows exactly where Peter Salem body was buried. The monument was placed in the center of an area where unmarked graves were kept.
Tips on finding the monument at Old Burial Ground:
- There is no parking in front of the graveyard, the nearest public parking is over by Bowditch Field by Walnut Street.
- At the main entrance, near the "Old Burying Grounds Cemetery" sign on one of the stone post, walk the main path all the way to the back.
- There is a small grass area, in the middle of the grass is Peter Salem monument.
- You'll see an American Flag and a Revolutionary Star next to the monument.
- There are 89 Revolutionary Solders that are also buried here, look for the Revolutionary Star to the left of their headstone.
- Major Lawson Buckminster, Peter Salem's former owner, is also buried at the Old Burial Grounds.
Battle of Bunker Hill Painting
At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts is a painting of the Bunker Hill, called "The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill." In the painting, you can see a black man standing behind Joseph Warren.
Many historians suspect that the painter, John Trumbull, had painted Peter Salem there as a tribute to his actions at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Peter Salem Monument
In Leicenter, Massachusetts, there was a small memorial to Peter Salem at his former homestead. His last residence was on Rochdale Road. After he died, the road was renamed "Peter Salem Street."
For many years there was a small stone monument cemented together with the inscription, "Here Lived Peter Salem, Negro Solder of the Revolution." The monument disappeared many years ago. (45 Peter Salem Street is where I believe the monument was.)
Children that went to school in the area around Leicenter, Massachusetts learned all about their native hero. They learned all about how a former slave help the momentum of the militia.
Monument to Black Revolutionary War Soldiers
In 1985, the House of Representatives approved a bill to erect a monument to the black patriots who served under George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette. The Senate delayed the vote because of dispute of where the monument would be placed.
After 30 years, the National Park Service suggest a small strip of land near the Department of Agriculture, at the corner of 14th Street and Independence Avenue. President Obama signed the authorization into law on September 26, 2014.
Framingham Salem Ends House
At 657 Salem End Road, in Framingham is the "Salem End" house. This ia an abandon house with history dating back more than 323 years ago.
History of the House
In 1692, it was the peak of the witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts. Among all those being sought were three sisters who were accused of witchcraft: Sarah Towne, Rebecca Nurse, and Mary Esty. At the time it was widely believed that witchcraft was a family trait.
All were tried and evidently found guilty of witchcraft. Rebecca and Mary were hung within days of their trial. With the help of her husband Peter, Sarah escapes prison and was hidden by her family and friends until they reached Framingham, then called Danforth's farms.
Once in Framingham, Sarah changed her last name to Clayes. She lived the remaining years of her life trying to clear her sister names. She died in 1703. Sarah's grave has never been found. Framingham's oldest graveyard only has gravestones dated back to 1704. It's possible that Sarah might be buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery.
Part of the downfall of the Witchcraft hunt was done by Deputy Governor Danforth as he was instrumental in stopping convictions by the court.
The area was name "Salem End" because of all the families who escaped the Salem Witch Trials more than 323 years ago. The families found that the area gave them peace from all the witchcraft delusion the occurred in Salem.
Over the Years
The house has changed hands many times over the years.
In the 1990's, the house was part of a bitter divorce and as a result, no care was taken to the house or property. The house has been officially abandoned for ten years.
In the 1980's when the house was for sale, someone placed a classified Ad, Here's the December 9, 1984, Boston Globe copy:
Sign at the House
If you drive by the house today, you'll see a large sign with the following text:
Save the Sarah and Peter Clayes House!
Elements of this house date back to 1693, when Sarah and Peter Clayes -- along with their extended families with surnames of Nurse, Bridges, and Esty - built their dwellings along what is now known as Salem End Road. This little group was refugees from the witch hysteria that gripped the home of Salem Village, 30 miles northeast of this spot. Sarah's sister Rebecca Nurse and Mary Esty were hung for witchcraft, along with 17 other men and women, and Sarah herself was jailed for the same fabricated crime. Sarah survived , and settled with her family on what was then known as Danforth's Farms, named for Thomas Danforth, who was Deputy Governor at the time. These early settlers went on to incorporate the Town of Framingham in 1700.
