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History of Fall River, Massachusetts online

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this year 1911, the John J. McDonough, the William J. Wiley
and the Hugo A. Dubuque. Sixteen other brick school build-
ings have been erected and occupied in the last 20 years.

Fall River was one of the earliest communities to estab-
lish a high school. This was in 1849, the same year as New
York. In April of that year the town meeting authorized a
high school, and appropriated $1,500 for its maintenance.
The first session was held on May 10, in the private school
which stood on the south side of Franklin Street, east of Oak,
occupied by George B. Stone, who became the first principal.
The building on the corner of Locust and June streets, later
called the Foster Hooper school, was erected for high school
use in 1852, and the school then removed to this structure,
though only the upper room was seated until 1868, when the
teaching of French was begun and a three years' English
course inaugurated. When the school grew too large for this
building, the first year classes were held in the Davenport
school house.

Conditions were relieved greatly by the opening in 1887,
of the B. M. C. Durfee High School, the finest gift ever
made to the city, but in recent years even this has been
crowded by its 900 students, and a new technical high school
of four floors on the site of the Foster Hooper and June
Street buildings was begun in May, 1911.

The first evening school was opened in 1848. A "factory
school," probably the first of its kind in the State, was
organized in 1868, at the Anawan building, for children under
15 years of age working in the mills, who were required by
law to attend school 12 weeks in the year. The "factory
school" continued forty-eight weeks, thus accommodating
four sets of children for the required 12 weeks a year.

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A school for truants and children of the inmates of the
almshouse was held at that institution for many years, from
about 1865 to 1890.

The district system, with at first 10 and later 14 districts,
was retained until 1864. The first school superintendent was
elected the following year, and began his duties in the fall
of 1865.

A training school was established in February, 1881, in
the Robeson School building, on Columbia street, and was re-
moved to the Osborn Street school when that was completed in
1891. Special instructors in music and drawing were appointed
in 1887; sewing, which had twice been tried for a short time,
was permanently introduced in 1896, and the teaching of
cooking authorized in 1911. Manual training was introduced
with the opening of the new High School in 1887.

The providing of free text books, thus making public
education absolutely without direct cost to parents, began in
April 1874, this city being the first in the state to introduce
this system. Its effects in relieving heads of families from a
considerable expense, in the prompt supply of books when
needed and in increased attendance were so satisfactory that
the original outlay, though considerable, was well repaid.
The general state law requiring free text books and supplies
did not go into effect till August, 1884.

Parochial schools have been in existence here for many
years, and many of them are well appointed, substantial and
up-to-date structures, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Anne's,
Notre Dame, St. Patrick's, St. Louis, St. Joseph's, the
Sacred Heart, The Blessed Sacrament, St. Matthew's, St.
John the Baptist, St. Stanislaus, St. Roch's, and Espirito
Santo, each support a parish school.

CHURCHES AND CHARITIES

Fall River has churches of many denominations, conveni-
ently situated in all parts of the city, and the stranger,
whatever his creed, is sure to find here companies of those in
sympathy with him. Many of the edifices are noted for
their architecture.

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The citizens have been Hberal in their gifts to charities,
and handsome and commodious buildings have been erected for
the care of the orphan, the aged and the sick, while the Boys'
Club, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Women's
Union, the Children's Home and the Bishop Stang Day
Nursery testify to work along other lines.

The first church to be formed in what is now Fall River
was the First Baptist, which was organized with 30 members
on Feb. 15, 1781, and ordained its first pastor May 22, 1783.
It was known as "The Baptist Church in Freetown, Dart-
mouth and Tiverton." The records are fragmentary, but it
appears that a meeting-house was erected near the Narrows
about 1800, and that at this time the name was changed to
"The Second Baptist Church in Tiverton." In 1828-29 a
revival took place, the name was again changed to "The
First Baptist Church in Troy", which was later modified to
agree with the change in the name of the town, and a new
church built on South Main street and afterward sold to the
Episcopal Society. The present Baptist Temple was erected
and the first service held there July 1, 1840. In 1847 the
church divided and the Temple was sold to the Second Baptist
Society, which still occupies it. The First Baptist Church
worshipped in Union Hall till its present edifice on North
Main street was completed in 1850 and dedicated on October
23, of that year.

It has three large chapels — the Broadway, the Brownell
Street and the Harrison Street. The Broadway, which, like
the others, started as a Sunday school, began in 1857, and
occupied a chapel at the northwest corner of Columbia and
Canal streets, later sold for a Portuguese Catholic church.
Afterwards, services were held on the second floor of the
Ferry Street station till the present building at the southeast
corner of Broadway and William street was completed. The
Brownell street chapel was organized in 1871 as the Mechan-
icsville Baptist church, which name was later changed to its
present title. The Harrison Street Chapel was started in
1885.

The First Congregational Church was organized January
9, 1816, but had no regular meeting place for some time. In

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1821-22 a church was erected on a portion of the present
Anawan school lot. It was 45 feet long and 36 feet wide,
and had a vestry underneath. It was extended 25 feet in
1827 and was afterward sold to the Unitarian Society, and
still later bought by the school district and converted into a
schoolhouse. It was burned in the fire of 1843. The present
North Main Street Church was built in 1832 and dedicated on
November 21. A clock was placed in the steeple the follow-
ing year. Work on a new church and parish house on Rock,
Chei'ry and June streets was begun in the spring of 1911.

The Friends erected a meeting-house on the North Main
street lot where their present church stands in 1821. This
was soon found to be too small and was sold to the town and
removed to Rock street, opposite the present high school,
where it was used for a school-house. The present church
was built in 1836. The denomination has a mission on
Stafford road.

The First Christian Church was organized in 1829, and
erected an edifice on Franklin street the following year.
This was burned in the 1843 fire, and the present church then
took its place.

The Unitarian Society was formed in 1832, and met for a
time in the Old Line Meeting House on South Main street.
It then bought the Congregational church on Anawan street,
and in 1835 dedicated its present church, which then stood
on the southeast corner of Borden and Second streets, and
was removed to the location it now occupies on North Main
street in 1860-61.

The oldest of the Primitive Methodist churches is the
First P. M. Church, incorporated in 1874, though the first
meetings of the denomination had been held three years
previously. The church was completed in 1875 and the
school room on Dover street in 1888. The Second Church
was formed in 1891, and dedicated its edifice in 1893. The
Sykes Church was organized in 1892.

The first Catholic service was held here, in a private
house, in 1829, and late in 1834 the first attempt was made to
form an organization. Land on Spring street, where St.
Mary's Cathedral now stands, was purchased, and a small

83



wooden chapel erected in 1836, called St. John the Baptist.
The chapel was extended on the south after 1840, with the
result that the altar and six pews were in Rhode Island while
the rest of the church was in Massachusetts. Soon after 1850
a new church became a necessity, and the work of laying the
foundation for St. Mary's was begun. The cornerstone was
laid August 8, 1852, and the walls, with the exception of the
front, carried up to their present height, while the chapel
within was still in use. The little building was then cut in
two and removed to the site of the present rectory, where
services were held till it was burned in 1856. From that time
the congregation worshipped in the present church, which on
the organization of the diocese of Fall River was made the
cathedral.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in
1827 and erected a small edifice on the westerly side of what
is now Camden street near Central street. It was later used
as a dwelling and was taken down in 1910. A new church
on the site of the present building on South Main street was
constructed in 1840, burned in 1843 and at once rebuilt and
dedicated in 1844.

The Church of the Ascension was organized July 15,1836,
and met in the Pocasset house, which stood at the corner of
South Main and Pleasant streets till 1840, when it bought the
former First Baptist Church on South Main street. This was
burned in 1850. It was at once replaced and was occupied
till the church on Rock street, between Pine and Cherry
streets was built and occupied in 1875 when the old church
was devoted to business purposes. A large parish house on
Purchase street was completed in May, 1911. The church
has charge of St. Matthew's Mission on Locust street.

The Central Congregational Church v/as formed Nov. 16,
1842, by 70 members of the First Congregational and met in
dwellings and in the Pocasset house till 1844, when it dedi-
cated a wooden edifice on the northwest corner of Bedford
and Rock streets. The present church was begun in 1874 and
dedicated Dec. 13, 1875. The chapel was erected in 1891.
For many years the church maintained a "city missionary,"
Rev. E. A. Buck, who did good work among the needy and

84



established a "mission school" at the corner of Pleasant and
Sixth streets. On the retirement of Mr. Buck this was
merged in the mother church.

