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Woodstock on the Common?

A half-century ago, these doomsday scenarios hovered over the town:

  • Sex education might turn Burlington into degenerates.
  • Apartments might turn Burlington into a city.
  • And now a bandstand on the Common? It might turn Burlington into a hooligan rock festival. That was the objection 50 years ago this month, June 1973. This might seem silly now, with our benefit of hindsight, but the early 70s was indeed a turbulent and rebellious period for young people.

Here’s the Common c. 1965, before the bandstand existed. That’s the corner of Cambridge Street and Olympian Way. The Union School is straight ahead; the fire station is off-camera to the left. (Liz Serpa photo)

Burlington Common c. 1965

Observant visitors might notice the bandstand is built in the middle of a shallow crater. Once in a while, we get a reminder that this was once the town pond, which provided skating in the winter and tadpoles in the spring.


What else was happening 50 years ago? The town started to embrace an alternative to youth baseball.

And tennis!

And the town started to embrace a newfangled thing called cable TV.

And the town had to decide whether it really wanted to keep the Union School.

Maybe some navel-gazing at Town Hall helped the town through the Union School decision?


Some student news.

The town’s population continued to rise.

More people means more shopping plazas.

Colonial Park Village, 279 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA

And more police officers.

Ads from Burlington and nearby towns.


Editor’s note: Yes, that’s Larry Brehaut in the soccer photo near the top of this post. He’s an unfortunate figure in Burlington history, but he was involved in so many youth activities, he cannot be easily erased.

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6 thoughts on “Woodstock on the Common? Leave a comment

  1. I love this! My father died in February and the house has been sold. I couldn’t live in Burlington now, but cherish the memories of growing up there.

  2. Enjoyed your posts.
    I tried to attend the sex ed info meeting as a HS senior but certain individuals didn’t think at 17/18 yrs old, we should not be there because we were too young!

  3. Wow, blast from past! The kids with puppets, 3 of them would become classmates for the graduating class of 1984. And my ceramic teacher for all those BHS years, Mrs. Marvin.

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