History of Stoneham Massachusetts, 1800 - 1891
The construction of the Turnpike from Medford to Andover caused the center of town to gradually shift westward to the present day Main Street. The turnpike was Stoneham’s first direct link to commercial trade. Large herds of cattle from northern New England were driven through town en route to slaughter houses in Boston. A large tavern for drovers with a fenced in area for their farm animals existed near Elm and Central Streets
During the Federal Period (1775-1830)
Most residents still engaged in agriculture, though a large number also produced shoes in small shops. In the late 1830’s central shops came into being and were often in conjunction with a general store.
A public stagecoach line was established running along the turnpike from North Reading to Boston through Stoneham. The farmland that framed the turnpike was gradually subdivided for homes built by shopkeepers, shoemakers, carpenters, and other craftsmen.
During the 1800s as a result of the Industrial Revolution, Stoneham was booming! The home shoemaking industry was gradually absorbed by more than 40 shoe manufacturing plants. Shoe manufacturing and related industries such as tanneries and box factories became Stoneham’s livelihood. In 1837, 380,00 pairs of shoes were manufactured in Stoneham factories at a value of $184,717! Between 1810 and 1860, Stoneham’s population increased nearly 600%. Carpenters and craftsmen were in great demand to build dwelling places to house this population explosion.
Since the town’s earliest days, Spot Pond Brook was the overflow for Spot Pond, and the waters of this brook produced power for the mills along its banks. Besides the usual gristmills and sawmills, many other industries located here through the years, including snuff mills, a chocolate mill, a brass foundry, and from 1858 - 1870 the Hayward Rubber Works. Few traces of these early industries remain, and the area today is part of the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
The railroad reached Farm Hill in 1861 and was later extended with the opening of the Stoneham station at the corner of Pine and Franklin Streets in 1863. Beginning in 1910, passenger service to Boston was shared with the trolley that ran through Middlesex Fells.