The Lore

Street Names (N-Z)

Below is a compilation of the stories we've gathered about Boxborough's street names and notable sites.

This is an ongoing, collective project and an oral history. We welcome all memories you have to share about particular places around Boxborough; send us an email through the bottom of this page!

Please note the information we have documented is “lore,” which may include inferences, assumptions, and other creative liberties. While we have attempted to verify the lore and substantiate it with other resources, we hope you will enjoy the stories as what they are, stories. If you have any questions about our methodology or have feedback, please contact us.

Nashoba Drive

Nashoba Drive may be derived from nashope, an Algonquin word meaning “between the waters.” In the context of this road, “nashope” may be referencing the stretch of land between Nagog Pond and Fort Pond, which was an indigenous sacred site.

The Acton Land Stewardship Committee describes the indigenous residents here and colonial-indigenous interactions in this area:

“When the English first settled in this region—which became Acton and Littleton—the Native Americans living here were known as the Nashoba. The name means, roughly, ‘land between the waters’, a reference to the many ponds, wetlands, and streams that abound in the area. The Nashoba Indians were a small extended family band loosely affiliated with the regional Nipmuc tribe, which occupied an inland area of eastern Massachusetts, south of the New Hampshire Pennacook. The Nashoba sachem during the mid-1600s was John Tahattawan. During this same period, John Eliot, a Puritan minister from Roxbury, was granted his request by the Massachusetts General Court to establish a series of Native American settlements where Indians willing to adopt English customs, including dress, language, and Christianity, would, in theory, be protected from harassment by the English. These communities came to be known as ‘Praying Villages’. They were situated in a loose ring around greater Boston from Natick in the west as far as Littleton in the north. In these settlements, tribal people built English-style homes and tilled the land. The most northerly of these Indian settlements was Nashoba Praying Village, located in present day Littleton.” (1)(2)(3)

 

Old Harvard Road

 

There is limited information on the origin of Old Harvard Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

 

Old Orchard Lane

There is limited information on the origin of Old Orchard Lane. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Osceola Drive

There is limited information on the origin of Osceola Drive. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Paddock Lane

There is limited information on the origin of Paddock Lane. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.


 

Patch Hill Road

Patch Hill Road may be named after the Patch family. According to Lucie Hager, Nathan Patch was Boxborough's "assessor and overseer of poor" in the 1830s. Franklin Dean, superintendent of schools in Boston, lived here from 1910 to 1924. Additionally, psychiatrist Dr. Leslie Blades ran a "home for wayward boys" on this street. (4)(5)(6)(7)


 

Picnic Street

Picnic Street is the only "street" (as opposed to a “road,” “lane,” etc.) in Boxborough. There is limited information on the origin of Picnic Street. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Pierce Lane

There is limited information on the origin of Pierce Lane. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Pine Hill Road

There is limited information on the origin of Pine Hill Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Pine Pasture Run

There is limited information on the origin of Pine Pasture Run. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Prescott Road

There is limited information on the origin of Prescott Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Priest Lane

Priest Lane is named after the Priest family. Jerome and Louisa Priest moved here in 1843. When Jerome passed away, Louisa started farming, grew peach and apple orchards, and acquired hundreds of animals--at seventy-two years old! Their daughter, Mabel, was the town librarian. (8)(9)


Reed Farm Road

Reed Farm Road is named after the Reed family. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below. (4)

Richardson Road

Richardson Road is named after the Richardson family. Amasa Allen Richardson was born and raised in Acton in the mid-nineteenth century, and later moved to Stow Road in Boxborough. His son, Austin, worked on the Fitchburg Railroad. (4)(10)

Robinson Road

Robinson Road is named after the Robinson family. In the mid-twentieth century, Wallace Robinson ran a town library and served on the school committee. His son George later converted it into a schoolhouse museum. (4)(8)(11)


 

Russet Lane

Russet Lane is located in the Applewood Village condominium complex that was built in the late 1970's and is named about the Russet apple. All of the streets in Applewood Village are named after varieties of apples commemorating the vibrant apple growing industry of the town between the early 1800's and the mid-1900's. (12) (24)

