Boston & Worcester Line
By Trolley Through Western New England
Compiled by Robert H. Derrah
The trolley comes to the little village of Wessonville and soon goes over the line into Shrewsbury, passing between Boston Hill on the left and Hamblin Hill on the right.
Shrewsbury is an interesting town and will well repay the visitor of the trolley tourist. It was settled by people from Marlboro about 1717 and named in honor of Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury. In this town Artemas Ward, the first major general of the Revolutionary Army, was born and lived. The town is picturesquely located among the hills, which command wide views of the surrounding country. Coming into the town, the car passes great carnation green houses, where thousands of blossoms are picked daily. One of this town’s historic houses which the car passes is the old Balch Tavern, used as a hostelry in stagecoach days and in 1792 taken by the town as a smallpox hospital.
A short run brings the passenger to South Shrewsbury Commons, where there are other old taverns. Hard by the old meetinghouse, near the road leading to Grafton in Providence, is the site of the old Harrington Tavern, and half a mile farther on, at the top of Arcade Hill, is the Arcade Tavern, which in the old days was a favorite stopping place for travelers.
It is said that the large number of old taverns in the town is accounted for by the fact that when Levi Pease was running his stage line he could not afford to pay high rents in Boston and so made Shrewsbury his headquarters. The Pease and Harrington Taverns are located in the center of the town, some distance to the north of the car line, the car passing through the little hamlet of Southville.
The Pease Tavern was the principal stopping place of travelers on the old stagecoach line. It was first occupied by Major John Farrar, an officer in the Revolution, as an inn, and when Washington visited the house on his journey to New England, Farrar became by far the most prominent man in the community. Later he sold the place to Levi Pease, who maintained its traditions, and it is said that its tables afforded something better to drink than water from the noted sulfur spring which is near the tavern.
Not far from the tavern is the site of the home of an Indian, who was called Old Brazel and his wife Nancy. Brazel is said to have been a pirate at one time, and although in Shrewsbury he pursued the peaceful vocation of a peddler of baskets made by his wife, when he had been liberally treated to cider at the inn he would tell tales of his past life which would make children fly from him in terror.
Worcester & Marlboro Line
Running out of Worcester are a number of trolley lines, connecting the surrounding towns with the Heart of the Commonwealth. Some of these afford pleasant side trips out of the city.
The North Grafton and Grafton line connects with cars for Upton and Milford, while another takes one through Shrewsbury and Northboro to Marlboro.