Cleaning Up Bridgewater’s History

Old Bridgewater Historical Society Board Director Carolyn Buck dug out her scrub brush and buckets and headed to the West Bridgewater town line on Route 106.  There she found a place to park and carried her equipment up the sidewalk to a non-descript looking granite marker not far from the railroad tracks and got to work.
The monument marks one of Bridgewater’s oldest historical locations.  In approximately 1659, Constant Southworth choose a small white oak at this location to mark the center of Bridgewater.  The town extended four miles in each direction from this chosen “Centre Tree.”  By 1827, the tree was over four feet wide through the center, and had died from internal rot.  It was pulled down and a granite marker with the inscription “C Tree 1827” was erected in its place.  189 years later, this tree would serve as the inspiration of OBHS’s new logo.
Carolyn used cleaning techniques she learned as a volunteer scrubbing gravestones for theFriends of Middleborough Cemeteries.  She used a biological solution known as D/2, which was developed for the safe, acid-free cleaning of stone markers and buildings.  Through her expertise, the lichen and moss growing on the stone were removed, allowing the original engraving to once again be seen.  Unfortunately, the numbers painted on the front of the stone in tar were not able to be removed, but she hopes to return at a later date to give it another try.  Regardless, she made a remarkable improvement.