The Club and Camp Era 1900-1960

The remain of the old Wawbeek Club 2001
The Remains of the Old Wawbeek Club 2001

Pine Island Road - 1901

In 1901, Andrew Macuen bought land from Charles Claflin and sold camp lots soon after dividing it. He even sold some lots just three days after signing the deed with Claflin. This indicates that Macuen had already surveyed and assigned some lots before purchasing the land. The new owners quickly cleared the lots and built small cabins for fishing and hunting, which they shared as a club. The names of all the men who owned the cabins were listed in Macuen's deeds. Often, six or seven men were listed. However, this became a title problem later, when the properties were to be sold and when taxes were being collected by the town. By the 1920s, multiple small club camps had sprung up along the southeastern shoreline of Lake Maspenock. These clubs included Hopedale Hunters Rest Club, Camp Joy, The Wawbeek Club, The Kennel Club, and The Only Club, among others. All of these clubs were owned by multiple men, all from Milford. Some club names were recorded on the deeds and some did not but they all had more than one owner. Old Postcard of the Wawbeek Club
Turn of the Century Club Camps of Maspenock - Google Earth
Access to these camps was via the Piney Island Cart Path, which ran from Camp Street in Milford through a farm that once was located at the corner of Pine Island Road and Camp Street. Even today, the residents of Pine Island Road cannot get to their homes from Hopkinton, and the only access is through Milford. This old cart road was difficult to travel, but it was widened and improved over the years. In her memoir, "North Pond Memories", Geri Rogers recounts her trip on the cart road. She describes how the dirt road leading to the pond was difficult to navigate for cars due to the boulders left by retreating glaciers. The road was barely passable by horse-drawn carts, and the woods hid any sight of the pond until a sudden turn revealed the sparkling blue waters. Geri remembers how this sight always filled her with awe and a tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach. Old Postcard of the Wawbeek Club The deeds for the lots that lead to Pine Island Road still hold a right of way, and every deed holder on Pine Island Road has a right of way to the spring behind the old Kennel Club, which was once called "Golden Spring". These deed holders are allowed to take water from the spring using pails or glasses. This clause in the deeds goes back to Andrew Macuen in 1901, when there were no wells for the camps. Geri recalls how a boat carried them diagonally across the lake to the bubbling spring where they scooped their buckets of drinking water. The spring was a refrigerator for those lucky ones who lived near it. Soft drinks and milk bottles sat cooling in the little cold stream that trickled from the spring into the lake. Geri was frequently elected to fetch the spring water because her mother feared boats. Geri remembers the exhilarating experience of rowing by herself across the deep water to the spring. Boating Snow Cottage 1919
Rowboat in front of Rogers Cottage 1919
The fishing and hunting clubs fell out of favor, and taxes were not getting paid to the town. By the 1940s, deeds for Lakeshore Drive had stipulations that prohibited the occupancy of any social, fraternal or other organization, club or association. The old fishing shacks have either rotted into the ground or have been demolished. Some were expanded and turned into year-round homes.