The United Presbyterian church, dating from 1846,
erected a small wooden church on the east side of Union
street, south of Columbia and purchased its present edifice on
Pearl and Anawan streets in 1851. This had been erected by
members of the Christian denomination. It has a mission on
Rodman street.

The Baptist churches have been increased by the addition
of the Third in 1873 and the Trinity in 1905, the first the out-
growth of a Sunday school and the second of a mission.
Colored churches of this denomination have also been estab-
lished.

To the list of Congregational churches have been added
the Fowler, a branch of the First, dating from 1874, the Pil-
grim, formerly the Broadway, organized in 1894, and the
French Congregational, which was formed in 1888 from a
mission of the First.

From the small beginnings of the Catholic church have
grown a score of prosperous parishes. Of these, that of the
Sacred Heart was formed first, in 1873, and the church com-
pleted ten years later. St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's were
organized shortly after, in 1874. St. Patrick's church was
begun in 1881 and completed in 1889, while the cornerstone of
St. Joseph's was laid in 1880 and the building dedicated in
1885. St. Louis parish was organized in 1885 and the church
dedicated in 1890. SS. Peter's and Paul's was formed in 1882
and its church dedicated in 1900. The Immaculate Conception
parish was also organized in 1882, and its church soon after
begun and completed. St. William's was organized in 1905.

The oldest of the French Catholic churches is Ste. Anne's,
formed in 1869. The communicants worshipped in a church
at the corner of Hunter and Hope streets till the present
magnificent building on South Main street was ready for use.
It was dedicated July 4, 1906.

The parish of Notre Dame de Lourdes had been estab-
lished in July, 1874, by a division of the parish of Ste. Anne.
Its services were held in a church on Bassett street till this

85



was burned in November, 1903, when the present church,
completed in 1906, was begun.

Other CathoHc churches here are the Blessed Sacrament,
formerly St. Dominic's, whose edifice was recently completed;
St. Mathieu's, organized in 1886 and dedicating its church in
•1896; St. Jean Baptiste, St. Roch's, Santo Christo, San Miguel's,
Espirito Santo, Madonna de Rosario, St. Stanislaus and St.
Anthony's.

St. Paul's M. E. church was organized in 1851 by 123 mem-
bers of the First Church and erected a building on Bank street
in 1852, which was enlarged in 1864. The Bray ton M. E. , until
about 1870 known as the Globe Street M. E., was organized in
1854, the Quarry Street in 1870 and the North M. E. in 1859. The
Summerfield M. E. Church was organized in 1875. It erected
a building on Terry street and took the name of the Terry
Street M. E. Church. In 1878 the edifice was removed to its
present location on North Main and Hood streets. Five years
later the church was raised and the name changed to the
Park M. E. Church. The present title was assumed in 1890.
There is also a colored church, the African Methodist Episco-
pal and an Italian Mission on Plain street, organized in 1905.

Nearly all the Episcopal churches were started by the
Church of the Ascension. St. John's became independent in
1881, and erected a wooden church on South Main street,
followed by the present stone church, in which services were
first held on Easter Day, 1890. St. James was organized in
1883, and occupied its present church in March, 1885, St.
Mark's erected a church on Mason street in 1888 and became
independent in 1894. St. Luke's became a separate parish in
1896, and the present church was built soon after. St.
Stephen's, formed from a mission of St. John's, was organized
in 1896, and has just completed its church.

In addition to the First Christian Church, the city has
two others of this denomination — the North, dating from
1842 and the Bogle Street, formed in 1876. The latter's
edifice was built in 1885. There is also a chapel on New
Boston Road, called New Boston Chapel.

Other churches here are the Globe or First Presbyterian,
organized in 1890; the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of

86



Latter Day Saints, organized in 1863, whose church was built
in 1876, burned in 1893, and rebuilt; the Church of the New
Jerusalem, organized in 1854, whose edifice dates from 1869;
the Advent Christian, organized in 1887, which erected a
chapel the following year; the Church of Christ, Scientist,
dating from 1892; the First Spiritualist Church and Lyceum;
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, a Russian Orthodox Church, and
the First Polish Church of the Blessed Virgin, the last-named
a Polish National Catholic church. There are also four
Jewish congregations— the Sons of Jacob, the Union Street
Synagogue, the Congregation Adas Israel, and Aharat Achim.

