A century ago in Shrewsbury, some outdoor pursuits were far less placid than today

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A century ago in Shrewsbury, some outdoor pursuits were far less placid than today
Clarence Bigelow, a member of the prominent family who owned the White City Amusement Park in Shrewsbury, takes aim at a pickerel in South Brook in the early 1900s.

SHREWSBURY – This photograph, part of a large collection from the Bigelow family, shows Clarence Bigelow standing in a small rowboat with a shotgun. He was a son of Horace Holly Bigelow, who developed a large part of the area around Lake Quinsigamond and the famous White City Amusement Park.

The caption with the photo states “Shooting pickerel, South Brook.” Where he has rowed to is what is still to this day known as South Brook, which runs from the north side of Route 9, under Oak Street, then down to Lake Quinsigamond under South Quinsigamond Avenue.

Of course, today it would be unheard of for anyone to shoot at fish with a shotgun. Presumably, back in the early 1900s it was just considered another form of outdoor amusement! When this photograph was taken, South Quinsigamond Avenue was mostly a dirt path―it wasn’t until years later that the road was put in and a small bridge (replaced in recent years) was built over the brook.

Clarence Bigelow himself, from what we can gather from many of the photographs in the collection, was quite a presence around the “Lake” in those times. He belonged to a number of different boat clubs in addition to being employed at the White City Amusement Park from its earliest days.

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