For the past decade at least, you could stroll by the house at 5 Francis Wyman Road without noticing it, even though the house is:
- Just a few feet from the sidewalk
- A fixture since 1798, when Burlington was the “Shawshin” section of Woburn
Now the invisible house is emerging just in time to say goodbye.
So let’s give it proper Burlington Retro burial, which means hopping into a time machine. The house began life with Clark Manning, the namesake of nearby Manning Street. Here’s the family farm around 1930, looking down Francis Wyman Road.
A 17th-century home? That puts it in rare company with the Francis Wyman house in Burlington.
And like the Francis Wyman house, the “Manning Manse” in Billerica has plenty of ancient artifacts. Here’s a Revolutionary War ammo box that belonged to Soloman Pollard. His brother Asa was the first person to die at Bunker Hill.
The Pollard house is thus memorialized a few miles east in Billerica (pics show 1902 and today).
Back to the Manning Manse. See the broken pot on the floor? It was used for making lead ammunition during the war. This is the kind of thing you’d normally find at Saugus Iron Works.
Here’s Lucinda Manning’s hand-held chalkboard. She was a teacher.
Unlike the Francis Wyman house, the Manning Manse has an attached pub. This double duty started in 1754 and never ceased.
So you can visit the Manse to eat and drink in the 21st century, then walk through a doorway into a burgeoning museum of Colonial America, assuming you make an appointment. Here’s a glimpse.
Circling back to the moribund Manning house at 5 Francis Wyman Road, here’s an honorable mention from the mid-1950s: Hubert and Mary Price owned the place and apparently kept it looking dapper indeed.
So when 5 Francis Wyman goes away for real, at least it won’t die in obscurity. There’s now an electronic record. That’s what Burlington Retro is all about.