Marshfield, Then and Now -- 1950-1990
From the book:
Marshfield Historical Society, 1920. [Courtesy of Marge Shreiner]
Back in the fifties, the beach area was the center of activity, more so than now. Brant Rock had a combination bowling alley and movie theatre (it burned down and was never rebuilt), and there was Estes Candy Kitchen, a lot of shops and drinking and eating establishments. And there was the Webster House, now Brian's Place, the Ranch House (still existing as the Ranch House), and the Rexicana Ballroom, that was famous for its big bands, dancing and bringing in crowds of people from all over the South Shore and other parts of the country (it burned down in the mid-70s and was never rebuilt).
Across from Nessralla's (which was not there in the fifties) was the Marshfield Drive-In Theatre. Mosquitoes and all, it was always busy (it no longer exists, remains as an area grown up with bushes and rusty pipes).
In the fifties the Police Station was located in Brant Rock where the DAV Hall is now located. There were approximately 8-10 permanent police officers at that time. The new station was built in the latter part of the 1950s on Ocean Street across from Southport (which was an apple orchard and farm at the time). The station has twice been enlarged. Now there are forty-six permanent police officers.
Coming up Ocean Street across from MacDonald's Restaurant (non-existing at that time) was a huge state-run pheasant farm. Later Russ Chandler's T.V. & Repair Shop, John the Barber's and a sub shop took over part of that area.
Marshfield Plaza did not exist in the fifties. The main shopping area was where Papa Gino's, Colonial Pharmacy, Tosbes, and Jackanson area is now (Papa Gino's did not exist then, Colonial Drug was the old Marshfield Pharmacy owned and run by Bob Archer). The First National Market, Toabe's, Buttner's and Duca's 5&10 were also located in that area. Later a new First National was built where the Ventress Library now stands (the library was once where Hancock Paint is now located, across from Marsh's Insurance).
In the block of stores next to the Congregational Church which is now Marshfield Office Supply and a travel agency, was once a pharmacy and gift shop owned by John LaForest known as 'The Ordinary." The gift shop had once been the area of the central post office. The Post Office moved to larger quarters where the Bike Shop is today, and was later moved to a new building across from the present Town Hall on Snow Road where it still exists.
In the fifties the old Town Hall (now the present School Administration Building and Recreation Department) was located on South River Street next to the Central Fire Station. The new Town Hall sits behind the Congregational Church common area (this is where Dr. Fortunow's home and office were located).
The school area was also on South River Street and the High School was on Rt. 3A across from the fairgrounds. Later, three grade schools were built -- Eames Way, Daniel Webster, and in the 70s, Governor Winslow. During the sixties, a new High School was built on Furance Street (which is now the Furnace Brook Middle School). About the same time, E. A. Martinson Junior High School was also built on Forest Street. The old High School on 3A was changed to Grace Ryder School for the sixth graders in the 1970s (now renovated for elderly housing). Later a new High School was built next to Furance Brook, which is existing today.
As the Town grew and the population increased, the beautiful fields and woodlands of Marshfield have made way for housing developments. Back in the fifties it wasn't unusual to see deer grazing in the backyards -- they have long since vanished.
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