Then and Now

I thought it would be fun to spend some time visiting places in town that either no longer exist, or have changed significantly over the years. These places are in no particular order or timeframe, and many have come from townsfolk like you who’ve asked, “Do you remember…?”

Romeo’s Plaza, located on Union St. (Rt. 135) between Metropolitan Ave. and the intersection of West Union, Summer, and Cherry Street. Owned by the Romeo family, the plaza consisted of Romeo’s Super Market, Kenneth’s Hair Stylist, Ashland Hardware, Mickey’s Restaurant (later to become The First and Last Pub, Green Acres Pub, The Iron Horse Pub, and possibly a few more that I don’t remember), and finally Ashland Coin-Op Laundry and Dry Cleaners on the end.

Now: CVS Pharmacy, The Dollar Store, Papa Gino’s, Ichiban, and assorted smaller establishments. Nothing exists of the original plaza although the Middlesex Bank was built during the Romeo’s Market era.

135 Club
Owned by the Kinnarneys and located on the Ashland – Hopkinton town line on Rt 135. Over the years it became known as the Turtle Lounge, Tork Lounge, and finally TJ Spirits owned by the Tomasz family.

The Railroad House
Built by Capt. John Stone in 1834 right next to the railroad tracks on Main St. Passing through numerous owners over the years, it was known as the Ashland Hotel owned by the Beaudoins, John Stone’s Inn owned by Cappy Fournier, and now Stone’s Public House.

Indian Spring Service
You would think that Indian Spring (automotive) Service would have something to do with Indian Spring. Indian Spring Shell, which was last owned by the McLaughlins before Motiva (Shell) took over the operation, is at the intersection of Rt. 135 and Homer Ave. The original building was actually on West Union Street next to Indian Spring Road. The property was owned by Bud Lang and sold to Sunoco in the 60’s. At that time, Indian Spring Service relocated to its present location on Homer and Rt. 135. Today the Shell station replaced tune-ups with coffee and doughnuts.

Crosti’s Grove
Owned by Hugo and Helen Giargiari, Crosti’s Grove was the place to be for bowling and night time entertainment in the 40’s. Helen was a popular singer at the time, and an old recording from a 78 RPM record was included on the DVD “Memories of Ashland” by Dave and Linda Herring. In the 60’s and 70’s Crosti’s was know as the Cricket Lounge. Its owner, Fran Horne, was a concert promoter of sorts, and even had the rock group Aerosmith perform there. After the Cricket closed, the building housed a variety of small businesses before it was demolished to make room for parking for the MBTA train station.

Whitney Beef
Located on Eliot Street right up to Rt. 126, it was one of the last operating farms in Ashland. I can still smell the manure as you approached Rt. 126. Undoubtedly one of the biggest projects in Ashland, Whitney Beef is now home to Fafard’s Ledgemere condo development. Along with the condos are Shaw’s Super Market, assorted banks, restaurants, and other businesses.

Renwal Farm Stand
Originally located on Rt. 135 on the right side of the road before the intersection of Waverly and East Union Street if you are heading towards Ashland. Owned by the Scotland family I remember it as a favorite spot for buying pumpkins in the Fall. The business later was run by JC’s Produce from Marlboro (I’m going out on a limb on this one) and then to Bekongreen. Bill Gath moved Bekongreen to Rt. 126 and the property on Waverly St. is now Ashland Landscape Supply.

Warren Telechron Co.
The reason we are known as the “Clockers” can be attributed to Henry Warren. Ashland is the home of the electric clock and the building on the corner of Union Street and Homer Avenue produced plenty. General Electric bought an interest in the business from Warren around 1917 and continued to produce clocks until the late 70’s. Today, numerous technology companies and Gold’s Gym occupy the place that once employed many people from Ashland and surrounding towns.

Koki’s Garage
Owned by Francis “Koki” Cerutti, the business was located on Waverly Street on the right, just before the Framingham town line. Today it is operated under the name D.F.C Auto.

ClockTown Package Store
Although the business exists today next to Fitzy’s Car Wash, the original was further down the road on Union Street just before East Union. Owned by Louie Natichioni, the property where the original store stood was to be developed into a strip mall. Unfortunately, Louie passed away and the project never moved forward. I believe the Fafard Companies own the property now.

Rocheford Arena
Yes, Ashland had a skating arena. It was located on Howe Street to the left after you cross the Sudbury River heading towards Hopkinton. If you look hard enough you can still see the arena’s sign behind a group of overgrown Arborvitaes. No longer an arena, the building is home to Terumo Cardiovascular Systems.

Well, that was fun. I know there are many more that I didn’t include, but we will visit this again. If you have a favorite, please send it to me and I will include it next time.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Steve Leacu for Ashland Directions