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| Wicked Local
After several short-lived starts, April 15, 1915, saw the beginnings of what became, in time, the Maynard Rod and Gun Club. Growth was rapid. The first annual banquet, held at the Masonic Hall on Jan. 21, 1921, drew a crowd of 90 members and guests. During the early years, the Club purchased and used land near White Pond, in Hudson. This era ended after the U.S. Army seized adjacent land in 1942 for the creation of a munitions complex, and then forbade shooting events on the too-near Club grounds.
As World War II drew to a close, the Maynard Gun Club leased its clubhouse to the Army, and then turned its eye to acquiring land in Maynard. Over years, several purchases were made, culminating in 93 acres of club-owned property, about half in Maynard and half in Sudbury.
For a while, the Club made do with renting space for meetings, but in late 1948, committed to constructing a clubhouse on the grounds. Plans were drawn in 1949, construction followed, and on May 21, 1950, the Maynard Rod & Gun Club held a grand opening of the clubhouse and grounds, soon followed by building a dam on the Second Division Brook, so as to create a fish pond.
Weekend mornings, if it is quiet enough (no lawnmowers or leaf blowers), one can hear the dulled bang of shotguns from club members and guests shooting at clay targets flung into the air by spring-powered devices. The sound can be disconcerting to new residents.
Clay targets are also referred to as clay pigeons. Their use began to replace live pigeon shooting around 1875. In the United Kingdom, live-bird shooting competitions were made illegal in 1921, but a target may still be called a “bird,” a hit, a “kill,” a missed target, a “bird away,” and the machine which powers the targets is still known as a “trap.” In “trap shooting,” the targets are launched singly in a direction generally away from the shooter. In “skeet shooting,” targets are launched across the shooter’s field of view from either side, either singly or two at once.
Present-day, the Club offers a complete set of pistol, rifle, trap and skeet ranges for members to hone their skills, an archery range, and a trout-stocked pond. Access is via Old Mill Road, off of Waltham Street. The main lodge houses the member’s lounge, a function hall and an indoor pistol range. The Club is in the process of renovating the indoor range. There is also an open pavilion first built in 1984, refurbished in 1996. Indoor and outdoor spaces often host weddings. An annual fishing derby – suspended in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic – is expected to take place this May, and be open to the public. In past years, children have much-enjoyed this opportunity.
Some of the club’s land on the east side is leased to Boston Paintball, which has several fields for paintball events and competitions. Fields include building-to-building, an outdoor field with terrain and structures, and competition fields that comply with National Xball League specifications. Equipment can be rented or bring-your-own. Access to this is via Sudbury’s Powder Mill Road.
For a not directly related piece of history, years ago the Maynard Rod and Gun Club was host to an annual event that brought hundreds of motorcycle riders. Memories are of more than an hour of rumbling roar as bikes were guided west on Summer Street, down Nason Street, then east on Main Street, to finally finish at RGC for an afternoon of family picnic and entertainment. Given such a visually striking event, it’s a glaring omission that the Maynard Historical Society has no photographs. Finding a written history was also difficult. The only documents found so far are a 2011 write-up in the Somerville newspaper, describing the “7th Annual Massachusetts Motorcycle Ride for Recovery” as an all-day event, with a police-escorted, road-closed ride to Maynard, also a copy of a 2013 flyer for the “9th Annual Bob Herne Motorcycle Ride for Recovery” culminating in Maynard as a family picnic, with musical entertainment provided by James Montgomery Band, with guitarist Jon Butcher. This was put on by the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.
As you may know !