Framingham Blog Posts
Framingham Wooden Soldiers
It's that time of year again. When the cold weather has arrived, and people are putting away the lawn motor and getting ready to dust off the snow blower. It's that time when local Framingham residences are working the various back roads to get around the mall traffic.
Around town, people may see some large Wooden soldiers standing by some of Framingham landmarks.
History of the Wooden Soldiers
The wood soldiers originally came from the original Shopper's World as a way to promote the mall during Christmas season. Some children may think they are nutcrackers, but they are in fact soldiers.
I wasn't able to find the exact date that they were placed, but it they appeared every Christmas since the min-1960s. There are 23 12-feet Wooden Soldiers. There was one giant soldier in the center of the shopping plaza. Kids know that where Santa was.
When the mall closed in 1994, the Wooden Soldiers were sold. Nobody knows what happen to the large one. There is a rumor that it was buried under the mall.
Framingham Wooden Soldiers Game
The Town of Framingham acquired some of the soldiers when Shopper's World closed. The town places 19 wooden soldiers around various landmarks around town.
For some Framingham residents, there's a tradition of "Finding the Wooden Soldier." They grab some hot chocolate and venture out to find all 19 Wooden Soldiers.
I created a PDF Document to help record the location of the wooden soldiers. Download the document, print it and see how many your family can find!
To help you out on your journey, here's a list of places where they were placed in the past:
Bowditch Field entrance (2), Memorial Building (2), MutualOne Co-op Bank on Concord Street (2), Downtown Common, Cushing Memorial Park (2) , M&O Building, Loring Arena, Adesa, Framingham Centre Common, Old Library, Albie Russo's old gas station in Saxonville, Russo's old bank in Saxonville, Robinson's Hardware in Saxonville, Edgell Memorial Library, Tripoli Police sub-station
Largest Town in America
In 2012, CNNMoney ranked Framingham the 38th best small city in America. It was a surprise to many since Framingham has rarely made the top 10 list of towns in Massachusetts.
CNNMoney described Framingham as..
Located 20 miles west of Boston, Framingham celebrates its ethnic diversity, offering public school calendars in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It has a sweet job market to celebrate too; the town's unemployment rate is a mere 4.2% as of May. High growth has recently helped revitalize the downtown, which includes Hispanic and Brazilian retail shopping and restaurants. Completing the picture is an array of affordable housing options, from Victorian homes to multistory apartment buildings.
Framingham hasn't made the top 100 list on CNNMoney since 2002. The current Time/Money survey has Waltham (13), Newton (26), Norwood (78), and South Weymouth (73) as the only cities in Massachusetts to make the list.
Currently the Niche.com website has Framingham ranked #114 in the survey of the best Town to live in Massachusetts. The town gets high marks for Diversity, Outdoor Activities, and Commute. It lacks on affordable housing, cost of living and weather.
In 2013, Boston.com put out a DreamFinder list of "25 best places to live in Massachusetts." Framingham took the #14 spot. The article says "has a strong location score, above average schools and decent housing costs."
America's Largest Town
Framingham is currently America's largest town. After January 1st, the title goes to Brookline, Massachusetts.
Christmas Gala Music Selection
I am helping a committee of volunteers put together the music for the Gala. The theme that we selected is Christmas with some 1980s/1990s dance music.
Still Time to Attend!
If you're going to be in the Framingham area on December 8th, why not attend a fun event? There’s still time to attend the Gala! Head over to the Saint Bridget website and sign up. I don’t believe that there’s going to be any tickets available at the door.
There’s a large growing list of auction items, including:
- Wine Tower - One bid wins you a large selection of quality wines!
- Disney tickets
- An airplane ride to the Vineyard
- An Aruba Vacation
- 50,000 airline miles
- beautiful class projects from the youngest students
- Principal for the Day
- front row seats at First Communion and Graduation
Breaking it Down to Categories
We have identified the need for four main categories:
- Music for the Cocktail Hour - Need some quiet music so it doesn’t drain out people when they arrive.
- General Music - Start the Gala with some popular Christmas Music.
- Music for Dinner Time - Some nice Quiet Music while people enjoy their food.
- Music for Dance and Auction - Exciting music to make it fun night.
Christmas Music List
This is the collection of music that we have select, it’s pretty much a collection of some of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. We select the appropriate artist that most people would associate the song too. Since Saint Bridget school is a Catholic school, we wanted to include some popular Christmas music that would be played at school/church.