Efforts are underway to Preserve this historic home. If you would like to join this Initiative, please see our website at www.sarahclayeshouse.org
This home is under serveillance and also watched by concerned neighbors. Trespassing is not allowed and will be prosecuted.
An onsite Auction was held on Oct 23, 2015, where the current owner, Goldman Sachs, had pledged to donate the house to a non-profit who would restore the house. They would only pledge if no one else wanted the house.
There were three potential bidders at the auction but none of them wanted the house at the opening bid of $817,894. The current Zillow value is $637,042. The house last sold for $224,973 in July 1997.
In December of 2015, Goldman Sachs made good on its promise and donated the house to the Sarah Clayes House Trust.
The Land Conservation Advocacy Trust is now working to raise money to help restore the house, you can visit their Go Fund Me campaign to contribute to saving the house. They are looking for tax-deductible contributions to raising the first $10,000 need to help save the house.
The Go Fund Me campaign has lots of information about the history of the house and the what the Trust plans to do with the house.
Pedestrians Track Crossing
The main MBTA commuter parking lot in Framingham is located at 2 Franklin Street. This lot is often called the Banana Lot because of its banana like shape. Because of its proximity to the commuter rail station, commuters have to cross a set of tracks to get to the inbound track boarding area.
Framingham Commuters did you know that there are a set of tracks that commuters are technically not allowed to cross? Last week Framingham Police were preventing commuters to cross the main set of railroad tracks.
Commuters are supposed to use the pedestrian overpass or cross the tracks at Concord Street. In Massachusetts, it's illegal to cross any railway tracks except at a designated crossing points.
MBTA Track Rules
Here is the Massachusetts General Law (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 160, S 218):
Section 218. Whoever knowingly, without right is present, stands, walks, or rides a bicycle, snow vehicle, recreational or other vehicle on the right-of-way, bridge, or other property of, or used or controlled by any railroad corporation, except at a highway or other authorized grade crossing and except on rights-of-way formally abandoned pursuant to state or federal law and no longer owned by said railroad corporation or rights-of-way owned by said railroad corporation but which have been converted or leased specifically for use as a bicycle or walking path in accordance with state or federal laws, shall be fined $100 or shall be required to perform a total of 50 hours of community service which may include service in the operation lifesaver program, so-called. Any person violating this section may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer, including railroad police, and proceeded against according to law.
Operation LifeSaver is a non-profit organization that educates the public about rail safety. According to Operation LifeSaver, some trains can take a mile for to come to a complete stop. Remember that the tracks are used by freight and commuter rail.
Technically A Crossing Point?
There is a sign near the crossing which may indicate that it's safe to cross here:
Since the sign is warning pedestrians to "Look before Crossing" it appears that this is a valid crossing point. However, the MBTA and CSX claims that only the first set of tracks is valid. (Which is why it has a wooden base) It's illegal to cross at the main set of tracks in front of the old station.
In the Winter, commuters cut across the tracks and leave a path in the snow pile for others.
For years, I assumed that the reason for the fence between the two main MBTA tracks was to discourage pedestrians from crossing the track at the station. I assumed that the fence stopped near Concord Street crossing as an indicator to pedestrians that it was safe to cross.
My assumption was mostly wrong, while the fence is there to prevent immediate crossing, pedestrians should never cross tracks when they have to step over the tracks and there's gravel on the ground. Proper crossing will always have a flat surface.
Why doesn't the fence go to the road?
According to the MBTA and CSX, the reason why the fence doesn't go all the way to Concord Street is because there isn't enough clearance for two trains and the fence. The tracks come closer together within a few yards of the street are closer. The MBTA and CSX say that it's too close to a fence.
New Parking Lot Changes
When the new Framingham parking lot opens in the Spring of 2017, the existing entrance to the train tracks near the Deluxe Depot Diner will be closed. Commuters will have to use the new entrance by the pedestrian overpass to get to train station.
