Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lake View Pavilion Foxboro Pictorial History

On July 4, 1906 the Lake View Pavilion opened as a family owned business enterprise with an ongoing tradition of service and hospitality to the townspeople and to the residents of southeastern Massachusetts.


1784 March 27: Simon Pettee purchased the land and erected an iron forge and blacksmith shop. Several decades later Pettee erected the Foxborough Thread Manufacturing Company, one of the earliest cotton thread mills in the area.

1832 June 30: Daniel Carpenter purchased the mill and operated the thread factory for the next forty years. It was during this era that the unnamed manmade "mill pond" became known as Carpenter Pond.

1871 June 26: John Dixon deeded the property, who initially manufactured interior decorations and table mats of pressed pulp and later operated a dye house on the property.

1875 December 24: Property sold to Charles Freeman, who operated a wool scouring mill on the site.

1886 September 28: Alexander Ross purchased the property and operated the wool scouring business until July 1898 when the mill was destroyed by fire.

1906 - 1926. Lake View Park and the Ross Family

1906 July 4: Lake View Park opened and was operated by the William Ross family. The original dance hall pavilion was 90 feet by 60 feet with a 4-foot wide promenade. Additionally, there was a dining room, a theatre, and a band stand that accommodated 25 pieces.

In 1907, renovations included a larger promenade, with roof and side coverings, 170 feet long by 10 feet wide with windows every 10 feet, each 6 feet by 2 feet-3 inches wide.

There were two entrances on the promenade facing the road-way, and one entrance on the rear, as well as a coat room and ticket offices.

Carpenter Pond was henceforth referred to as "Lakeview."

Young pines and cedars were planted along the shores of the lake in the vicinity of the buildings, flower beds were arranged in front of the main building which added greatly to the beauty and attractiveness of the surroundings, and a concrete walk was built leading from the dance hall to the restaurant building.

Dancing was provided three evenings each week; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and were patronized by delegations from many places including Providence, Pawtucket, the Attleboros, Norton, Walpole, Franklin, Dedham, Norwood, and even as far as Revere.

Patrons who hailed from distant towns would arrive by train in Mansfield and board trolley cars to Foxboro.

Recognizing the potential ridership business, the Norfolk & Bristol Street Railway constructed a spur line from the electric rails between Foxboro and Wrentham directly to the Lake View Park. The spur line ended with a rail loop for the return trip. The trolley cars were 40 feet in length, with a 30 foot body, and had a seating capacity of 40 people. The cross seats were upholstered in rattan and the sides of these cars could be re-moved in summer. They were fitted with weather-proof curtains to be used in case of storms and when the windows were out.

The original 1906 Pavilion dance hall remains the central function room of the 2011 Lake View Pavilion

1926 - 1988 Lakeview Ballroom, the Witschi and Crichton Families

1926. Lake View Park was purchased by Paul F. N. Witschi. The new management remodeled the pavilion to include a lady's room, men's smoking room, large check room, soft drink parlor, and a large screened veranda just off the dance floor running the entire width of the building.

"Lakeview Ballroom, The Home of Headliners"

Big Band concerts included the band leaders and orchestras of Mal Hallett, Duke Ellington, Phil Napoleon, and Ross Gorman. 1961. Lakeview Ballroom was purchased by the Crichton brothers; Ralph, James, and Edwin. They embarked on a business plan to expand the ballroom activities to become a destination for weddings and social events. A new function hall was constructed and the two structures were joined by a new central entrance portico.

1988 - 2011. Lake View Pavilion, the Kourtidis Family

Efstathios and Kiparisia (Steve and Kathy) Kourtidis purchased the Lakeview Ballroom in 1988. Arriving from Greece in 1981 in search of the American Dream, they purchased Steve's Greek Restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston where the entire family worked. The Kourtidis hospitality philosophy is to "treat your customers well and provide them with good food and the best service."

The ballroom was renamed Lake View Pavilion and is managed by daughters Anastasia Tsoumbasnos and Natalia Kapourelakos. Lake View Pavilion is considered a premier facility, especially for its personalized "Fairytale Weddings" that have set the standard for the wedding industry in the local market.

The Kourtidis family established the Lake View Charitable Trust which provides annual multiple scholarships to Foxborough High School graduates. It funds Boyden Library patron passes to museums and is a supporter of the Foxborough Discretionary Fund.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Boston Earthquake November 18, 1755: An Act of God?

Prior to today's earthquake, the largest one to strike Boston occurred on November 18, 1755. Many explained it as a warning from God to repent from sin.

The 1755 earthquake struck in the early morning darkness and was felt very widely, from Nova Scotia and Montreal in the north to Chesapeake Bay in the south. A ship 300 kilometers east of Boston felt the shock so strongly that the sailors thought they had run aground. The quake's magnitude is estimated to have been 6 to 6.5. It's the largest event in recorded history for the eastern United States.

The Boston Weekly News-Letter reported on 20 November, "Last Tuesday Morning about half an Hour past Four o'Clock, the Weather being serene, the Air clear, the Moon shining very bright, we were surpriz'd with a most terrible Shock of an Earthquake: The conditions were so extreme as to wreck the Houses in this Town to such a degree that the Tops of many Chimnies, and some of them quite down to the Roofs, were thrown down."

As the moon and stars shone down buildings swayed, people in their nightclothes rushed into the dirt streets, and weather vanes were flung through the air by the amplified motion of buildings. From the pulpits came calls to repent from sin given this sign of God's inscrutable purposes. Today we consider earthquakes natural events, capable of being studied and understood.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Almas (Sakaian) Shahabian: Armenian Genocide Survivor

Almas Sakaian, 15, was among the 150 survivors of a caravan that numbered 18,000 men, women and children. She was the sole survivor of her immediate and extended family. The Armenian girl was born in the village of Aghin, situated along the banks of the Kara Su (Upper Euphrates) River. The caravans were one of many that resulted in the evacuation and elimination of Armenian communities throughout Turkey. Commencing in the spring of 1915, the forced marches resulted in the death of over 1.5 million Armenians by starvation, dehydration, torture and massacre.
Almas’ sixty-five day forced march commenced in the regions of the Upper Euphrates valley. It followed the ancient trade route alongside river banks and gorges to the plains of Malatia. It traversed the footpaths across the Taurus Mountains arriving at the ruined castle site of Kiakhta. Passing through Aidiaman, the caravan forded the Lower Euphrates at Samsat. The caravan continued on to Urfa, Viran Shehr, Ras-ul-Ain and Aleppo.
Samuel Sakaian, Almas’ uncle, a naturalized American citizen, who had immigrated to America with the intention to bring his family there. After the outbreak of WWI, Sakaian was determined to return to his homeland and rescue his family. Assisted by American consulate officers and missionaries, he covertly returns to Turkey to locate his family. Soon after his arrival he is informed that his entire immediate and extended are all dead, except for his niece, Alma.
From Aghin, is a new screenplay (registered with the Writers Guild of America) richly portrays Alma’s story of fortitude, acumen and survival instinct. Her nature was to survive at any cost. Samuel’s obsession was to locate and rescue his brother’s daughter and return to America.
The screenplay, based on true events and historical documentation researched over a span of 20 years, From Aghin is their story.

For additional information please contact Bill Milhomme < >