I thought I include the list here so other people that are putting together similar events can have a nice music to select from. All of these songs are available on iTunes. You can find popular music collections that contain many of the classic songs by Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and others.
Here is the Christmas song list in alphabetical order:
|Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)||Bing Crosby||3:14|
|All I Want For Christmas Is You||Mariah Carey||3:55|
|Angels We Have Heard On High||Andy Williams||2:32|
|Away in a Manger||Kids||2:38|
|Baby It's Cold Outside||Dean Martin & Martina McBride||2:54|
|Baby Jesus is Born||GARTH BROOKS||3:59|
|Carol of the Bells||Mannheim Steamroller||3:53|
|The Christmas Song||The Carpenters||3:40|
|Do you hear what I hear||Bing Crosby||2:45|
|Feliz Navidad||Jose Feliciano||3:05|
|The First Noel||Connie Francis||3:07|
|Go Tell it on the Mountain||Dolly Parton||2:43|
|Happy Christmas (War is Over)||John Lennon||3:36|
|Happy Holidays||Andy Williams||2:38|
|Here Comes Santa||Gene Autry||2:34|
|I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day||Casting Crowns||4:20|
|It's begining to look a lot like Christmas||Perry Como||2:39|
|It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year||Andy Williams||2:32|
|Jingle Bell Rock||Brenda Lee||2:10|
|Joy to the World||Christmas Carol & Song Children||2:10|
|Last Christmas||Ashley Tisdale||3:55|
|Let it Snow||Frank Sinatra||2:37|
|Little Drummer Boy||Harry Simeone Chorale||3:19|
|Mary, Did You Know?||Kathy Mattea||3:15|
|Mary's Boy Child||Bioney M||5:09|
|Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) [Single Version]||Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters||2:55|
|O Come All Ye Faithful||Casting Crowns||3:49|
|O Come, O Come Emmaunel||Citizen Shade||2:52|
|O Tannenbaum||Nat King Cole||3:01|
|Rocking around the Christmas Tree||Brenda Lee||2:06|
|Silent Night||Frank Sinatra||3:07|
|Silver Bells||Bing Crosby||3:06|
|The Star||Mariah Carey||4:02|
|There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays||Perry Como||2:58|
|White Christmas||Bing Crosby||1:38|
Framingham Holiday Tree
Next weekend, December 5th, Framingham will light up the last Town of Framingham Christmas Tree. Next year Christmas Tree will be the first for the City of Framingham.
Six Things You May Not Know about the Holiday Tree Tradition
- This is the 26th annual Holiday Tree tradition. Started back in 1991.
- You may donate one of your trees at by contacting Cherry Manuel in the selectman's office at 508-532-5400.
- When you donate a tree, the town will cut it down for free and plant another tree in it's place. The town will cut the tree down on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
- The tree stand is actually a man hole in front of the Town Hall
- This year's Christmas Tree took about 20 years to grow.
- The Christmas Tree lighting starts at 5:45 pm. Parking and Traffic is very busy around 5:30, recommended to arrive at least 5:15. Best Parking location is the Concord St / Howard Street public parking lot.
Edward F. Loring Ice Arena
The Edward F. Loring Ice Arena is Framingham’s only indoor ice skating rink. The area host public skating sessions, local hockey games and figure skating events.
The need for Framingham to have an Ice Arena because the Framingham Ice Hockey team would have to travel all the way to Worcester to play their games. In 1961 the team captured the attention of the town when they won the state championship.
Things I learned about Loring Ice Arena
- Opened in November 30, 1963. (In 2019 it will be the 55th anniversary)
- The arena is named after the former Framingham High School’s Ice Hockey head coach Edward F. Loring. He was the coach of the championship 1961 team.
- Owned by the Town of Framingham and operated by the Town's Park & Recreation department.
- Cost $535,000 to construct the ice rink in 1963 (Same Item would cost $4,312,572.06 in 2017)
- In April 2015, the Town of Framingham approved a $5.66 million resolution to modernize the arena. The arena will have to improve handicapped accessibility, better separate boys’ and girls’ dressing rooms and other adjustments. Construction began in the Summer of 2017.
- The ice rink is open from Labor Day through Boston Marathon Weekend.
- Loring Skating Arena is a cash only facility (There are no ATMs on site!)
- Weekend Open Skate cost $5 to get in and $6 for skate rentals. Rentals are only available on weekends!
- There is Infrared heater above the grandstand which is operated by a coin machine at the top of the grandstand. (4 Quarters for 30 mins) These machines are currently out of order.
