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50 years ago this month, October

After Burlington rejected an apartment complex behind Saint Margaret’s, developer Everett Tingley instead turned the land into the neighborhood comprising Keans Road, Fieldstone Drive, Hearthstone Drive and Rolling Lane. And everyone lived happily ever after, right?

Not so fast.

As the first residents were getting settled, their raw sewage was flowing into an open ditch seven feet wide and 100 feet long. Public works chief John Carlson tried to take pictures, but Tingley confiscated the film and ordered him off the property. At least that’s what Carlson told selectmen at an emergency meeting about the ditch.

Construction scene in Keans Rd. neighborhood, Burlington MA
Construction scene in Keans Rd. neighborhood

With a police escort, the selectmen viewed the property for themselves and couldn’t believe their eyes. “It is inconceivable that such a condition could exist without our inspectors reporting it,” said Selectman Chairman Edward F. Doyle. “It is clear to me that the Board of Health and building inspectors are not doing their jobs properly.”

Commence the finger-pointing. How long had this been going on? A couple weeks, said Tingley. More like two months, said residents. Why hadn’t the residents called health inspector Vincent Howard? They had indeed called, but Howard hadn’t responded.

It turned out that Tingley’s construction equipment had damaged a septic tank. Tingley had a replacement tank on order, but the supplier was dragging its feet. And then Boston Edison dragged its feet in supplying power to a pumping unit. The builder and the town finally settled on a temporary fix for the ugly sights and smells: Covering the ditch with rocks, three feet of dirt and some plywood. Done!

Keans Road cartoon
“Abting river” refers to the developer’s company, Abting Realty.

Here’s Virginia Mooney, manager of the women-only Burlington Health Club. Virginia conducted classes in exercise and individual figure conditioning. The club had bicycles, various weights, slant boards and even a vibrating belt thingy known at the time as a “slenderizing belt.” The sauna room was combination of moisture and heat. The club was owned by the Cincottas and operated at rear 5 Rita Ave. near Ducett’s Hardware. Virginia also operated a charm school for teen girls in Lexington.

(Update: Virginia Mooney just died on Oct. 11 at age 88)

Virginia Mooney

Burlington American station at Middlesex Turnpike and Adams Street was operated by Sidney DeHate.


St. Margaret's dance, Burlington, MA

Julie Molnar
Julie Molnar of Harriet Ave. has finished a four-month course in professional modeling at the Fashion Signatures of Brookline.

Rex Trailer ad
Rex Trailer and his Boom Town Buddies appeared at the Burlington High School auditorium, sponsored by the Burlington Jaycee-ettes. Tickets for sale at Dale Pharmacy, Ray’s Barber Shop, Winn Street Pharmacy and David’s Shoes. Price: One Dollar.


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