Chelmsford Historical Society
Outline of Interview 1975 Henry Eriksen
14-born on Putnam Ave., Chelmsford,1898
20-went to school on North Road
24-hated school
32-remembers teacher, Eliza Spaulding
34-while in school, gathered around Center at night with a group of friends, smoking a nickel pack of cigarettes
55-walked to school from Putnam Ave, approximately one mile
61-there was always school, regardless of weather
63-streets were not plowed but were "broken out" with horses and soil plows
82-father was an iron moulder at City Iron Foundry
87-traveled to work by electric car
94-cars ran every half hour
98-autos began appearing around 1910-1915, only people with money could afford them
103-Henry didn't go into Lowell often
107-but he did go occasionally, to bowl or to the movies
114-"didn't do much of anything," we hung around the park in the Center until about eleven or twelve o'clock at night and just talked
123-there was a group of about ten or twelve
125-"we didn't do anything out of the way..."
133-there was a new taxi service in Town / occasionally rode to Lowell with a group to go to a lunch cart,cost .25
148-years around 1914-1915
151-Chelmsford Center was rather quiet after 7PM
153-there was a drug store where the present barber shop is; that stayed open until nine or ten
159-owned by Dr. Falls from Lowell
178-soda fountain
183-there was a Grocery Store in the Odd Fellows Building, built in 1898, Adams Grocery Store
195-Henry was always around helping Mr. Adams
211-worked for Eben Adams until 1923
215-then E.E. Gray Company, a chain store came into Town
222-worked briefly for S.W. Parkhurst on the Corner where the bookstore is today (junction of 110 and Billerica Street)
230-WWI worked at International Steel, making brass shells this was in North Chelmsford on the Lowell-Chelmsford line
236-then worked at Chelmsford Ginger Ale
241-went back to work for Adams until 1923
243-E.E. Gray bought out Parkhurst
251-needed manager, Eriksen applied and got the job
257-stayed there until 1969
260-in the early thirties Gray sold out to Gray United Stores, which then sold to Economy Stores,which is Stop and Shop today
265-Stop and Shop started in Boston as Rabonovich Creamery
270-1941, Eriksen bought store from Economy
276-Town Meetings used to be held upstairs over the store, It was known as Central Hall (this was before the Town Hall was built)
281-Town Hall built around 1880
285-Parkhurst Print Shop was upstairs over Eriksen's Store
306-Eriksen moved to 21 Chelmsford in 1948
319-Grocery business in the 1920's was much different from today "much better then"
334-comparative prices
347-people used to charge their groceries
340-a lot of money was lost,but "if you did business enough you could afford to lose some"
370-flour was altogether different
374-always bought in a barrel
378-people made their own bread
383-flour was sold in 25 pound bags
391-everything had to be paokaged, coffee, tea, beans, sugar etc. all came in bulk and were placed in bins and tins, then had to be measured and wieghted
404-no self service
405-everything was delivered
408-man would take orders while driving a particular route daily stopping to take orders from customers
414-returned to store around noon
416 -delivered in afternoon
419 -often accepted articles of farm produce in part payment for groceries
423-eggs t berries t etc.
427-no such thing as selling milk
432-Sweetsers Market in Hotel Block where Real Estate office is now o it was the only store that sold cream
440-milk sold for 5 a quart from Dairy Farms
455-horse drawn butcher wagons
462-Clinton the Fish Man
483-brought groceries from wholesale houses in Lowell, such as F.M.B111, Simpson Row, McKenzie on Church Street, Weisberg near Commodore
491-there were some in Lawrence also
494-meat was bought from Armor and Swift on Dutton Street
498-Market Street was lined with wholesale grocery houses
503-E.T. Adams had two Rio Trucks for good weather but in winter rented a horse
516-Eriksen drove the horse to Lowell for pickups used to tie it on a horse post on Market Street
519-E.T.Adam's home was where St Mary's Church is today
524-it was later moved to Fletcher Street
534-Center businesses, there was a house at the site of Goldens, the Post Office was next to the 5 & 10
544-Vlahos Block was a hotel, downstairs was a drugstore and Sweetsers market, and a Chinese Laundry
549-George Wilson's Hotel, stable in back; salesmen came into town by train,rented horses to carry ion their business
558-could board horses at the stable and take the electric car into town
562-stable keeper Fred Santew: lost one arm
564-story of cannon explosion on the Common 1889
569-Mr Santem worked with a hook,but he could do anything
576-story of the accident
580-Fourth of July,the cannon which caused the accident was scrapped during WWII
586-12:30, three men firing cannon, Simons, Thirston and Santem, loaded canon with ramrod
592-fired once, loaded again, someone should have held a thumb over fuse, but it was too hot and one of the men pulled his thumb away, Santem was ramroding the powder, the canon fired and one man was killed
601-Ralph Adams, E.T.'s son remembered the accident. At the time he was living at the Old Mill House, near the saw mill
