Oliver and Sarah Bacon, longtime residents of South Natick, willed part of their estate to Trustees of the Bacon Free Library to fund the handsome brick building that has housed the Natick History Museum and the Bacon Free Library since 1881. The architect was Robert G. Shaw, who practiced only briefly in Boston. The Bacon Free Library Building contributes to The John Eliot Historic District and is listed on the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historic Places.
The land on which the Bacon Free Library building stands, overlooking the Charles River, is part of the burial ground of the Algonquian people who settled in Natick as Christian “praying Indians” in 1651 and in following decades. Some of their graves were destroyed during construction of the building, and again when the intersection of Eliot and Pleasant Streets was enlarged. The Natick Historical Society held some of the contents of these graves until the 1990s, when they were repatriated according to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
To see larger versions of each photo: click on the photo, which brings up a new page, and then click again for the enlargement. Enjoy this virtual tour, compliments of Dave Parish, chairperson of the Trustees of the BFL and avid photographer.
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