Billerica Mass – #ThursdayDoors

Unitarian Church.

When I attend meetings in Burlington, MA, I usually stay at in the Burlington Marriott, which is just off the highway, in the middle of a cluster of modern office buildings. The buildings are nice, but the doors are boring and predictable. However, in Massachusetts, you are rarely more than 10 miles from another town. About six miles northwest of my hotel is the town of Billerica, MA. I was looking for a gas station, but when I saw the Town Green, ringed by several historic buildings, I knew I was about to stop for a doorscursion.

Outside of a few listings in Wikipedia, the town’s website and a handful of Facebook pages, there isn’t much to say about Billerica. I was hoping for a lengthy discussion about why so many buildings have green doors. I found that the entire area around the green is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, but, unfortunately, the document has not been converted to PDF yet. I was hoping for some insight into what the building, currently occupied by Verizon, once was. All I found there was a link to an article about how neighbors are fighting Verizon over its plans to erect a cell tower on an historic mill building.

With respect to the history of the town, the story is pretty much the same old New England story. People found land suitable for farming, along one or, in this case two rivers, the Shawshine and the Concord. Shawshine was the original Indian name for the area known later as Billerica. That name was derived from the first English settlers, the ones who wanted to get away from England, but named everything in the new land after the place in England they left behind. In this case, the place they left was Billericay, in the county of Essex. I found a book – “History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Part 6, Volume 1” which hints at how this land came to be settled:

The conversion (to Christianity) of the Indians was the principal object of the founders of the colony…

Reverend John Eliot seemed especially called to the work which he embraced with so much zeal, patience, and devotion…A series of meetings took place and:

In the hands of this veritable apostle the good work continued to prosper; the Indians yielded more and more to the influences of civilization and Christianity…His (Eliot’s) efforts so prevailed that these Indians at length manifested a strong desire to change their own rude way of life for one more like the English mode, and for this purpose, as Eliot’s own opinion was that they ought to live somewhat remote from the English…”

In other words, we moved them elsewhere.

One building that I found that has an interesting history is the Bennet Public Library. This building is located about ¼ of a mile (0.4 km) from the current Billerica Public Library, on the north end of the town green. From the website:

“In 1881 Mrs. Eleanor Bennett dedicated the Bennett Public Library to the people of Billerica in memory of her husband, Joshua. The Bennetts strongly believed that everyone deserved access to art and education, and so when the town denied an appeal to build a public library they took the project on themselves. While all of the money raised was through private donations, the doors were open to everyone in town and The Bennett became Billerica’s first public library.”

The building is still owned by the town and can be rented for private functions.

The other buildings are described, as best as I can, in the Gallery descriptions. The complete descriptions, as well as larger images appear in a slide show which you can begin by clicking on any image.

Thanks again to the host of Thursday Doors, Norm Frampton. If you want to participate in this fun challenge, the opportunity awaits you every week, from Thursday until noon on Saturday. Just click your way up to Norm’s settlement and look for the blue frog. That little tadpole will guide you into a gallery of doors from around the world.


  1. I read this quickly and saw Basilica Mass…..and thought this was going to be about churches. **put on your darn glasses, Lois!** Very pretty doors, Dan. The Oral Surgeons have one very lovely location.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a gem of a place you found. The building that Verizon now occupies is great, especially the door! If the Bennet Library were white, you might mistake it for a church! Beautiful building, beautiful front door. But the side door wins the prize!!

    I even like the Oral Surgeon’s building with the lovely windows. If you need to see an oral surgeon, at least you can enjoy the beauty of the building! The root canal or extraction? Not so much! 😳😜
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. Yeah, this was about as close as I wanted to get to the oral surgeons. I do like the Bennett Library a lot. I like the story, too. I wish I had enough money to do the things our town won’t approve.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Back in the 1970s we lived in Billericay, Essex, UK. There are lots of references in the town to the Mayflower, including the Mayflower School, which my children would have gone to if we had stayed there. A very nice town but expanded beyond its “charm” so it is now a heaving commuter town connected to London Liverpool Street station by the old Great Eastern railway.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You captured the very essence of New England architecture. I love the green doors especially the Church ones. I always wonder what we’re suppose to do when we read the sign about falling ice and snow. Yes, I know we should be careful, but if we need to enter that particular building it gets kind of dicey. :-) We had snow flurries up north. Have you got the snow blower ready to roll? :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judy. I had that same thought when I saw that sign. Between the wall and the railing, there isn’t anywhere to go. I think that’s the employee entrance. Sounds like workman’s comp in the making.

      The snow blower has been serviced and is ready for me to put the storm cab back on. No flurries here, but it was 35° this morning.


  5. Lovely buildings, Dan, although with the title “Billerica Mass” I was expecting something more Catholic. :-) My favorite part was the library, but you might have guessed that. Thanks for taking us on a little tour with just enough history.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice little side trip! The Bennett Library is gorgeous. The Verizon building has a train depot kinda vibe to me. I like how big and white that Unitarian church is. I wish ours was big and white. Ours is mid-mod and does nothing for my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The library was quite the find. I love that the woman just built it when the town said no. I thought the big white church was going to be the Congregational Church, but that’s over by the Verizon building (saving for another day) and it’s not as grand. The one you like really is a feast for the eyes.

      the Verizon building is in a more industrial part of town. I didn’t get a look at the other side, maybe it was a depot or warehouse. Thanks for taking a look.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice history and I’m in love with that round window of Bennett Library. It has a unique appeal to it. History is so much fascinating if told in the right way. Talking of history, just wanted to ask a weird question. It might be hard for you but still I’ll ask. which history article of mine you liked the most? I know I usually write on travel, food and shopping but I do add history bits. Which one stayed in your recollection the most?


      • I believe that would be the Navsari post. Would you be interested in posts on iconic religious temples in India and temple architecture and history? Just asking because I’m good at history but I have purposely never touched upon a religious topic, but would you want me to cover it in the future?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan, seeing all these green doors, the creative rebel in me is dying to paint at least one of them red. There’s such uniformity. My favourite was the library and the incredible story behind it. That woman is such an inspiration.
    I went on my first doorscursion this week and it was interesting to visit my former stomping ground Sydney uni and focus on the doors. When I was taking photos there as a student, I was generally photographing my friends or other people. This time, I was focusing on the architecture. I had a fabulous time.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rowena. I rarely see green doors do this area was a surprise. I have gone back to one of my university areas in search of doors and architecture. It’s fun to go back as a “grown up.”


  9. Ouch – that one sentence “we moved them somewhere else” says – what to me is -the ugly truth.
    Ouch also my sore bones from sitting in the car all day Thursday to Southern Calif. -driving 55 miles all the way (because a trailer linked to the truck) making me late for replying to all my blog friends. I guess, c’est la vie!
    Great series of doors, building, and like that you included the fall trees!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is so much history in New England for you to tap into. We have the same thing here where the early settlers took it upon themselves to name everything after the homes they left behind – never mind that they already had names given to them by the original nations who lived here.

    I love the architecture and the handsome doors with transom windows – always a favourite – however the Bennett library is a wow with that giant wagon wheel window in the front.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. I wish the library building had been open. I would have loved to see that window from the inside. I guess, despite how much they wanted to move away, they remembered the places they left. I keep meaning to count the number of towns in New England that begin with “New” – there are tons of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. the slideshow was super fun and I need to do that more often – because there are extras we miss from the collage- and whew – that was a lot of blue in the vanlines shot- but such a nice variety – peace

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent post Dan. I love the old towns. I suppose there are great opportunities for photos if one keeps aware. I think I like the Verizon door best. It looks weathered and is still standing. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Dan – lovely story about the library … sad about the removals though. Here (well there when I was back in little old England) some ‘estates’ use the same paint to delineate ownership of the building … perhaps could be the same here in Billerica. Lovely photos though and story line – thanks – and I sincerely hope Verizon DO NOT REMOVE THAT DOOR … it’s special! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. Maybe at one point green was special and they’ve maintained it. The library is a great story. The relocation, that’s sad, and I’m sure they were moved many times.

      I do hope Verizon keeps that door in place.

      Liked by 1 person

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