By Meredith McCulloch
A new book by Althea Yates entitled Bedford (Postcard History Series) takes readers on a visual trip through Bedford’s past. Yates will be signing copies at the Barnes and Noble store in Burlington on Thursday, August 1, at 7pm. Copies will also be available through Amazon.com, local retailers and the Bedford Historical Society. The book includes two hundred reproductions of historic postcards and some photographs of the town, each with a description of the scene depicted.
Surprisingly, many streets and homes have remained very much the same over the years except for the loss of trees. However, the postcards illustrate developments in Bedford institutions, such as local churches, Bedford Springs resort, Llewsac Lodge, Lexington Park and the Bedford Depot.
The evolution of the center of town can be seen through the block of stores across from the Common. Originally it was known as the Fletcher Block, then the Sheldon Block, and now the totally rebuilt Blake Block, completed just last year. At various times the strip housed an A&P, a shoe repair shop, a hardware store, a drugstore, Stefanelli’s Market, and the Bedford Post Office. Nearby, the plot that was once the home of the Bedford House hotel now houses the Fire Department.
One chapter of the book records the arrival of Federal government institutions—the Veteran’s Hospital and Hanscom Airport, and their impact on the changing landscape. Another chapter is devoted to famous residents and visitors.
When asked it she had a personal favorite, Yates couldn’t name just one, but said she really liked the two pictures showing the Catholic churches at the corner of Hillside and the Great Road, which predated the current St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Concord Road. She also is fond of the photographs of visitors to Lexington Park, “The Famous Park of the Pines” on the Lexington town line. The pictures show visitors admiring the caged bears in the zoo and relaxing over a meal in the restaurant.
The book has been two years in the making, and Yates says ^it couldn’t have happened before the Internet. Over 100 of the postcards are from her own collection, many purchased online at Ebay.com. She also relied heavily on information from the archives of The Boston Globe, available through the homepage of the Bedford Free Public Library
Yates acknowledges the many residents in town who assisted her, especially Sharon McDonald and Don Corey, local history enthusiasts, who helped with the final text.