West Brookfield Historical Commission – Paths & Roads

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West Brookfield Portion of Old Bay Path & the Ben Franklin Milestones

The old Bay Path came down from the North in south Barre and extended into New Braintree along West Road until it came to a small hill just North of the junction of West Road and Padre Road. The path then went around the western slope of the hill and over the present Padre Road. It continued along Padre Road, crossed Gilbertville Road to Skiviras Lane, then to the Mill Brook. It followed the Mill Brook until it crossed the New Braintree-West Brookfield line at the beginning of Wickaboag Valley Road. At this point the Path followed the westerly slope of Whortleberry Hill along Madden Road and crossed Shea Road. The Path made a slight detour around the swamp at Sucker Brook, just below the small Mill Pond. The Path continued along the westerly slope of Birch Hill and crossed Wickaboag Valley Road to the Northern shore of Wickaboag Pond. The path then followed down to Council Grove around Bradish Brook swamp and entered the present Cottage Street near the public beach.

Ben Franklin Milestone on the Town Common, Rt. 9

Benjamin Franklin Milestones

The Old Boston Post Road is Quaboag Plantation’s link with the past. It originated several hundred years ago as an Indian path. As time passed the path became a trail and the trail became a road over which settlers, militia, horses and wagons, stages coaches, in fact all the traffic of the new world traveled. For many years it was the only northern connection between Boston and New York.

In 1639 the first general highway act was passed and the road was established as a permanent thoroughfare. In 1717 improvements were made to the road, the value of which was demonstrated in 1775 by the haste with which the Minute Men responded to the alarm at Lexington.

Among the notable mementoes of the Post Road are the Connecticut sandstone milestones, some of which are to be found today. The location of the markers was determined by Benjamin Franklin in 1763 who at that time was Assistant Postmaster General of the United States. He attached an ingenious device to the wheel of his chaise which counted the revolutions of the wheel and thus indicated each mile traveled. The spot was then marked by a stick driven into the ground. A crew of men followed and erected markers, each one inscribed appropriately for its location. At this time the distance from Boston to New York was two hundred fifty four miles.

Fourteen Franklin milestones, dating from 1767, can be found in the towns of Brookfield, East Brookfield, West Brookfield, and Warren.

Milestone 67, West Brookfield, north side of Foster Hill Road.

Milestone 68, West Brookfield, north side of Route 9, on the West Brookfield Common.

Milestone 69, West Brookfield, north side of Route 9 near Warepoint Road.

Old Boston Post Road

Copyright 2001 West Brookfield Historical Commission Last Modified: May 25, 2007