121 Lexington Street, R.I.P.
That was then:
This is now:
The recently-razed house at 121 Lexington Street was home to Jonathan Simonds, a revered man in town.
- At age 23, he fought in Lexington and Concord.
- He served on the town’s first board of assessors, school committee and board of selectmen.
- He also served as a tythingman for five years, in Burlington’s seminal church near the common. A what? A tythingman maintained order in church, sometimes using corporal punishment! He carried a fancy pole that had a feather on one end and a brass knob on the other. If anyone was sleeping, oh tisk tisk tisk. Males received a rap on the head with the brass knob. Females received the ticklish feather under the chin. Don’t laugh. The church was extremely important in early America, so you had to be a very well-respected member of the community to even dream of becoming a tythingman.
- He eventually become deacon in the church.
- By 1821, Jonathan’s 93-acre property was valued at $2,042.00, a sum exceeded only by the farms of Jotham Johnson, William Kendall, Ishmael Munroe, James Reed, Thomas Skelton, Abel Winn and Sylvanus Wood.
More recently, the attached apartment (125 Lexington Street) this was home to Priscilla Kilgore, head of the Burlington high school art department, and Kathi Horton, a longtime teacher in Burlington schools. Kathi wrote this ode to the house:
Sad to tear down an old house like that…. The picture with the Night table and light on it…there is a door in the wall…what was that for? My house was built in 1917, I live in Arlington and there is a door in the wall in my bedroom. Any one have ideas?
Annie, That door allows you to gain access to that part of the attic. Usually the door is larger, allowing you to store larger things in there.
I thought that Burlington protects old houses! Destroying this house was just criminal.
Shows how much I paid attention to that end of Lexington St. I lived at 78 Lexington St and walked up to the center of town probably about 1,000 times but never to the other end (there were just sandpits there). I wish that I would have known about this house. So many street have been added. Brown Ave and South Bedford Street were the only streets on that end of Lexington Street in the 60’s.
I remember being in that house back in the 50’s but I don’t remember why or with who.
Sorry to see it go.
Great pictures and story of a great house that is a great loss!
My sympathies to Ms Horton and Ms Kilgore for having to watch the destruction of a beloved home, and for Burlington for not relishing its history. I wonder if a new soulless mansion of many square feet and glaring, brazen personality will replace it in a trendy bigger-is-better style. Can you keep us updated?
This makes me so sad. It’s been many years since I lived in Burlington, so I have some questions. Is there an historical society in Burlington? If not there should be one. Are there not any zoning laws that prohibit the destruction of historical properties? I now live in a small city that protects historical homes and provides a plaque designating that importance.
We used to Jam with a bunch of musicians in the front and back yard facing the mall when Jay McNevan lived there
It appears the Burlington historical society does not the funds to fix up these old historical houses. Too bad. Just like the old house on mountain rd torn down around 10 years along with the beautiful barn. The society needs to maybe be more aggressive in trying to raise funds to keep these dwellings part of town property, but the current state of greed to build mansions in Burlington is too strong.
I just learned of this, and now the house is gone. I am descended from Jonathan Simonds. What a travesty to lose ANY old house, but it’s even worse when your ancestral DNA is on the walls.
Thank you for posting this story with the photos.