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Lancaster’s Old Common and the Story of Native Son Horace W.S. Cleveland

May 7 @ 2:00 pm


(Preceded by a brief Annual Business Meeting)

Speaker: Heather Lennon, President, Lancaster Historical Society including research by Karen Silverthorn

Venue: Thayer Memorial Library,  717 Main Street, Lancaster, MA  (use rear entrance)


This colorfully illustrated and highly informative lecture will  be presented by Heather Lennon, President of the Lancaster Historical Society incorporating material research by LHS  Executive Board member, Karen Silverthorn.

About 375 years ago, the nearby Wattaquadock range of hills provided a gateway for early settlers of the Nashaway Plantation. The “Bay Path” was a trail for Native traders and early settlers to travel from coastal settlements to what was then the western frontier of north central Massachusetts.

In the early eighteenth century, a new generation of Lancastrians settled east of the Nashua and the “Old Common” area became a  lively center  of town activity. In the early nineteenth century, a small colony of residents from Salem, MA inhabited the area with Dorcas Cleveland establishing the Lancaster Academy based upon “cutting edge” educational theories of the day.           

In the1870s her son, noted landscape designer Horace W.S. Cleveland returned to his birthplace to design Lancaster’s Eastwood Cemetery  demonstrating a respect for nature that he had absorbed early in his education.

In 1854, the Lancaster Industrial School for Girls was established as one of the most progressive correctional institutions for women of its day. After the school shut down in the early 1970’s, the campus was divided and the western portion eventually became a location for the Robert F. Kennedy Action Corps.  The eastern portion has been under the Massachusetts Department of Capital Assets Management and Maintenance (DCAMM).  Presently the future of this eastern portion remains uncertain.

This presentation is free and open to the public.

 For more information, go to lancasterhistoricalsociety.org or call (978) 733-6907.


May 7
2:00 pm


Thayer Memorial Library
717 Main Street
Lancaster, MA 01523 United States
Copyright © 2020 Lancaster Historical Society, Lancaster, MA