West Brookfield Center Historic District (2006 Boundary Increase)

The West Brookfield Center Historic District boundary increase area is situated south of and contiguous to the existing West Brookfield Center Historic District. This section of the town center was built up in response to the opening of the Western Railroad in 1839, and to the subsequent growth of the town and its industries during the second half of the 19th century. In history and general character it is closely related to the southernmost section of the existing historic district. Included in the expansion district are all or portions of several streets: Central Street, Mechanic Street, Sherman Street, Milk Street, Front Street, Ware Street, Long Hill Road, Old Long Hill Road, Railroad Avenue, and Freight House Road. Like the existing historic district, the expansion area is located on a plain that is bounded on the northwest by Lake Wickaboag, on the east by Coy’s Brook, and on the south by the Quaboag River. The river runs east-west immediately south of the southern boundary of the expanded district. The highest point in the expansion area is the railroad overpass bridge, which arches up to carry Long Hill Road over railroad tracks in the southern section of the area.

Western Railrod StationAn important focal point of the expansion district is a group of railroad buildings, and structures including two former passenger depots (1847 and 1884), a former freight house (1847), a single set of railroad tracks, and a railroad overpass bridge. Associated with the railroad is a small commercial/industrial area clustered on both sides of the tracks. Despite this concentration of distinctly non-residential structures, dwellings make up the largest number of buildings in the district. While only two houses stand south of the railroad in what is almost exclusively a commercial/industrial area, most of the larger section of the area north of the tracks is residential.

The district has a strongly residential character, defined by tree-lined streets of mostly modest mid-late-19th century middle- and working-class houses set on small shady lawns. By contrast, in the commercial/industrial area closest to the railroad tracks the look is utilitarian with few trees and lawns and with little attention paid to beautification. The most stylish buildings in this group near the railroad are the two former railroad passenger stations. Others are very plain. Many of the most significant buildings and structures in the area have direct associations with the railroad. The earliest are the 1847 passenger depot and freight house.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 2006

National Register of Historic Places nomination details