WHITINSVILLE - The Whitin Community Center (WCC) is pleased to announce that the paint restoration is complete! The building referred to as the “Tennis Shack” originally known as the Gardeners’ Shed, located in Whitin Park, has undergone an extensive historic paint restoration over the past few weeks. The project was donated and completed by the skillful and expert hands of Gadoury Homes, LLC. Its architecture recalls an earlier time and is an important feature of Whitin Park that tells the story of the Victorian gardens.
This building is the only remaining original building left from the John C. Whitin estate (circa 1875) on the property. The 11 acre estate of the founder of the Whitin Machine Works was developed in the 1870s as a gift to Whitin's second wife, Sarah Elizabeth Pratt. On the northern border of the estate, High Street, there was a large glass greenhouse constructed. Below the greenhouse, the land was terraced flat to accommodate a large formal garden. Many specimens grown in the greenhouse were transplanted into the formal gardens. Built into the foot of this garden area was a simple building - commonly referred to as a Gardeners’ Shed. The Gardener’s Shed was once adjacent to tiered flowerbeds and an award-winning greenhouse that produced orchids year-round.
When the estate was closed and the mansion was torn down in 1943, the land was deeded to the Whitin Community Center. It was then the Trustees of the WCC discussed how the newly acquired 7.5 acres of the "upper estate" could be utilized toward our mission to support the health and well-being of individuals and families and to building a strong community in the Blackstone Valley. The entire parcel of land was on a hillside, rising some 75 feet in elevation that made the land unsuitable for sports such as baseball, football, or soccer. There was one flat area, however, the former formal garden, and it was decided to build 3 tennis courts across the expanse. In 1945, the Gardeners’ Shed was retained, and was put to new use as the Tennis Shack where players could assemble before their matches on one of three courts above the building. This building now stores our tennis equipment and materials needed for our park fundraising events.
Thanks to the dedicated work of our Board of Trustee member, and owner of Gadoury Homes, LLC, Norman Gadoury and his team, the building has been painted to its original grandeur. The Tennis Shack will now be able to be enjoyed and used for generations to come.
The Whitin Community Center is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals and families and to building a strong community in the Blackstone Valley. We offer social, recreational, educational, and outreach programs that bring community members of all ages and backgrounds together. The Whitin Community Center is the Blackstone Valley’s most complete family and recreation center with two swimming pools, a gym, fitness center, early learning programs, summer camps and a seven and a half acre park. For more information call 508.234.8184 or visit www.WhitinCommunityCenter.org.