WILLIAMSTOWN -- A new historical exhibit opening this month will show how Spring Street has evolved throughout the years.
'Spring Street: Then and Now,' curated by Rita Watson of the Williamstown Historical Society, will open at the David and Joyce Milne Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 23.
'I hope it stimulates a lot of memories. It certainly has for me,' Watson said.
The exhibit combines a large collection of photographs and historic items, including memorabilia from local merchants.
Watson said in order to show the progression of Spring Street into a commercial hub, she focused on each space along both sides of the street. Each space is represented through a series of photographs from different years, ending with what the space looks like today. The result gives the viewer the ability to see how each space has changed over the past two centuries.
'In every space, there is either grass or a building,' Watson said. 'Sadly, there are several that are grass today.'
Watson said the oldest building standing on Spring Street, which currently houses Ephporium Spring Street Market, has a rich history. Originally built on the site of the Congregational Church, it has been moved several times since 1866. The building has served as a post office, an antique store and was a bookstore for decades, Watson said.
Along with photographs on the walls, there will also be items in glass cases helping to tell the story. One case is dedicated to the Roger St. Pierre barber shop, an institution that has existed somewhere on Spring Street since the 1800s. Watson said a collection of old barber tools, including razors and scissors, were loaned to her from the St. Pierre family for the exhibit.
Another case is dedicated to two times Spring Street was reconstructed, once in 1959 and again in 2001. The dawning of the current century saw big changes on Spring Street -- a $3 million reconstruction project replaced the existing road and sidewalks along the street. It also allowed for the replacement of sewer lines and the addition of underground telephone, cable and streetlight wires. The project also marked the point where Spring Street was permanently designated a one-way street from Main to Walden Streets, with curb bump-outs being installed to funnel traffic at the one-way section's end.
At the exhibit's opening, Watson will give a talk on the history of Spring Street.
After the opening, the exhibit will be open for about six months, Watson said.
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