Harry Houdini in North Attleborough

One of North Attleborough's sub-urban legends concerns Harry Houdini. Former Police Chief John D. Coyle was quoted as saying "Harry Houdini did a stunt at the lockup in 1929 as part of the opening of the Hotel Hixon." The "lockup" would have been the old Police Station on Mason Avenue, which had been built in 1914.

The problems with the 1929 date given are that the Hotel Hixon actually opened in April 1928. More importantly, Harry Houdini died on October 31, 1926. Although it in no way involves the Hotel Hixon, there is some basis for the story of Houdini performing one of his famous jail cell escapes at the Mason Avenue "lockup."

Bruce Rosenbaum had been restoring the circa 1856 Benjamin Freeman House, at 390 Mount Hope Street, when he learned that the new owner of the Mason Avenue 'lockup" had a jail cell door for sale with a plaque that read: "Houdini escaped from cell 3 in November 1923." Rosenbaum quickly bought the cell door and the key that went with it.

The Sunday Chronicle ran a story about Rosenbaum's purchase on October 13, 2007. In that account, it was noted that no supporting evidence had ever been found proving that Houdini had indeed been in North Attleborough during the alleged date of November 1923. None of the local papers, for that time period, mention it, including those in Rhode Island. Until some documentation surfaces, beyond the plaque, this remains a very interesting, but still unproven story.

Harry Houdini