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This afternoon we’re going to highlight a few postcards depicting the Bay View Grove area of Onset, located at Onset Avenue and South Boulevard around the turn of the century. All postcards date from the early 1900s as the third is postmarked August 2, 1909 and the last card is dated Sept, 2 1910.
The sample of postcards we’ve provided here illustrates the grounds which were equipped with small park benches and seats, inviting sitting and a gathering of people who could appreciate the scenery. The Bay View Grove was among the first areas of the parklike bluff to be developed in Onset when it was cleared in 1877. The Onset Protective League, founded in 1897, further asserted the public’s right of access following a lengthy court battle (1899-1915). The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decreed in 1916 that the bluffs, including the Bay View Grove, were to remain forever open to public use. This led to the creation of the appointment of Parks Commissioners, who cared for the maintenance of public lands.
We thought it was interesting to post the back of the “Lovers Lane” postcard, which could be interpreted as a subtle romantic overture from a male acquaintance named Frank to a 19-year old woman named Catherine Schraut, living in South Braintree (note the incorrect/informal spelling of the name – “Miss Kitty Schraute”). Frank writes, “Come over soon and you may get an auto ride.” While we’ll never know if Catherine ever took the gentleman up on his offer, we do know, courtesy of our Ancestry Library Edition database, that she died in 1948 having never married.
In addition to capturing a fine view of Onset Bay in the last postcard, Bertha Woodward writes to her mother-in-law, hoping for better times after dealing with a bout of neuralgia on her face and head while vacationing in Onset. The postcard was addressed to Alfred and Anne Woodward who ran a lodging house, The Ardmore at 93 High Street in Brockton. At the beginning of the postcard, Anne had written a letter to Bertha indicating she wasn’t feeling particularly well.
Midway through the message, Bertha notes, “Ms. Swain brought her gramophone over last night and she plays some fine records. Wish you could have heard it.” The postcard suggests a close relationship as she ends with the line, “Glad you enjoyed yourself while you were here. Keep up your courage.” Both were eventually buried in the same plot in Brockton’s Melrose Cemetery, as Anne lived to be 84 in 1935 and Bertha died at the age of 87 in 1966.