610-one of the men ran to Adam's house for help
614-from there they went to 21 Chelmsford Street, Dr. Amos Howard's house (a son of Dr. Levi Howard)
621-speaking of another accident, Eriksen's brother was killed by lightning in 1906 while picking strawberries
639-Walter Perham was the undertaker, charged $33.50 for the casket, embalming and burial
644-in those days corpses were waked in private homes
649-neighbors brought flowers, and there was a wreath on the door
661-Eriksen has a picture of his home taken in 1880, given by Dr. Levi Howard. It showed a small buggy, a horse and buggy always ready to go
678-businesses in the center
680-1941 corner store became Eriksens, had previously been SS Parkhurst,
then SW Parkhurst, EE Gray

SIDE TWO
10-blacksmith shop
14-always busy, horses required much work
18-in winter, horses shoes might have to be sharpened every week
31-blacksmiths, George Wright, Santimore
47-the Ark, a house on the Corner of Acton Road (Ruby Emery Tape refers to it,Once a restaurant)
56-Dr Harris,horse doctor,office at the site of Care Cleaners
63-Martha Dadmun owned the house in the Center which is now medical offices (across from Mill House)
73-Purity and Marshalls area once a meadow
79-there was a bakery in the further end of the Odd Fellows Block
102-next door to 21 Chelmsford Street was a tailor Shop operated by Roy Parkhurst "it was quite a business"
117-Lottie Adams and the Adams Library
129-Eriksen remembers buying Waters' History of Chelmsford for three dollars
154-delivered groceries to Town Farm, it was a "good place"
161-remembers Old Martha (this recollection occurs also to Liza and Leslie Hannaford)
168-six to ten inmates
170-remembers delivering a lot of plug tobacco
177-didn't sell cigarettes
184-men worked around the barn, and the women helped out inside
197-Martha was about 65 or more
216-knows little of North Chelmsford, never went there
239-knew the Stewarts who lived at the corner of Newfield St and Groton Road
254-Moulder's Iron Factory was on Middlesex St., near the Lowell line
272-recreation as a youth, sledding and skiing
279-double runner, low sled, round runners, it was fast
287-runners were sharpened by use
293-started from the top of Bartlett Hill, 8 to 12 people on one sled
298-steered with rope
302-rode down Bartlett St., into square, up around the circle, or over the hill onto Chelmsford Street
309-had to plan around electric car schedule
316-the two houses on Adams Street, just before the Library coming from the Center were owned by Paul Dutton, a part time reporter for Courier Citizen, also worked part time at Parkhurst's store
322-esarned ten cents an inch for news reporting
323-Lowell Courier Citizen was a good newspaper; the Lowell Sun "isn't worth a damn"; Courier carried all the news from surrounding towns
332-Dutton didn't like people sliding by his house so he dumped ashes from his coal burner all over the street but the kids covered the ashes over with more snow
340-skiing on Robins Hill, down High Street
352-no fancy equipment, just a strap across the toe
357-on Sundays there were 50 to 100 people at Robins Hill
361-skating on Mill Pond
367-ran off into Beaver Brook
372-should have cleaned it out and replaced the dam during WPA Days
375-large crowds skated there
384-kerosene lamps, was all the light there was in one room
391-no central heat; warmth was provided by stoves; a cook stove in the kitchen, a stove in the dining room and one in the kitchen
395-no heat in the bedroom, "You'd grab all your clothes in the morning and run down by the stove to get dressed"
398-had to pump water by hand
399-all washing was done by hand
403-"didn't know any different"
408-no police in town,only a constable" but if you wanted him, you'd have to wait about a week begore they found him."
444-Chelmsford Ginger Ale, C.G. Armstrong started the business around 1900 making Ginger Beer there was a large fire in 1912
452-rebuilt and began manufacturing Chelmsford Ginger Ale
455-"Armstrong was a good man"; he was in part responsible for getting Chelmsford Water Dustrict through
458-Wilson Waters lived on the corner of Billerica St.and Chelmsford St., across from the Bookstore
461-Armstrong lived just beyond the Episcopal Church
463-Sidewalk between Water's House and the Church was very muddy so Armstrong put in a cement sidewalk for the minister
468-Armstrong was a "good man for the Town", sold out his business to Canada Dry during the 1930's
472-Armstrong was from New Brunswick originally; he always hired local people
480-Depression,WPA I there were lots of projects, workers earned between 15 and 20 dollirs a week
490-PDR was pretty well liked
494-Chelmsford was a Republican town,a good town
499-Jim Dunnigan from North was a Selectman as was Eben Adams
505-difference between Selectmen of earlier years and those of today
507-"These old Yankees were good people"
510-Eben Adams, Selectman,answered citizen complaints personally
528-Chelmsford Ginger Ale drew water from springs on Robin Hill

End of interview
Copyright 1997-2017. All rights reserved.
This website is maintained by Chelmsford Historical Society members. To comment, or report broken links, e-mail webmaster