Antique Postcards of Littleton Massachusetts & Vicinity

Professional Historical Commentary



by Daniel V. Boudillion



15 new postcards - Updated 25 January 2007



"Greetings From Littleton Mass"


The official 1944 "Greeting Cows" of Littleton Mass.  From left to right: Bessie, Bossy, Booger, Bouncy, Brighty, Bumpy, Billie, and Charlene.  (Charlene: "Welcome to Littleton Massachusetts!  My name is Charlene, and I'll be your cow for the evening!")




Moxie Horsemobiles


Moxie was the "cool" drink of the 1930's.  What better way to tout the stuff than to mount fake horses on cars and drive them around?  What better man than John Sargent of Littleton Mass to drive them? 




Moxie Horsemobiles


Close-up of the Moxie Horsemobiles.  Notice that the driver seat is actually the horse saddle, with the steering wheel extending up through the horse's neck.  There has been way to much written about Stutz-Bearcats and Corvettes.  These, my friend, are the ultimate in a cool ride.


John Sargent of Littleton was the lucky bastard that drove the things.  For God's sake - he was paid to drive the things!  I get chills just thinking about it.  Picture circa 1933-1934, John Sergent's backyard. 




Webbing Factory at the Common


This is the Webbing Factory.  We always called it the Rubber Band Factory.  They made rubber bands there.  I used to think that made Littleton special somehow.  I got over it. 


And those guys standing out front - ever notice there's always two guys out front in old pictures?  I think the guy on the left is cardboard. 




"Mrs. Upton's Shop" - the Upton House on King Street


The good news is the Mrs. Upton's Shop is still with us, still selling antiques.  But its called the Upton House now and is painted red.  Which is perfectly fine. 




Great Road


This is Great Road.  Before 1909.  Can't figure out where the heck it is though.  The sidewalk suggests the center of town, but that can't really be the Common now, can it?  And Robinson Road to the left?  Sigh.  How beautiful it all was once upon a time. 




"Greetings From Littleton Mass"


Hail, friend, more "greetings" from Littleton Massachusetts!  There's no need to give away the location of this magnificent Littleton location - its one of the most well known vacation spots in Littleton.  The fir forest, thundering rapids, and mule deer give it away.  See you there this weekend!  (Note to Ed & Don: $20 and I divulge the location!  Hint: its near the volcano.) 




"Library & Residence of Mrs. White - Littleton Center"

sometime before 1918


This card was sold on eBay as dating "before 1918."  And that's verifiable fact because the Germans stormed over Two Brothers Hill and painted it a cheery yellow (since re-painted) on January 12th of 1918 during the Great Paint War, and as you can see, its still its original rosy pink in this postcard. 


BTW, for those in the know, Mrs. White was Littleton's original "Phantom of the Library," and lived between 130 and 131 on the DDC in the stacks, later moving into the "giant's shoe" after the computerization fiasco of 1995.  Now what's even weirder is that after the Library in its wholly successful effort at uglification moved into the old Shattuck Street school building, the Historical Society moved into the former library  - moving from their former lodgings in Mrs. White's house into Mrs. White's former lodgings.  Confusing, I know, but we're talking librarians here. 


And while I'm at it, Littleton Center isn't Littleton Common, which is the real center of Littleton these days.  That's because in 1714 the Common was partly on the Powers Farm which was Concord at the time, and didn't incorporate into Littleton until 1721, so they centered the original town center here at the junction of King Street and exclusive "Lower" Foster Street.  Which explains - if you are new to town - why the residents of "Lower Foster Street," (as they make a point of calling it) are so hung up on themselves and the length of their, er ... pedigree. 




Central Hall


A native Littletonian of proud visage and steely intellect pointed out that this is NOT the Center Store as I had it labeled, but rather the Central Hall.  And damned if he wasn't e-Centrally right right. 


