Thursday, May 22, 2014
Sudbury Center Historical Tour
The Mom has a thing for historical places. She is very excited that her hometown is getting into the spirit of their 375th anniversary and offering a variety of history related programs. What makes this so appropriate for Thoughtless Thursday is no dogs were allowed at the event.
On Sunday, Mom and Dad went back to Mom's hometown to do a tour of Sudbury's town center. People met in the Town Hall starting at 2PM and were divided into groups for tours that were supposed to take about 1 1/2 hours. Their tour was a bit longer. While the weather threatened to be nasty, Mother Nature cooperated providing great walking weather.
In order to spread the tour out their tour started out of order.
This is Heritage Park. Bailey has been here a few times when he used to come to the July 4th parade. It was built in 1975 and Mom remembers coming here from Peter Noyes School to the pond to do experiments. It was a beautiful place to visit and just a short walk from the school. They have since added a 9/11 Memorial to the area. This is a beautiful place to walk and to explore.
Next up is a place Mom has seen a few times because it is always open on July 4th and they have a used book sale that she and Dog Dad love to visit. Mom always knew about the house as a memorial to the artist Florence Hosmer who donated it to the town in 1959. However, on the tour she learned the house had been a store, a post office, a ballroom, and a cobbler's shop. It seems they still use the ballroom for some functions and they also run a little gift shop when the house is open for visitors selling historical society items to raise funds for the historical commission.
This is the Fairy Garden located at the Hosmer House. You know how Mom loves gardens.
This is Grinnell Park. It is the town's WWI Memorial. Mom doesn't remember it having a name when she was a child. The tour guide didn't say when it was named, just that it was named for the town's Veteran's agent, a WWII veteran. The name sounds familiar so it might have happened after she left town.
While many people didn't know about this spot, one of the reasons Mom was familiar with it was this was her half way rest stop when she rode her bike to the library. It was a long trip and she would pause here and read the name plates while she caught her breath. According to the guide there are 32 names inscribed on the plate. Mom was very happy to hear the historical commission is looking to replace the plate that is looking worn after all these years. As a child, this used to be where she watched the annual July 4th parade.
Next, we have the First Parish Meeting House. It is currently a Unitarian Church, but it was the literally the first Church built in town. What Mom knew, but others were very shocked to hear, was that town funds built the First Church in 1723. The building was later rebuilt at its current site in 1797.
People often forget Puritans, who had no concept of separation of Church and state, founded Massachusetts. Church was mandatory and when people moved from what is now Wayland to Sudbury, during bad weather the distance to Church was a challenge. However, in order to start another Church they actually had to petition the Colonial government for permission.
Mom doesn't have a picture, but she visited the Loring Parsonage on the tour, too. That was built as an incentive to get Reverend Israel Loring to move to the new district. The First Parish Meeting House served as both a house of worship and a place of town government for many years. The first town hall wasn't even built until 1846. What Mom did learn on the tour is official separation of Church and state didn't occur until 1836. For some reason she thought it was earlier than that.
This is the Grange Hall one of the first public schools in town, built in 1848 and then moved in 1890. It was then sold to the Grange in 1890. In later years has been used by both the Grange and for Town offices.
Mom had no idea what this building was, but once you think about what it’s near it makes sense. It’s called the Hearse building. Prior to cars, this is where the horse drawn hearse for the town was stored. Mom can be excused because while it was built in 1799 it has only been in its current location since 2009 when it was relocated here. The town had previously sold it off when it was no longer needed before the Mom would have known about it.
Last, but not least, this one fascinated Mom as a kid. This was the Town Pound built in 1797. It was 5ft of local stone with a 6th foot provided by wood. The door was self-locking. Once in, the animals weren't going to push themselves out. This area was used to hold animals that were found wandering off their own properties. Animals could not be retrieved without paying the pound keepers fines. The penalties for stealing from the pound keeper were rather steep. No dogs or cats folks, just stray farm animals.
There were 13 stops on the tour and we don’t have pictures of them all. Some were associated with other stops like the Carriage Sheds for the First Parish Meeting House. The picture at the top of the page is the Revolutionary War Monument created in 1896 to honor the veterans of the Revolutionary War. The tour also included the Presbyterian Church, once the Methodist Church, and the Revolutionary War cemetery. Mom has been there many times. The historical society is working hard to restore the site.
There seemed to be a good turnout of people. With interpreters at 13 sites and tour guides to take each group around a great deal of planning and effort went into this event. Mom was glad to see people out supporting it. She wants to thank all the people involved with the event for their hard work and planning. It was a wonderful afternoon. While some of these sites can be visited any time as they are open to public viewing, many are in use and not available to tour. It was a unique opportunity and she was glad the Historical Society planned this event to make these venues available to the public.
Mom was thrilled to find out all the third graders in town are getting to participate in this tour, too. It is nice to see Sudbury introducing itself to the next generation, again. I know I appreciated it as a child. I think this generation will enjoy knowing more about the town's past in a fun interactive way, too.