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Hitting the Fresh Spot jackpot

Corner of County Rd. and Cambridge St., 1955, Burlington MA
Oakridge Forest comprised County Road, Ledgewood Drive and part of Lantern Lane. This is the corner of County Rd. and Cambridge St., 1955. The car in the background is approaching the intersection with Route 62 near the future LaCascia’s plaza. Photo credit: George Moore.

Maine native George Moore became an early adopter when, in 1955, he bought a piece of Oakridge Forest in a town called Burlington, a suitable Maine alternative with lots of trees and just one traffic light (Cambridge and Bedford).

A few years later, fate smiled upon him. “I went into the Fresh Spot and bought a lottery ticket. Back then they were this crude paper thing that you marked and handed to the manager. Then you had to come back the next day and he told you if you won anything. Everyone trusted each other then. Anyway, he told me I hit the number, but the store didn’t have enough money to give me. I had to leave and come back the next day so they could round it all up.” How much was the haul? A whole $150.

George DeMattia, Fresh Spot Burlington
George DeMattia, Fresh Spot

Spending money was remarkably similar to using Amazon Prime. The goods came to your house, albeit not in a plain white van.

A disabled guy from Billerica came buzzing through the neighborhood in a motorized cart packed with ice cream covered by dry ice. He was the token ice cream man. There was also a “bakery man.” A Cushman bakery truck stopped at your house if you’d hung a special cardboard sign in the window. No sign? No bread.

A local fisherman would take requests in the morning, then return around dinner time with freshly-caught fish. Sometimes the fish would differ from what you ordered — such as the wrong species entirely — but with fresh bread just delivered from a bakery truck and ice cream just steps from the front door, nobody complained.

Cushman bakery truck

Lantern Lane aerial 1954
Lantern Lane in 1954. Photo credit: Dianne Ballon, who lived at number 22.


1 County Road, late 1950s
View from 1 County Road
1 County Road, Burlington MA

Lantern Lane/Mark Hill subdivision sign, Burlington MA 1966

2 thoughts on “Hitting the Fresh Spot jackpot Leave a comment

  1. You should look into the plaque off of Francis Wyman Road in the woods. George Washington came through there. Saw it myself. Also off the same road was a tunnel for the underground railroad. It looks like a rock wall. Yes we had a field trip to it in the early 70s. Do you have any info on the West School.

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