Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brockton Celebrates 130th Year

Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—City officials and dozens of residents celebrated the 130th anniversary of Brockton becoming a city during a brief ceremony in the rotunda of City Hall.
“We owe a great deal of gratitude to the founding fathers for incorporating this community as a city,” said state Senator Thomas Kennedy.
The celebration was held Monday, May 23, the day Brockton residents voted to make the leap from a town to a city about one month after an act of the State Legislature in April, 1881 gave the town the green light to change its status, said Brockton Historical Society President James Benson.
Originally Brockton was incorporated as the town of North Bridgewater in 1824 and eventually changed its name to Brockton at the suggestion of shoe manufacturing mogul Ira Copeland (Pictured, below) in honor of Sir Isaac Brock, a major-general in the British army.
Benson told the crowd that in Brockton’s shoe-making hey-day thousands of immigrants came to Brockton from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Lithuania and Sweden—a destination where they found a new and better life, similar to people who now flock to Brockton from Cape Verde, Haiti, Senegal and make up about 60 percent of the city.
“Some say Brockton’s best days are behind, in the past,” Benson said, “but with new businesses and new immigrant groups from places our ancestors never heard of…Brockton’s future is straight ahead.”
The event included a double-chocolate birthday cake celebrating the moment and a tour of historic Brockton City Hall by Bob Martin, one of Brockton’s historians, who pointed out that like the “Mona Lisa,” “The Charge of the 4th Mass. Cavalry” has a soldier whose eyes follow a viewer from one end of the massive mural to the other.
“Give it a try,” Martin said. (Pictured, top)
An exhibit of photographs from the historical society's collection will be on view until tomorrow in rotunda of City Hall.

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