Ray Farrar’s Memories

Ray Farrar wrote articles on his memory of Shirley people, places, and events for our local newspaper. These were published along with photos and we now have copies in a scrapbook.

If you want to see the entire article, come visit us on Mondays or Saturdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm or contact us at mail@shirleyhistory.org about making copies.

1/10/2012John Harris FarmParker and Little TurnpikeMargaret Harris, Horace Harris,Working farm until 1970’s
1/17/2012OverlookBetween Center and Benjamin RoadsJohn SolteszCalled overlook due to view of Ft. Devens.  Originally built in 1920’s. Used as entertainment for army officers during WWII.
1/24/2012Henry Dodge FarmLittle Turnpike RoadHenry and Bell DodgeIn its glory in 1800s.
1/31/2012Hazel Cummings FarmLittle Turnpike RoadCummings Family, then daughter HazelBuilt 1700s. Large Apple Orchard. Suicide.
2/7/2012Ice Cream ParlorCorner of Chapel and Porter StreetsMr. and Mrs. ThomasParlor was built by Mr. Thomas so wife could make money in the 1930s
2/14/2012Ayer JunctionElectric trolly car from Shirley to Ayer Gave mobility in 1900s
2/21/2012CooperageAcross from todays Pheonix Bar & GrilleRan by Gran FairbanksCooperage is a mill to make wooden barrels.
2/28/2012TavernLittle Turnpike RoadMr. Little. Wilfred Chevrette in 1920s-1930sBuilt for travelers unable to pass between Rt. 2A and Lunenburg in spring due to mud.
3/6/2012White Mill Dam  Built 1856 to power saw mill off Rt. 2A. Taken out by flood of March 1937
3/13/2012Race TrackPeabody Road Proposed in late 1950s. Voted down 3 times.
3/20/2012Crowe HouseLawton Road1716 Mr. Lawton, 1904 purchased by John CroweHouse built in 1716. Burned down in 1965
3/27/2012PoundShirley Center next to the Meeting House and the Center Town Hall.Jack Farrar, pound keeperJail for loose farm animals: cows/horses
4/3/2012Horse Pond RoadShirley Center near Walker Road Burial ground for large animals.
4/10/2012Hole in the HillCenter RoadMort LawrenceBuilt 1930. Refused to move house for power lines.  Moved land across the street for many years to fill in around the house.
4/17/2012Max PitNorth side of Catcunemaug Railroad CrossingFrank and John Max1936 used fill to rebuild Center Road.
4/24/2012Granite PostsNorth side of Front Street near Train DepotPat Walsh and Doris Wheeler: Green CommitteeDonations from townspeople and 25 volunteers beautifed Shirley 1980s
5/1/2012Big Move in ShirleyRoad replaced trolley line to Ayer Route of Fitchburg and Leominster railway
5/8/2012Highway DepartmentClark RoadFrank Westover, ed Onners, James Devine, Bill Wilson, Harry Wheeler, Tony and two unidentified.Built 1930s. Nine employees.
5/15/2012Paul Farrar HouseBenjamin RoadMeylands: 1920s, Nowokenski’s, Julia & Ed SweetserHouse moved from Benjamin Road to across the street around 1980
5/22/2012Monument PictureShirley CenterCivil War veteran Bill JubbMemorial Day Celebration
5/29/2012World War I VeteransCamp DevensBook provided by Hollie McGrathPhoto
6/5/2012Shirley High SchoolLancaster RoadTeachers 1936: Middle School, Sara James & Nellie McNiffUsed in 1800s as high school
6/12/2012Farrar FarmBenjamin Hill Asparagus grown on the farm
6/19/2012Shirley Train Depot  Now gives good impression.
6/26/2012Mrs. Tidd’s KitchenMain StreetJ. Walter Desmond, Richard T. Lilly, Sylvester J. Tidd: SelectmenMet in Mrs. Tidd’s Kitchen for comfort.
7/10/20121930 July 4th ParadeShirley CenterTruck owned by the Longley Family1930 Ford Model A Truck carried the Girl Scouts
7/17/2012Rebuilding a HouseLeominster RoadRay Farrar, Bill Blair, Donald “Red” Farrar and Michael Gray1965 2 houses moved from Haskell St. to Leominster Road. Repairs took a year to complete.
7/24/2012Shirley’s American ExpressFront Street Laundromat Company ran until 1950. Railroad brought the packages and cars delivered until they got small trucks. Original building had no windows just storage and was torn down when company closed.
