Gray’s Carpet Center
Submitted by Norman Corbin, Northborough Historical Commission
Northborough – Welcome to “Reincarnated Antiques.” With the demolition of antique properties in Northborough a fairly regular occurrence, this series recognizes owners who have found creative reuse options for their antique properties. Today’s property is 60 Main St., currently known as Gray’s Carpet Center.
The first occupants of this home were Dr. Henry A. Jewett (1820-1895) and his family. The building housed his office and his family home. It was built around 1850. Dr. Jewett’s practice in Northborough continued from 1849 until his death in 1895. He also held several town offices, including trustee of the public library, member of the School Board and medical examiner for three terms. The Northborough Historical Society has two ledgers that record his appointments. These ledgers contain patient information, their ailments and his fees. Fees varied widely from 50 cents to several dollars but payment could be made with fresh produce and farm products.
Robert Gray and his wife Betty Proctor Gray started their carpet business from this address in 1943. Betty was a descendant of Dr. Jewett. The property was both their business address and their family home. In a recent Facebook posting, their daughter, Judith Gray Tibert, mentioned how it was a wonderful house to grow up in. The property is currently owned by members of the Stone family who are also descendants of Dr. Jewett. The property is quite unique because it has remained in the same family for some 170 years.
I had the opportunity to speak with James Stone, who currently runs the business with his siblings. The building provides significant advantages for running the business as it is a large facility with a highly visible location and plenty of parking. The first floor is the showroom, a large room is used for rug cleaning and drying and the old barn is used for equipment storage. The building is very sturdy and the grounds are well kept. Probably the biggest challenge of maintaining this property is the winter heating expense. Nevertheless, the Stone family would never want to see it torn down.
So here we are today, with a successful local carpet business that has existed for some 77 years, maintaining the same street view from its original construction with owners who appreciate antique buildings. This example of “Reincarnated Antiques” reveals how long-term ownership and an appreciation of historic nature can retain a successful business within an antique. Thank you, Gray’s Carpets, for preserving a piece of Northborough history.