Summering in Bedford – Vintage Advertisements and Photographs

Bedford was a favored summer destination - Images (c) Bedford Historical Society
Bedford has always been a lovely place to spend time in the summer (but we knew that!)

Compiled by Brian Oulighan and Kara Kerwin of the Bedford Historical Society

Advertisements in Boston newspapers lured city dwellers out to Bedford to enjoy the comforts of fine resort hotels.

The Bedford House which stood on the Great Road, where the fire station now stands. The Bedford Springs Hotel, later replaced by the Sweetwater Hotel, overlooked Fawn Lake, which had been a spring pond until it was dug out, by hand and renamed. Both offered luxury accommodations in a bucolic setting, with plenty of opportunities only a short train ride from Boston.

From the Boston Evening Transcript, June 16, 1893

This hotel has been newly fitted up, inside and out. New rooms, with steam heat and all the modern improvements, have been added. Now ready to accommodate transients and borders, with good stabling for horses. WM. ADAMS, Prop. Bedford, Mass.
Only 15 miles out on the B. & L. R.R., charming, healthy summer resort; Boston business men can go and come for a trifling expense. Near an extensive forest, mineral springs, walks, lawns, playgrounds, etc. Rates from $10.00 to $20.00, with special rates for the whole season.  Inquire at Herald Building, or address WM ADAMS, Proprietor.  Bedford Springs, Mass.

From the Cambridge Chronicle: 13, July 1901

HOTEL SWEETWATER,  Bedford Springs, Mass.
Only 17 miles from Boston by the B. and M. R.R. or the Lowell electric road from Arlington Heights. Acres of fine groves, affording out-door rest and recreation. Drives, beautiful scenery, rooms with baths, livery accommodations. Passenger elevator, electric lights, and hotel up-to-date in all particulars. Bowling alleys of latest pattern, tennis, billiards, pool, croquet, and a nine-hole golf course on grounds. For terms, circulars and Information apply to A. R. STURGIS, Manager, Bedford Springs, Mass. Telephone, No. Lexington 38-5.

From the Boston Evening Transcript: July 18, 1903

Attractive Summer Resorts:

Hints Which Will Help in the Selection of a Desirable Place at the Seashore, in the Mountains, Where the Welfare of Visitors Is Carefully Studied and Where Are Found Many Diversions for Recreation and Rest

It is not every hotel within a score of miles of Boston that can offer to its patrons the advantages of the Hotel Sweetwater at Bedford Springs, Mass. The hotel is located in the midst of Hayden Park, a beautiful bit of country containing two hundred and fifty acres and including an artificial lake of large size. The rooms of the hotel are spacious and comfortable and can be had en suite, with or without bath. The cuisine is of the best and the service refined. Near the hotel are golf links and tennis courts. There are also bowling alleys, billiard tables and a fine livery stable. For booklet and terms address Addison Gilmore, manager, Bedford Springs

Rooms single or en suite. Elegant cuisine. Golf, Boating, Bowling, Billiards, Tennis, Music, Livery. Booklets and terms upon application. ADDISON GILMORE, Manager

From the Automobile Blue Book, 1911 Edition

R.L. BROWN, Prop. JOHN BARNES, Manager  HOTEL SWEETWATER  Bedford Springs, Mass.
On the old Lowell Turnpike, 17 miles from Boston. Will open April 19, and remain open all year round. We especially solicit the patronage of  AUTOMOBILISTS

Well-appointed private dining-rooms provided upon application. Ladies will enjoy our  Afternoon Tea, served from four to six o’clock on verandah or lawn, as desired. The house being steam heated. and containing a fine ballroom, 25 x 50, also bowling alley, billiards and poolroom furnishes everything requisite for enjoyable week-end and house parties at any season. A well-equipped garage is on the premises, where gasoline and oil may be obtained. During the winter months, an enjoyable sun parlor will be provided.

A postcard featuring the Sweetwater Hotel  (as seen from the lake)


A dinner menu from the Sweetwater Hotel


The Bedford House, full of summer visitors


A tree-lines view of the Great Road (still dirt)


Images of folks enjoying summer weather in Bedford



These photos are brought to you courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society. The Society was founded in 1893 and exists today to preserve Bedford’s history. Learn more about the Society at its web page, or on its Facebook page. Visit the Historical Society in its archives in the Bedford Police Station. Contact the Society by email at [email protected] or call 781-275-7276 for hours or directions.

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July 14, 2014 6:09 pm

The author of this is Kara Kerwin. She is the woman behind the scenes of the Bedford Historical Society. She makes everything happen at the BHS.
Thanks Kara! You are the best. Great, great photos!

July 15, 2014 10:34 am

I love the ad addressed to “the Automobilist”….unfortunately, the coming of the automobile probably contributed to the demise of the resort.