The Adams House:  1860 - 1885

    David Adams utilized a prevailing environmental condition after the Civil War and turned it into an
    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.

    Richard Grady                                                                                                                     
    Mendon, MA

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