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Lynnfield Getting Ready for 2014 Bicentennial Celebration

Next year, Lynnfield celebrates its 200th birthday. The historical commission and other town entities are getting ready to mark the occasion. Volunteers are needed to lend a hand.

Thanks to Steve Smith of the Lynnfield Historical Commission for providing this information:

While the town of Lynnfield was founded in 1814, it’s interesting to note that the Old Meeting House was built in 1714 and will celebrate its tricentennial.  “So we’ll have multiple reasons to celebrate in 2014” said Nan Hockenbury, chair of the Lynnfield Historical Commission.

Back in the time when the Meeting House was built, in the pre-Revolutionary era, the area we now know as Lynnfield was part of Lynn, and called Lynn End.  This was where Puritans gathered to worship.  Thomas Wellman’s  A History of Lynnfield is an excellent source for early history of settlers North of Boston who explored the areas in what we now call “North Shore” Massachusetts from down along the Saugus River.  Ensign Thomas Bancroft bought a 60 acre lot that is now part of Lynnfield, as is part of the John Poole grant of 200 acres north and east of Lake Quannapowitt which is in the center of Wakefield, but the lot extends well into what is also part of today’s Lynnfield. 

How did all of this evolve into what is now our town?  What part did residents of this area play as Minutemen in the Revolutionary War and later in the Civil War?   Lynnfield and its citizens played important roles in the history of the United States and served in various Massachusetts military units.  You will find gravesites of war veterans in historic cemeteries located in Lynnfield.  There will be commemorative activities for various historic events as part of the town’s Bicentennial and the Meeting House Tricentennial coming in 2014.

Historically, citizens from Lynnfield have played important roles in our nation’s history.  For example, David Hewes (born in Lynnfield in 1822) is referred to as the “maker of San Francisco.” He founded and made his first fortune with the Steam Paddy Company which dredged the harbor at San Francisco. He later made a fortune as a sheep rancher.  Hewes donated the golden spike used to unite the rail lines East to West at Promontory Point, Utah where the Central Pacific Railroad met the Union Pacific Railroad and the first transcontinental railroad was completed.

The Lynnfield Historical Commission and the Lynnfield Historical Society in collaboration with the Town of Lynnfield , its various agencies and an array of community groups will present a host of activities that will be both fun and informative in honoring the history of Lynnfield.

Groups interested in presenting or hosting an official Lynnfield Bicentennial event in 2014, please email the Lynnfield Historical Commission at lhc@town.lynnfield.ma.us for an application form.

Individuals who would like to volunteer to assist in the array of bicentennial activities coming in 2014, please send an email to lhc@town.lynnfield.ma.us indicating your interest.

If you would like to serve as the unpaid volunteer activity coordinator, please send an email indicating special event organizing experience.  Please also note your communication (including social media) experience.  Individuals interested in this position should respond not later than March 15, 2013.

Individuals with experience and/or skill in advertising, event promotion, budget planning, or financial reporting are of particular interest to the Commission.  Of course, all volunteers will be welcome, so please send an email with your interest, experience, contact information, and a member of the Lynnfield Historical Commission will respond in the coming weeks to follow up with you.

If you are interested in reading about celebrations in the past, The Lynnfield Historical Commission has files of information to review including the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary, June, 1964).  You will be interested to read about another Lynnfield bicentennial celebrated in 1982.  That is a subject worthy of some research!  Whoever thought that history could be fun?

Alan Foulds June 10, 2013 at 07:18 PM
A 300th anniversary of the Old Meeting House next year is a great idea, but calling 2014 Lynnfield's 200th anniversary is a stretch. Lynnfield, as we know it, complete with its own selectmen and town meeting, came into being on July 3rd, 1782, rather than in 1814: A common mistake, because nomenclature has changed. The town actually celebrated its 200th anniversary several years ago, in 1982, complete with a visit from the governor. A ceremonial re-signing of the town's charter took place, with the signatures of the governor, speaker of the house and senate president in office in 1982. The original signers were Governor John Hancock, Senate President Samuel Adams, and House Speaker Nathaniel Gorham. In fact, there is a time capsule located in the Town Hall vault, due to be open on July 3rd, 2032, during the town's 250th anniversary. For more information, refer to the book, "Lynnfield: Two Centuries" found at the Lynnfield Public Library.
William Laforme (Editor) June 10, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Alan do you happen to have any photos from that time? I'd be very interested in writing about that for one of the future Monday local history columns - Bill Laforme
Alan Foulds June 11, 2013 at 12:25 AM
I have slides and I have programs. I will dig them out

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