7/31/2012Coal ShedsSouth side of Main Street. Now a parking lot for Lambert’s True Value HardwareBusiness run by Amy Wheeler.  Delivered by Kenneth Longley.1930’s sheds lined the edge of the railroad tracks. Housed coal and coke (charcoal)
8/7/2012Bull Run Fair GroundsDr. Eddy’s practice on 2ARay Farrar’s great, great-grandfather, George Farrar and wife Mary ran the blacksmith shop and coffee shop where Shirley Package Store is today.Used in 1800s as Bull Run Fairgrounds. Prize bulls would fight and wagers were made.  This is how the Bull Run got its name.
8/14/2012Rags to Riches48 Ayer RoadOriginal owner Artie Adams, Current owner Scott and Diane RenstromNew owners are restoring the home.
8/21/2012Miner’s Blacksmith Shop10 Main StreetMr. MinerOwned and ran the blacksmith shop in the 1880s and 1890s
8/28/2012Wells Livery StableFredonian StreetMr. and Mrs. (Abbie) Wells1920s and 1930s the stable was a good place to rent a horse and buggy to go for a Sunday ride or Shopping in Ayer. The house and stable was torn down in the late 1930s.
9/4/2012Dr. Lilly’s OfficeMain StreetDr. Lilly 1920s, Mr. Brackett 1940s, The Olivers 1950sThe home had an office in the front and living quarters in the rear.
9/11/2012Desmond Livery StableDavis Street Barn/stable three stories high: wagons & buggies 1st floor, horses on the 2nd and hay on the third.
9/18/2012Grist MillRoute 2A on the Ayer Town LineDel Waterman, Current owner Bob GonynorMill in 1700s and 1800s to ground corn, rice, oats or wheat into meal.
9/25/2012George Morin HouseCorner of Center Road and Davis StreetGeorge MorinBuilt late 1800s-early 1900s.  Purchased by Geoge Morin about 1930s.
10/2/2012Ned Harkins HomeCenter RoadNed HarkinNed was the Postmaster of Shirley and Time keeper for the town during the 1930s.
10/9/2012Cranberry HouseCenter Road Used in 1800s to dry cranberries grown on Holden Road.
10/16/2012Munson MansionCorner of Center Road and Munson AvenueNorman C. Munson in 1800s then Quinty Family 1930sNorman worked in Boston filling in Back Bay Boston.
10/23/2012Goodrich-Jardine HomeNorth Corner of Center Road and Hazen RoadMr. & Mrs. Goodrich. Miss Jardine moved in when Mr. Goodrich passedMrs. Goodrich was an R.N. and was said to have a two-digit license number.
10/30/2012Little Tug Saved Ben Davis  Story: Repair of wagon using a tug connected to the horses in 1840s.
11/6/2012Broom FactoryShirley Center across from Trinity ChapelLongley Family1800s
11/13/2012Shorty’s MarketCorner of Fredonian and Phoenix StreetsMr. & Mrs. Cutler then Paul “Shorty” CournoyerRan from 1930s to 1940s
11/20/2012John Soltesz HomeCenter Road MansionSoltesz familyPicture from 1910
11/27/2012BrooksideIntersection Main Street and Center RoadMr. “Chappy” & Mrs. ChapmanRooming house in 1908
12/4/2012Now Is The HourWhere the Shirley Garage now standsGeorge Sanderson Sr., George Sanderson IIIProfile of farmer G. Sanderson.G. Sanderson III took the farm on Lancaster Road and made it into an airport
12/11/2012Chicken Pox on the FarmThe Farrar FarmAmos, Donald “Red”, Ray FarrarStory: digging potatoes and catching chicken pox
12/18/2012Christmas in the 1930sLegion Hall Story: Christmas during the Great Depression
1/8/2013Shirley to Ayer in the TeensRoad between Shirley and Ayer Roads changed between 1910 and now
1/15/2013Shirley 1910Overview of Shirley Snow in 1910. Town rolled it, not plowed.
1/22/2013#8 School HouseChurch StreetSarah Stevens/James, Sadie Gately WhiteHistory of the school building
1/29/2013Church Street SchoolChurch StreetLura A White, Miss Hood, Miss Carson, Miss Ross, Miss O’Meara, Frank Westover, Mr. LincolnHistory of the school building
2/5/2013The War Memorial BuildingChurch StreetLucien GionetWar Memorial Building was part of the WPA during the Great Depression
2/12/2015Lake Shirley Was Once Called Shirley ReservoirLake Shirley Dam off Catacunemaug Road A dam used to power mills and factories, and there was a reservoir there
2/19/2013The Old DamShoddy Mill off Catacunemaug Road A dam in the early 1800s ran the Shoddy Mill, which reclaimed wool
2/26/2013Old Lady PicklesCorner of Catacunemaug and Leominster roadsSwiryda familySwiryda’s Store was the only one in west part of Shirley
3/5/2013Tom Seaman’s HouseCatacunemaug RoadSeaman family, Charlie, Tom, AnnetteCondominiums replaced the house
3/5/2013Johnny Jock’s Gas Station and StoreNorth Shirley on Rt 2AJohnny Bjorklund, Mr. FarrarGas station accident where Mr. Farrar was burned
3/5/2013A Little Blarney  St. Patrick’s Day card passed around. Basketball Game Ku Klux Klan vs. Knights of Columbus for benefit of Jewish Relief Fund
3/19/2013The Hyman Perlstein HomeCorner of Clark and AyerPerlstein family, Lou, Zeus, Anna; Dr Lilly; Eric ShapiroMr. Perlstein collected metals and had a farm
3/26/2013Whiteley ParkWhiteley Park, Corner of Front and PhoenixMr. Whiteley, ShakersHistory of the park
4/2/2013Farrar’s Blacksmith ShopGreat RoadMr. Little, Farrar Brothers1844 the brothers moved and built the blacksmith shop
4/9/2013The Old Hazen BridgeOld Hazen BridgePolice Chief Moss, Sergeant Beachy, Max GionetThe bridge was once part of Route 2
4/16/2013The Townsend PoolTownsend Road near 2A There was a sandy area that was good for swimming and/or bathing
4/23/2013Shirley Fire Station #2Corner of Leominster and Lancaster roadsDave HoldenHistory of the building
4/30/2013Farnsworth Saw MillGreat RoadLou Farnsworth, Bill, Waldo, Skip, Kenneth1930s or so the author went to the mill to cut some logs into boards
5/7/2013Governor Bradford Visits ShirleyLancaster RoadGovernor Robert Bradford, Selectman Gordon T Banks, Stanley Gallagher, Beulah Wamboldt, Nelson Wamboldt, Robert Lambert, Jim Thibault1940s the governor visited Shirley
5/14/2013Can You Name Anyone?Church Street SchoolLura White, Mr. Lincoln, Miss Hood, Marian Carson, Sara Ross, Pearl O’Meara, Frank Westover, Beatrice Peneseau, Joe DeVarney, John Hebert, Ed Riley, Gladys Leary, Allen Bradford, Walter Lambert, Lyle Wheeler, Bertha Reed, Alice Pauley, Harriet Blair, Beatrice Peneseau, Jackie Colburn, Mary Nowokunski, Marion Dailey, Kristine Kubiak, Herbie Riley, Robert Artus, Lawrence Credit, Richard Evans, Vern Hillman, John Bobbin, Kathryn Young, Marie Sideleau, Ruth E Chesbrough, Ruth A Chesbrough, Ruth Keating, Beverly Keffel, Jackie Sampson, George Sanderson, Freddie Quinty, Robert McCollister, Wade Longley, Homer StahlClass photo from 1931
5/21/2013The House Stops HereBenjamin RoadMr. Nowokowski, Gus Potenius, Paul Farrar1975, author moved a house he bought across the street
5/28/2016Memorial Day in Shirley CenterShirley CenterWilliam JubbMemorial Day Celebration
6/4/2013The Davis OrchardLancaster RoadDavis Family, John McIntire, Donald ChaseTwo orchards that are both gone now
6/11/2013The Desmond FarmLancaster RoadPratt family, Edward “Bill”, Burt, Charlie, Fannie; Dr J Walter Desmond, children Patricia, Jack, Phylis, Barbara; Henry Sampson, children Doris and Jack; Noyes FamilyOwnership of the farm
6/18/2013The Beulah Womboldt HomeSouthwest corner of Chapel and Mill streetsBeulah Womboldt, Nelson; Sherman Mudget; Reed Chesbrough, wife and daughter Ruth E, Lester Holden, Sybil, JackieOwnership of the house
6/25/2013The Chapel on Chapel StreetChapel StreetRichard Pontbriand, Judy LamoreauxOwnership of the chapel
