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Exploring Quaint, Historic North Easton, Massachusetts

Ames Memorial Library, Oakes Ames Hall in North Easton MA

Amazing architecture in North Easton: Ames Free Library (front) and Oakes Ames Memorial Hall (back)..

by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/20/16

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North Easton, Mass., exudes a quaint, quintessential, historic, village-like New England feel. This appealing southwest suburban Boston neighborhood, located within the beautiful Town of Easton, features old-fashioned shops and businesses, a concentration of big, old Colonial and Victorian homes, appealing tree-lined side streets and majestic churches that date back to another era.

North Easton was settled in 1694, incorporated in 1725 and became well-known for the Ames Shovel Company. The Ames Shovel Company provided shovels for the Union Pacific Railroad, which opened the west! The 19th century shovel business prospered so much so that it became the world's largest supplier of shovels, according to Kerri Nichols, program director of the Easton Chamber of Commerce. Oliver Ames the most famous family member -- he served as Massachusetts governor from 1887-1890.

Famed architect H.H. Richardson gave North Easton Village its historical "look," with late 19th century Romanesque-style buildings like the recently renovated Ames Free Library, Oakes Ames Memorial Hall (for meetings), the former Old Colony Railway Station (current home of the Easton Historical Society) and the Ames Gate Lodge (I think it is still owned by the Ames Family). Beautiful churches complement the area including the Gothic revival style of the Ames-built Unity Church, as well as Immaculate Conception Church.  Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect who designed Central Park and the Emerald Necklace, was commissioned to do the landscaping around Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, designed the downtown Rockery (a memorial for North Easton's citizens lost in the American Civil War that was restored a few years back), and helped to landscape many estates in Easton, according to Nichols.

Along with the historic Ames buildings and Olmstead landscaping, the downtown district features the absolutely terrific Children's Museum in Easton located in an old fire department building, a traditional barber shop, the phenomenal The Farmer's Daughter farm-to-table restaurant for breakfast and lunch, the old gas station look of Borgeson's, the scenic Shovelshop Pond, the attractive Frothingham Park for recreational activities, and the 154-acre Sheep Pasture for quiet walks.

On the outskirts of North Easton Village is Stonehill College, a highly regarded Catholic college located on 375 idyllic acres. For the sweet tooth, there's Hilliards House of Candies, featuring made-on-the-premises chocolates, various other candies and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor (served the Friday after Easter through the end of October).  

North Easton brings back the small-town neighborhood feeling of yesteryear with an old-fashioned downtown and "Leave it to Beaver"-like tree-lined side streets with pleasantly modest ranches to spectacular old Colonial and Victorian homes. On those side streets, neighbors share friendly conversation outside, families take walks together along the network of neighborhood sidewalks, and residents constantly, and proudly, work on their homes to help maintain the overall classic village look.

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