This was a town building, taxpayer owned and paid for, used for whatever, whenever the need arose.  Totally awesome.  However, the Fire Department got all hot n' horney over it and burned it down in 1981 "for practice."  It was a perfectly good town building of use to the community, and the Fire Department burns it down - over town protest I might add - "for practice."  What's next?  Burn down Donelan's "for practice?"  Burn down the Library "for practice?"  Sheesh.




Nashoba Food Store


This one always makes me sad.  Mr. Smith owned this little store all his life - in fact, it was his life.  I used to get popsicles there as a kid, and he was a kindly old fellow.  Then the town fathers decided that franchise convenience stores should be allowed run him out of business.  Mr. Smith held on until his death, selling brooms, and once in a big snowstorm, a little milk.   Proof that the town was no better run then then it is now. 


At least Mr. Smith died before the Fire Department could contemplate burning him out of his store "for practice."




General Store on Littleton Common


The General Store in the Conant Building on Littleton Common, sometime in the '50's I'm guessing.  There was a certain texture to the air back then that  gives it away.  I don't recall the General Store myself - I was dead back then - rather, I remember its later incarnation as the home of Aubuchon's Hardware.  Loved that place with its creaky old floors and twisting maze stuffed with god-knows-what-all.  They had everything, fishing supplies included.  As a kid I bought this one lure there, a fake frog with a hook in it.  I was extraordinarily proud of it, not that I ever caught anything on it, but it sure looked good in my Jr. Tackle Box.  And that counts as a kid. 


These days the Conant Building houses Bob's Solid Oak Furniture.  I don't know how many times "Bob" has "gone out of business" there, but his most recent going out of business sign reads "going out for  business," so I'm not taking it to seriously.




Littleton Schoolhouse pre 1914


This, according to the eBay seller, is pre 1914 - and boy does it taste like it.  Cardboard sure loses its flavor over time.  If I recognize the clouds correctly, these are the ones typically over Sanderson Road next to the Vinegar Works.  The school has since been converted into a private residence.  I don't know about the clouds.  But I like the pink shutter motif - proof indeed if ever it were needed that this was the first of the commie schools in town.  No jive.




Camp Hayward - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


"Lake Warren" is actually the little mud-hole of Mill Pond.  But when it came time sell camp lots to the big city suckers slickers in New York, it was miraculously - and nobly - renamed.  Could that be Mr. Hayward front and center?




Camp Twilight - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


The Twilight Family sits outside their camp.  They might be whittling.  No one is playing the banjo.  Nice dress.  Keg by the door.




Camp Sunset - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


The Sunset Family of Camp Sunset.  Mr. Sunset seems pretty proud of his TWO STORY camp.  "Yes, the extra story does extend my manhood."  Sure showed the Twilights. 




Birds Eye View of Camp Sunset - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


Here we get the full benefit of Camp Sunset's second story!  And does it kick Camp Twilight ass or what!  Hard to say exactly where this view was taken, but I'm guessing that today it would have a fantastic front row seat on Route 495 (and wouldn't the Twilight's be laughing!). 




Camp Brookside - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


Camp Brookside was known for its Saint Patrick's Day Toga Parties.  But is that an Orangeman I spy on the right making it stink for everybody?  And what's with skinny dude - if I'm not mistaken he's in all these Lake Warren pictures.  Was this a Mormon resort or what?




Camp HCPC - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


Well, there's skinny dude again, surrounded by two women (again) and a passel of children (again).  I'm not sure there is a rational explanation for this, and I have a funny feeling that the phrase "love monkey" is somehow involved, and not in a good way.  On eBay the card was labeled "Camp HCPC."  Not sure what that means, not sure if I want to. 




Camp Quitcherkikin - Lake Warren (Mill Pond)


Ha, ha, ha.  Unlike the Queen, I am amused.  On second thought, I'm not.  But I suppose Mormons have a right to camp life, same as anyone, and these two sister-wives no doubt found "Camp Quitcherkikin" relatively free of the kind of kickin's and hittin's they usually got living on Kolob.  Originally called Camp Quitcherbitchin, it was changed when the sister-wives teamed up to re-invent it as Camp Kickyernutzin, in honor of Nehor.  Which explains the wry look on skinny dude who can't sit down anymore.




