History of Stoneham Massachusetts, 1891 - 2000
In 1891 , there were 27 boot and shoe manufacturers, each employing from 25 to 365 people. Almost all dealt with women’s and children’s shoes. However, by 1925 only 3 large shoe factories remained. As the shoe industry declined, the town’s largest employer became E.L.Patch Company, a pharmaceutical firm established in 1888. A promising industry at the beginning of the 20th century was the manufacturer of automobiles. Had a fire not destroyed the factory and plans, stoneham might have become the “Detroit of the East.” Although the town’s actual nickname of “The Friendly Town” began in 1930, Stoneham might have been called an “Olympic Town,” having produced not only shoes, but six Olympic athletes from 1932 to 1994.
Over the years, Stoneham has experienced rapid growth as a suburban community. This is attributable to a great extent to the town’s excellent schools, fine local government services, and convenient location. If “history” repeats itself, continued growth and prosperity should be in Stoneham’s future!
“The foundations of Stoneham were laid not by men of culture and wealth, but by the brawn and culture of laborious yeomen.” observed historian William Stevens