7/2/2013Last House on ChapelChapel StreetRay FarrarHistory of the house
7/16/2013Pop Tracey’s Ice Cream StandAyer Road near Tremblay’s GaragePop Tracey,Emma Hanson, Wallace Hanson, Bertha, SallyIce Cream stand in the 1940s
7/23/2013The George DeVarney HouseCorner of Chapel and Porter StreetsGeorge DeVarney, Bob Lambert, Ann LambertDeVarney ran an auto repair shop
8/6/2013The Davis HouseCorner of Davis Street and Center RoadDavis Family, McGrath familyDavis Family were farmers who branched out into real estate
8/13/2013Umbagog on the CatacunemaugCatacunemaug Brook just east of George Frost/President’s BuildingMr. Pauley, Chet Pauley, Vernon BallouFactory building in Shirley Village, once held turbines that powered President’s building
8/20/2013Stanley GallagherParker RoadStanley Gallagher, Beulah WamboldtMr. Gallagher was an Irish salesman who drove a 1928 Model A Ford
8/27/2013The Barnard HouseCenter, Parker, Brown roads intersection in Shirley CenterBarnard FamilyThe house changed hands many times and was put to many uses due to its location
9/3/2013White Oaks off Ayer Roadoff Ayer RoadMoody ParkerTown purchased land and used it for a baseball field. It was later a mill – Bemis now owns it
9/10/2013Shaker RoadShaker Road Photo from 75 years prior, when Shaker Road was a dirt road
9/17/2013Trinity ChapelShirley Center Brief history of the chapel
9/24/2013The Hole in the HillCenter Road near power linesMorton E LawrenceMort refused to move his house for power lines, and every day moved dirt from across the road to his house to fill in the hill
10/1/2013The Lester Berry HouseHazen Road, near Warren RoadLester Berry, Arthur Holden, Kay, Phil, Arthur Jr. HoldenHistory of the location – current house is not historical
10/8/2013The John Hebert HouseHazen RoadJohn Hebert, Alice Hebert, George Holden, Lester Holden, Alice Pauley, John Jr. Jay, Jack Hebert 
10/15/2013The John Coleman HouseClark Road, just past Bruce StreetJohn Coleman, Annie, Hilda; Gordon Hatch, JuanitaBrief background on Coleman family
10/22/2013The Doctor Steicher’s officeFront StreetDr. Steicher, “Hack” NoyesBrief background on Dr. Steicher
10/29/2013The End of an EraMain StreetJoe Tremblay, Robert TremblayHistory of the Main Street Garage
11/5/2013Camp Devens, 1918Ayer Train Station Men heading to Ayer train station to go to Devens
11/12/2013Ye Old Cock and BottleGreat RoadBenjamin and George Farrar, Lester Berry, GuerciosBuilding is now the Shirley Package Store, and it was where the Farrar brothers lived
11/19/2013The Edmond Januskiewiecz HouseCenter RoadPepe Lambert, Wilfred Gionet, Edmond Januskiewiecz, Phyllis Januskiewiecz, Peter, Paul, John and David, Mary and SusanFamilies that lived at the house
11/26/2013Thanksgiving Day 1918Townsend RoadJohn H Farrar, Parents Henry and ClaraThe town meetinghouse was burnt in the 1930s. Was the home of John Farrar
12/3/2013Amos Farrar’s Indian MotorcycleTown Meeting RoadAmos FarrarHis first new bike he owned – stop driving it after he nearly broke his leg
12/10/20131903-2013Center TownhallSusan BaxterGrange Christmas Party in 1930s
12/17/2013A Wedding Photographn/aAmos W Farrar, Mary Harris, Daughter Eva FarrarRay’s grandparents wedding picture from mid 1800s
1/7/2014The Old Shaker LaundryMCI ShirleyLynch FamilyIndustrial School for Boys – it is now MCI Shirley
1/14/2014Welcome Home Day Parade, 1946Lura A White School to Phoenix Street.Edward and Edith Farnsworths – Children Eleanor, Alston, and Roy. Alphee Levesque, Jimmy Richardson, Ernie MichaudParade to welcome soldiers home
1/21/2014Shirley Center CommonShirley Center Common History of Shirley Center Common
1/28/2014Shirley 1915Shirley Overview of Shirley Winter 1915
