Maynard is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is located 20 miles west of Boston, in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 10,106.
Maynard, located on the Assabet River, was incorporated as an independent municipality in 1871. Prior to that it was known as "Assabet Village" but was legally still part of the towns of Stow and Sudbury. There were some exploratory town-founding rumblings in 1870, followed by a petition to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, filed January 26, 1871. State approval was granted April 19, 1871. In return, the new town paid Sudbury and Stow about $23,600 and $8,000 respectively. Sudbury got more money because it owned shares in the railroad, plus the wool mill and paper mill were in Sudbury, and more land came from Sudbury. The population of the newly formed town - at 1,820 - was larger than either of its parent towns.
Formation of new towns carved out of older ones was not unique to Maynard. Hudson, with its cluster of leather processing and shoe-making mills, seceded from Marlborough and Stow in 1866. In fact, the originally much larger Stow formed in 1683 lost land to Harvard, Lancaster, Groton, Shirley and Boxborough; in addition to Hudson and Maynard. The usual reason to petition the State's Committee on Towns was that a fast-growing population cluster - typically centered around mills - was too far from the schools, churches and Meeting Hall of the parent town.
The community was named after Amory Maynard, the man who, with William Knight, had bought water-rights to the Assabet River, installed a dam and built a large carpet mill in 1846-47. The community grew along with the Assabet Woolen Mill and made the highest percentage of wool for U.S. Military uniforms for the Civil War. The woolen mill went bankrupt in 1898; it was purchased in 1899 by the American Woolen Company, a multi-state corporation, which greatly modernized and expanded the mill complex from 1900 through 1919. From 1910 through 1940, the population of Maynard was larger than that of Acton, Stow and Sudbury, combined.
There was an attempt in 1902 to change the town's name from "Maynard" to "Assabet." Some townspeople were upset that Amory Maynard had not left the town a gift before he died in 1890, and more were upset that Lorenzo Maynard, Amory's son, had withdrawn his own money from the Mill before it went bankrupt in 1898. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts decided to keep the name as "Maynard" without allowing the topic to come to a vote by the residents.
After the woolen mill finally shut down in 1950, local businessmen bought the property and began leasing it as office or manufacturing space. Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) moved into the complex in 1957. The company eventually made Maynard its worldwide headquarters, giving Maynard the nickname "Mini Computer Capital of the World". DEC remained in Maynard until 1998 when it was purchased by Compaq, which was itself later bought out by Hewlett Packard in 2002. The mill complex was nearly empty for almost ten years.
"The Mill", as locals call it, was renovated in the late 1990s and renamed Clock Tower Place and houses many businesses, including the headquarters of Powell Flutes and Monster.com. The mill complex is also home to the oldest working, hand-wound clock in the country (see image). The clock was constructed in 1892 by Lorenzo Maynard as a gift to the town. The weights that power the clock and bell-ringing mechanisms are wound up once a week - more than 6,000 times since the clock was built. The process takes one to two hours. The four clock faces have always been illuminated by electric lights.
The Maynard Family
John Maynard, born 1598, came over from England with his wife Elizabeth (Ashton) Maynard around 1635. Five generations later, Isaac Maynard was operating a mill in Marlborough. When he died in 1820 at age 41 his teenage son, Amory Maynard, took over the family business. The City of Boston bought Amory's water rights to Fort Meadow Pond in 1846. He partnered with William Knight to start up a woolen mill operation on the Assabet River. Amory and his wife Mary (Priest) Maynard had three sons: Lorenzo (1829-1904), William (1833-1906) and Harlan (1843-1861). Amory managed the mill from 1847-1885 (Knight retired in 1852). Lorenzo took over from 1885 to 1898. William had less to do with the family business - he lived in Boston a while, then Maynard again, then off to Pasadena, California in 1885 for reasons of ill health (possibly tuberculosis). He recovered and moved back east to Worcester in 1888 for the remainder of his life. Harlan died at age 18. Lorenzo married Lucy Davidson and had five children, but all of them died without issue - the four daughters passing away before their parents. William married Mary Adams and had seven children. Descendants of two - Harlan James and Lessie Louise - are alive today, but not living locally. William's granddaughter, Mary Augusta Sanderson, who died in 1947, was the last descendant to live in Maynard.