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Holliston Then and Now

by Bill Tobin
February 26, 2016

This article has been published in 2009 and 2013, and received many comments that are republished. Newcomers and old timers too appreciate our town then and now.

Holliston has changed over recent years.  Do you remember ...

... Izzy and Al's Restaurant?  The Colonial Pharmacy?  Walter's Dairy?  The Mighty Midget? The Historical Society's old home?  Joe's Barber Shop? Knowlton's Market ? The Edison Shop? Russell's Market?  Aubuchon's? just to name a few.

The evolution of the marketplace in Holliston is remarkable ...

The Rossini family opened a small ice cream parlor on the corner of Washington and Concord Streets circa 1940 -- and it flourished.

Walter's Dairy was a popular site for many years. Now the corner has Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizza.

The upper left picture is of the old Hollis Hotel in downtown at the corner of Green and Washington Streets, which was home to Izzy and Al's Restaurant. When the hotel was razed to make room for the expanding Mobil Station, pictured lower left. the restaurant relocated to the Holliston Historical Society house next to the library, and then became Al's Restaurant. The society purchased and moved up the street to the Asa Whiting House, and some time later the original Burnap house was demolished and replaced with a new house-like building that was home to a bank. The lower right picture in the collage is the new building.

The Holliston Historical Society, founded in 1910, purchased the Burnap house, upper right, in the 1920's. It remained there for over fifty years until it purchased its current property at 547 Washington Street, the Asa Whiting house shown as it was then in the upper left corner of the collage, and as it is now in the bottom left picture. Lower right is the site of the original Historical Society house, as it looks today with the new building.

In the late 1950's Russell's Market expanded to a modern supermarket, top picture. Now it is a CVS.


This was the First Baptist Church. The church relocated to High Street, and the church building became the Colonial Pharmacy on the upper level, and a hair salon in the basement.  Now it is a bank.

Downtown there was an Aubuchon Hardware, upper left, which is now a part of Fiske's. At the corner of Central and Washington, there was a market known as The Mighty Midget, or William's Market. Now it is the Holliston Antique Shop.


Top photo is the Oddfellows Block that was home to an Edison Shop, Knowltons Grocery, Jimmy Inches Market and Condon's Hardware. Now the Superette, Studio D and Brick House Realty occupy the first floor. Condon's Hardware is now Holliston Hardware on Central Street, in the building that was the Post Office until the late 1980's. The "New" Post Offce Building was the home of Temple Galleries, a gift and flower shop. That same building was once a roller skating rink, so the story goes.


Pictured in the upper right, on the corner of Railroad and Church Streets was the Timothy Daniels' "Cash Store", now an apartment building shown on bottom right. Top left, was a barber shop owned by Joe LaRosa. Now it is the office of Shea Insurance on Central Street.

There was The Donut Man, then Norman's, and now the ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts at the same location on Washington Street.

March 1, 2015. John Shannahan sent this picture of the Wilder School and the following comment:

"I remember Phil Natale. He was in my sister's grade and lived on Norland Street in The Orchards. Attached is a photo of The Wilder School from Dorothy Drinkwater Rees' "The Story of a New England Town" from 1974".

Tito's Country Store was a local popular store owned and operated for many years by Tito Rossini, brother of Joe Rossini who owned Walter's Dairy. It is interesting that Joe and Tito married Trotto sisters Ruth and Genevieve. 

Jing's Garden now occupies the former site of Tito's Country Store. (Jack Rossini, grandson of Joe, sublmtted these pictures)

Just wait a few days, months or years, and the Holliston of today will be history.


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Comments (50)

Loved seeing the old photos and reading the comments which brought back some wonderful memories. I was brought up in Holliston and graduated in 1956. My fathers and grandmother also graduated from HHS. I wanted to answer a question I saw. The Post Office was located between Jimmy Inches's store and the Edison Store on Washington St. before it moved to Central Street. On the other side of the street there has been no mention of Ted Leland's insurance office which was very small and beside Aubuchon's.

- Minnette Koffinke | 12/27/18 2:14 PM

Been searching the internet thoroughly to find some info on the Pot Belly Deli in Holliston, can't seem to find anything at all except this page. My dad used to get sandwiches from there in the 70s before it closed, Swiss cheese and roast beef, said they were the best subs he's ever had. He came back to England in 1981 had didn't realise to shut down. Can anyone tell me when it closed and where it was? Would be really interesting to find out.

