By Julie McCay Turner
While First Parish celebrates the 200th birthday of Bedford’s historic meeting house on the Common this year, the Town of Bedford will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2029.
Massachusetts history tells us that on September 23, 1729 local citizens formed the Town of Bedford, in part to assuage the difficulty of Sunday trips to the meeting houses in Concord and Billerica. A meeting house was constructed that year to fulfill the terms of the Town’s charter.
Bedford’s original meeting house suffered severe damage when a ‘great gale’ blew through town in 1815.The then 90-year-old building was in poor shape prior to the gale, and so was razed and rebuilt in 1817 according to architectural plans published by Asher Benjamin.
Selectmen Chair Mike Rosenberg is already looking ahead to Bedford’s 300th anniversary in 2029 and beginning to dream about whatever celebration the town might undertake. He has also promised to take “really good care of myself” so that he can be present for the festivities.
It’s not too early to begin planning, Rosenberg contends, and his point is well-taken. A 10-year plan to set aside funds for the celebration would begin in FY19, just a year from now in budgeting terms. Rosenberg also urged that an ad hoc committee should soon begin to think about the celebration itself and survey other town and organizations for the ways in which they celebrated significant anniversaries.
Participation in the planning committee will be organized through the Volunteer Coordinating Committee, and details for anyone interested in participating will be announced when they become available.