Now and Then - The Ammidon Inn
Click here to see much more on the Ammidon Inn.
George Washington almost stayed at the Ammidon. Click here to
read Paul Hutchinson's article on the George Washington
Presidential Trail, including the brief Mendon stop.
Mendon Antiques Center at the Ammidon Inn.
Mendon Antique Center, at 4 Main Street, with its old wooden tables, time worn chairs, books, and much used farm tools,
holds many secrets and treasures from the past. Browsing on a leisurely Sunday, autumn afternoon, a visit reveals a casual
lawn display of furniture, post cards, wooden boxes, and magazines. More household items from years gone by are on display
in the barn and in the former inn. The owner, David Lowell, is usually chatting with customers and old friends about antiques
and news around town. Customers are welcome to browse and discover treasured items that could tell stories of years gone
by and happenings long ago.
Ichabod Ammidon opened the inn in 1745, just a few hundred yards south of Middle Post Road. The road was a major
transportation route connecting New York, Hartford, and Boston. It was constructed in 1672, per order of King Charles II for
mail delivery. It is the oldest interstate highway in North America. There is a stone marker diagonally across the street from
Clough School designating its location. Ammidon Inn provided overnight rest for weary travelers. They could get a hot meal,
exchange news stories, mail a letter, and replenish supplies for the next part of their journey. During the Colonial Period, the
inn was a very popular stopover.
Ammidon Inn served as a center of activity during the American Revolution. In response to the alarm of Lexington and
Concord, on April 19, 1775, one hundred sixty - four Mendon minutemen gathered here and assembled across the street
before marching on to Boston. After the brutal Battle of Bunker Hill (Breeds Hill), British soldiers burned most of the buildings
of Charlestown to the ground, leaving many people with no place to live. In June, 1775, thirty homeless patriotic refugees were
provided a temporary place to live at this inn until a more permanent living accommodation was provided back in Charlestown.
Nathan Hale and his troops stopped here for breakfast in January 1776, months before British troops captured him and
hanged him for treason. Colonial troops were welcomed here on a frequent basis.
The newly elected first president of the United States, George Washington, stopped here on November 6, 1789, on a post
inaugural tour of the Northeast. By this time, Philip Ammidon, Ichabod's son, had joined his father as innkeeper, but he was
not at home when the President arrived. Historian Florence Aldrich described the entourage as led by a gentleman in uniform
on a grey horse, two aides in uniform, also on grey horses, and then the President's carriage pulled by bay horses ridden by
two boys. A horse drawn baggage wagon followed. Miss Aldrich explained that President Washington, upon learning that
Colonel Ammidon was not at home, decided to move on to Uxbridge to stay overnight at Samuel Taft's Tavern. When Philip
came home and was told of the famous would be guest, he and his daughter went on to Uxbridge for a visit with the President.
Philip's daughter, Sylva Ammidon, was married here on April 3, 1794 to Jonathan Russell. He became an international
ambassador to France, England, Sweden, and Norway. He was a signer of the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812. He
served a term in Congress and was a candidate for president in 1824, until a nasty public newspaper battle with John Quincy
Adams ended his career. He left the national scene to become Mendon town moderator in 1827.
Philip Ammidon died in 1802, but several people continued as innkeepers after his death. Their last names were Childs,
Green, Moore, Wheelock, Marsh, Dudley, and Coleman. When the stagecoach era was replaced by the trolley and automobile,
the inn became an apartment house. David Lowell purchased the historic inn in the 1980's and has used it as an antique
Mendon Antique Center offers treasures from the past. They may be found in the form of old furniture or framed pictures, or
perhaps wooden boxes or dishes, but the real treasures are found in its history. Ammidon Inn has been a continuous
participant in our town's activities since 1745. It has been a welcome friend for weary travelers of Middle Post Road and later,
Hartford Turnpike. It was a welcome stopover for soldiers of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and it
provided shelter for people from war ravaged Charlestown. It hosted town meetings when the Fourth Meetinghouse was too
cold. The treasures of Ammidon Inn are in the form of memories of happenings long ago. Its walls bear silent witness to the
growth of a great town and nation.
Mendon Historical Society -- October 25, 2016