Sadler Farm Lane

The Sadler Farm housing development and road are located on the site of the farm owned by the Sadler Family.  That farmhouse burned down in a spectacular fire in 1973. (24)

Saras Way

There is limited information on the origin of Saras Way. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Sargent Road

Sargent Road is named after the Sargent family. Sargent Memorial Library, Boxborough’s town library, was named for Albert Sargent. (4)(8)

School House Lane

School House Lane once led to a schoolhouse in Boxborough's Old Town Center. Boxborough has five surviving one-room schoolhouses. (6)

Sherry Road

Sherry Road is named after the Sherry Family. (4)

Spencer Road

There is limited information on the origin of Spencer Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Steele Lane

Steele Lane is named for the Steele Family. Burpee Clark Steele, born in 1868 in Nova Scotia, came to Boxborough in 1885. At the turn of the twentieth century, he purchased the house and farm of E. B. Cobleigh on Hill Road, known as Tokatawan Farm. This farm contained a limestone quarry and a lime kiln, which was later knocked down. (See Hill Road for more information on Steele Farm.) (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)

Stonehedge Place

There is limited information on the origin of Stonehedge Place. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.

Stow Road

Following a common road naming convention, Stow Road is named for the destination it leads to: the town of Stow. Similarly, once it crosses the border into Stow, the name changes to Boxborough Road. Stow Road contains Flerra Fields, the site of the town’s annual Fifer’s Day festival. (4)(18)


 

Summer Road

Summer Road was the most direct route from Harvard to Acton circa 1794. According to the Acton Arboretum, a portion of the street may also follow an early indigenous path connecting the sites of known villages. There is little information on the origin of Summer Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below. (19)(20)


 

Swanson Court

 

Swanson Court is a small road off Swanson Road. See the description of Swanson Road for more detail. (24)

Swanson Road

Swanson Road is named in memory of Carl S. Swanson, a Boxborough resident who was in service for World War I when he died of influenza in 1918 at the age of 22. During Veteran’s Day in 2018, the intersection of Swanson Road and Massachusetts Avenue was dedicated as Swanson Square. Swanson Road was originally developed as a service road to haul gravel for the creation of I-495. (24)(25)(27)

 

Tamarack Lane

Tamarack Lane is named after the tamarack trees native to Massachusetts swamp areas. Lucie Hager described them as "a slender tree with short pale leaves and small cones." (4)

Taylor Farm Road

Taylor Farm Road is named in honor of the Taylor family, one of the first colonial landowners in that area. (25)

Tokatawan Spring Lane

In the 1980s, Jeanne Kangas, of the Steele family and Boxborough Historical Society, suggested “Tokatawan Spring Lane,” named after a sign over her grandfather’s house where she grew up on Tokatawan Farm. A natural rock lined spring, Tokatawan Spring, passes nearby. The spring is very old and flows year round. (14)


 

Waite Road

 

There is limited information on Waite Road. If you have any lore, please reach out to us using the form below.


 

Wetherbee Lane

 

Wetherbee Lane is named after the Wetherbee family. The Levi Wetherbee Farm site located on this road contains several buildings of historic significance including Levi Wetherbee House and Steele Barn. In the 1990s, the Boxborough Historical Society relocated the Richardson Icehouse here from Stow Road. (14)(21)(17)


 

Whitcomb Road


Whitcomb Road branches off of Hill Road at the bend where the Whitcomb family resided. This family played a foundational role in Boxborough's development. James Whitcomb Sr. was one of the earliest landowners in Boxborough, having built a log cabin on today's Cunningham Road in 1729. He is also known for owning the first dam on Beaver Brook, which operated saw and grist mills. His sons, James Jr. and Abel, helped establish Boxborough's first meetinghouse and were a selectman and an assessor of the Boxborough district, respectively. (22)(25)

Whitney Lane

 

Whitney Lane is named after the Whitney family. Around 200 years after his death in 1761, Nathan Whitney's gravestone was stolen in the 1960s. It was eventually returned years later in response to an announcement in the local newspaper. (23)

