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
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
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
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 store.
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