The present Young Men's Christian Association dates
from 1888 (though there had been an association here as
early as 1857) and was housed from 1888 to 1895 in the Slade
house, at the corner of North Main and Elm streets. It then
removed to a house on the northeast corner of North Main and
Pine streets on which site stands the large brick building which
was dedicated April, 1903.

There are two temperance societies in Fall River, the
Young Men's Irish American Catholic Total Abstinence and
Benevolent Society and the Young Men's Protestant Temper-
ance and Benevolent Society, both of which occupy substan-
tial brick buildings of their own.

The work of the Women's Union began in 1873 in the
Troy building. The present structure was completed in 1909.

The Boys' Club was organized in 1890 and had its first
quarters on Troy street. The Anawan street building was
erected and donated to the club by M. C. D. Borden in 1898,
and the Pocasset street annex in 1908.

The Children's Home, organized in 1873, first occupied a
building at the northwest corner of North Main street and
President avenue, erected a frame building, followed by the
present brick structure, at the corner of Walnut and Robeson
streets, dedicated in 1895.

St. Vincent's Orphanage, founded in 1885, occupied a
wooden building till its present brick home was completed in
1894.

St. Joseph's Orphanage, another large institution, is
cared for by Notre Dame parish.

87.



The Home for Aged People, organized in 1891, occupied
the Leland House on High street in its early years. It
dedicated its Highland avenue building in March, 1898,

Ste. Anne's Hospital, erected by the Dominican Sisters of
Charity, of Tours, France, was dedicated February 4, 1906.

The Union Hospital, whose new building was opened in
October, 1908, was formed by the merger in 1900 of the Fall
River Hospital, founded in 1885 and situated on Prospect
street, and the Emergency, established in 1895 in a building
where the structure of the Women's Union now stands.

Two day nurseries, both established in 1910, care for
infants while their mothers are at work. They are the Bishop
Stang Day Nursery, in a building erected for its use on Third
street, and the Ninth Street Day Nursery, started by The
College Club, an organization of ladies. There is also an
institution called the Seaside Home, situated on the shore of
the bay, which cares for babies during the summer.

The Salvation Army work began in 1883. The head-
quarters were in Court Square for 11 years, and then in
several locations till the Bedford street citadel was erected
in 1903.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

The early fire department was entirely a volunteer one.
The first engine, bought by the town in 1818, was a "bucket"
engine, which drew water from a tub of the machine, filled by
a line of men who passed buckets from one to another. A
carriage, with a large number of buckets, attended it, but
many of the citizens had their own fire buckets, generally of
leather on which the name of the owner was painted and
which they took with them when responding to an alarm. This
engine was first stationed on the south side of Central street,
near Inch, subsequently in the rear of city hall, and later still
in the old town house on Central street. It was altered to a
draught engine after the fire of 1843 and remained in service
until 1853, when it was succeeded by Mazeppa No. 7.

Another engine was purchased by private subscription in
1826. This also drew water from a tub, which was forced,



without hose, through a goose-neck nozzle. It was stationed
near Bedford and Main streets and is said to have been drawn
to fires by oxen.

The second engine bought by the town was HydrauHon
No. 2, first kept in Stone lane, off Central street, and later in the
Niagara house on Pleasant street. It was a draught engine,
having two decks and two sets of brakes, one worked by men
standing on the ground and the other by men on a platform.
It was never very popular with the citizens. Cataract No. 3,
purchased in 1843, was housed at the corner of Franklin and
Rock streets, while Niagara No, 4, of the same period, was
stationed in the Niagara house on Pleasant street until 1853,
and was later sent to North Main and Turner streets, with the
new name of Torrent No. 2, and a new Niagara was purchased
which remained in active service until 1865, and was used by
a volunteer force at the Print Works fire in 1867. Ocean No.
5, bought in 1846, was kept on Pearl street, Mazeppa No. 7,
formerly the property of the Massasoit Mfg. Co. , was kept
successively in the town house, the armory, Court square and
at the corner of South Main street and Broadway. Other
early engines were the Atlantic No. 6, owned by Hawes,
Marvel & Davol, and kept at their machine shop, the Metro-
polis No. 7 and the Franklin. The last hand fire engine was
the Cascade, which had belonged to the town of Fall River,
R. I, , and was kept on the west side of South Main street
south of Columbia street and afterward at the Globe Print
Works, and maintained by that company. In the early fifties
an engine house having been built on present site of the
Cascade house, the engine was placed there.