- Nicole Stevens | 5/12/18 9:55 AM

So loved this article Bill Tobin! Thanks for your research and sharing of the history of our beloved town. My family moved here in May of 1956. We lived at the Holliston Poor Farm, owned by Paul and Evelyn Burke . We lived on the second floor is this wonderful old house until the house was sold in 1978. The Burkes had 10 children and had moved to Holliston in the 30's from Dorchester to fame (even though Paul Burke was a lawyer). The Fords, (my mother in law Marion Ford was the school nurse until 1974) moved to town in '54. Had such a wonderful time growing up her in Holliston! Loved seeing the pictures of the places so dear to us.and remembering all the great memories associated with them. Read through all the comments below and so enjoyed seeing them and remembering the many people who wrote in. How truly blessed were we to have grown up in such a wonderful place and time. Thx again Bill Tobin.

Melissa Malloy Ford

- Melissa Ford | 2/26/17 1:45 PM

The current post office was once the headquarters of Lifetime Stainless Steel. My grandfather owned that company for many years. He held his annual sales meetings at the Lodge on Highland street.

- Don Jursek | 9/27/16 7:52 AM

You missed an easy one in the old Trolley Barn. In the photo of Jing's Garden, just to the right you can see the building which was the maintenance barn for the Holliston-to-Milford Trolley. (Yes, there is an old trolley bed under most of Rt 16 to Milford). Also, the Timothy Daniels cash store at Church and Railroad once had a Print Shop on the second floor. I lived in Holliston from 1988 to 2011, and miss the town (and certain of it's residents) tremendously.

- Bill Whitley | 2/29/16 9:40 PM


Thank you for sharing your Holliston memories. They are living history and hopefully others share more of their own memories so they can live on through the coming generations. My Great Grandfather is Steve Bray. His son, my Grandfather, Jackie Bray, would always tell me stories of course of Holliston, including Steve Bray's dances in the Upper Town Hall and also how they would roll the piano put onto the street and play for these dances like you mentioned. "Swing and sway with Stevie Bray!" A fond memory from my childhood was riding my bike down to the Pot Belly Deli, once Tito's, with my brother and sister in the 80's before it closed. Let's all keep sharing! Thank you to the Reporter for periodically re-posting this as it gives everyone a chance to reflect on happy times.

~Angela Bray

- Angela Bray | 2/29/16 3:25 PM

Our family moved to Ashland Street in 1936. I went to Wilder School from 1st grade thru 4th grade and then went to the Cutler School. We went to First Baptist Church and were shocked when the steeple blew down the hurricane of 1938. I can still remember the wind howling that night.

A new church was built on the original site and is now a Bank I think.

Dr. Byrne was our family doctor and delivered 3 of my siblings at home. He delivered 2 of my sons, but I went to the hospital for those births.

It was so interesting to see all those old pictures of Holliston. I graduated from HHS in 1950 and my husband Chet graduated in 1947. We lived in Holliston until 1952 when Chet was drafted. He spent 4 years serving in the USAF and we were stationed in Biloxi MS for several months before going to Athens Greece for 2 years. We came back to Holliston in 1956 and lived there until we moved to NH in 1980.

- Laura Putney Smith | 2/18/16 10:59 AM

Of course I forgot Lester Alexanders Market and his red delivery truck

- Tom Laronga | 2/17/16 6:10 PM

I may be one of the oldest to comment. I do remember Holliston from 1940 on and what was on the Main Street. McKeens Drugstore where we had our vanilla cokes and or a sunday if one could afford it. The next to it was the Black Horse Resturant which became Petes now the Holliston Grill. Ater the Holliston Grill was Tom Toranto s shoe repair and my father Tony s barber shop opened in 1940 and taken over by his brother and my uncle Vic. Then there was William Market. Then on the other corner was Reemies Drug Store that I belive Don McKeen bought when the reemies retired. Next to them was Fiskes, then the first National Store and next to them was Aubuchon Hardware. Across the street Was Knowltons groceries, the Edison Company, then the Post Office then Jimmy Inches. Of course going down Central Street was Nellie Obiens, then a Fish Market in the back of Ken Roonies hardware building, then Dollie Brays store. Dont know if anyone remembers the blacksmith shop across from the fire department. No pun, but it burned down. Dont know if anyone remembers the dances put on in the middle of town first at the gas station with Steve Brays band and then moved to the tennis courts at Goodwill Park. Just a little from 1940