Lake Warren


"Lake Warren," the pretentiously renamed-for-the-city-slickers mud hole is actually Mill Pond.  What the slickers who bought camps there were never told was that the pond was drained yearly and farmed.  (Some local residents still own sections under the "lake.")  Man, what a surprise that must have been come summer.  Heh heh heh.




"Greetings From Littleton Mass"

approx imatly1926


And yet more "Greetings" from Littleton Massachusetts.  The professional greeter town.  Are you feeling welcome yet? 




The Depot on Taylor Street


When I see stuff like this I wonder what the story was.  Did they want to take a picture of these people and then decide the Depot was just the place?  Were they taking a picture of the Depot and then corralled these folks into posing to make it more interesting?  Did they have outings to the Depot back then and decided to photograph this one?  Is there some unknown affinity between Oldest Inhabitants and Depots?  What motivates a carrot?  And yes, I do have too much time on my hands.  The Depot is still here and is a cast iron stove refurbishing shop.




Sanderson Homestead at the Depot


The Sanderson Homestead is across the street from the Depot.  Personally, I would have photographed the Oldest Inhabitants here at one of the Oldest Homesteads rather than at the Depot.  The Sanderson place is rental property now.  By the way, the Sanderson Homestead is on Sanderson Road - what are the chances of that?  Its eerie.




Depot Square 1908


They ran off the Oldest Inhabitants for this postcard and got a nice codger-free shot of the Depot.  I like how they painted in the sunset - in the east!!!  People were easily fooled in 1908.




Depot, Again


The Depot.  Again.  People were fascinated by Depots back then.  Doesn't say much for our ancestors. 




Kimball Elm (the Witch Tree) at Mill Pond


The odd low branch parallel to the ground (and somewhat behind the tree) was cause for comment in those days.  It also figured into the whole situation with Mrs. Dudley who was accused of witchcraft in 1720 - hence it was known as "the witch tree."  It stood on the banks of Mill Pond on property now owned by St. Ann's Church. 




Wayside Grill on King Street


The back of the card says: "We specialize in Waffles, Fried Clams, and Ice Cream."  Must have been pretty exotic at the time - come to think of it, the idea of fried clams on my waffles is still pretty extreme.  Their motto was "Where Friends Meet."   The Wayside Grill was on King Street where the Veterinary Clinic is now.   Thanks to The Berkshire Mountain Man for the card.




The Island - Lake Nagog - Acton


For starters, there are four islands in Lake Nagog.  How this one became "the island" is curious indeed.  A good agent is everything, I guess.  By the way, this island is the one in the cove near the pump house.  If you haven't fished off those rocks you haven't fished illegally.  Not that I would know.




Lamson's Point - Lake Nagog - Acton


Lamson made his point now I make mine. . .  Lake Nagog is HALF in Littleton.  Acton does NOT have exclusive rights or privilege-only to pee Concord's water supply.  Littletonians may partake of that pleasant pastime as well for chrissake!


But back in the day Lake Nagog was a resort lake, with cabins and hotels, such as the Nashoba Inn.  And plenty of boating, swimming, and lake-peeing.  The above postcard, and its cryptic text, is one such testimonial of those warm idyllic days.  Herein I use my razor sharp LHS English language skills to crack the DaGog Code, as follows:


Top Text: "I am _?_  _?_  _?_ all summer."  ("I am peeing the water all summer.")


Side Text: "Received the glove (rubber glove?) all safe and thank you all so very much.  I will write you.  ("I will write my name in the snow come winter.")  They were firm, all right."  ("I did more then pee in the water.")  S. G. Freak (?)


Bottom Text Line 1: It will add to your collection.   ("Please, have a sample!")


Bottom Text Line 2: Manchester N.H.   ("Our next target after Quabbin!")




Great Road - Lake Nagog - Acton


Behold the Greatness of Great Road! 




Great Road - Nagog Tavern - Acton


This eventfully became the Nashoba Inn and was painted yellow, and when the bottom dropped out of the local lake-peeing craze, it became derelict.  My father used to say that "Wooooooo!" lived there.  Then they tore it down.  Where does "Wooooooo!" live now? 


In the far left you can see a sliver of Lake Nagog, and behind it Blesséd Littleton, home of the Wayside Waffle House.  (Eat your heart out Mr. Fancy Pants Inn!)  As you can see, Great Road shouldered the mighty burden of the Motor Car.  (And life as was good and sweet and tempered went down the gurgler for ever and ever. . .) 




Ruben Hoar Library (The Houghton Memorial Building) on King Street 1906


Ruben Hoar was a wealthy man and town benefactor.  But his wealth couldn't save him from the indignity of his own name.  Let this be a lesson. 




Long Pond from the Town Beach 1906


Long Pond was another pond renamed a "lake" when camp lots were sold to city folk.  The town beach is at long pond - so are the jellyfish.  Yes, there are swarms of quarter sized freshwater jellyfish in Long Pond.  I remember plowing through the jellyfish at swimming lessons as a kid - jellyfish in my hair, jellyfish in my eyes, jellyfish in my teeth.  For some reason I never did pass beginners. . .


Some people are under the impression that Long Lake is a manmade lake.  Well its not, so get over it.  What this means is that the jellyfish of today are the descendents of the same jellyfish that wrested land from the Indians in 1675 and kicked British butt in 1776.




Massachusetts Avenue (Great Road) at the Common 1906


What gets me about pictures like this is NO CARS.  The Common today is the crossroads of Route 2A, Route 119, Route 110, and the Route 495 exit, and is frantic with cars.  When I moved from Natick Center back to Littleton after a 20 year absence I looked forward to the remembered tranquility.  Boy was I wrong. 




The Cove at Nagog Pond 1906


This is pretty much as this spot looks today except the water is a good foot or two higher on average.  Lake Nagog was a big tourist attraction back in the day.  The Nashoba Inn was just across the lake and catered to boaters.  Now the lake is leased by Concord as a reservoir.  I noticed a couple of dogs in the postcard.  Doesn't bode well for the water quality. 




"Street Scene" King Street - the Unitarian Church & Library Center Distance1906


The Library etc. was the original town center.  By the 1850's it was known as the old town center.  Now the Common is considered the center.  As exciting as it sounds.




The Common, King Street & Stevens Street 1906


Back in the Bicentennial an information booth was erected in the far side of the Common.  At some point it ran out of information and fell into some disrepair.  A young local hooligan made it his personal hangout.  I have often wondered how many tourist ladies from Iowa got punched-out after disturbing him for "information."




Goldsmith Street from the Common 1906


See those trees lining the road?  Elms - they planted elms.  Then they cut them all down.  Then replanted maple, and now they are cutting these down too.  Who, you ask?  The Shade Tree Commission (locally known as the "Hate Tree Commission").


I used to have to walk Goldsmith Street if I stayed late at the Russell Street schools.  This meant walking through the Long Lake section.  Which was very scary.  I was sure the hooligan from the information booth would jump out from behind a tree (when there were trees) and beat me up. 




The Baptist Church at the Common 1906


I would like to say something witty about the Baptist church - but as irreverent as I feel, my humor seems to have failed me.  However, in the lot between the church and the Victorian house to its right used to be the Penny Candy Store.  It was glorious, and now it is gone - the story of all good things in Littleton. 




Unitarian Church


Back in the day, the Unitarian Universalist Church used to be the Puritan Church - you know, the same outfit that hung innocent people as witches in 1692 in Salem.  Slamming from one extreme to another, the Unitarians now routinely host the local witch meetings in their basement.  But what sort of lame-ass witch meets in a church basement? 




Congo Church


Sadly, no one plays the Bongos at the Congo Church.  But the Sextant does play a righteous version of "Beth" by KISS!  (I know - we jammed once.)  If you never crawled under the road via the parking lot drain pipe, you didn't grow up Congo. 



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