Framlingham vs Framingham
Technically Framingham, Massachusetts should really be Framlingham, Massachusetts. Why the name change is the first mystery of the town.
Brief History of the Town Name
In 1662, the town was originally called Danforth Farms. The area was originally owned by Thomas Danforth who acquired the land by purchasing various land grants by the Massachusetts General Court.
After selling off some of his lands, Thomas Danforth started naming the area Framlingham after his birthplace Framlingham, England.
Born in Framlingham
According to historians, there are only three people that are recorded to be born in Framlingham, Massachusetts:
- Tomas Eames had two children, Nathaniel Eames (b. December 30, 1668) and Lydia Eames (b June 26, 1672),
- Joseph Bradish had a son named Joseph Bradish (b November 28, 1672)
Framingham not Framlingham
Then one day in 1673 everyone stopped calling it Framlingham. No one is exactly sure why the letter 'l' was removed from the name.
Since December 23, 1673, the Massachusetts County Court has recorded the name of the area as Framingham.
Some historians thought it was a clerical error - perhaps someone just left out the 'l' and it changed history. However, around 1673, Thomas Danforth started referring to the area as Framingham in his writings.
I wasn't able to find out what event/situation in December 1673 that caused the name change. I believe that it had to have happened sometime in December 1673 and that is why the Massachusetts County Court made a note of it. There was
Framingham wouldn't be an official town until another 26 years later.
If you have any insights please leave a comment below.
Celebrate Framlingham in Framingham
The town still honors the mother city, Framlingham, England and invited a representative to the town during Framingham's Centennial celebration. The person was treated like royalty.
Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer
Congratulations to Yvonne M. Spicer on being the first Mayor of Framingham.
Framingham will be the first town to be transformed into a city in the 21st Century. The last city in Massachusetts to make the transformation was the town of Garder in 1923. (93 years ago!)
Yvonne M. Spicer will officially take office on January 1, 2018. (53 Days from now) That’s when the Town of Framingham will be officially known as the City of Framingham.
Election Day Voter Turnout
- Yvonne M. Spicer - 9,128 (W)
- John A. Stefanini - 6,455
Total Voters: 15,583
- Yvonne M. Spicer - 5,967 (W)
- John A. Stefanini - 3,184
Total Voters: 10,994 voters
Interesting look at both candidates social media profiles on Election day. This is what their Twitter account looks like:
Evidentially Framingham voters don't use Twitter to follow their candidates.
Framingham Mayor Election
There are two remaining candidates in the running for to be the first Mayor of Framingham:
Framingham voters should check out the websites of the two candidates to learn more about their plan as the first town mayor.
Do you know?
Test your knowledge:
- Which candidate has an action plan for the first 100 days?
- Who will implement a six-month moratorium on new apartments?
- Which candidate will create a Framingham Planning and Development Agency?
- Which one will create a 311 Hotline to the Mayor’s office?
Endorements are Coming in
While Spicer did very well in the primary in September, John Stefanini has done a lot of campaigning in the last few weeks. In the process, he has picked up some key endorsements.
Yvonne Spicer Endorements
- Teri Banerjee Charter Commissioner, Town Moderator
- Adam Blumer, Charter Clerk
- Framingham Teachers Association
- Jordan Ramsay Framingham High Class of 2017 President
- Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund
- Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus
John Stefanini, Endorements
- The Central Massachusetts AFL-CIO
- The Framingham-Newton Building Trades Council
- Roofers & Waterproofers Union Local No. 33
- Iron Workers Local 7
- Carpenters Local Union 26
- Framingham Police Superior Officers
- Mark S. Tilden. Former Candidate for Mayor of Framingham
Not Over on Election Day
Framingham residents that are concern about the traffic conditions around town can make a difference even if their candidate doesn't win on November 7th. One of the responsibilities of the new mayor will be to appointment a new Traffic Commission.
The new commission will require four town residents appointed by the town council.
Town Charter describing the new commission:
(a) Establishment, Scope. Until such time as provided otherwise by paragraph (a) of section 1 of this Article, there shall be a traffic commission which shall consist of the police chief, the fire chief, the director of public works, the superindentant of schools, or each of their designees, and four residents: one from the business community, one from the downtown area (defined as the area within a one mile radius of the intersection of Routes 126 and 135), and two residents at-large. All resident members shall be appointed by the council, but shall not be members of the council. Such appointed members shall serve for 3 year terms.