The new entrance is good news for the commuters that park at the Pearl Street Garage since the walk to the station will be a slightly shorter. This is bad news for those that are waiting for the MWRTA bus and wanting to get a drink at Tedeschi Food Shop, or go to the ATM - those people will have to use the Concord Street crossing.
The Eames Massacre Monument
In Framingham, near the corner of Chatauqua Ave and Mt. Wayte Ave, lies a monument to a horrific incident that occurred 340 years ago. In 1676, during the King Philip's War, a mother and children were killed defending their home that was attacked by Indians.
This would be known as The Eames Massacre.
History of the Thomas Eames Family
In 1618, Thomas Eames was born in England. He came to the Massachusetts Bay around 1634 and did some odd jobs. In 1637, he fought in the Pequot War.
After the Pequot war, Thomas married Margaret and settled in Dedham around 1640. They had three children John and Elizabeth. (The first John died before reaching age one.) Margaret died September 17, 1660.
In 1662, Thomas married Mary Paddleford and moved to Wayland. Mary was a widow and had four children from a previous marriage: Mary, Johnathan, Zachariah, and Edward. They had three additional children together: Thomas Jr., Samuel, and Nathaniel.
How they got the Framingham Farm
Thomas wrote a letter to the government of the Massachusetts Bay and asked for land as a reward for his service in the Pequot War. His request was denied, but the request caught the attention of Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth. He gave a small part of his vast land to the Eames family.
The Eames farm was isolated from other families in the area. According to colonial document records, there were only seven families in the Framingham area. Most of the other family farms were together in the northern part of the town.
Tension between the Colonials and the Indians
King Philip's War (1675-1676) was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day New England and the English settlers. The battle was seen as the last chance effort to remove the English settlers from New England.
In the summer of 1675, the Massachusetts Bay provided four soldiers to secure the Framingham area. By the fall, there were no new attacks in the region and the council in Boston couldn't justify the cost of the troops and decided to bring the troops back to Boston.
In January 1676, word got around that surrounding towns were at risk of being attacked by Indians. Thomas Eames took action and traveled to Boston to get ammunition and military help to protect his family.
February 1, 1676 - The Eames Massacre
While Thomas was away, eleven Indians attacked the house and farm. His wife Mary defended herself using hot soap. She was quickly overpowered and was killed along with five other children. The remaining children were taken into captivity and the house and barn were burned. Horses and livestock were stolen.
Results of the attack
|Zachariah Paddleford||18||Captured and Escaped|
|Thomas Eames Jr.||12||Killed|
|Samuel Eames||11||Captured and Escaped|
|Margaret Eames||9||Captured and Ransomed|
|Nathaniel Eames||7||Captured and Escaped|
Zachariah, Samuel, Margaret, Nathaniel all returned to Framingham after escaping from capture.
At the time of the attack, Thomas was very weak and on disability. It's possible that he could have been killed as a result of the attack.
Investigation into the attack and the identity of the Indians were uncovered: Netus, Anneweaken, Aponapawquin, Acompanatt, Panananumquis, William Wannuckhow, Apumatquin, Pumapen, Awassaquah, and Aquitekash.
Thomas Eames put together an inventory of the loss of items. The General Court granted him some monetary compensation 200 acres of land as well as 200 acres of Indian land.
Much of the land become downtown Framingham and part of Ashland.
All the Indians that participated in the event were captured or were killed while trying to be captured. Some of the Indians were executed and others were sold off as slavery.
Thomas died in 1681 in Framingham, less than five years after the massacre.
In the early 1900's descendants of Thomas Eames put a rock monument at the location of the former homestead. The monument reads:
Here stood home of Thomas Eames Burned by the Indians In King Philips War February 1, 1676 His Wife and Five Children Were Slain and Four Carried Into Captivity This Memorial Is Placed by his Descendants A.D. 1900
In 1930, another sign was placed on the site, just behind the plaque on the rock. It has since gone missing from the site.
The sign read:
"While Thomas Eames sought help from Boston February 1, 1676. The Indians attacked his house which stood nearby. His wife and five children were slain and four children captured."