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
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 welcome.
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").
Remains of the Trolley Path Trolley and G&U Railroad Menu
After a period of decline, the trolley brings recovery to Mendon