The Historical Society Salutes Bedford High School’s History Day Winners

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At our first meeting of our program year, the Bedford Historical Society recognized the outstanding students from Bedford High School who won honors at the State History Day competition, and went on to compete at the national event.

Students Maya Bostwick, Emily Weigert and Ava Altman won 1st place at the Massachusetts State History Day competition for their Senior Group Documentary, “Rachel Carson: Exploring Pesticides and Encountering the Power of the Chemical Industries.” The film is available for viewing on YouTube via the highlighted link.

In addition, students Michelle Gong and Stella Miller won 2nd place at the state level for their Senior Group Website, “Re-inventing Our Understanding of Humanity: Jane Goodall’s Exploration of Chimpanzees and Encounters with the Scientific World,” which can be viewed by clicking on the highlighted link.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

 

The Richard Wheeler House at 445 Concord Road

September 2016 Update! The demolition request for the Richard Wheeler House has been withdrawn!

Background

The Richard Wheeler house is one of only 2 remaining in Bedford built in the 1600s and one of only 6 in Bedford that are over 300 years old.  Those buildings are:

  • Michael Bacon House                                     229 Old Billerica Road                      ca.1671
  • Richard Wheeler House                                 445 Concord Road                             ca.1695
  • Farley-Hutchinson-Kimball House              461A North Road                               ca.1700
  • Nathaniel Page House                                     89 Page Road                                      ca.1702
  • Eleazer Davis House                                         255 Davis Road                                  ca.1705
  • Job Lane House                                                295 North Road                                  ca.1713

A permanent deed restriction was placed on the Farley-Hutchinson-Kimball House by the Bedford Historical Society, and the Job Lane House is a town-owned farm museum.  None of the other buildings have any legal deed restrictions protecting them.

There are only 7 other buildings remaining from around the time (1725-1735) of Bedford’s incorporation in 1729.

History

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The Richard Wheeler House, 445 North Road

The precise construction date for the Wheeler house during the last quarter of the 1600s is not certain.  The house was inspected by Orville Carroll, former preservation architect for the Minuteman National Historic Park.  He determined that the front 2 rooms up and down along with the chimney base were constructed in the 1600s.

One scenario dates the house to Richard’s parents’ marriage.  George1 Wheeler was an early settler in Concord, having arrived in 1639 with his young family including a son William2 (ca.1630-1683) born in England.  William married Hannah Buss in 1659, and they had 8 children including their youngest son George3 (ca.1674-1737) born in Concord.  George married Abigail Hosmer in 1695, and the assumed house construction date of 1695 coincides with their marriage.  Their oldest son Richard4 (born ca.1696) inherited the house that now bears his name.  He married Jemmima French in 1720. Continue reading “The Richard Wheeler House at 445 Concord Road”

The History of Native Americans in Bedford

by

Sharon Lawrence McDonald

Fifteen thousand years ago, glaciers covered the northern regions of the continent. Bedford would have been under a mile of ice.  But then, it began to melt. By 12,000 years ago, the glaciers had retreated up past the St. Lawrence River. There was land here, but it was tundra. Mammoths, mastodons, huge bears and other large mammals roamed. (Mastodons??? In New England?? Yes! A six and a half foot long mastodon tusk was found in Arlington’s Spy Pond just a few years ago!)

Over many hundreds of years, the weather warmed further, and the icy tundra melted. The large mammals went extinct or retreated north. And then, about 11,000 years ago, pushing northward and eastward from the Ohio Valley into the newly habitable land of the northeast, came the Earliest Peoples. Continue reading “The History of Native Americans in Bedford”