North Pond Terrace - 1917

1901 Postcard North Pond Terrace
Development of camps had also started further south by the dam in Milford. When the plan was proposed for North Pond Terrace, the Town of Milford kept one last remaining parcel of the old North Pond Picnic Grounds for a park to be used by the public. This triangular lot of land named park on the 1917 plan with it's access road and boat launch is still publicly accessible although not well known to Milford residents and somewhat hidden from view today. Plan for North Pond Terrace 1917
Plan for North Pond Terrace and Park 1919
Directly abutting the park land on North Pond Terrace, stood a small tavern called Matty's Casablanca, which was a very interesting place due to its connection with the Providence Mob. Before the start of Prohibition, two separate crime families had emerged in New England. The first was founded in 1916 by Gaspare Messina and was based in Boston. The second, based in Providence, Rhode Island, was started in 1917 by Frank Morelli. By the time Prohibition was enacted, Frank Morelli controlled all the bootlegging and illegal gambling operations not only in Providence but also parts of Worcester County, Massachusetts. Milford, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area was part of Morelli's turf. During the years of Prohibition, the alcoholic beverage industry went underground. When bars and taverns closed, they were replaced by speakeasies and clubs. Morelli made sure he received his cut. Matty's Casablanca
Matty's Casablanca North Pond Terrace
Some of the fishing and hunting camps dotted along the shoreline in the area of Pine Island Road in Milford and Hopkinton, Massachusetts, were owned by groups of Italian immigrants. These camps were away from town and only accessed by a narrow dirt road that was hardly passable for a team of horses and a cart, much less an automobile. Old Cottage- North Pond Terrace
1930s Club Camp- Pine Island Road- Milford MA
This was the perfect spot for stills, clubs, and speakeasies. Rumors and stories abound about the old cottages being used for brewing, speakeasies, and even brothels during prohibition. Although no documentation specific to the camps exist, there is a record of a still being raided close by on Purchase Street that gives us an idea about the lengths people went to hide their distilleries. Plan for North Pond Terrace 1917
Oakhurst Road Bootlegging Operation - Photo by Steve Scarlatta
According to a September 6th, 1930, Boston Herald article, "Federal Agents from Boston carried out several raids in the town of Milford, Massachusetts, and arrested three men, including Peter Consigli, for the manufacture of liquor." The Milford Daily had further details about the arrest in a newspaper article titled "Federal Agents Seize Big Still on Purchase Street," which reported that five federal agents arrived at the Consigli residence on the morning of September 4th and entered a barn located on the property. The agents had been informed that a still was kept there, so they waited in the barn in an attempt to catch someone in the act of operating the still. No one entered the barn, so the agents decided to seize the still and other equipment. According to the article, the still was "the most unique construction of any ever located throughout the state, according to the police. It was found in a separate compartment in the barn and connected with a chimney in the house, therefore preventing tracing through any odor or smoke. The door of the barn had always remained open, which prevented any suspicion". Cooling Tank- Bootlegging Operation Oakhurst Road Hopkinton
Remains of Cooling Tower- Photo by Steve Scarlatta
At the north end of the lake near what is now Oakhurst Road stood a property owned by the Keyes family. A small cabin and bootlegging operation was run there in the woods away from the main road. The remains of the operation can still be found today. Jean Scarlata recalls that when she was a young child, her family would stay at the lake in the summer and in the 1930's men would row boats and hike up to the cabin in the woods. They made a lot of noise and would be up there at all hours of the night. She remembers her mother telling her it was bootleggers. They would row back to the north end with their cargo in the middle of the night. In 1932, Frank Morelli merged his Providence family with the Boston family, which was now run by Filippo Buccola. Buccola had emerged as the boss of the Boston family after Gaspare Messina stepped down. This was the beginning of the crime syndicate that would run the New England area for decades. Buccola ruled as boss of the combined family from East Boston until 1952 when he held a party in Johnston, Rhode Island, to celebrate his retirement and Raymond Patriarca's ascension to boss of the family. Picture of Raymond Patriaca
Raymond Patriarca - Wikipedia
Patriarca's reach into the Worcester Massachusetts area included the bars, taverns, pool halls, and other small businesses where he placed his coin-operated machines. These establishments also served as local "offices" and paid tribute back to Patriarca. Matty's Casablanca on North Pond was known to be one of these "offices". This popular tavern in Milford was owned by the Ianitelli family, who purchased four plots of land beside the dam in 1930. The tavern is infamous for the rumors and stories surrounding it. Locals remember Matty's Casablanca as a place to dock their boats and have a cold beer. Picture of Raymond Patriaca
Depiction of the Interior Matty's Casablanca
It had a smoky, seedy atmosphere with black and white pictures of boxers hanging on the walls. Some of the boaters left their children to swim at the dam or buy frozen Milky Way bars from Matty's. Dam 1970s
Children Swimming off Maspenock Dam
Despite being a popular spot, some locals were cautious about Matty's, warning their children to avoid it because of the unsavory people who frequented the place. A resident, who lived a few houses up from Matty's during his teenage years, recalled running errands for Matty. One day, Matty asked him to take a car to the car wash. The young man did as he was told, but little did he know that the car belonged to the notorious mob boss, Raymond Patriarca who was visiting the Casablanca for business. Raymond Patriarca getting into his car
Raymond Patriarca Entering His Automobile
The car was known around town to be Patriarca's, and when the teenager arrived at the car wash, he was interrogated about how he came into possession of the "boss's car". The young man was caught off guard, and it took him a few moments to realize the gravity of the situation. He explained that he was merely running an errand for the owner of Matty's and had no idea whose car it was. After verifying his story, the car wash attendants let him go, but the incident left a lasting impression on him. Mattys Now
Old Location of Matty's Casablanca- North Pond Terrace- Milford MA
Matty's Casablanca closed down in the 70s and Matthew Iannitelli died of cancer in 1980. A simple duplex now stands where the Casablanca once served Milford, North Pond, and the New England Mob.

