MILLBURY - For more than a century, the Ducharme Block on Main Street has had much to offer Millbury residents.

Some remember getting a fresh birthday cake at Helen's Kitchen Bakery.

Others recall picking up an antidote at Lambert's Pharmacy.

And many got a haircut. Still do.

Bob's Razor's Edge Barber Shop, with Bob Carroll at the scissors, has kept families looking good for generations.

The Ducharme Block, at 36 Main St. has long been part of Millbury's landscape. The three-story building, with retail shops below apartments, is a staple of Millbury-of-old stories.

The O'Brien sisters' bakery and Albert Lambert's family pharmacy get regular mentions. Both have long since closed. How about Fisher's Cash Grocery? Talk of that long-gone occupant was rekindled not long ago when the store's old sign, much faded, became visible again on the building's facade.

How about Damien Ducharme? While the surname remains a familiar one around town, few recall the man behind the name displayed at the top of the building, worked into the architecture during 1892 construction of the building. 

That in itself is a construction practice of a bygone era: the prominent display of the name of the businessman who bankrolled the project. A closer look at old buildings, including the Barrow Block on Elm Street in Millbury, occasionally reveals a name on the facade, typically crafted in stone.

Damien Ducharme was in his late teens when he arrived in Millbury from Contrecour, Canada. It was 1865, when the town was buzzing with industry worthy of its name.

According to the "History of Millbury" (1915), young Ducharme worked for a time at Cordis Mills before heading to Rhode Island, where he worked as a loom fixer. He returned to Millbury and got a job at a meat market. He would eventually open his own provisions store, with partner Thomas York.

The "History of Millbury" explains: "In 1888, Mr. Ducharme bought of the Emerson estate the land and buildings on North Main Street, occupied in part by the store of Warren Sweetser and the drug store of N.H. Sears. Some of the buildings were removed to the rear and some to Church street. In 1892, the brick block which now partly occupied by Mr. Ducharme for his business was built."

Ducharme emerged as a key player in Millbury. He was one of the biggest property owners in town. He served as a trustee of Millbury Savings Bank and as a selectman.

THEN & NOW ARCHIVES

Thank you to the Millbury Historical Society for assistance with this story.