 

Woodward Lane


Woodward Lane was developed in 1982 around the time of Boxborough’s Bicentennial. It was part of a larger parcel of land north of Flagg Hill Road, which contained several other streets including Bicentennial Way and Howard Lane. It may have been named in honor of Private Alonzo M. Woodward, a member of the 6th Infantry Regiment, Co. E Mass. Volunteers who died in service during the Civil War. (25)(26)

Bibliography

  1. Daniel V. Boudillion. “Nashoba Hill: The Hill That Roars.” Boudillion.com, 2009, http://www.boudillion.com/nashobahill/nashobahill.htm.

  2. Acton Land Stewardship Committee. “Native American Kiosk: Regional Native American Presence.” Acton Trails, https://trails.actonma.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Regional-History-of-Native-Americans.pdf.

  3. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks. “Native American Tribes in Massachusetts.” History of Massachusetts, 3 Nov. 2019, https://historyofmassachusetts.org/native-american-tribes/.

  4. Hager, Lucie. ​​Boxborough: A New England Town and Its People. United States, J.W. Lewis & Company, 1891.

  5. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.71 Patch, Francis - Dean, Franklin House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, ​https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.71.

  6. John Fallon. “Boxborough One Room Schoolhouses.” Boxborough Historical Society, 2 Jan. 2021, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Y18Hh2TgcvnQrNR736Cs7f3goNBnycza/view.

  7. “Peter Wheeler House // 1832.” Buildings of New England, 20 Jun. 2021, https://buildingsofnewengland.com/category/massachusetts/boxborough/.

  8. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.E Boxborough Old Town Center.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, 12 Dec. 2006, mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.E.

  9. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.40 Willard, Rev. Joseph - Page, Christopher House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, 12 Dec. 2006, https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.40.

  10. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.118 Richardson, Amasa House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.118.

  11. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.55 Draper, Reuben Mead House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, 12 Dec. 2006, https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.55.

  12. Stan Freeman. “Roxbury russet among vintage apples growing in Massachusetts orchards.” Mass Live, 24 Mar. 2019, https://www.masslive.com/living/2012/07/roxbury_russet_is_among_vintage_apples_growing_in_western_mass_orchards.html.

  13. Jeanne Kangas, A History of Steele Farm and the Steele Family in Boxborough, 2014. Available at the Boxborough Library.

  14. Interviews with Jeanne Kangas, Boxborough Historical Society (2021).

  15. “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Levi Wetherbee Farm.” National Park Service, 3 Nov. 2006, https://www.boxborough-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/726/National-Register-of-Historic-Places-Submission-Packet-PDF.

  16. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.60 Cobleigh, Daniel W. House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.60.

  17. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.A Wetherbee, Levi Farm.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, 18 Jul. 2018, https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.A.

  18. Boxborough Historical Society. “Chester Legacy.” Boxborough Historical Society, February 2021,  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u1vVz52lPxdNnz7Q42QI-9D3aWl2Hors/view.

  19. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.123 Farr, Stephen House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, ​https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.123.

  20. Belle Choate. “The Land - History.” Acton Arboretum, https://actonarboretum.org/the-land/.

  21. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.34 Wetherbee, Lt. Daniel - Mead, Dea. Oliver House.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System,  https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.34.

  22. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.2 Whitcomb, James Family Homestead.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System,  https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.2.

  23. Massachusetts Historical Commission. “BXB.907 Whitney, Nathan Gravestone.” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System,  https://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BXB.907.

  24. Submission by John Fallon (2021).

  25. Interviews with Owen Neville (2021).

  26. Patty Mahoney. "Boxborough honors Civil War veteran." Wicked Local, 22 May 2021, ​https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/the-beacon/2021/05/22/boxborough-honors-late-civil-war-veteran/5205665001/

  27. Matt Malio. "Veterans Day in Acton and Boxborough." Wicked Local, 12 November 2018, https://acton.wickedlocal.com/news/20181112/veterans-day-in-acton-and-boxborough.