Acton 250th Events

Acton-250-Logo-2c (1)2024/1774 New Year’s Resolution 

In order to better understand and appreciate Acton in the year leading up to the Revolutionary War, which activities, events and/or sites below will you commit to attending, viewing, and/or visiting this year?

  •   Visit the museum space on the second floor of the Acton Memorial Library showcasing the town’s unique contribution to the beginning of both the American Revolution and the Civil War and the Pine Hawk display on the ground floor
  •  Attend or view an upcoming Acton 250 Lecture in Town Hall.  Joseph Adelman is scheduled to speak on January 30th about the role of 18th century newspapers. 

Become familiar with our local historical organizations, the Acton Historical Society and the Iron Work Farm, both of which help to understand life in Acton during the pre-Revolutionary period? Both maintain some of Acton’s most historic properties, and welcome new members. 

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the road to concord

The Gathering Storm with Historian J. L. Bell

Noted historian and author J. L. Bell will be speaking Tuesday, April 2 at 7:00 PM in Room 204 at Acton TownHall, 472 Main Street. Please register at: http://tinyurl.com/APR-02-Bell so that you may be contacted for future activities. You can also watch live on Acton TV or Zoom at https://actonma.zoom.us/j/81741134640 if you would like to engage in the Q&A portion of the talk.

 As 1774 begins, Massachusetts politicians worry about the royal government response to the Boston Tea Party. The force of that reaction became clear in the return of troops to Boston, the Coercive Acts, and the Massachusetts Government Act. In late summer the province’s people rebelled by shutting down government functions in rural counties, seizing weapons in ports, and electing their own legislature. The engine of that resistance was a little-understood institution: the colonial militia. By fall, it was clear that the new royal governor had no leverage outside Boston. This talk traces the end of British power in most of Massachusetts even before the war began.

 J. L. Bell has explored the end of British royal government in Massachusetts by following the contest for artillery pieces in his acclaimed book, The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War. He also maintains the Boston 1775, which offers daily helpings of history, analysis, and unabashed gossip about Revolutionary New England.

amy coleActon Center Walking Tours - Saturday, April 6 with Amy Cole

Please meet Amy at the Acton Memorial Library parking lot at 1:50 PM.

The walk is free, but registration is required at http://tinyurl.com/APR-6-Cole or using the QR Code below and capped at 20 attendees per walk.   

Patriots’ Day is coming soon! Get in the spirit by taking a nice walk while learning about some important Acton history. Walking Acton’s historic civic center, you will learn about the people, places and practices that shaped the town’s history and our nation’s as well. Topics will include Native American history, the role of the church, the importance of Captain Isaac Davis and the Acton Minutemen, nearby historic buildings, memorials and more. The mile walk will take a little less than two hours.

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Acton Center Walking Tours - Friday, April 12 with Amy Cole

Please meet Amy at the Acton Memorial Library parking lot at 1:50 PM.

The walk is free, but registration is required at http://tinyurl.com/APR-12-Cole or using the QR Code below and capped at 20 attendees for each walk.

 Patriots’ Day is coming soon! Get in the spirit by taking a nice walk while learning about some important Acton history. Walking Acton’s historic civic center, you will learn about the people, places and practices that shaped the town’s history and our nation’s as well. Topics will include Native American history, the role of the church, the importance of Captain Isaac Davis and the Acton Minutemen, nearby historic buildings, memorials and more. The mile walk will take a little less than two hours.

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Previous Events

January 31, 2024

A Revolution in the News with Historian Joseph Adelman

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All are invited to hear from Professor Joseph M. Adelman on Tuesday, January 30th at 7:00 PM in Room 204 at Acton Town Hall, 472 Main Street. This is the third lecture in a series commissioned by the Acton 250 Committee to help us better understand and appreciate the times when our nation was born.

Professor Adelman will tell the story of the Revolutionary War’s forgotten instigators: newspaper printers and editors. Shrewdly gauging the political climate and interests of their communities and balancing them with their own commercial interests, eighteenth-century printers were instrumental in creating propaganda and rallying the public to the revolutionary cause.

Professor Adelman earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University. He currently teaches history at Framingham State University and is the author of Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing the News, 1763-1789. A noted speaker and author, he has published work in the Washington Post, Slate, and The Atlantic, is a regular contributor to the award-winning podcast, Ben Franklin’s World, and serves as an Associate Editor for The New England Quarterly.

A recording of the event can be viewed here.

The slides presented can be viewed here.

Event DetailsSummary
December 10, 2023

Acton Center Walking Tour
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Since its founding in 1735, Acton has shown courage in protecting its liberties, as demonstrated in leading the first engagement in the fight for independence.  Walking Acton’s historic civic center, you will learn about the people, places and practices that shaped the town’s history and our nation’s as well. Topics will include Native American history, the role of the church, the importance of Captain Isaac Davis and the Acton Minutemen, nearby historic buildings, memorials and more. The mile walk will take a little less than two hours.

Meet at the Acton Memorial Library parking lot at 1:30pm.

