The main body of water in Mendon is Lake Nipmuc, covering 85 acres. Due to its natural beauty unspoiled by the pollution of industries in other Massachusetts towns, it became a popular summer destination. In 1882, it began offering canoe, steamboat, and sailboat rides. There is an entertainment hall along the shores that attracted big name acts for a period of time and now serves as a function hall. The town beach is a popular destination for families and water enthusiasts throughout the summer months.
Mendon was first settled by fifteen families originating from Braintree and Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1664. The land was purchased from the Nipmuc tribe that inhabited much of central Massachusetts, and the 8 mile by 8 mile tract was called Squinshepauge. It included much of the land of the surrounding towns. It was then incorporated as Mendon in 1667, making it the second oldest town in Worcester County.
Mendon, like other Massachusetts towns, was hit hard by King Philip’s War. Several settlers were killed in 1675, leading the rest to flee back to Weymouth and Braintree until the death of King Philip in 1676. The deaths in Mendon were the first of the war that would kill as many as ten percent of soldiers on each side.
As the Industrial Revolution took over many of the towns in Massachusetts, Mendon was left behind. Without waterways to support milling, it had to rely on agriculture and small business. It was during this period that the surrounding towns separated from Mendon, forming businesses around their own waterways enough to support their own townships.