The Adams House: 1860 - 1885
economic advantage. Most people of Mendon in the 1860's earned their living by farming, boot
making, or woodworking. The surrounding towns, once part of Mother Mendon, separated years
earlier to set up an industrial way of life near strategic river locations. Though mills and factories
promoted economic growth and kept people employed, it gradually became evident that the natural
resources of area towns had been affected in a negative way. Their water had become polluted by
factory discharges, and their air quality had been tarnished by the emissions of bellowing
smokestacks. The Industrial Age had circumvented Mendon's higher elevation and left the Mother
Town to fulfill an agricultural role as the region's provider of food. It also left it with clean, refreshing air
and pristine water. It was this contrasting situation on which David Adams capitalized.
Lake Nipmuc had become a new recreational attraction by the end of the Civil War. It became known
as "Nature's beauty spot." Its water was clear and clean, and it was surrounded by trees and fields. It
attracted summer vacationers who came to town for recreation and a healthy environment.
David purchased the brick federal style building at 10 Hastings Street in 1860. He had worked there
in the 1840's as a baker when it was Holland Albee's Bakery, but his reason for purchasing it was to
turn it into a country inn. He called it the Adams House. It was a very popular summer inn, and it
became a social center for vacationers. He also operated a livery stable, renting out horses and
carriages for his guests to travel back and forth to the lake. Guests regarded the inn as very
comfortable with its piazza and rocking chairs, and credited Mrs. Adams with providing a pleasant
atmosphere and great hospitality. With the natural beauty and cleanliness of Lake Nipmuc being
promoted in the region, the Adams House was always filled with summer visitors.
In 1877, Mrs. Adams passed away very suddenly, and the enthusiasm of operating the inn without her
had diminished. David continued to keep the inn open with assistance from his son and daughter
until 1885. He sold the building and purchased the farmhouse just up the street at 23 Hastings
Street. He lived there until his death in 1900.
The Adams House was built in 1820 by Atty. Seth Hastings. Like his law office and bank, it was made
of brick. He made room for the house by relocating the Keith Inn to 26 Maple Street. There had been
three previous houses before Keith's Inn, all at the same site. Joseph White, a founding father, built
the first house there in 1663. It was destroyed by fire during the King Philip War, so he built his
replacement house in 1680. It was believed that Samuel Thayer built a third house in 1735, prior to
George and Elisabeth Keith's Inn in 1770. It is interesting to note that all five houses have used the
same well that Joseph White dug in 1663.
Today, the Adams House serves as an apartment building. The piazza with its rocking chairs is no
longer there, and the livery stable has been replaced with tenants' automobiles. Vinyl siding
cosmetically protects the aging bricks, and the three hundred forty-eight year old well lies
unassumingly beneath a circular concrete cover. The post Civil War era is in our distant past, but
when neighboring towns dealt with unhealthy air and water, David Adams made use of Mendon's
scenic beauty and unspoiled natural resources to promote his country inn. The Adams House
provided an oasis from remnants of the Industrial Age, not far from "Nature's beauty spot."
The Adams House is currently owned by Hackenson Corporation.