Maynard Historical Society – Annual Meeting – Nov 29th

At long last we have a date and location for our next meeting.  The Historical Society will hold their annual meeting on THURSDAY, November 29th at 7pm in the Maynard PUBLIC LIBRARY.   (We have traditionally met on Mondays in Town Hall, so I’m trying to emphasize the different day and location…)

After a short business meeting and update on the Society we will have local author and history buff David Mark speak on the topic “Meet the Maynard Family.” Mark will talk about the Maynard family and the town that developed around their wool mill, which came to be named after Amory Maynard, the mill’s founder, while he was still alive (and was almost renamed “Assabet” twelve years after he died).

Mark will also speak about William Knight – Amory’s forgotten partner – about how much water power the mill actually generated, where the wool came from, where the bricks came from, and who is buried (and not buried) in the Maynard family mausoleum.

The meeting is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments and some social time will follow the formal meeting.

Our Special Annual Meeting – Mar 26th

Please Join The
Maynard Historical Commission and Maynard Historical Society
For a House History Workshop

At the Historical Society’s March 26th Meeting
7:00 PM
1st Floor, Maynard Town Building
195 Main Street, Maynard, MA

On Monday night, March 26th, the Maynard Historical Society will provide a forum for three local homeowners to describe how they researched the history of their early 20th-century homes.

  • Ellen Duggan will discuss her family homestead on Park Street, built by the family in 1924 and continuously occupied by the family since then.
  • Lee Caras will describe her research on her family’s 1916 Joshua Fairchild Graham house on Great Road, including locally available source materials.
  • Peg Brown will cover her Grant Street home, its origins as part of mill built and owned tenement worker housing ca 1903, and the eventual sale to the public of the homes in this classic neighborhood.

After the workshop the Historical Commission will announce several new programs and research tools to promote awareness and appreciation of Maynards historic areas and homes.  These will spotlight historical sites, buildings and homes in Maynard through a Program of Markers, Plaques, and Certificates, Walking Tour Maps and MACRIS reference materials now available at the Library. 


A new program which provides for the purchase of:

  • Historical Markers for important sites and buildings (by the Commission);
  • Historical Plaques for Maynard homes built before WWII (by homeowners);
  • Certificate Awards for noteworthy historic restoration or renovation of Maynard properties (by the Commission).

The Markers and Plaques will carry Historical Commission certification.  They are intended for permanent attachment to the house, building or location to promote the historical importance of the structure for all to see. Samples will be shown at the meeting with application forms available.

At the meeting, the Commission will present the first Historical Marker, commemorating Riverside Hall on Main Street, site of Maynard’s first Town Meeting.  It will be displayed at Gruber Brothers Furniture, current owners of the building, along with a photograph of the original building.

A new Walking Tour program highlighting the many historic properties in Maynard has been in development for the past year under Peg Brown, long time member of both the Historical Society and the Historical Commission (former chair).  This work, now supported by a generous grant from the Maynard Cultural Council, will eventually consist of five separate tours with printed guides and maps, to be available at the Library and other locations in town.  They will give townspeople and visitors reasons to spend more time in Maynard.  TheseTours, and the Rail Trail when completed, combined with the many eating and retail establishments in town, should create a powerful economic boost for the Town.

The top new research tool is the recently-completed MACRIS database of Maynard structures and properties available for general use at the Library.  This is Maynard’s section of the Massachusetts Cultural ResearchInformation System, which provides facts and photos of historic sites and properties.  In time this will be accessible on the Historical Commission section of the town website.

The Commission has also developed a list of historically prominent properties in Maynard, which can be used as a tool for nominating new Historical Marker, Plaque and Certificate Awards, and for prioritizing the Commission’s efforts around preservation concerns.  This list will evolve over time, and suggestions for additions are welcomed.

Finally, ANNOUNCING the launch of Maynard 2021


In just nine short years Maynard will reach the 150th anniversary of its incorporation.  The Historical Society and the Historical Commission jointly announce the launch of a community wide focus on celebrating and planning for this major milestone in Maynard’s story.

