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Locust, Mill and Chandler — an old team

One of Burlington’s oldest roads followed the path of today’s Locust Street, continued to Mill Street and went down Sawmill Road into Wilmington. Ready for a tour?

First stop, the hairpin turn on Locust Street. On one side is Cabral’s poultry farm, now Sparhawk Drive:

Cabral's Farm

And just around the corner is Makechnie’s farm.

Next stop is the Chandler house on Wood Hill:

Chandler/Ellery house early 1960s Burlington MA
The Chandler house

It’s the hilly part of Mill Street now crossed by Chandler Road. Much of Wood Hill belonged to the Baldwin family of North Woburn, then called Newbridge. In the early 20th century, the outstanding landmark there was the big white two-story Chandler house which could be seen for miles around. It’s now known as 7 Ellery Lane.

The Chandlers arrived about 1915. They were a family of teachers. Clyde Roy Chandler married Doris Perkins here in 1920 and to them were born Jean in 1921, Everett in 1923, and Alan in 1926. Clyde died in 1927. He never taught in Burlington, but three of his sisters did. Madeline graduated from Lowell Normal School in 1924 and taught Grade One in the Union School until she died of pneumonia in 1929. Her funeral was held from the house on the hill, where many Burlington students arrived by foot to pay respects. Clyde’s twin sisters, Marguerite and Marjorie, also graduated Lowell Normal School and taught in Burlington, grade four and three, respectively. Clyde’s two younger brothers died in the flu epidemic of 1918; Arthur was just 14, Charles only 17. The Chandler home later became the property of J. Ellery French, an excellent journeyman printer.

Next stop, the junction of Mill Street and Chandler Road:

Gaffey's house 59 Mill Street Burlington MA

At the corner is the home of Lt. Nathaniel Cutler. That house, built prior to 1724, has a long and interesting history and involves such family names as Cutler, Butters, Taylor, Kilbride, Mohan and Gaffey.

Next, we head downhill on Mill Street.

Stylianos and Lena Rahanis
Lena and Stylianos Rahanis

At the bottom of the hill and across Wood Hill Brook lies Rahanis Park. It’s only a portion of the farm of Stylianos C. Rahanis, a pig farmer. But many years before Rahanis’ farm, the area had some of the best blueberries around. In the early 1900s, when electric trolley cars skimmed along Winn Street, Woburn residents took the trolley to Mill Street and then walked the short distance to pick berries there. They seldom came away disappointed.

Next stop, 135 Mill Street.

Vigneau house at 135 Mill Street, Burlington, MA

It’s the fieldstone house of Albert G. Vigneau in 1921. Vigneau was town accountant from 1934 to 1939. His son Robert became a selectman and then a long-serving state rep starting in 1968. Here he is:

Robert Vigneau
Robert Vigneau


A short walk beyond that house, near today’s Spring Valley Road, a river crosses under Mill Street.

Stream crossing on Mill Street near Spring Valley Road, Burlington, MA

This is probably where Luther Simonds died in April 1792, when “a log rolled on him at a saw mill,” according to Rev. Mr. John Marrett in his Account of Deaths. During the early days of the WPA in the 1930’s, a water hole was constructed here, then the property of David Barnum, for the town’s volunteer fire department.

And finally, on the Wilmington line:

It’s the skeleton of Clapp’s Mill, which may have been built on the site of a previous Butter’s mill. The mill itself was in Burlington as was the body of water it held back. Out of business by 1904 and the mill buildings now long gone, the dam and its millrace are still in fairly good condition.

Clapp Mill dam, Saw Mill Road, Burlington, MA

And then you cross the line into Wilmington and enter the Garden of Eden. The what? Yes indeed, the Garden of Eden:

Paradise found but suddenly lost



EDITOR’S NOTES — If you’re reading this article on a cell phone, it might not display properly. Go to the bottom and select “exit mobile version.” This post is based on an article by John E. Fogelberg in The Daily Times Chronicle, Tuesday, March 17, 1981. Edited and updated by


9 thoughts on “Locust, Mill and Chandler — an old team Leave a comment

  1. Love reading Retro. We came to Burlington without much knowledge of the Town’s history. Retro has filled many unknowns of this wonderful Town. Thank You!

  2. Great pictures going along with the stories of these historical places. Thanks for keeping Burlington history alive!!!

  3. Burlington used to be like this. Now no water and heavy traffic.
    Every bit of open land has been built up straining natural resources. That’s progress? Been here for over 50 years and I’ve seen this happen.

  4. Excellent read. I live off of mill street and love learning the history of it all. Thank you

  5. I know a little something about that house at Mill and Chandler. My father and I went to the Middlesex Registry of Deeds a few years ago and traced the title back to 1697, when the land was sold to Samuel Snow, Sr (I think). The first deed that mentioned a “dwelling house” was a deed to Samuel Snow, Jr. dated 1715, but not recorded for about ten years. In 1724 the house was sold by Snow to Lt. Nathaniel Cutler. The 1715 deed to Snow, Jr. was recorded after the 1724 deed to Cutler, presumably to quiet the cloud in the title caused by the 1715 deed not being recorded at the time -not an uncommon occurrence, as 1715 Cambridge was much farther from Burlington than it is today.

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