Crockett Road - 1920's

Crockett Camp
Original Camp- Crockett Road
When Camp Street was laid out in the early 1700s it ran from the center of the North Purchase Village up into the land of the Taft Family. Reservoir Road was a dead-end dirt road which ran from Camp Street north to the various mills that stood at the crossing of the Mill River. Camp st and rESERVOIR 1827
Map of Camp Street and Reservoir Road 1827
The Thayer farm was located at the intersection of Whitewood Road and Reservoir. The land was originally sold by John Bruce to Ebenezer Cheney in 1730. Ebenezer Cheney died young and his wife Hannah Cheney and their infant daughter, Silence inherited it. Camp st and rESERVOIR 1827
1870 Map of Milford showing Thayer Farm- Google Earth
Ichabod Thayer married the widow, and purchased the farm. Three generations of the Thayer family lived and passed away on the farm. Justin E. Eames then bought the land about 1847. Justin E. Eames was a wise, thrifty, and friendly farmer, who was highly regarded by his fellow citizens. He passed away on May 27, 1879. Reservoir Road from Camp to Whitewood Road as it is known today, was just a rough bridle path that ran through Eames property to Camp Street. It was described in 1872 as being in so wretched a condition that relatively few people had visited North Pond to see this "thoroughly beautiful spot". In fact Mr. Eames was so impressed with the view he created a picnic grounds and charged five dollars to rent it out. In 1872, Mr. Eames advertised that he had widened and "repaired the road to North Pond (Reservoir Road) so that a horse can with all the safety of the occupants of the carriage be trotted it's entire length" . Eames Article
1872 Advertisement for the North Pond Picnic Grounds
Crockett Plan
1902 Plan Crockett Road
The southern part of Crockett Road was one of the many plots of land owned by Justin E. Eames. The first land record that appears in this area was in 1881 when what we call Spindel's Island was sold by Clarinda Eames, who inherited the land after her father's death. She sold it to Mary Cheney. It was sold again in 1902 to Bessie Cheney and Nora Adams, who would sell the island to Nathaniel and Irene Spindel in 1936. In 1902, Bessie Cheney and Nora Adams sub-divided four plots of land and sold them off as camps. Over the next sixty years Crockett Road would be extended northward and more camp lots sold off by other developers. In 1972 a group of Crockett Road residents led by Francis Walleston built a coalition called Peppercorn Hill Association (PHA) to have better representation and unification of the neighborhood community. When Crockett was just a dirt road, it required constant maintenance and the PHA would request funds from the town to fix it. The town would allocate funds for gravel and use Bob Spindel's steel grader, which he would pull behind his truck to level out the gravel. Then, residents would come out with shovels to do the finishing work. At one point, the residents even used saws and axes to cut trees and helped the town to widen the road. By far the most successful endeavor of the Peppercorn Hill Associates was the protection and conservation of Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.

Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area

Click here a more detailed account of how Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area was established.

Oakhurst Road 1930

John Deneen was an industrious house painter and paper hanger who's family had lived in Hopkinton for generations. Even before Sandy Beach was connected to land, the young people of Hopkinton would enjoy swimming and hanging out on the island. As a young man John would often spend summers wading through the muck to enjoy hanging out with friends at Sandy Island. He loved the lake and being on the water and decided to try to purchase some of the raw undeveloped land on the shore across from Sandy Island. In November of 1922, John purchased 32 acres of land for his idea of Oakhurst Campsites. John Deneen
John Deneen about 1920 Courtesy of Deneen/Scarlatta Family
During the winter he hauled the lumber across the ice from West Main Street to build the first cottage on his land. He named it Oak Point. It would later also be used a a store to provide provisions to the families that stayed in the Oakhurst camps. The work was done on the cottages during the winter months when John's painting work was slower. Slowly, over time he would construct other small cabins along the shore to utilize as summer rentals. He gave each cabin a name and then rented them out through advertisements in Boston area newspapers.
Sign Oakhurst
Advertisement for Oakhurst Campsites
The Deneen's eventually ran a road into the property and by the 1960s the camp lots were sold as well as rented.Oakhurst ASdvertisement
1961 Newspaper Ad for a double lot on Lake maspenock

Mary Deneen Oakhurst
One of John Deneen's Oakhurst Camp Cottages
A portion of the Deneen property was gifted to the Hopkinton Area Land Trust by Jean Scarlata and family and is named the Deneen Conservation Area. Jean Scarlata is a lifelong Maspenock resident and the granddaughter of John Deneen.
Mary Deneen Oakhurst
Map of Deneen Conservation Area

Lakeshore Drive 1935

Lakeshore Drive Plan
Plan for Lakeshore Drive 1935
Names like Hillcrest Camp lots which were sold by Newell D. Atwood, Brigham Spring, Doris Spring and Lake Shores Realty Co. which was owned by William E. Schlusemeyer.

Downey Street - Downey Place 1933

Plan for Maspenock Lake Shores
1933 Plan for Maspenock Lake Shores Development
Downey Street and Downey place were also part of William E. Schlusemeyer's 1933 Maspenock Lake Shores development. It was originally listed as A Street under section C in Rosenblatt's plan. Nestled on the stunning shores of Lake Maspenock, 6 Downey Street was once the site of a small summer camp, once owned by James T. Downey who bought his lot in 1935. For years, the Downey family relished in their summer visits to the camp, creating unforgettable memories. Tragedy struck a decade later, when his son, James B. Downey, fell in action during the 5th Marine Division's attack on the black sand beaches of Iwo Jima. The battle is etched in history as one of the most significant moments in Marine history, and James B. Downey's bravery and sacrifice was honored when Downey Street and Downey Place were named after him. Cemetary Iwo Jima
Downey St. and Downey Place named for James B. Downey, who was killed serving in the Marines at Iwo Jima in the Pacific in World War Two
Downey Street and Downey Place continued to be developed with the summer camps becoming year round homes in the 1960s. Today, many of the renovated original camps have been torn down and replaced with modern homes.