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The lost village of Havenville

This is based on the Ed Fogelberg article “Few will recognize Havenville,” which ran in the Daily Times and Chronicle on Tuesday, February 5, 1980. Edited and updated by BurlingtonRetro.

Most Burlington residents recognize the name Winnmere, the area bordering Woburn and bisected by Winn Street. It has a group of stores and some offices. Few people today will recognize the name Havenville. Yet for over a century, Havenville was a village center almost as important and certainly more easily defined than “Burlington center” itself. Note the prominence of Havenville on this 1875 map. The smaller breakout map shows the town “center.”

Burlington, MA map 1875

Burlington, MA 1875

At a time when Winnmere had nothing but a blacksmith shop, Havenville had a country store, a post office, a cluster of small houses, a “shoddy” shop (shoe shop), and a schoolhouse. Today that schoolhouse still stands at the corner of Francis Wyman Road and Bedford Street.

West School dedication ceremony 1964 6
West School dedication ceremony 1964, corner of Bedford Street and Francis Wyman Road.

When Burlington was born in 1799, Havenville was sometimes called Pasho’s Corner because the little home of John Pasho stood close to the fork of Bedford Street and Francis Wyman Road. The home of Jonas Haven, even smaller than Pasho’s, stood nearby too. The modest houses of Havenville were surrounded by big, wealthy farming operations: Joseph McIntire was on the road to the center, Daze and Mathew Skelton were on the road to Billerica, and Samuel Nevers and Daniel McIntire were on the Bedford road.

Charles N. Haven once owned the little yellow house still standing next to St. Malachy’s Church. The Havenville country store stood directly across the street from the schoolhouse. It was owned at the turn of the century by Jonas C. Haven. His brother Charles ran the store in the 1870s, and the second floor, entered from the rise of land to the rear, was rented out for living quarters. The enterprise closed about 1920.

In 1870, Charles also owned and operated a shoe stock factory just east of the West School. It was known to local people as the “shoddy shop” or “pancake shop.” It made parts for shoes such as innersoles from leather trimmings or excess stock from the Woburn tanneries. In 1877, the business went to William Carter and Sumner Shed. It went out of business in 1900 and the building was torn down some time later. In its boom days, Carter employed about 20 people. Today, a very new church faces a very old school across a still older road, a road the first Wymans and Skeltons walked more than 300 years ago. Not to mention the many Havens of Havenville, who walked that same road a century ago.

West School with chicken, Burlington MA
West School in 1896. Somehow the photographer didn’t cry fowl and insist on a re-take.

To get an idea of how small some Havenville homes were, here is an account from Mrs. Dunham’s history: “Under a huge oak tree is the site of the tiny home of ‘Rindy’ Reed, a maiden lady from a Burlington family. She lived here all alone for many years in her tiny house, which was about 10 by 12 foot square and of two stories high, the walls covered with pictures from newspapers and magazines. The whole place was immaculate and no stick of firewood was allowed to be taken into the house until it had been brushed clean. The house burned about 1880, but Miss Reed was rescued and from that time, she made her home with the Nathan Simonds family nearby.”

The little house that Curtis Wright built some years prior to 1860 still stands on the far corner at the junction of roads. Writing of a walk in old Burlington in 1859, Martha Sewall Curtis mentions this house briefly: “We have only time to gaze over the fence at Mrs. White’s famous flower garden.” The house was assessed to Otis C. Haven in 1900. Today, heavily modified, it is the home of Louis Skelton. That fine gentleman only recently retired from the Burlington Fire Department.

Fast-forward to 2023. The name Havenville does survive on some internet maps, and smartphones sometimes evoke name when tagging photo locations. But smartphones also refer to Winnmere as “Central Square,” so who knows what smartphones are thinking.

Editor’s note: If you’re reading this article on a cell phone, it might not display correctly. Scroll to the very bottom and tap “exit mobile version.”



15 thoughts on “The lost village of Havenville Leave a comment

  1. I grew up on Crystal Circle. It was a brand new road with new homes built by Visco. A dirt road when we first moved in. I never heard of Havenville until recently in real estate listings. We all did know Winmere as you mention. I wonder why it disappeared and now used again. So interesting.

  2. Oh yes…Historical Society tried to resurrect stories of Havenville. We joined the group that was attempting to name Wildwood Park, Havenville…lost that one. BUT…the Town of Burlington will be putting the story of Havenville on the kiosk at Wildwood soon!

  3. Havenville appears in the wrong place in most maps, including the USGS topographic maps. They place Havenville in the Pinewold section, around Mohawk, Algonquin and Humboldt Streets….

  4. In this fine article about Havenville, they mentioned Wynnmere section spelled like street Winn st. , but it was named after the Wynn family, WYNNMERE

  5. Okay then, I’ll say it. Bob G is wrong. Winnmere is the appropriate spelling. In fact, I grew up right off it and still need to remember it has two ‘nn’s. Perhaps, Bob G, it was meant to be named after the Wynns, yet it certainly has not ever been spelled as such. Also, I’d bet there are lots of ‘roads’ that aren’t there any longer that may display on a map. In back of our house (1 Elizabeth Ave) – decades before a house was there….and in between the Brown Family home(s), there was a dirt road. Although I can vaguely remember it, I certainly do not recall its name. Off Elizabeth Ave, there was a road which spilled onto Winn St (I think it must have. Where else would it go?). The houses were taken by eminent domain when exit ramp for Winn St was built. In fact, Elizabeth used to go all the way up too – with several houses up there. I remember playing in the empty ones as a kid.

    Years ago, I was lucky enough to have a private tour w/Mr. Fogelberg (loved him!) and have yet to go back….I have looked online a while back and did not see the hours posted …. or so I remember.

  6. We moved to Burlington corner of Lowell Street and Harriet Avenue the flats that’s all I knew it was called never heard of Havenville

    • That’s not the area. It’s the vicinity of Francis Wyman and Bedford Street, near Saint Malachy.

  7. Havenville was Humboldt, Mohawk, Algonquin Druid Hill , and all the side roads in between down to Francis Wyman School. Technically Old West School was not part of Havenville until someone put it on a map! The old timers k ew Havenville to be only those roads listed above.

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