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Did You Know Our Natick Dental Office is Built On a Historical Shoe Factory

Posted on: July 27th, 2023 | Categories: Local History

When asked, many residents of Natick would say that our dental office is located in North Natick. Technically, however, the neighborhood our dental office is located in is called Felchville. This oddly named neighborhood in Natick is very important to the history of Natick and the site at which our dental office stands is an integral part of the history of Natick.

Since the 1700s the Felch family played an active role in the town of Natick. The first clerk and first selectman of Natick was a Felch family member and a Felch even ran the town school for a couple of years. Due to the prominence of this family, the area around where they lived – and where our dental office is now – was called Felchville. They even had a street named after them in North Natick, Felch Road.

A map from 1889 shows just how prevalent the Felch family was in Natick. Another thing one might notice on that map is that at the southeast of the intersection of Bacon St. and North Main Street, where our dental office is located, there used to be a shoe factory owned by the Felches. On the northeast side of the intersection, you can actually see the historic ‘Felch House’ that used to be owned by the Felches.

The Felch Brothers shoe factory was a very important part of Natick history since the Felch family were pioneers in the Natick shoemaking industry. This industry at one point in the 1800s employed 20% of all of the residents of Natick, with the Felches being responsible for a significant share of that. Many people were making shoes out of small shacks called ten-footers, but the Felches had a larger enterprise and they were the first, with the first sale of shoes in Natick being by Asa Felch in 1827.

The Felch brother factory was operating for a long time, with a record as late as 1924 of MIT students proposing a rearrangement of the factory. In the proposal you can see the factory showing it’s age, with he students recommending switching from steam power to electric. This report from MIT give a detailed report of what the factory used to look like before it was closed and eventually our dental office built at the same spot.

Although the shoe factory is replaced by our dental office, we wanted to write this blog post in order to preserve this important part Natick history so it’s not forgotten.

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