Boston & Albany Railroad ~ Cattle Stockade
At the turn of the century Arthur Harvey, a cattle farmer on South Street, established a business buying cattle from local farmers and shipping them via the Boston & Albany Railroad to the Boston market. Arthur Benjamin Harvey, born Newport Hans, Nova Scotia January 18, 1850 immigrated to Charlestown. He was a teamster before moving to Westborough and established a cattle stockade at the B&A railroad siding. Arthur died at the 120 South St. farm in 1911 but passed the business to his son Emory Harvey.
Arthur Harvey built a cattle stockade near a spur line off of Brigham Street beyond the business district to hold the cattle. Cattle cars were brought to the siding near the stockade and loaded or unloaded whatever the case may be.
In 1911 Emory Harvey expanded the business by traveling to the mid west to buy cattle for shipment back to Westborough. Harvey would drive the Westborough cattle along South St. to the stockyard then conduct cattle auctions that were well attended by cattle farmers from the area communities. The cattle that did not sell at auction were sent by rail to the Brighton stockyard.
From the 1920s to 1953 Edward Aronson, a West Main Street cattle farmer, also became involved in the business as a competitor of Harvey and also developed a successful business. Throughout the war years, the U.S. government purchased most of the beef from the Westborough stockyard to feed the troops.
The business continued until June 12, 1953 when Westborough was hit with a tornado that completely destroyed the Aronson farm and killed Mr. & Mrs. Edward Aronson, their 15 year old daughter and a farm hand. The Aronson farm later became the site of the Westborough High School. Although the Harvey farm was also destroyed they rebuilt and Bob Harvey (3rd generation) continued a small cattle business into the early 1990s.
What had begun at the turn of the century as a one car load of cattle a week evolved into a 50 head a day business ended. After the tornado cattle farming in Westborough ended, the stockyard was dismantled and cattle were transported to Boston by truck. Shipping cattle by train from the Westborough stockyard ended. Reference: Bob & Jane Harvey and On the Beaten Path, Kristina Allen