Independence Day Has Special Meaning in Mendon
Independence Day in Mendon in 1882 was celebrated in a special way. Nipmuc Park, a family recreational
resort, had its grand opening. There had been a renewed interest in Lake Nipmuc, the town's most beautiful
natural resource. It offered clean water surrounded by pure air. "Nature's beauty spot" provided the setting for
family festivities in celebrating the birth of our nation.
Opening day on the Fourth of July attracted hundreds of people who enjoyed many leisurely activities. There
were opportunities for rides around the lake in row boats, sail boats, and a newly licensed steam boat.
There was a clam bake at the grove near Nipmuc Hall. Swings, hammocks, and rocking chairs were
available for visitors who wished to relax while listening to the spirited sounds of Brown's orchestra. Picnic
lunches were enhanced by summer treats that were for sale. After sundown, there was a fireworks display
from John Guild's cottage from the island. Nipmuc Park provided a Fourth of July to remember.
The celebration of our independence from Great Britain is a reminder of Mendon's role in the early stages of
the American Revolution. The town's Fourth Meeting House at the north end of Old Cemetery was the site of
fiery speeches and debate. The Sons of Liberty in Boston took note of Mendon's nineteen resolves from a
town meeting on March 1, 1773. Six scholarly residents, in response to a letter from Boston's Committee of
Correspondence, wrote wording that clearly defined the issues of the colonies. They included.....that all men
have naturally a right to life, liberty, and property, and that a just and lawful government must originate with
the free consent of the people. Another resolve stated that quartering an army in a free country in times of
peace without the consent of the people was a violation of rights of free men. The other resolves, similar in
tone and eloquence, were debated and approved at that meeting. Colonial leaders, such as Samuel Adams,
John Hancock, and Paul Revere, took notice.
The opening of Nipmuc Park on the Fourth of July in 1882 was a special celebration of our freedom. More
than one hundred years earlier in 1773, the spirit of the American Revolution was exemplified at a Mendon
town meeting, just down the street, near the corner of Providence Road and Blackstone Street. We celebrate
the birth of our nation as July 4, 1776, and we credit Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of
Independence. It was a proud day in our history, one to celebrate. Most certainly it could be said that the
founding fathers of our nation were well aware of what took place at a Mendon town meeting three years
earlier. Independence Day has a special meaning in our town, and it is with pride that we celebrate it.
Richard Grady -- Mendon Historical Society -- June 11, 2015
(The Fourth Meeting House became obsolete by 1843. It was sold and dismantled. The wood was
purchased by Holland Albee for a boarding house for the workers of his bakery. It currently exists as the
home of Randy and Sharon Gebelein at 8 Hastings Street.)
For more information about Mendon in the American Revolution, see Dan Malloy's website - Mendon in the