Burrillville Then & Now: Pascoag business section

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BURRILLVILLE – Welcome to Burrillville Then & Now, where we take a glance back at how the town used to look, then show how the same space looks today.

With photos and information provided by the Burrillville Historic & Preservation Society, we look now at the business section of Pascoag.

This turn of the century postcard is labeled “Rear View of Business Section, Pascoag, R.I. ” It was probably taken from the Pascoag standpipe located above the present day Overlook Nursing Home.

On the left in the foreground you can see the elaborate and ornate mansion of Albert L. Sayles. It is situated at the intersection of Church and High Streets. Albert L. Sayles was a wealthy mill owner and owned the Sayles Mill also known as the Granite Mill. This mill can be seen in the center right in the foreground. You can clearly see the large structure with a square tower which identifies it as a mill building.  To the right of the mill you can see Union Pond; beyond that is the Pascoag Reservoir which is out of view in this postcard.

In the center of the photograph is a building on Main Street, Pascoag constructed in 1875 by the International Order of Odd Fellows. The building can be easily identified by its mansard roof. If you look closely at it, you will see that the third floor is a dark color and the other floors are a lighter color.  The building was known as the Odd Fellows block. The first floor contained several businesses. The second floor had a large hall for dramatic performances and the third floor was the meeting place for the Odd Fellows. This fraternal organization was very active before the United States developed social safety programs like Social Security, Medicare and Welfare. They developed programs, “to visit the sick, bury the dead, relieve the distressed and educate the orphan”. Their motto is, “Friendship, Love and Truth.” This building suffered severe fire damage in the 1890s and was refurbished. Later it was known as the Music Hall and then Berk’s Store, where men’s clothing and shoes were sold. It was destroyed by fire in 2002.

In the distance on the left is cemetery hill where the Pascoag Cemetery and St. Patrick’s Cemetery are located.

When this postcard was created, there was no Bridgeway in Pascoag. Sheldon’s Box Factory was located in the area where the Pascoag post office is now.

Betty Mencucci is president of the Burrillville Historic & Preservation Society. 

Pascoag, as seen today from Overlook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
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