Election Day in a few days
I believe this will be a much closer election than the primary. I still haven't decided on who I'll vote for, and it will probably be a game day decsion.
John Swift Dwelling House
Some Framingham residents may not know that there is a monument on the corner of Swift and Maple Street. The monument marks the spot of Reverend John Swift - one of Framingham first residences.
This is a monument to John Swift Dwelling House.
Six things I learned about the John Swift Dwelling
- Reverend John Swift came to the town of Framingham shortly after it was formed in 1701. He came from Milton Massachusetts to be Framingham's first minister. His church was located at Church Hill Cemetery.
- He was paid 60£ a year and give 100£ and 35 cords of wood to build his house.
- His original property was 140 acres for farming use. Today this would cover much of Framingham State University to the Sudbury River.
- Reverend John Swift died in 1745 and was buried near where he preached in Church Hill Cemetery. Over the years his grave marker became cracked and broken and replaced by the town in the early 1880’s. The original headstone is kept at the historical society.
- The town first official road was connecting the meetinghouse to the minister's house. This would be present-day Maple Street and Salem End Road.
- The monument address is 129 Maple Street, Framingham Massachusetts. This is a small plot of land (0.08 Acres) now owned by the Framingham Historical & Natural Society. It was last sold to the Framingham Historical Society on October 14, 1925.
- The monument was place where he lived in the 1800s. A replacement monument was placed on June 17, 1911, by the Framingham Historical Society (now the Framingham History Center.) It was replaced again in 2016 by the Framingham Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- When the new monument was placed in 2016, the land value jumped from $1,000 to $150,000. (There’s no indication on why the value of the land had a 150% increase.)
The Tablet says:
This Tablet Marks the Spot of Which Stood the Dwelling House of The Rev D John Swift Fist Minister of Framingham Born in Milton, Mass Mar 14, 1675, Graduated From Harvard College 1697 Ordained at Framingham Oct 8, 1701, Died April 24, 1745, in the FORTY Fourth Year of His Ministry in Framingham JAM Tandem in Domino Requievit Places by the Framingham Historical and Natural History Society June 17, 1911 Restored by the Framingham Chapter DAR 2016
The phrase, "JAM Tandem in Domino Requievit" is Latin for "At length in the Lord."
Finding the Monument
The Monument is located on Swift Road, in Framingham Massachusetts. You can see the monument as you drive slowly down Maple Street.
One more Thing…
Swift Road is named after Reverend John Swift. Seems obvious now, but most people wouldn’t know it when driving past it on Maple Street.
In the 1990s there were 8 women who partition the state to be free from murder charges because of spousal abuse. These women would eventually become known as the "Framingham Eight." They were free because of long-term abuse.
The publicity around these women brought a light of spousal abuse - in particular, who were the real victims.
They were called "Framingham Eight" because they were all held in the women's prison in Framingham.
Framingham 8 : the women who fought back
Four members of the Framingham 8 were featured in the "Framingham 8: the women who fought back" documentary.
Here's a list of the Framingham 8:
|Eugenia Moore||life sentence for second-degree murder in the 1985 stabbing of her former boyfriend||Was commuted in May 1993|
|Meekah R. Scott||8- to 12-year prison sentence for killing her boyfriend July 1993|
|Patricia Allen||sentence of eight to 15 years in prison||Sentence was commuted|
|Lisa Becker Grimshaw||convicted of manslaughter in 1989 and sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison for luring her husband, Thomas Grimshaw, to his death at the hands of two of her friends who fatally bludgeoned him with a baseball bat.||Given early parole in 1993|
|Elaine Hyde||Convicted for murdering her husband in 1985 and sentenced to life||Release on parole in 1994 after serving 6 years|
|Shannon Booker||Was serving an 8 to 15-year sentence for the 1989 shooting of her abusive boyfriend||Parole in 1994|
|Debra Reid||Stabbed her partner to death on Aug. 12, 1989 and Served 9 to 14 years for manslaughter||Denied Parole in 1994|
|Patricia Hennessey||Serving an 18 to 20-year sentence for manslaughter for shooting her ex-husband on July 15, 1988|
Three Returned to Prison
In July 1997, Framingham Eight member Patricia Allen was sent back to prison for violating parole after being arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
In 1998, Lisa Becker Grimshaw was stopped by Leominster with her headlights off. She failed field sobriety tests, he said.
In 1998, Shannon Booker was charged with stealing a wallet from a woman's pocketbook.