About the Old Bridgewater Historical Society
Learn about our past, be part of our future!
The Old Bridgewater Historical Society was founded in April 1894, and was incorporated in July 1895 by Benjamin W. Harris, J. W. Nutter, F. E. Howard, Loring W. Puffer, Joshua E. Crane, Frank E. Sweet, B. B. Howard, Hosea Kingman, and George W. Hooper. Its mission was for the "collection, preservation, and publication of material which shall contribute to the history of the colonial township of Bridgewater."
In July 1900, construction began on the Society's Memorial Building in West Bridgewater. The land on which the building sits was donated to the Society by Benjamin Howard, on the condition that the building cost no less than $5,000 to construct. In order to raise funds, the Society sold marble plaques commemorating the original settlement's founding families. These plaques are on the walls of the building's interior. The building itself was designed by well-known architectural firm Cooper & Bailey and constructed by the company of Crowell & Briggs. Designed to be as fire-proof as possible, the building was dedicated in a ceremony in June 1901. Over 115 years later, the Society still occupies the building, which now serves as a meeting space, museum, archive, and office.
In November 1961, the building known as the Keith House or Keith Parsonage, was donated to the Historical Society by Howard and Jesse Anderson. The building underwent a major renovation to restore it to its 1720 condition, and is today operated as a colonial home museum. Being unheated, it is currently open to the public on Sundays during the warmer months of the year, and to members by appointment.
Today, the Society is managed by a thirteen person Board of Directors that meets monthly at the Memorial Building. They hold the Society's true to its original mission. The current vision and mission statements are:
The Old Bridgewater Historical Society is the leading center for the research and interpretation of the history, landscape, families, and people that made up the original township of Bridgewater, now represented by the towns Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton (North Bridgewater).
The Old Bridgewater Historical Society exists to promote education and research relating to the original township of Bridgewater, its inhabitants, and its history by collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting materials, artifacts, and information pertaining to “Old Bridgewater”.
The mission of this Society will be accomplished by:
- Lectures, workshops, seminars, and field trips.
- Creating and building interest in collecting and preserving genealogical and historical records of the colonial township of Bridgewater, which was made up of the present towns of Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and the City of Brockton.
- Collecting, cataloging, preserving, and publishing genealogical records, historical records, and artifacts relating to the colonial township of Bridgewater and making them available to the public.
- Bringing together of persons and organizations who are conducting genealogical or historical research of the colonial township of Bridgewater, and promoting fellowship and organization between them.