If the City of Ludlow
were a book, it would have many chapters, and the most recent could be written by lifelong resident and current Mayor Kenneth Wynn.
Now in his second term as mayor, Wynn opened Wynner’s Cup Café
in early 2014, joining a growing number of pubs, art galleries, cafés and other small businesses that have recently begun dotting Ludlow’s Elm Street business district corridor.
Matt Williams, owner of Folk School Coffee Parlor, is one local entrepreneur bringing new life to Ludlow.
Wynn approaches his coffee shop business the same way he approaches local governance: with an emphasis on making people feel welcome. He worked for many years at Ludlow Pharmacy — which was actually located in the same building that now houses his café. (The pharmacy relocated to a newer building two blocks east.)
“I grew up here with a lot of siblings, so there was always a Wynn or two running around somewhere,” he says, laughing. “I’ve always enjoyed listening to people’s stories. That’s the main thing I’ve learned about politics; it’s really just about listening and making sure people know that you hear them.”
Town’s rich past informs present and future
Founded in 1846, Ludlow enjoys a proud history as one of America’s first great railroad towns. For years, the city was home to a Southern Railroad Roundhouse, and trains continue to pass through the community on a daily basis, providing a unique tourist attraction for rail enthusiasts and students of local history.
Residents of the region remember stories of the Ludlow Lagoon Amusement Park
, a major recreational center from 1895 until 1920.
Modern-day Ludlow boasts yet another cultural identity for regional cyclists. The city has made concerted efforts in recent years to accommodate a steady stream of cyclists on scenic Route 8, which runs through downtown Ludlow. Bike racks, rest areas and signage encourage local ridership while welcoming passers by. Several businesses along the bustling main thoroughfare even house bike maintenance and supply stations within their storefront shops.
“What makes this town unique is the sense of community,” Wynn says. “People here know and care about each other, but they welcome outsiders, too. There’s a sense of pride and ownership. Everyone has a way of coming together to make sure good things keep happening in Ludlow.”
Bringing new life to old spaces
One major development will soon marry Ludlow’s rail heritage with its emerging role as a destination for families and business owners who crave a quintessential American small-town vibe.
Rendering of Ludlow's forthcoming Municipal Lot and Rail Viewing Platform
The Ludlow Municipal Lot and Rail Viewing
project, scheduled to launch next spring, will provide a mixed-use venue and public gathering space for festivals and community events in the vacant brownfield lot located next to the city building. The development will feature a viewing platform adjacent to the Norfolk Southern rail line that runs through town.
Designed by locally renowned landscape architecture and environmental planning firm Human Nature Inc.
, the project will be overseen by Ludlow City Administrator Elishia Chamberlain.
to learn more about upcoming events and plans for future development.