- Tom Laronga | 2/17/16 4:52 PM

It has been fun reading all the comments. I went to 3 grades at Wilder School. Miss Pond and Miss DeFabio were wonderful and I know I will never forget them. Rita, I remember that your dad and Joe would make the best cider and would supply my grandfather Mac with (what did they call it?) that he would drink in the old pumping station. Walter's was the focal point of East Holliston and "Ma" was always there keeping an eye on everyone. Ice skating on Houghton's with the fire on the island and the hot dogs from Tito's. I was pleased that some people added places I remember that were not mentioned in the article. Every time my sister and I and my son's are in Holliston, we drive around to see all the growth in places where we would play as children. Thank for the article and all the contributions from Hollistonians from the 50s and 60s.

- Janet MacDonald Eager | 9/7/15 3:07 PM

i remember kids going to school at the church in the 60s. Some other memories were costa's market at concord & Washington and the pharmacy at exchange & Washington. My gen loved the soda fountain at colonial pharmacy which I think then moved to st. Mary's teen center.

What's going to happen with Andrews school?

- george g | 3/1/15 7:59 PM

Warren Yes first natonal was next to Annie Fiske papet store

Later they took down a common wall as nd expanded Fiske store

- William Stickney | 3/1/15 6:28 PM

I have a question rather then a comment.

During the middle 1940's we would come from Natick to Holliston for an ice cream.

We would then walk around the center of town. I thought there a First National store where the Aubuchon was located at that time?

Can any one tell me if it was there?


- Warren Legee | 3/1/15 11:13 AM

I remember Phil Natale. He was in my sister's grade and lived on Norland Street in The Orchards. Attached is a photo of The Wilder School from Dorothy Drinkwater Rees' "The Story of a New England Town" from 1974.

- John Shannahan | 3/1/15 10:35 AM

I was searching for a photo of the old Wilder School in East Holliston, a 2 room school for 2nd graders that I attended in 1961-62. I lived in east Holliston from 1959 to 1967, age 5 to 13. It was a paradise growing up there, and rambling the woods, Hulbert's fields and fishing at Mill Pond and the trout stream that was fed by the waterfall off Mill pond. The schools were great - I moved to Newton in 8th grade where the schools are celebrated as top shelf, but I think Holliston's schools were superior. Good people and good neighbors - just a fantastic town to grow up in. Loved Walter's Dairy, Tito's Country Store before it became Honey Farms, and shopped at Russell's Market. Fire Dept. was volunteer, and the Police Station was inside the old town hall across from St. Mary's Church. I actually went to kindergarten at the Congregational Church in 1959-60, which was next to the old town hall and across from St. Mary's. I served as an alter boy at St. Mary's in 1964-65, when the mass was still in Latin just before it changed to English, which was in 1965. Holliston is deep in my heart and always will be.

- Philip W. Natale, III | 4/18/14 11:02 AM

Kevin, I remember the Pot Belly Deli very well. Great place.

I also can't help but remember the evening of August 13, 1981.

Officer Johnny Johnson was shot and killed that night right next to the Pot Belly Deli.

I can't think of one without thinking of the other.

What a sad day that was in Holliston.

HiHo Roberto B! Long time dude.

And Lise K...say "Hi" to your Big Bro Jay for me.

- Brad Mattscheck | 1/31/14 2:24 PM

i remember Cinnamon! used to get my hair cut at joe larosa's, and john's

went to school with several of the people who posted below. don't live there, but drive through holliston every day. keeps me grounded.

- david dennis | 4/12/13 9:19 PM

Love hearing the old stories about he history of Holliston. I have been lucky enough to have lived next store to Sue and Jake Hagan for the last 17 years. Unfortunately Jake has recently passed away and the neighborhood is heartbroken. Jake and Sue have taught my family that neighbors can become family and without a doubt what East Holliston was like in the old days! Mrs. Rossini Baker, and Mr Hart...would love to have you over for coffee to chat about your memories of the neighborhood. Please feel free to reach out to me if you wouldn't mind sharing some stories. I would love to welcome you to our old east holliston home to listen to your stories about the neighborhood.