In addition to the regular fire companies there were
several organizations known as Forcing Pump Companies,
formed by the various manufacturing establishments. They
were equipped with hand hose reels and attended all fires
which their hose, when attached to the pumps at their
factories, would reach. While they were not considered a
part of the regular department, their election as firemen
was subject to the approval of the fire wards, and they
received a slight compensation from the town. They were
also subject to fines for non-attendance. In 1832 there were

89



four of these companies, one at the Fall River Manufactory,
one at Robeson's Print Works, one at the Pocasset mill and
one at the Troy mill ; one was later maintained by the Anna-
wan Mfg. Co.

Nearly all the regular companies disbanded as fire com-
panies in 1857, following the action of the city government
in limiting the aggregate to be paid each company for com-
pensation. They continued as social organizations. The
Ocean and the Cataract Companies had bands of considerable
note. The most prominent citizens of the town belonged to
the fire companies during their days of active service.

The early companies sometimes made excursions to the
neighboring cities, Newport, New Bedford and Providence.
More notable than any of these, however, was the visit to
New York on the steamer Bay State, made by the Cataract
Company of 1847.

In the early days an alarm of fire was given by shouting
and the ringing of bells, and methods were not much
improved in 1854, when an ordinance adopted in that year,
provided that immediately on an alarm of fire during the
night, it should be the duty of the watchmen to give notice
thereof by springing rattles, crying fire or ringing a bell, and
mentioning the street or direction where the fire was. No
bell was to be rung for a chimney fire, either by day or night.

For many years the bell on the Court House, on Court
square was rung as a fire alarm. It was also rung at 7 a. m.,
12 m., 1, 6 and 9 P.M., for the benefit of the people, the 9
p. M., bell served as a curfew, and this continued until 1874.

After 1832 until about 1868, officers of the department
carried speaking trumpets as the insignia of office.

The Fall River Iron Works Co. early laid a pipe from the
Watuppa dam to the Iron Works property at the foot of the
hill, with several hydrants for fire purposes.

The first hose reel was secured in 1843 and stationed on
Rock street. A four-wheeled hose reel was bought in 1851,
and stationed at the Cataract House, and the first horse hose
reel in 1863, kept in the Court Square building.

Like the other apparatus, the early hook and ladder
trucks were small. The first was bought in 1826, kept on

90



Pleasant street, and drawn by hand. One purchased as late
as 1871, was first drawn by hand and then changed to be used
with a horse. The present No. 1, purchased in 1885, was the
first in the state to be equipped for three horses abreast.

The first steamer, Quequechan No. 1, was bought in 1859,
and replaced in 1871 and again in 1891. It was kept in the
Court square building till the completion of the Prospect
street house in 1874. The King Phliip, No. 2, was purchased
in 1860, and also stationed at same place till it was removed
to the Central engine house in 1871. Other early steam fire
engines were the Metacomet, No. 3 ; the Niagara, No. 4 ;
the Massasoit, No. 5 ; the Anawan, No. 6; and the Pocasset,
No. 7, all bought before 1875.

Of the early engine houses, the Niagara, formerly known
as Firemen's hall, was the stone building still standing on the
south side of Pleasant street, between Second and Third, built
in 1838 and sold in 1877. " The Cataract, now occupied by the
Fall River Veteran Firemen's Association, is at the corner of
Rock and Franklin streets and was built in 1843. The Ocean
house still standing on Pearl street, now occupied by the Defi-
ance Veteran Firemen's Association, was built in 1845. The
Court Square House, now occupied by the police, was formerly
a livery stable and was purchased in 1857. The Central engine
house was built in 1870 and enlarged in 1896, and the houses


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Online LibraryHenry Milne FennerHistory of Fall River, Massachusetts → online text (page 8 of 10)