Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Townspeople

August 30, 2012

Dalton column: Why Hidden Road is easy to find

“Carmel Road used to run through to High Street by way of a steep hairpin-turned roadway, which, especially for stick shifts cars, was the most interesting short piece of roadway in Andover; but, alas. the road gods took it away, “ I wrote a few weeks ago.

Jennifer Caffrey responded, “It was also most interesting to those of us who would push off on our bikes at the start of the hill, barrel at full speed down Carmel and across High at the bottom, and take a sharp right onto Burnham. Then we’d continue down that hill on the way to our Shawsheen homes, all thanks to gravity and an apparent belief in our immortality. Honestly, I don’t know how any of us survived our childhoods back then – there were certainly no bike helmets and there must have been much less traffic.” (Incidentally, Burnham Road was named for a superintendent of the Almshouse circa 1885, according to Goldsmith.)

Carol Towle, whose father owned Caruso’s Shoe repair on Barnard Street, wrote, “I grew up on Carmel Road and played in Carmel woods. My bike rides included all of Johnson Acres as well as “uptown.” Carmel hill was a favorite sledding area in the wintertime. We would place a lookout at the bottom of the hill to OK the sliding process and make sure no cars were coming.”

A reader asked me about where the name “Hidden Road” comes from. As with other road names that can have another meaning, such as Blood Road and Flint Circle, the names usually do not come from the fact that Hidden Road couldn’t be found, or Blood Road was the sight of a massacre, or Flint Circle was a great source of rocks you could spark fires from. Like many roads, such as Blood and Flint, were named after people who once lived in the area, often owning much of the land around what is now the road. However, that is not quite the reason for Hidden Road’s name.

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