Byline: Melissa McKeon
COLUMN: THEN AND NOW
Leicester's Town Common in 1893 might look like a picture postcard and is no less picturesque today, though many of the historic buildings in this photo of Washburn Square have made way for more modern structures.
The factory at far left in the 1893 photo is long gone, but once it played an important role in the Industrial Revolution in New England, supplying carding tools for the machines that churned out textiles across the region.
Villages grew up around the mills in town. Leicester alone was composed of six villages: Leicester Center, Greenville, Rochdale, Cherry Valley, Mannville and Lakeside. Cherry Valley, Leicester Center and Rochdale still retain their names and their separate ZIP codes, but Mannville and Lakeside are now under water, having made way for Kettle Brook Reservoir in the northeastern part of town.
All the other buildings in the 1893 photo are now gone, except for the Unitarian Church (third from left in the 1893 photo). The building at far right was once part of Leicester Academy, and has been demolished. The tall spire of the First Congregational Church...