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Program explores Sturbridge, Past and present

The Center Office as it looked during its days as the Center School. The historic building will soon be reopened with a similar façade and a newly renovated interior. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
June 29, 2010
STURBRIDGE — When the Center Office opens later this summer, visitors will not be able to look out two of the seven front-facing windows.

That was never possible before, even when the building was a schoolhouse more than 100 years ago. The far-right window on the second floor and the middle-right window on the first floor are not actually windows at all. There are frames and shutters, but no windows.

When the school-turned-office was first built, a staircase passed both of those non-windows, and builders decided to put the faux frames on the façade so it appeared symmetrical.

During the design phase of the renovation project, the decision was made to keep those two shuttered frames in place, to help maintain the historic appearance of the building.

"Ninety-percent of people assume there's glass behind there," said local historian Robert Briere, who gave a presentation on the changes to Sturbridge's streetscape from the middle of the 19th century through today.

Briere, a member of the Historical Society, presented "Sturbridge Past and Present," at the Senior Center on Tuesday evening.

The location itself was part of Briere's presentation, having once served the town as the Snellville School. Over the years, the school was also home to the Fiskdale Brass Band, the Civil Defense office and the Sturbridge Police Department's first indoor firing range.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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