The event is free; registration is required. Register here: https://actonma.myrec.com/info/activities/program_details.aspx?ProgramID=30417
November 21, 2023

Acton Memorial Library Book Group Discussion


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The Acton Memorial Library Book Group will discuss The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Shiff on November 21, 2023 at 6:30pm

https://actonmemoriallibrary.assabetinteractive.com/calendar/acton-memorial-library-book-discussion-group-18/
November 13, 2023

Historian Mary Fuhrer Explores Daily Life in Colonial Acton for Acton 250 Lecture Series

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Please join us on Monday, November 13 at 7:00PM at Acton Town Hall as the Acton 250 Committee focuses on the everyday people and daily life in Acton with Mary Fuhrer. This illustrated talk will explore family, households, farms, neighbors, and the fabric of village life to recover the world of the Minutemen. It was a world far different from our own; it is the world that laid the groundwork for revolution. The Acton 250 Committee continues to sponsor a series of lectures on the history leading up to the momentous events of 1775 and 1776. The lectures will help us understand what life was like in our community in that era and share the less told stories of residents. This presentation will be available live on ActonTV and by zoom at https://actonma.zoom.us/j/81741134640.
 
Mary Fuhrer is a Ph.D. social historian who for the past 30 years has interpreted village life in colonial and early Republic Massachusetts. She has authored two books and numerous articles on daily life and change in small town Massachusetts, presented at history conferences and institutes, and served as a consulting historian to Freedom’s Way, Massachusetts Humanities, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, as well as serving as the co-author of MassMoments. She was awarded the Massachusetts History Commendation for her work in public history.  

A recording of the event can be viewed here.
The slides presented can be viewed here


October 12, 2023

Countdown to April 19th, 1775: Tours of Acton Center Historic District

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    As preparations begin for the celebration of April 19th, 1775 attention naturally turns to Acton Center and questions arise about which structures were actually present on that day. To establish an accurate understanding of what was and what was not an initial tour was held on October 12th. Acton 250 Committee members joined experienced tour guides and individuals with a special interest in public history.

     Amy Cole, a native of Acton who grew up in the only pre-1775 house still standing in the center, led the group. Acton Center is a local historic district and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places—a combination that affords both protections and opportunities to historic structures.

     Many may be surprised that little of what they see in the streetscape today existed in 1775. The monument, recently adopted within the Acton Memorial Library’s new logo, was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century as April 19th celebrations grew in importance. The triangular commons actually is a small cemetery as the remains of those Actonians who died on April 19th are interred there.

     Two hundred and fifty years ago a small combined meeting house and church was situated on the top of Meeting House Hill now noted with a white sign. The current Town Hall is actually the third meeting house constructed in Acton. More explanation on the characteristic New England relationship between church and meeting place will follow.

     Acton 250 hopes to strengthen relationships between groups interested in the town’s history. The tour, intended as the first of many open to interested individuals, helped to develop an accurate understanding of the setting for April 19th locally. Look for tour sign ups in the spring of 2024.


Sept. 21, 2023
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Noted Historian Prof. Robert Allison- From Crown Tensions to Tea Parties:  The Role of Massachusetts in Shaping the Revolution
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Professor Robert Allison, who discussed the pivotal events that set the stage for the Boston Tea Party and sparked the American Revolution.  
 
Prof. Allison is renowned for his expertise in American colonial history, and the political, social, and economic factors that converged in the 18th century, leading to the climactic moment in Boston's history. He has taught history at Suffolk University since 1992, when he received his doctorate at Harvard. He is currently the Chair of Revolution 250, a consortium of organizations planning commemorations of the Revolution's 250th anniversary and a life-trustee of the USS Constitution Museum. 

Acton's 250th Committee's News Updates:

Acton's 250th's Inaugural Event Covers "Crown Tensions to Team Parties"

Tours Planned of Acton Center Historic District

Useful Links:

Revolution 250 (a non-profit organization with state-wide information about 250th)

Historical Interest Items:

Samuel Adams: Instigator of a Tea Party & a Revolution

Links to other 250th sites of interest:

  1. Concord Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConcordRev250  
  2. Arlington:https://www.arlingtonma.gov/town-governance/boards-and-committees/semiquincenntial-committee-arlington-250
  3. Arlington 250 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArlingtonMA250 
  4. Lexington Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100094726838509 
  5. America 250 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/America250
  6. America 250: https://america250.org/

 

Acton established this committee to plan for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the commencement of the American Revolution. Events might include, but are not limited to, parades, reenactments, speaker series, and other educational events, and could also include physical reminders, such as plaques, statuary, exhibits, or other items of an enduring nature. The committee shall develop and administer programs, a budget, and grant applications, and may make a request for funding as part of the Town budget process.  The committee shall cooperate and coordinate with local, regional, state, and federal groups, committees and agencies in producing the events.


CONTACT INFORMATION

  • View the Acton 250 Committee Page here
  • View the Acton 250 Committee Meeting Calendar here
  • To contact the committee