The Mendon Trolley -- Its First Tour
The long awaited maiden voyage of the Milford - Uxbridge Electric Street Railway was met with
jubilation by the people of Mendon on December 19, 1901. The exuberant citizens had waited several
months for the tracks, wires, and bridges to be installed and tested. This was in anticipation of the
new means of transportation that promised to bring change to their economy and way of life. The
arrival of the first trolley car created joy and enthusiasm, and the excited crowd let the passengers
know that they were welcome.
The initial ride began in Milford and traveled through Hopedale, Mendon, and Uxbridge. Town officials
and dignitaries from each town were invited to board the trolley at designated stops at the entrance to
the town centers. Each town along the tracks greeted the decorated vehicle with warmth and cheers,
but it was Mendon's welcome that was one to be remembered.
A large crowd welcomed the trolley. People were dressed in their finest clothing. The houses were
adorned with bunting. One hundred fifty school children cheered and waved flags in front of the Town
Hall. Ladies waved kerchiefs, and men waved flags. Bells rang at the Union Evangelical (the present
Taft Library) and the Unitarian Churches. Surely, the dignitaries had to be impressed with the festive
greeting, but there was another element in the celebration that likely left them startled and ready to
dive for cover! They were met with gunfire and cannon blasts. After they got over the initial reaction of
wondering if they might be under attack, they realized that the apparent military greeting was simply
part of the excitement. The townspeople made it extremely clear that the railway would be most
The new means of transportation marked the beginning of long term change. Nipmuc Park revitalized
the economy on weekends, and new occupational opportunities became available to Mendon
farmers. The trolley provided easy access to factories and businesses in neighboring towns.
Decisions were made in many families to give up farming as a way of life and to sell off the land for
housing development. The trolley system ended in 1928, being replaced by the popularity of the
automobile. Throughout the century, Mendon's population grew as houses replaced farms. The
maiden voyage of the electric street railway in December of 1901 was met with jubilation. It was a day
that changed the town forever !
Richard Grady -- February 3, 2014
(Information for this article was obtained from an article of the Milford Daily Journal, December 20,
1901 - "Milford and Uxbridge Cars Now Running").
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