Redman Block

11 Central Sq

1855

Architectural Style

Greek Revival, Italianate

Significance

Architecture, Commerce, Social History

Use Type

Bank, Commercial Block, Meeting Hall

Neighborhood

Bridgewater Town Center

Massachusetts Historical Commission Report

Architectural Significance

The old "Bank Block" or "Redman's Block" is the only pre-1900 masonry structure built on Central Square. This Greek Revival/Italianate building has a rectangular plan and rises three stories to a fully enframed attic. (Note wide entablature and dentillated cornice). Its ground floor features a modern glass and metal storefront. The second and third stories of its main facade exhibit five and four bays respectively. The 2/2 wood sash windows on the second story have simple white stone sills and lintels. The third story and attic windows contain original 6/6 wood sash. Brick making in Bridgewater dates to the 18th century. Further research is necessary to determine why so few structures in Bridgewater (with the exception of late 19th. c. Bridgewater Academy buildings) were built in brick.

Historical Significance

This red brick commercial block has significant historical associations with the establishment of the Bridgewater Savings Bank (1872) and the Fraternal Order of
Redmen (Bridgewater chaper). The exact date of construction and early history of this intriguing masonry structure is unclear. Further research is needed to unravel its Plymouth County Deeds. This Greek Revival/Italianate building may date to c. 1850. The 1852 Bridgewater map shows a small square structure between Perkins and Hobart's store and the old Post Office. At some point in the late 19th century, this building
may have been raised onto its present ground floor storefront. At any rate, the Bridgewater Savings Bank purchased this building from the Bridgewater Fellowship Lodge in 1872. The bank's first officers included Joesph A. Hyde, president, Lafayette Keith, clerk, and Samuel Pearly Gates, treasurer. During the late 19th c., its third floor was the meeting place for Masons, Odd Fellows, and other local organizations. From the 1890s until at least the early 1900s, the Post Office was located here.

From 1913 until recently, the Fraternal Order of Redmen met in the structure (hence Redman's block). According to Marie Holmes Ray, a longtime Bridgewater resident, members of their organization dress in Indian headgear and re-enact Indian customs. The Redmen currently meet at the Flagg Street School. Their sister organization is called the "Degree of Pochohontas".

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this structure housed a variety of commercial concerns and community organizations. These included Masons, women Christian temperance organization (2nd fl.) and the International Organization of Odd Fellows (early 1900s). Between 1896-1900, the Thomas Crocker House (now ofices of the Bridgewater Independent) was moved from this site to a lot behind the brick Bank of Redman's block. It was relocated to accomodate the Odd Fellows Hall building's construction.