Saturday, July 18, 2015

A long-gone motor inn, longer-gone ancestors and a sketch

Here's a fun piece of ephemera we came across while cleaning out 505 Oak Crest Lane. It's a piece of letterhead from the now-vanished Framingham Motor Inn in Framingham, Massachusetts.1

My grandmother used it, years ago, to write down notes from her voluminous genealogy research.2 It's filled with 18th century dates and names such as Hendrickson, Walraven and others that I cannot read because her handwriting was not stellar. There's a Sven (Swain) Walraven who married Cathrine (?) Hendrickson, and they had five children, one of whom died shortly after birth and another who didn't make it to his 11th birthday.3

Meanwhile, the reverse side of this paper features a partial sketch that was probably drawn by my mom...

As for the Framingham Motor Inn along Route 9 — "America's Finest Motor Inn" — I don't think it exists any more. I did find some interesting tidbits, though, while researching its fate:

  • A Framingham Motor Inn menu from December 1954 featured fried filet of sole for $1.35, chopped sirloin steak for $1.50, baked stuffed schrod in Lobster Newburg sauce for $1.50 and half lobster thermidor for $1.85. The dessert menu offerings included ice cream puff, apple pan dowdy and baked Indian pudding.
  • The inn had its own china at one point.
  • A commenter on the post titled "Great Memories Of New England Restaurants That Are No Longer with Us" writes: "Framingham’s most romantic spot might have been La Rotisserie Normandie, at the Framingham Motor Inn, where you could get flaming food!"
  • A New England School Development Council Conference on "How to Save Money by Really Trying" was held at the Framingham Motor Inn in October 1970.
  • Donald R. "Bob" Nelson, who died in 2008 at age 80, was "An accomplished trumpet player and vocalist [who] was the leader of the 'Bob Nelson Orchestra'." The orchestra was once a featured group at the former Framingham Motor Inn.
  • A 2011 commenter on the This is Framingham blog writes that there was once a place called "Vibrations in the old Framingham Motor Inn in front of the Waterview apartments."
  • The 2006 memoir 40 Hour Man, by author Stephen Beaupre and artist Steve Lafler, contains the following passage:
    "I was about to graduate from high school and had made plans with friends to rent a house at the beach that summer. I needed a short-term job to hold me over. That job turned out to be working at the Framingham Motor Inn, a faded no-frills motel overseen by a shadowy figure in a white linen suit who had a hook for a hand.

    "I was hired to wash dishes, but was liberated from kitchen duty by the maintenance supervisor, an easygoing character named Tony. All the maintenance guys loved working for Tony, and it was easy to see why. There wasn't much work involved. Each morning, he would round us up, hand out paintbrushes, and then vanish for the day. We responded to this honor policy like any other self-respecting group of punks: We went up on the roof and smoked dope.

    "The big project that summer was painting the motel pool, and Olympic-sized monstrosity that hadn't been touch in decades. I'd like to say we rose to the challenge, but that's not quite right. Mostly we sat around in the deep end, paint scraper in one hand, beer in the other, keeping one eye out for Captain Hook."

1. Framingham, birthplace of Crispus Attucks, is situated along the Native American trail that became known as the Old Connecticut Path. In a related note, speaking of New England's oldest pathways, Joan recently sent me a link to a fascinating BLDG BLOG post titled "Lost Highways." Geoff Manaugh's piece discusses the "ancient" roads, some never built, in Vermont and the legal issues they have created in modern times. It serves as a companion post to Manaugh's article in The New Yorker titled "Where the Roads Have No Name." It's great stuff, partly discussing whether old roads have just as much of a right to be preserved (or at least marked and remembered) as certain historic buildings.
2. We also came across a 1978 notebook with a Battlestar Galactica themed cover that's filled with genealogy notes. That made me chuckle.
3. During this time, roughly, the Seven Years' War and its North American component, the French and Indian War were taking place.

No comments:

Post a Comment