For additional information, contact Dave Griffin, President, Maynard Historical Society (, or Jack MacKeen, Chair, Maynard Historical Commission (

Monthly Meeting – Feb 27

For our February 27th meeting the Maynard Historical Society will have
David Mark read from his recently published book “MAYNARD: History and
Life Outdoors.” The book is available in local stores, and will also
be for sale at the meeting.

Mark brought his years of experience as a writer and scientist to create
this fact-populated collection of short essays gathered into twelve
theme-linked chapters. Much of the content was originally published as
his column in Maynard’s newspaper, the Beacon-Villager. More recent
columns are at

The Maynard Historical Society meets in the lower level of Maynard Town
Hall, 195 Main Street. The meetings start at 7:00 pm and are open to the
public. A social hour with light refreshments follows the meeting.
Meetings are open to non-members, and there is no charge.

They Came From Ireland: Free National Archives Program – Jan 19th

They Came From Ireland: A Free National Archives Program Explores Irish in America

How painful it is to leave family and friends forever, to depart for an unknown place, to know one will never return home! Immigrants come to this country seeking greater freedom and opportunity, and each immigrant group sheds part of its past while retaining certain cultural elements. The story of Irish immigration is part of the fabric of Greater Boston.

On Thursday, January 19, 2012, at 6:00 P.M., the National Archives at Boston (Waltham) will offer a free program “They Came from Ireland.” It will feature a presentation by Dr. Thomas O’Grady, professor of English at University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. O’Grady, a specialist in Irish literature and poetry, will present “Going Into Exile: Poems of the Irish Diaspora.” Walter V. Hickey, archivist/genealogist from the National Archives, will describe how to research your Irish family. Researcher Elizabeth Condon will share her experiences uncovering her family history in Ireland. The presentation is intended for the general public. Céad míle fáilte.

Free public programs are offered twice a month. To register for “They Came From Ireland” on January 19th at 6:00 P.M., please call toll free 866-406-2379, local 781-663-0130, or email .

The National Archives is open to the public M, T, W, and F 7 A.M. – 4:30 P.M., Thursdays 7 A.M.- 9 P.M., and the first Saturday of each month 8 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. The National Archives and Records Administration is located at 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA.

Parker Street Hall Curtain

One of the truly rewarding aspects of our work here at the Historical Society, and in particular for the team that is working to catalog and put our collection online, is the connections that we are helping others make – with families and with people who share interests in things historical.

One of those came to light last week when I received a call from Chris Hadsel in Burlington, VT who was asking about the Parker Street Hall — she had come across a photograph in our online collection.  It turns out she is part of a group that restores theatrical backdrops/curtains called “Curtains Without Borders” and she knew who the artist was who painted the curtain in Parker Street Hall!  (She was calling hoping that it existed so they could consider restoring it.)

Chris told us that the Parker Street curtain was painted by Helen Tooker.   Chris provided this short biography: Helen Tooker was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1906. In the 1920’s, she studied art for a year at the Boston Museum, then married and moved to Taunton, MA, where she set up her “Bay State Studio” and taught art as part of the WPA. In the mid-1930’s, she and her sister and her best friend added theater curtains to the wide variety of art, calligraphy and sign painting that provided her with a living. The three young ladies would set out together and persuade local businesses to buy ads that were then painted on a muslin rolldrop. Although she produced theater curtains throughout northern New England, the only known surviving examples are this one at the West Windsor Historical Society at the former Ascutney Mountain Grange Hall, and two similar curtains in Maine.  Helen passed away in 1997.

We will continue to look for more photographs of the backdrop for Chris’s records, and while the Parker Street Hall curtain is almost certainly gone you can visit some of the places where Helen’s work is still on display and get a sense of what it was like to be in our hall in the 1930s…

You can see more on our photo of the Parker Street Hall in our online collection.

