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A big Winn for Wellesley College


When Wellesley runs out of nice homes, it simply plucks them from Burlington. See  this  grand  $5.6M home  at  99  Pond  Road in Wellesley?

99 Pond Road 2, Wellesley, MA99 Pond Road, Wellesley, MA

This stellar piece of New England Georgian architecture began life in 1732  at the corner of Newbridge Ave. and Winn Street in Burlington. It was known as the William Winn mansion. Here it is in 1938, just before being disassembled, piece by piece, brick by brick, and reassembled in Wellesley. 
William Winn mansion 6, Burlington, MA

It housed many generations of Winns, including Timothy Winn, to whom Burlington owes its very existence. He cast the decisive vote to secede from Woburn in 1798. His opinion carried great weight because of his family’s prominence in Woburn politics. Also, because this home was so close to the proposed borderline, he was considered impartial and therefore more influential.

Unfortunately, Timothy Winn did not live long after Burlington’s incorporation in 1799. His last public appearance might have been in January of 1800, when the new town honored the memory of George Washington, who had died the previous December. Timothy Winn died at 87 on Feb. 4, 1800. The old burial ground near Simonds Park has no Timothy Winn tombstone. He might lie in the old Winn tomb yard located directly across Winn Street from his home, according to a 1979 article by Ed Fogelberg.

The Winns built an addition during WWI, turning the house into a multi-family dwelling. Then it caught the eye of a family far wealthier than the Winns. Mary Hunnewell, a granddaughter of railroad magnate and avid horticulturalist H.H. Hunnewell of Wellesley, wanted the house for her daughter. But not in Burlington. She wanted it in Wellesley, to become part of the sprawling Hunnewell estate.

H.H. Hunnewell
H.H. Hunnewell

It’s hard to fathom the importance of the Hunnewells in Wellesley. Both the town and the college are named for H.H. Hunnewell’s estate, “Wellesley,” which he named for his in-laws. The estate includes an arboretum of 325 specimen conifers, a complex of specialty greenhouses and America’s very first topiary garden.

Hunnewell Topiary Garden on Lake Waban, with Wellesley College in the background.Hunnewell topiary stereo card

Fast-forward to 2011. Wellesley College bought the property for $3.8M and refurbished the main house (2700 sq. ft.) and the addition (2400 sq. ft.). Among the many improvements was the installation of properly insulated walls in the attic, and a new doorway to separate it from the living space below. The property is now living space for college administrators and also a meeting/catering venue for up to 60 people. It’s not located in the “downtown” part of Wellesley College, but it’s pretty close — just across Lake Waban.

Don’t bother driving to Wellesley to visit the place, unless you’re brazen enough to venture down this driveway.

Yes, it’s one of those properties. The kind you can’t see from the street because you’re not worthy. After all, you’re from humble Burlington.

William Winn mansion, Wellesley, MA 2

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9 thoughts on “A big Winn for Wellesley College Leave a comment

  1. Hope the old Brown family house on the corner of Winn and Peach Orchard will be left intact.

  2. I grew up directly across the street @ 2 Winnmere Avenue from that property where the Winn home once stood and a different home now stands. Is that where the possibility of a family graveyard sits? There was a theory that the uneven lawn area on the Winn property was due to an old foundation causing that unevenness. In 1971 I married into the extended Winn family descendants who had moved first to New Hampshire and years later to California. We discovered many years after our marriage that my husbands distant ancestors in the 18th century owned the property my parents home now sat on. My mother-in-law was on the Winn family tree. Talk about a coincidence!!

  3. Yes, I too, was wondering about the old Winn graveyard/tomb site. I’ve never heard of it before….interesting article. My bros hung around w/the Brown bros on corner of Peach Orchard/Winn….did not know that the house was in consideration of being torn down. Then again, I probably zip by w/out noticing. Old Burlington….always great reading. Thanks RF!!! Janet – we lived on 3 Winnmere Ave per my bro Leon…..and ‘moved’ to 1 Elizabeth Ave somewhere after 1953….simply by moving the front door to frommWinnmere to Elizabeth…hence the ‘move’. Now a huge house sits there….a large one that would of certainly came ‘in handy’ for a brood like ours.

  4. How did I, all of a sudden, become ‘anonymous’….heck no! An anonymous Osborne…hmmmm?!
    Doris M. Osborne

  5. Yes, I remember the Osborne family well, your parents and older siblings. I was friends with Noreen in our youth. Say hello to her for me.

  6. doris, always g lad to see youre still alive and kickin up there in winmere………that area where t he winn graveyard sits has seen a lot of changes………..i recall it when the corner of winmere and winn held a double row of mail boxes… for your family up on winmere……carl johnson

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