Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Maynard's 50th Anniversary

April 1921 saw the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Maynard, which had taken place on April 19, 1871. The date coincided with the then-time celebration of Patriots’ Day, traditionally on April 19th, changed in 1969 to be the third Monday in April. Interestingly, only Connecticut and Maine celebrate this holiday, and Maine – for some reason – calls it Patriot’s Day (note placement of apostrophe). And why Maine? Because until March 1820, Maine was a district rather than a state, and as a district, part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.    

Parade photo of Maynard's 50th Anniversary, corner of Main and Walnut
Streets. Note iron bridge in foreground, replaced by reinforced concrete
bridge in 1922. Click on photos to enlarge 
The Maynard Historical Society has on file a copy of the program for the Fiftieth Anniversary. Morning and evening church observances were held on Sunday, April 17th at six churches, of which only St. Bridget’s Catholic and the Finnish Congregational are still with us today. Monday saw a presentation pageant “Origin of Maynard,” performed by junior and senior high school students at Colonial Hall, admission ten cents. Tuesday, April 19th, started at 7:00 AM with a fifty-cannon salute, followed by a parade from the town hall east on Main, northeast on Nason (a two-way street at the time), southeast on Summer and then west on Main, to Walnut Street. Governor Channing H. Cox and others delivered addresses at the end of the parade. Plans called for the orations to be followed by choral singing, various speeches, a band concert, a baseball game at Crowe Park (Maynard versus Concord), concluding the day with ringing of church bells. Planning the whole event had happened quite fast, as only on March 7th had the concept been approved at Town Meeting, and budgeted at $1,000.   

In April 1966, Elizabeth M. Schnair, one of Maynard’s several volunteer historians, composed a description of the 1921 festivities. Details she added were that it was Battery D of the 2nd Field Artillery of Lowell that came with their cannons and gunpowder. The parade included Maynard’s police, Maynard Brass Band, veterans of the recent World War, veterans of the Civil War(!), the town’s various fraternal societies, the Finnish Temperance Band, Imatra Band, Girl Scouts, school children and other groups. The outdoor choral speaking, band concert and baseball game were cancelled on account of bad weather, but an indoor reunion of old-timers meeting with past- and present-day residents was a great success.    

Documents pertaining to the 50th anniversary include a book written by William H. Gutteridge, “A Brief History of MAYNARD MASS.” The book, 115 pages, including many photos of old buildings, describes the creation and growth of the town, schools and places of worship, and genealogy of the important early families. The Maynard Historical Society Archive has many photos of the celebration events, all viewable on line at (search on 50th, then ignore mentions of school buildings being 50 years old or high school 50th reunions). Among those documents, there exists a 13:25 minute silent film of street scenes of Maynard, with parade events starting at 9:06. Viewable at /items/show/3638.

Planning for the centennial celebrations of 1971 had a much longer lead time. The Maynard Historical Society was organized in 1961 and charged with – among other tasks – writing a comprehensive history of Maynard. The book was published in 1971 with the title “History of Maynard, Massachusetts 1871-1971.” The Maynard Public Library has a copy. A modest celebration was held to celebrate the 125th anniversary, in June 1996. Both a section of the newspaper and a booklet titled “A Maynard Sampler 1871-1996” retold historical vignettes, most taken from the centennial book. In addition to three days of musical events and one evening of fireworks, a road race was conducted in coordination with the passage of the Olympic Torch through Maynard on June 15th, on its way to the Summer Olympics, in Atlanta, GA.   

Plans for the sesquicentennial (150th) celebration are underway. The first official event will be the opening of a 1971 time capsule in April 2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment