Photographs taken at the 1894 Bicentennial Celebration of Attleboro, Bristol, Massachusetts.
Dad says "These are prints I made ca 1942 from old glass negatives that I found in the barn at 128 Park Street. As you can see from the images, they were made at the time of Attleboro's bicentennial. I don't have any further info as to the photographer, etc.
"There were a fairly large number of glass negatives; however, I don't remember if they all were related to the bicentennial. Presumably they would have been close in time. My parents threw the negatives away during one of their moves. The prints I sent you were all I have and they were contact prints. I guess the size was 4x5, but I'm not certain. Unfortunately, the prints were a quick and dirty job at the time. I was anxious to see them and cheated on the development, knowing that I could always make better prints later."
I'm not that familiar with Attleboro history, so I'd appreciate corrections and additional information.
Thanks go to alert readers Ken Paille, former Attleboro resident, Joe Bieniecki, webmaster of Attleboro.org (where these photos are mirrored), and Steve Albert of the Sun Chronicle, who have provided corrections and clarifications for photos 2, 4, and 5.
From the Bristol County Massachusetts Local History and Genealogy web site, an article by George Randall, "Rehoboth and Attleboro," in New England Magazine, an Illustrated Monthly (Vol. XI, No. 2, pp. 236-237, October 1894. Warren F. Kellogg, publisher, Boston), a description of the Bates Opera House:
The opera house is a decidedly elaborate structure to be found in such a town; but its owner has looked ahead to the city which must exist in a few years. It was built in 1885 by J. M. Bates, the largest manufacturer in East Attleboro, who is the owner of several factories and who has been prominent in business matters for several years. It stands in Park Square, at the junction of Park and North Main Streets, is most attractive in its architecture, and a valuable addition to the appearance of the town. The main building contains a café, the post-office and stores, and the entrance to the theatre on the first floor; the second floor is fitted for a hotel; the third floor is used by the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias, and has one of the finest halls in the state. The entrance to the theatre is broad and lofty, leading to an elegant and spacious lobby. The house, with its gallery, artistically decorated, has a seating capacity of a thousand. The proscenium is a little over thirty feet wide and high, with a fine drop curtain. There are numerous dressing-rooms, orchestra room, and in fact every convenience for actors and audience. None but good plays are allowed upon the stage, and the people of the town and vicinity are thus given an excellent dramatic education.
I believe this is Park Street, shot from near the Second Congregational Church, looking toward the center of town: you can see the tower near the N. Main - S. Main - County - Park Street intersection, and you can't see the Second Congregational Church.
Note the street-level grade crossing - this was before the Arch was built (ca 1906).
Sanford Street School is the right-hand building; the left-hand building is roughly where the modern YMCA stands, and the East Attleborough Academy is out of the picture to the right.
Joe Bieniecki speculates that this location might be N. Main St. near where the Bungay River crosses.