- Kevin Quinn | 3/3/13 2:13 AM

Is anyone out there old enough to remember when the East Holliston pumping station blew up? Our water supply at the time was from Houghton's Pond. Also,remember the 1938 hurricane that scarred the whole town with wind and water damage.Remember when my father and uncle delivered ice all over town until the electric refrigerator took over. Remember when they had the cider mill next to the ice house in back of Gate's Garage -And Tito's Country store where you could buy just about everything you needed seven days a week. Remember when a dollar was worth a dollar? Those were the days.

- Rita Rossini Baker | 2/23/13 10:47 AM

Love reading these comments. I grew up in East Holliston and can share some memories. I learned to skate on Houghton's Pond, learned to fish in the Mill Pond, and learned to swim in Lake Winthrop. I was a paperboy for Gene Hartnett (Fiske's) '64-'66 and would receive my papers at Finn Bros. Mobil station across from Walter's Dairy. Francis Finn, the youngest brother, ran the station while Ray, the middle brother ran the excavating/earthmoving business. Francis had a strong personality and was not shy about telling us kids how difficult it was at "The Battle of the Bulge".

I remember Gates garage (and the gallery) and had a good chuckle at the comment about being nearby when the fire alarm started up because that happened to me too. I was on my way to Tito's (Rossini) store and as I was walking past Gates'...WAAAA UHHH...WAAA UHHH... I'm sure I jumped high off the ground!

Anyone remember the Post Office in East Holliston and Mrs. (Frances) Danforth who ran it? How about "Sonny" Costa making deliveries in the jeep? Bob Taylor, our neighbor, working on people's roofs? Remember the network of old cart roads in East Holliston and how much fun it was to explore them when you were quite young? Remember the "cliff"?...the blueberry patch?...the old saw mill?

If you grew up in East Holliston in the '50's and '60's and rode the school bus, you remember Mr. (Rollo) Leland who drove Bus 4 (East Holliston) for many, many years. You also would remember John, the barber, whose shop was between Finn Bros. and Costa's Market. Remember "Dennis" Daniels, one of the first bodybuilders in town, and his muscles?

- Richard Hart | 2/22/13 3:41 PM

I too grew up in your wonderful town, and lived on High street from Jan of 1944 until I moved to NJ in 1984. I'm fortunat that I'm still abel to able to still visit the area on frequent business trips It was a great place to grow up in. Robert Morgan HHS class of 62.

- Robert Morgan | 2/22/13 1:22 PM

I really enjoyed this article. I am a newcomer, compared to the others that have commented on this article. I have lived in Holliston 16 year next month. My husband and I were living in a 4th floor walk up, overlooking the Mass Pike. It was quite a change. Holliston a is a great town and community. I remember when I moved here I had to call the Town Clerk's office and the Town Clerk at the time answered the phone, Nancy Norris. I was impressed! Thank you for sharing all the great memories of Holliston.

- Martha Conroy Powell | 2/22/13 10:51 AM

What great memories to see these pictures and read all the comments from Townies! Thank you Bill. No one mentioned the Pot Belly Deli which I believe predated the Honey Farms which is now Jings Restaurant. Best subs ever made!!

- Kevin Clancy | 2/22/13 8:38 AM

I really enjoyed reading all the comments and wish I now had copies of all the historical info that my dad (Fred Cole) gathered for the Historical Society. He helped produce quite a slide show I believe but when I was young I paid little attention. I do remember him telling stories of speaking at Town Hall on many occassions. I treasure the photo of Russells that was shown. I vaguely remember the day that the original Russells was demoslished next to the site where the new store was constructed. I spent many summers at Camp Patoma and GoodWill Park and in the playground area and grounds of Andrews School and rode the back streets from Washington St to Pleasure Point or Russells and to the Adams and Fred W Miller Schools. My mom recently passed away and we sold the house on Washington St and that was so hard to say goodbye.

- Caroline Cole Schroeder | 8/30/12 12:01 AM

I was not born in Holliston but spent the majority of my chilhood there. I spent my summers riding my bike to the Park and climbing "The Cliff", going to Lake Winthrop and visiting the local library where I checked out as many books as I could carry home and sat on our front porch reading.

I remember so many of you and loved my years in Holliston.