2/4/2014Raising Money for Cerebral PalsyFire HouseJohn “Beansy” Conway, Joe Lemire, Paul Bliss, Milton Westover, Harvey Westover, Charlie Hartman, Albert Chevrette, Dick Hatch, Ray Farrar, John Welton, Gerald Fitzgerald, Skip Farnsworth, George Sanderson, Everett BarnardFire Department and Police Department Fundraiser
2/11/2014Lower Main Street to BridgeOld Main Street  
2/18/2014A Storm in 1920Shirley Pull rollers used during winter storm
2/25/2014Civil War MonumentShirley Common Restoration of monument after being decapitated
3/4/2014Share Volunteer Jenny WestoverShirley Fire DepartmentJenny Westover, Barbara EubanksJenny Westover volunteered for Shared program
3/18/2014Welcome Home DayLura A. White SchoolAlice GilbertAlice Gilbert was Lady Liberty on float during Welcome Home Day Parade in 1946
3/25/2014The Flowering CrabBenjamin RoadHeather Steele, Carol and James Steele, Ray Farrar 
4/1/2014Spring Rains and Melting SnowWalker Road Dam Sometimes the roads would flood in the spring when the snow melted
4/8/2014The BrooksideBrooksideDr. Steicher, Lucien GionetHistory of Building
4/15/2014Parade in ShirleyFront StreetJames Steele, Ben Farrar, Heather Steele 
4/22/2014The Lambert FarmAyer Road (then known as Main Street)Merlin Lambert, Raymond Lambert, William Lambert, Oscar Sidleau, Henry Gendron, Bruce Family, Ray FarrarHistory of the Farm
4/29/2014The Shop BuildingMCI MediumJoe Landry, Mr. WellsThe shop building housed shops for boys at the school
5/6/2014The Old Shirley DepotBenjamin RoadRay Farrar, Cracker Jack, Ernie Michaud, Wilfred MichaudHistory of Old Shirley Depot
5/13/2014Ray Farrar’s First CarShirleyRay Farrar, Wally Hansen, Carl LoomerDetails of the new car Ray bought
5/20/2014Waiting for the TrolleyShirley Depot Where Phoenix Bar and Grill is today
7/1/2014The First Shirley Fire StationChapel Street The first Fire Station was built by volunteers
7/15/2014Shirley Drum and Bugle CorpsMain StreetDonna FarrarThere are no more Shirley Drum and Bugle Corps
7/22/2014Fourth of July Celebration on Town Meeting RoadTown Meeting RoadFarrar Family, Thompson Family, Minnie Farrar, Joe Thompson 
7/29/2014Dental Inspection at Camp DevensCamp Devens Dental Inspections were part of new recruiting process
8/5/2014Corn FieldFarrar Farm on Ayer Road Description of the Farrar Farm
8/12/2014Church Street SchoolChurch Street SchoolBob Hartwell, Mr. Hartman, Roy Hatch, Fred Hebert, “Popeye” Colson, Edward Riley, Landry, Beatrice Keffel, Rockwell Craig, Francis Colsen, Alan BradfordClass Photo from 1932
8/19/2014The Old Lubritorium is Gone Joe Tremblay, Viola (Ray’s aunt)Was once Tremblay’s Garage – new owners are Absolute Auto Repair Center
9/30/2014Priscilla JubbLived on Holden RoadPriscilla Jubb, Barbara (Priscilla’s Daughter), Grandfather William Jubb, Bob Brockelman – Children Curt, Barbara, and BruceBiography of Priscilla Jubb
10/14/2014Plowing Land on Town Meeting RoadTown Meeting RoadAmos Parkhurst Farrar, Alice Gould1920
11/18/2014Tidd’s Drug StoreTidd’s Drug StoreMrs. Jurga, Sylvester Tidd, John Farrar, Young Family – Anna, Edwin, Bernard, Mary, Kathleen (children from Young family), Mr. and Mrs. Tidd – son named Jackie, Gladys Leary 
12/2/2014Moody Parker Moody Parker, Israel, John Bresnahan, Horace Legacy, Paul FarrarBiography of Moody Parker
2/10/2015Remembering the Blizzard of ’78Farrar Farm Flooded the barn at Farrar Farm
3/31/2015Do You Remember the Green Committee?Started near Benjamin Road Crossing and went to Depot SquareRhonda Caissie, Jackie Esielionis, Ray Farrar, John Farrar, Amelia Gionet, John Guthrie, Stanley Jurga, Melissa Lynch, Lisa Marino, Pat Walsh, Doris Wheeler, Robert AdamTo replace glass enclosure for the Depot Station
4/14/2015The Coal StationWhere the Train Depot now standsCharie Shepherd 
7/14/2015David Gray from Center RoadCenter RoadDavid Gray, Fran (wife)High-wheeler bicycle ridden by David Gray – Photos around 1960


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