After several short-lived departures, April 15, 1915 saw the beginnings of what became, in time, the Maynard Rod and Gun Club. Growth has been rapid. The first annual banquet, held at Masonic Hall on January 21, 1921, drew a crowd of 90 members and guests. In the early years, the Club purchased and used land near White Pond in Hudson. This era ended after the US military seized the adjacent lands in 1942 for the creation of an ammunition complex, then banned shooting events on the grounds too close to the Club.
As World War II drew to a close, the Maynard Gun Club leased its clubhouse to the military, then turned to acquiring land in Maynard. Over the years, several purchases were made, resulting in 93 acres of club-owned property, approximately half in Maynard and the other half in Sudbury.
For a time the club was content to rent space for meetings, but in late 1948 it committed to building a clubhouse on the grounds. Plans were drawn in 1949, construction followed, and on May 21, 1950, the Maynard Rod & Gun Club staged a grand opening of the clubhouse and grounds, soon followed by the building of a dam across the creek Second Division, to create a pond fish.
On weekend mornings, if it’s quiet enough (no lawn mowers or leaf blowers), you can hear the thump of shotguns from club members and guests firing at clay targets launched into the air by spring devices. The sound can be disconcerting to new residents.
Clay targets are also called clay pigeons. Their use began to replace live pigeon shooting around 1875. In the UK, live bird shooting competitions were made illegal in 1921, but a target may still be called a “bird”, a shot, a ” kill”, a missed target. , a “distant bird” and the machine that feeds the targets is still known as the “trap”. In trap shooting, targets are thrown individually in a direction generally away from the shooter. In “skeet shooting”, targets are thrown into the shooter’s field of vision from either side, either one or two at a time.
Today the club offers a full range of guns, rifles, traps and skeet for members to hone their skills, an archery range and a pond stocked with trout. Access is via Old Mill Road off Waltham Street. The main pavilion houses the members’ lounge, a reception room and an indoor shooting range. The Club is in the process of renovating the indoor stand. There is also an open pavilion built in 1984, renovated in 1996. Indoor and outdoor spaces often host weddings. An annual fishing tournament – suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – is scheduled to take place in May and be open to the public. In recent years, children have greatly appreciated this opportunity.
A portion of the club’s grounds on the east side are leased to Boston Paintball, which has several grounds for paintball events and competitions. Fields include building-to-building, an outdoor field with field and structures, and competition fields that meet National Xball League specifications. Equipment can be rented or bring your own. Access is via Sudbury’s Powder Mill Road.
For a piece of history not directly related, years ago the Maynard Rod and Gun Club hosted an annual event that brought together hundreds of bikers. The memories are of over an hour of rumble as the bikes were guided west down Summer Street, down Nason Street, then east down Main Street, finally ending at RGC for a picnic afternoon family picnic and entertainment. Considering such a visually striking event, it is a glaring omission that the Maynard Historical Society does not have photographs. Finding a written story was also difficult. The only documents found so far are a 2011 article in the Somerville newspaper, describing the “7th Annual Massachusetts Motorcycle Ride for Recovery” as a one-day event, with a ride escorted by police and closed 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 the James Montgomery Band, with guitarist Jon Butcher. This was set up by the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.