Sadly, Ann Honey passed away this past summer, she will be missed.We spent many hours together exploring, going to school and Holliston High Football games.

- Judi | 1/5/12 12:31 PM

"Helen (Nellie) O'Brien's women's store carried lovely blouses, lingerie, scarves, etc."

When I was a young girl in Grade School in the 60's I would "shop" at this wonderful Mrs. O'Brien's shop. I would pick out something I thought was just Beautiful - for my Mom. Just a hankie, my saved little money. Mrs. O'Brien would box the treasure and wrap it and put in her scented tissue paper for my Mom's present. I would walk home with the present just sooooo proud. Mrs. O'Brien was a lovely woman to do that for a kid.

- Karen LaRosa | 1/4/11 8:09 PM

Post office was where Condon's hardware was. Odd Fellows Block. Postmaster was Bill Hayes.

- Henry Damigella | 6/12/10 2:37 AM

Hi again, I keep coming back to this link to see if there are any new comments...the folks who respond are a "memory lane" in themselves!

Another trivia question: Where was the Post Office located BEFORE it went to Central Street?

Keep this link's a great way to get folks thinking of the good old days and old friends.

Ann Honey Mastroianni, not too far away in Sandwich, Cape Cod

What is Lake Winthrop's real name? What does it mean?

- Ann Honey Mastroianni | 2/21/10 2:12 PM

The hardware store was State Lumber on Central, and the fire was caused by ligtning, in August 1983 which destroyed the building and contents. The cellar hole remains today.

- Bill T | 2/19/10 3:09 PM

Does anyone besides me remember when the Hardware company on Central street caught on fire? Lordy I remember going to the Donutman or Pete's with my dad when I was young on Saturday's for breakfast. Or the blizzard of 78 when Russell's rationed one loaf of bread and one gallon of milk to a customer. We had to call ahead to let them know we were shopping for 5 families as we were the only ones that could get out. The photos and others memories sure brought me back to Massachusetts and many fond memories of my hometown thank-you

- Lise Kuhlmann | 2/19/10 1:16 AM

I loved the photos. I think I was one of the first "paper girls" Fiske had. My dad was the pastor of the Baptist church when it was sold to the pharmacy, and the church relocated to High St. I now live in Reno Nevada. I'm a long way from home.

- Brenda Harris Carlson | 2/9/10 12:29 AM

I remember working at Russell's in the 70's with Roy, Andy, Jeff, Dane, Bruce and the Waugh's. That was my first job - I was still going to HHS. A lot of good memories...

- Bob Bolandrina | 1/24/10 9:48 PM

I was brought up in Holliston, as was my mother and her mother before her. My grandmother, Grace Moynihan Hoey's family has a window named after them in St. Mary's Church. Her 119th birthday would have been this past week. My mother, Mary Hoey Williams, drove a truck delivering groceries for Williams Market (no relation)during WW II. I remember many of the names and places listed in the postings. I used to babysit for Bill Tobin's kids too!

- Mary Ellen Williams Pierce | 1/20/10 7:29 PM

Having been born in East Holliston, I was lucky enough to attend my first 2 years of school at the Wilder School on Baker Street. Remember Miss Pond and Miss DeFabio. I worked at Grey Lawn Kennels on Concord St. and the Dairy in High School. Holliston was the greatest place to grow up because everyone looked out for everyone else. Louie Holbrook and his Son Henry were our police chiefs, and they were always kind and helpful to us teens. The magnet in Holliston keeps drawing me back.

- Laury Bliss | 1/19/10 2:25 PM

The Holliston tradition continues! I read with interest the memories of our elder Holliston residents and wanted to assure you that it remains the same. I am born and raised here, graduated from Holliston High and did everything "Holliston" - swimming lessons at the Lake, tried to push over the rock, milkshakes at Walter's. My son, who turns 17 today has also done all those things (and still calls it Pete's thank you very much) and will graduate from Holliston High next year. In many years to come, I'm sure he will recall the wonderful childhood he had in the "good" little town of Holliston!

- Jill Anderson Roberson | 1/13/10 1:05 PM

Over this past Christmas season I had the pleasure of reading one of the most exciting and entertaining books I have ever read ---" Holliston,A Good Town " by Joanne Hulbert .It is 560 pages or so and takes you from the very beginning in the early 1600'and the early settlers when the town was part of Sherborn right up to the 1950's and our favorite place of all time " Walter's Dairy ".Did you know that Ted William's had an accident in East Holliston ( which of course was accident of history itself---just kidding Don ). Along with that book you need to have sittting close by 'Images of Holliston " published in 1997 by the Holliston Historical Society and volumeII published in 1999.The images in Vol ll are really exciting because so many are ones we can relate to in our time.Don and Dave there is one of your Dad with Doc Holbrook and Jimmy Inches----the Officers of the Mount Hollis Lodge Masonic Temple.Don there is also a picture of the Holliston Flyers and low and behold right in front of Louie Iarussi is Donnie Bliss. There is even pictures of Chief Holbrook, who I will never forgive for taking my license away from me ,on the very first day that I had it. What was the big deal that coming back from Walter's Dairy I was passing Bobby Moore at the crest of the Hill gouing into the center of the town and the Chief, in the only cruiser in town was coming up the other side ---big deal he had to move over a little --actualy he ran of the road?? It was a great time for us , Holliston and I think our country.I understand they only printed 500 copies of ' A good Town ' so it may be difficult to find a copy but it would be worth the effort. By the way I'm sure that Joanne would agree that Holliston was then and still is a "GREAT" town. There is a reason she used the word " Good " but you have to read to find out why.

Dick Lockwood Class of 1958

- Dick Lockwood | 1/10/10 8:28 PM

What wonderful memories! Thanks to all for the article and comments. It gives a sense of place to remember most of what's in the article and most of those who sent comments. In response to Bobby Blair: I remember when the first school cafeteria was built at Andrews School, and before that we went home for lunch in the middle of the day. And, related, that we needed "milk money" because Kampersal's delivered milk to school. Secondly, something NOBODY ever knew until now. I did get money from my savings account with a fake note from my mother, Erma Mouzar, before she worked at the bank. I was scared to death that Miss Twitchell (Betty) would figure it out and not give me my $25, or that, worse yet, she'd tell my mother! I'm sure many remember the bonfires at Goodwill Park and the carnivals that came each year until the polio scare put an end to it. We're talking about much simpler times, and I'm sure we had a lot more fun!

- Irene (Mouzar) MacKeil | 1/6/10 12:33 PM

I grew up in Holliston, and one place that should be mentioned, is The S. WILDER Co. a lot of us learn'd different trade's there. I for one made COPPER AND BRASS AND PEWETER LAMP'S there for a few year's. I lived right across the street from the GATES BROTHER'S, and my dog got kicked out of the padock by Clarence's horse, CINNAMON, The dog never went back there again.There is a lot of HISTORY in EAST HOLLISTON, I would like to here more from outher people on that subject. It was a GREAT TOWN when I lived there. AL WEHR

- Alan Wehr | 1/5/10 11:48 PM

What my brother Dave forgot to mention in his comment is that we grew up in "East" Holliston and may have had some different memories than the folks "up town" or even way up in Bragville. How about Costa's Market and Finns Mobil station accross from Walters dairy? Do any of you remember the special calendars plastered all over the office in Gates garage or when the fire whistle blew at noon? If you happened to be walking by at the time it would scare the bejesus out of you.

Fireman's Musters and the old pumper. One of my favorite memories was ice skating on Houghton's Pond and the night time parties and pick up hockey games and perhaps a fire on the big island that sometimes got a bit out of control. Another memory was leaving the house bright and early on summer mornings and heading for Goodwill Park and a day of baseball and tennis. Of course we had to be home at six for dinner. And amazingly we didn't have cell phones. Playing baseball on the Holliston Flyers team before Little League came to town. Football at the High School re-introduced after many years for the graduating class of 1958.Remember when the trains came through town and there were stations up town and also in East Holliston? Good time memories from a member of the Class of 1958.

- Don Bliss | 1/4/10 4:50 PM

We never knew how good we had it in Holliston.

Thank you Linda Condon.

Hey Guy... ! I have a Holliston coin.


