• James Walsh

Business Profile: 35-37 Central Square

Central Square has been a hub of commercial, civic, academic, and religious activity for hundreds of years, but growth accelerated after the Common was laid out in 1822 (more about this to come in a future post).


A commercial structure has existed at 35-37 Central Square since at least the 1850s, originally housing Lewis Holmes' store. Holmes served as town clerk, treasurer, and postmaster at various points during the mid 19th century. He was also active in the anti-slavery cause and held the first town meeting regarding it in 1839.


Holmes' store was demolished and replaced circa 1875 by an Italianate building with two ground-floor storefronts: one tailor and one grocer. By the 1900s, A.J. Elwell, namesake of Elwell Avenue, owned the building, which by then housed a fruit store and millinery (women's hats) shop, as well as a restaurant on the second floor. A laundry and printing shop replaced the fruit store and restaurant, respectively, by 1913.

Bridgewater Liquor Mart eventually took over both ground-floor storefronts and remained in the building until the early 2000s.


The building retained its original Italianate façade and storefront for nearly a century. The first and second floor façades were replaced in the 1970s with brick and wood paneling, although the third floor's façade (with scalloped wood shingles, original windows, and bracketed, peaked eaves along the parapet) remained.

Around 2002, the building was demolished and replaced with a mixed-use brick building.


On a personal note, I have strong memories attached to the old Liquor Mart building. I stood in front of it in shock as the New Jerusalem Church's steeple burned to the ground in 1994.


Further Reading

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