Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Maynard in Wikipedia

For those without access to personal computers, Wikipedia (launched January 2001) is a free, online encyclopedia. The English version has more than six million articles. Articles are created and changed (added to, subtracted from) by volunteer editors. With certain restrictions, anyone can edit any article. All that keeps this from becoming chaos is that when editors either in good faith or maliciously edit articles with not-true content, other editors reverse those edits (sooner or later). High profile articles often have a cadre of watchers who, when they log into Wikipedia, see articles they have chosen to watch if those articles have been edited since the last time they were online. There can be heated debates on the truth and verifiability of content. These take place on the Talk pages of articles – sort of a behind-the-scenes view.

Welcome to MAYNARD sign, near golf course.
Maynard, Massachusetts, population approximately 10,500 and clearly not a ‘famous’ town (say, compared to Concord), has a surprisingly large number of Wikipedia articles that in some way pertain. There are the expected: Maynard, Massachusetts; Maynard High School (Massachusetts); Maynard Public Library; Amory Maynard; Assabet River; Assabet River Rail Trail and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. There are locations a bit more obscure, yet articles in their own stead: Glenwood Cemetery (Maynard, Massachusetts); Presidential Village, Maynard, Massachusetts; Assabet Woolen Mill and WAVM. The Massachusetts State Police article mentions that the main Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab is located in Maynard.

Old Marlboro Road is an article because Thoreau wrote a poem by that name. It was incorporated into his lengthy essay “Walking,” published posthumously in 1862. In September 1851 he and a friend had walked through what was then Assabet Village, in part on the old Marlborough road, on his way from Concord to Boon Pond.

The reason that the town’s article is “Maynard, Massachusetts” rather than just “Maynard” is that there are articles for towns of the same name in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio. Similarly, Maynard High School (Arkansas) is an article, and there are several Glenwood Cemetery articles.

As for businesses once or currently located in Maynard, Digital Equipment Corporation is an article, as are almost every computer model it made. Other businesses no longer in existence or moved away include H.H. Scott, Inc.; 38 Studios, Iron Lore Entertainment and Still located in Maynard are Stratus Technologies, Powell Flutes, AquaBounty Technologies, The Paper Store and Wildlife Acoustics.

Amory Maynard
Lastly, there is a list of 15 “Notable people.” Wikipedia defines “Notable” as meaning a person who has a Wikipedia article about them. What defines their association with Maynard comes from having lived here before, during or after becoming famous, or else having a significant career here. Two of these, Tantamous and Luke Brooks, predate the creation of the Town of Maynard. Amory Maynard is whom the town is named after. That occurred while he was still alive. Given that in 1871 his woolen mill employed most of the people in what was about to become a new town, the decision to name the town after him was ‘unanimous.’

Hermon Hosmer Scott and Ken Olsen are listed because of the Maynard companies they founded, respectively, H.H. Scott, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation. Julie Berry and William G. Tapply (are/were, respectively) authors who lived here for a time. Waino Kauppi was a renowned cornet player, John, “Red” Flaherty a baseball umpire, and Frank Murray a college football coach. Leo Mullen was CEO of Delta Airlines. Elizabeth Updike Cobblah is an artist and art teacher, Michael Goulian an airshow performer, Herb Greene a professional photographer and Jarrod Shoemaker a professional triathlete. Fifteen is a nice number, but it does not approach the 98 (!) listed for Concord.    

Wikipedia has an article quality ranking system. From the top down, Featured article, Good article, B-class, C-class, Start, Stub and not rated. The rating for Maynard, Massachusetts is B-class, there are a couple of C-class in the above mentions, and the rest are Start, Stub, or no one ever bothered to rate. The Stubs and Starts, especially, need work, so if any readers are either experienced Wikipedia editors or are willing to learn, these would make great summer projects.  

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