- John Amico | 1/3/10 4:41 AM

Lord, love a duck, excellent comments being sent in. I'm down in Fredericksburg, VA now and used to tap dance and sing in those Minstrel Shows. Imagine putting one on in this day and age, you'd be run out of town on a rail. Through the years on job applications I would put down I was born in Holliston and get weird looks and comments; "There aren't any hospitals in Holliston." Try to explain that my Grandmother Chesmore had a very busy birthing room in her house. Those were the good old days when everyone looked out for everyone else, my goodness we could walk to Walter's Dairy in the evenings and never worry about anyone bothering us. It's also good to see the names attached to the former 9 comments, Hugs to you all. - Missing Massachusetts, Joanne.

- Joanne Spinney Wood | 1/2/10 6:22 PM

Some more memories. Russell's (when it was a small grocery)delivered and your order was handwritten on a slip. Payment was at the end of the month (with a few candies included in the end of month order). Helen (Nellie) O'Brien's women's store carried lovely blouses, lingerie, scarves, etc. Next door on Central street was Cammie's Beauty shop. And who could forget Alexander's Market? Also on Central Street was the Central Spa owned by Margaret "Dolly" Bray Gillen and Ken Rooney's TV store. The fire station whistle at one time blew at 9 p.m. (war time curfew- later we mused that was the time the sidewalks were pulled in). Celia Haley had a box in her home on Mechanic street that sounded the numbers for fire alarms. "Ma" Rossini's name was indeed Genevive. Jimmy Inches ran a dry goods store...and one could go next door and pay your utility bill and buy appliances at the Edison Store. I think the Post Office was in that same block too.

For Dick Riordan, my brother Tom was I believe a classmate of yours at St. Mary's in Milford. We remember your family from Norfolk Street. After a storm one time there was a long power outage and all the ice cream was melting in those huge tubs at MacKeen's drugstore and at Central Spa. The word got out and we all had a field day with free ice cream and giant stomach aches the next day.

- Mona Bray | 1/2/10 2:03 PM

Ah, those were the days. The Kampersal's delivered our milk, Cushman Baker's delivered our bread and Tony Amico our bleach. I think Ma Rossini's first name was Genovive. Dr. Clancy was still making house calls, and Ethel Vaughn or Irma Mouzar at the Holliston/Hopkinton Saving Bank would ask you for a note from your mother if you wanted to withdraw money from your saving account. Bert Gates was the treasurer for the American Legion and carried all the Post's money around in a cigar box.Holliston even had a taxi service way back when - Friendly Taxi owned by Steve and Orrie Honey.

- Bobby Blair | 1/2/10 10:27 AM

Each picture nourished my soul with delightful memories of a time which will not return to reality, but will live on in memories. What a wonderful life we had!!

Say, does anyone still have the first Holliston coin? It would be fun to see if we could re collect and display them.

Thanks for the memories.

- Guy Amico | 1/2/10 12:27 AM

GREAT memories. May I add a few comments / additions to the pictures?

The pic of the Hollis Hotel also housed Gilmore's Grocery store. William's Market was once where the Holliston Antique Shop is now. Also, between Aubuchons and Fiske's (actually the left door of the two at the front step of Fiske's) was a First National grocery store. They tore the wall down to enlarge Fiske's. Does anyone remember Ted who was at Fiske's forever?? The rounded corner of that building was Reemie's Drug Store, just a block away from McKean's Drug Store.

Does anyone remember Nellie O'Brien's hoisery store (first door on left on central st.)? That was way before LEGGS! All nylon stockings came in boxed and Nellie would put her fist in them to demonstrate their color.

My dad, Bill Honey, was in a lot of the minstrel shows. I have a picture of him in blackface walking a duck down the aisle.

How about Taranto's shoe repair (or was it Bette's)?

Wheeler and Ward's garage on the corner of exchange and mechanic? Drs. Byrne and Clancy?

What was Ma Rossini's real first name?

The fire station blew box numbers for fire locations. Remember listening for the "no school" blasts on those snow mornings?

Goodwill Shoe? Shawmut Waxed paper, Fair Grain, Wirthmore Feeds? I could go on and on and on.

Great place to grow up. Great memories. Thanks so much for the memories.

Ann Honey Mastroianni

now of Sandwich, Cape Cod

- Ann Honey Mastroianni | 1/1/10 5:27 PM

WOW!! Great to look back and see all the old places, I also was born and brought up in Holliston. All the old stomping grounds. I haven't even heard of Minstral Shows since I left Holliston. We had such great fun putting them on, and it was a great show for all. Thanks for the memories!! Jo

- JoAnn Lord | 1/1/10 3:54 PM

Remember when! I love these memories of growing up in Holliston in the 40's. I even remember George Snow and his booming voice from Steve Bray's Minstrel Shows. I grew up on Norfolk Street, and am now retired in Michigan. Anyone remember me?