Please visit the Curtains Without Borders website to learn more about their wonderful work restoring these beautiful works of art across New England (and they are looking to expand across the nation).

November 28th Program – Water

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Maynard Historical Society features a program entitled “The Hidden History of Maynard’s Water” — a history of how that water that comes out of your tap.

Our meetings and the program are open to the public.  We meet in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall, 195 Main Street, at 7pm.  The program will run about 1 hour.  Light refreshments and some social time follows the program.

Bedford Historical Society – Veterans’ Day Program – Nov 13

Special Sunday Historical Society program: Tribute of Bedford’s veterans.

A special tribute to Bedford veterans  – their history and impact on the community – will be presented by the Historical Society this Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 pm in the Fellowship Hall of the First Church of Christ, Congregational. Veterans from the War for Independence to the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict will tell personal and poignant stories and relate their service to events in Bedford’s history and the nation.

Six veterans, three of whom are Society members, will describe their experiences and relate the wars to happenings in Bedford at the time: War for Independence, Civil War, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and Iraq conflicts. This should be an interesting and thought-provoking program, coming a few days after Veterans Day.

Please join us!

October 2011 Monthly Meeting Reminder

For our October 24th meeting the Maynard Historical Society will present the history of Emerson Hospital, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.  Our guest speaker is Kenton Blagbrough.  (This presentation was originally planned for our April meeting.)

The hospital was founded in 1911 when Charles Emerson (a nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson) donated $20,000 and a site along the Sudbury River in Concord for a 14-bed cottage hospital. Formerly known as Deaconess Hospital, in 1924 the hospital was deeded to the community and renamed in honor of Charles Emerson. Today Emerson Hospital is a 179-bed acute care medical center providing advanced medical services to over 300,000 individuals in 25 towns.

Kenton Blagbrough is an employee and volunteer at Emerson Hospital. He holds masters degrees in History and Information Studies. He recently researched a property history which is included on the National Register for Historic Places, and the two hundred year status of an old New Hampshire road used in a civil proceeding.

Mr. Blagbrough, under the direction of the Medical Library and Office of Development, is researching the history of Emerson Hospital to prepare a written account for the hospital’s centennial in November 2011.

The Maynard Historical Society meets in the lower level of Maynard Town Hall, 195 Main Street.  The meeting starts at 7pm and are open to the public.  A social hour with Light refreshments follows the meeting.   There is no charge for the meeting.

Ken Olsen Tribute Day – October 22, 2011

A Ken Olsen Tribute Day will be held at 146 Main St. in Clock Tower Place in Maynard, MA on Saturday, October 22nd.  This day features a first screening of the Ken Olsen/Digital PBS documentary, Digital_ Man/Digital_ World.

The event will begin at 2 PM with tours of Clock Tower Place, displays of Digital Equipment Corp. memorabilia, the PBS showing (4 PM), and a paid ticketholder reception from 5:30-7:30 PM.

Sponsors include Clock Tower Place, Gordon College, the Town of Maynard, Maynard Historical Society, Legacy Financial Advisors, and the Dec Connection group of former Digital employees.

The events from 2-5:30 PM are free and, space permitting, open to anyone who wishes to attend.  Ticketholders have priority for auditorium seating for the PBS special. The 5:30-7:30 PM reception, where light food and refreshments will be served, is also open to anyone.

[DEC Connection Members/Guests: $15; Non-Members: $20]

If you wish to register for the reception or for more information on this event see:

Ken Olsen (1926-2011) co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation in 1957.  Based here in Maynard, Massachusetts it became the second largest computer company in the world and under Ken’s leadership was renown for numerous innovations that reverberate today in people’s interactions with technology.   The Maynard Historical Society is honored to participate in this town-wide tribute to one of the most successful entrepreneurs in American history who set up shop in an old woolen mill in the center our little town.

News and stories from the Maynard Historical Society in Maynard, Massachusetts