17 Center Street


This house was built during the first part of the 19th century, probably by (or for) Henry P. North, a prominent merchant who at that time owned all the land on the south side of Center Street between Main and Second Streets. In 1865, it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Evans Ensign. Mr. Ensign, a machinist who worked at the old machine shop then located at the north end of Main Street, was known as a sober and industrious man. He died in 1878 and his widow continued to reside here until 1896 when she sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. George Jennings. Margaret Ensign had become somewhat a village character due to an accident which, according to the local newspaper, “left her mind somewhat clouded.” She spent her days calling on local businessmen to whom she related her troubles – real and imaginary.

The Jennings made many improvements in the houses and after their deaths it passed to Cecelia Thompson, a sister of George, who resided here until her death in 1915. Her son, George, and daughter, Blanche Jennings Thompson inherited the property (they probably never resided here). Blanch Jennings Thompson was the well-known author of children’s books including Silver Pennies which was selected by the American Library Association as one of the “100 Best American Children’s Books.”  In 1930 the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James Donohue who made many interior alterations.