- Dick Riordan | 1/1/10 1:20 PM

I was born in Holliston almost 72 years ago, grew up and graduated from the old Hollistn High School. What wonderful memories I have of those days. The Black and White Frappes hand made at the Drug Store, Breakfast at Petes and the summers swimming at Stoddard Park. Thanks for the memories.

David Bliss, Class of 56

- David Bliss | 1/1/10 1:09 PM

Great article. Ahhh, the nostalgia

back in the days when everyone knew each other, town politics was resolved in the back booth of the Blackhorse resturant, every teen age girl did a stint of waitressing at Walter's Dairy.What a wonderful town to grow up in. If you put out a picnic lunch at Stoddard Park, within minutes 5-6 families added to the spread for all to enjoy. If the world could only be like that again. Happy New Year Bill and the whole staff of Holliston Reporter. Snowy

- George Snow | 12/31/09 3:40 PM

Bill, thank you so much for this article and the photos. I have always wondered about the history of most of these buildings.

- Michelle Zeamer | 12/31/09 1:15 PM



Recent Articles by Bill Tobin:

Do You Have Icicles?

Do Icicles have a Message? What can we learn from their formation?


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Christmas Past

First published on December 3, 2011. Were you a kid or a parent in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's? If the answer is yes, you will enjoy reminiscing with the decorations, toys and stuff from those years.

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2014 Celebrate Holliston at Goodwill Park

Celebrate Holliston 2017 is on SEPTEMBER 16th Celebrate Holliston 2014 was a fun day for all, and weatherman cooperated too.


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2011 Celebrate Holliston Parade

Celebrate Holliston 2017 is on SEPTEMBER 16th The postponed September 2011 Celebrate Holliston Day went on as scheduled on October 1, 2011. The day began with a parade on Woodland Street to Central to Goodwill Park. The weather was threatening, but did not dampen the spirit of the day.


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Celebrate Holliston Back in 2008

Note: Encore from 2008. Everything in this article is from 2008. We have been asked to remove the article as it is confusing some. Our intent is to publish all the Celebrate Holliston events from 2008 to last year. Do you really want to forget the past? Celebrate Holliston Soon Another year has gone by and it is time to Celebrate Holliston again. Celebrate Holliston began in 1991 to promote civic pride, improve and preserve the character of the community..


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Recent Articles in Local Lore:

Meet Some of the Celebrate Holliston Sponsors: Part 2: Senate President, Karen Spilka

by Theresa Lamkin

Celebrate Holliston is proudly in its 27th year of celebration! It is a completely volunteer based organization whose goal is to raise money for the town while promoting unity and town pride. . . We could never meet our goals without the support of our amazing sponsors! . . . This year, we would like to profile a few of those sponsors and let them explain to you, in their own words, why they chose to support our event and what Holliston means to them.

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Police Log for Week of September 8- 14, 2019

by Paul Saulnier

How bad does your home have to look for someone to knock on your door and offer to paint it for you? BOLO for overdressed and overmedicated house cleaner. Did you get stopped last week by Holliston's Finest? If it's any consolation another 35 Hollistonians were bagged along with you..


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Lizzie Borden Program Monday, Sept 23rd, 7PM @ Historical Society

by Paul Saulnier

The Holliston Historical Society and the Holliston Library are co-sponsoring a talk on the mystery surrounding the double murder of Lizzie Borden's parents in Fall River.


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Civics Sunday: Celebrate Holliston Honors 2019 Citizens of the Year

by Yvette Cain

Celebrate Holliston, a town fund-raising non-profit organization established in 1991, honors volunteers Bea Hait and Ken Henderson as its Citizens of the Year. It seems only logical since Celebrate Holliston donates its time, energy, and financial support to worthwhile town projects that it would seek out those among us who volunteer their time and energies to make our community a better place to live.


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News from the Publishers

by The Publishers

On September 30, 2019, the current 11-year-old version of the Holliston Reporter will close, as it can no longer be hosted on modern servers. But we couldn’t let it go! So, on October 1, 2019, a brand new Holliston Reporter will take its place.


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