McElwain, J. Franklin House
29 Park Terr
Single Family Dwelling House
Bridgewater Town Center
Massachusetts Historical Commission Report
The J. Franklin McElwain House ranks among the most stylish turn of the century houses in Bridgewater. Blending elements of the Queen Anne, shingle and Colonial Revival styles, its main facade is dominated by a handsome columned porch and broad gambrel gable.
This house was built in 1902-1903 for James Franklin McElwain (1874 to 1957). Mr. McElwain was born in Charlestown, Ma. on Sept. 8, 1874. He was the son of John Allen and Susan Gilbert McElwain. Upon the death of his brother William he became the president of the McElwain Shoe Co. This company began making shoes in a small building on Hale St., employing approximately 40-50 people. In 1898 the company moved to a large new building on Perkins Ave. (still extant) - J. Franklin McElwain's house reflects the prosperity of his family's company—it originally overlooked the lush grounds of Boyden Park (now the Bridgewater State College Campus). In 1902 J. F. McElwain is listed at 19 Springhill Ave. and occupied 29 Park Terrace (originally part of Elwell Ave.) in 1903. The McElwain Co. moved to Manchester, NH in 1915 and eventually became the Thom McAn Shoe Company.