Friday, February 25, 2022


 "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee..." (from Deuteronomy 8:2)

Recently "out of the blue" I found myself thinking about what Framingham was like when my family and I were new residents in 1987.  (I moved out of Framingham in 2011 but I still miss the community.)  In many respects Framingham was a lot different in 1987.  If you're young, or if you did not live or work in Framingham prior to the twenty-first century, you just might find this interesting. 

Framingham was and is probably the most diverse community in Massachusetts.  Not only is it ethnically and racially diverse, but it's diverse in other ways, too.  There are some very rural parts of Framingham, especially in the area known as the "northwest corner".  Parts of the "northwest corner" look like some of New England's most rural areas.  Yet, parts of the Southside look and feel like Boston's blue-collar Hyde Park neighborhood.  They're pretty urban, congested and (sort of) "affordable".  There are really wealthy areas and poor areas.  That hasn't changed in thirty-five years.

Framingham was still a "Town" in 1987.  There were several votes taken through the years about whether Framingham should be a City.  I always voted for "City" but the change didn't happen till just a few years ago. 

There were a couple large employers in 1987 which are long gone:  General Motors and Dennison.  GM's plant was on Western Ave. near the Sherborn line.  I once owned an Oldsmobile which was built there.  After over forty years, GM left in 1989.  Dennison was located in several buildings on Howard Street and Bishop St.  What was their biggest building was converted to luxury apartments around fifteen years ago.

If you're familiar with the layout of Concord Street/Route 126 between downtown Framingham and Route 9, you'll be surprised that it was once very different.  Believe it or not it was two-lane in each direction!  The lanes were really narrow.  People drove it in a fast and furious manner!  During the fall of 1987, it was reconfigured to the way it is currently.  At the time everybody hated the change.  After awhile, drivers reluctantly adjusted to it.

I came as pastor of the small First Assembly of God church which was located at Hartford and C Streets. We sold that building in 1990.  I met some very interesting clergy men and women during my early days in Framingham.  Mason Wilson was the rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal.  He had been in Town for twenty-five years and had vivid memories of pastoring in Framingham during the days of the Kennedy assassination.  John Ambler was pastor at First Methodist.  He had spent a lot of time following Martin Luther King Jr. during the fifties and sixties.  Andrew Finger was pastor at Lutheran Church of Framingham, and Protestant chaplain at Framingham Union Hospital.  He'd been in Framingham since I was a toddler!

Duca's nightclub on Route 9 (where Walgreens is today) was a hopping place in 1987.  Among the most popular supermarkets were Big D on Waverly Street and another one on Franklin Street.  I also sometimes shopped at Purity Supreme in Saxonville.  A popular restaurant was Finally Michael's at Route 9 and Temple Street.

There was still a Framingham South High School and a Framingham North High School in 1987.  And of course there was Marian (Catholic) High School.  They merged North and South in the early nineties. 

The "old" Shoppers World was very much alive in that era, as was the original Natick Mall.  Shoppers World was a state-of-the-art 1951 shopping center.  It was one of the first of its kind in America.

I didn't use a computer until 1993 nor a cell phone until 1999.  The internet barely existed at all in 1987.  You should have seen the first cable box that Framingham Cable TV provided us with in 1987.  There was no remote!  There was an analog channel tuner on the box which you had to manually turn.  It offered a total of twenty-three channels.

Was Framingham better in 1987?  I'm not sure.  But I have great memories of that Framingham.  It was a very cool place!


Rachel said...

I miss old Framingham... I remember the supermarkets and we definitely need another high school. It's too crowded and too expensive now.

Unknown said...

That was fun to read! I miss the Old Shopper's World. I remember going there as a kid!