Concord’s beloved Charles B. Davis home, built c.1750. Privately held over the past 150+ years by only four owners, the current family have been stewards of this historic estate for more than 44 years. Overlooking the velvety lawns of the First Parish Church and nestled at the base of The Ridge where Concord’s first settlers lived, this venerable home stands along the “American Mile” beside Monument Square. Spanning over three levels this 5+ bedroom home, steeped with history, offers many possibilities for today’s modern living with optional inlaw area. Fall in love with the beehive oven, hand-hewn paneling, original moldings, and ornate fireplaces! Relax in the private backyard garden oasis with antique brick patio, fountain, and lush plantings. Just 1.5 miles from Walden Pond, this is one of Concord’s most coveted addresses located steps away from quintessential downtown Concord with shopping, restaurants, walking trails, and train station.
List Price: $1,095,000
Assessed Value: $1,147,300
Total Square Feet: 3,863
Total Rooms: 12
Number of Bedrooms: 5
Number of Full Bathrooms: 2
Number of Half Bathrooms: 1
Number of Fireplaces: 2
Heating: Steam, Oil
Heating Zones: 2
Floors: Wood, Tile, Vinyl, Wall-to-Wall
Water Heater: Natural Gas, Tank
Style: Colonial, Antique
Features: Patio, Professional Landscaping, Sprinkler System, Fenced yard, Stone Wall
Foundation: Fieldstone, Granite, Other
Roof: Asphalt/Fiberglass Shingles
Garage Spaces: 0
Parking Spaces: 3
Parking Description: Off-Street, Tandem, Paved Driveway
Lot Description: Paved Drive, Zero Lot Line, Fence/Enclosed, Level, Level
Lot Size in Acres: 0.12
Lot Size in Sq. Ft.: 5,432
Road Description: Public, Paved, Sidewalk
The land on which 29 Lexington Road stands was part of the oldest settled area in Concord. When the English settlers arrived in the 1630’s, a well used regional Indian path was already in existence along the base of the ridge. That path soon became part of a major colonial highway between Concord and Boston – today’s Lexington Road.
At the founding of Concord in 1635, the townspeople chose high land at the northwest end of the ridge as the site for their meetinghouse (on the hill behind 29 Lexington Road) and burying ground (Old Hill Burying Ground). They also laid out houselots. In 1636, two 3-acre houselots were granted to Michael Wood and George Hayward. Hayward (Heywood) soon acquired both lots and had a house built, 47 Lexington Road, which he sold in 1653 to the town minister, Rev. Peter Bulkeley. In 1657 Rev. Bulkeley sold the lots to Thomas Dane, a carpenter and housewright, who is believed to have been the builder of 47 Lexington Road.
When Thomas Dane died, his son, Joseph, inherited the property. It then passed to William Clark (son-in-law?), and then in 1723 to Jonathan Ball (Clark’s son-in-law). Jonathan’s son, John, was a silversmith (called a “goldsmith”). Jonathan and John built a second home, at 37 Lexington Road, which both families shared. Sometime between 1761 and 1763 John Ball built his goldsmith’s shop (now 29 Lexington Road). In 1763, John Ball sold the two-family house and the goldsmith’s shop to Simon Hunt and Thomas Barrett. In 1767 the house was officially divided in half and the right half/east side was sold to Jacob Cummings, but John Ball continued to live in the west side and work in the goldsmith shop. In 1769 the west half of the house and the shop “adjoining to the westerly end of the house” were sold back to John Ball. He then immediately conveyed it to John Barrett and Benjamin Clark.
The first official mention of the goldsmith shop is in the 1763 deed. One theory is that the shop was “later enlarged, used by a variety of artisans and small manufacturers until the middle of the 19th century, and still exists as part of the building … at 29 Lexington Road. The first-floor framing of the front section of #29, which stands over a crawl space, does appear to be consistent with late 18th century construction.” Benjamin Clark was a shoemaker and the goldsmith shop may have later been used for making shoes. It is “referred to as a shoemaker’s shop in at least one later document.”
The history of the ownership is not completely clear for some years, but both halves of the house and the shop did come back together under one owner, Joseph Butler, an inn-keeper, in the 70’s. In 1773, Butler sold the “Ball house and John Ball’s former goldsmith shop to Capt. Thomas Cordis.” “The deed for the sale included ‘land with a dwelling house and a goldsmith’s shop thereon,’ but the land conveyed was a narrow strip … just deep enough to include the buildings, but none of the hillside behind the house.” Cordis has been known variously as a merchant, a sugar broker, a trader, and a shoemaker. Cordis died in 1774. His estate was described as a “Dwelling House and garden spot adjoining with shoemaker’s shop.” The house and shop remained in the possession of Cordis’s heirs for nearly fifty years, but it was better known for most of that time as the home of Jonas Lee, who married Cordis’s widow, Elizabeth, in 1780 and who maintained the house for the heirs.
Thomas Cordis, Jr. is reported to have been a shoemaker and may have used the goldsmith’s shop. Mary Fenn reported that “John Richardson and Jonathan Wheeler went into business together in this house in 1802. J.H. Davis kept a store there until his death in 1815. The lower story was then occupied by a wheelwright, and in the upper story harnesses and leather trimmings were made.” It “is known that in the early 19th century [the shop] was rented out to a series of small manufacturers …. The shop building was smaller than it is today, but contained at least 2 or 3 commercial and manufacturing spaces.”
In 1821 Thomas Cordis, Jr. sold the Ball House and shop to Samuel Cordis Lee. Lee lived in Maine and rented the house to tenants. He also “expanded the building at 29 Lexington Road, which he called ‘the red shop,’ and continued to lease it out as a combination of small manufacturing spaces.” Some of the people who rented space there also resided in the west tenement of the Ball-Lee House. Among them were John Newell, a tailor; harness maker and carriage trimmer, Luke Robbins; and James Howe, a wheelwright and carpenter.” Lee charged $15 to $30 a year for shop space. In 1824 he insured the shop building for $500. He also updated the buildings and enlarged the shop.
In 1827 Lee sold the property, including the “red shop” to Charles B. Davis, a prominent storekeeper, real estate investor, and town postmaster. He first kept his store in the front part of the shop building at 29 Lexington Road, prior to moving it to the Milldam. He and his brother Moses may jointly “have been involved in the management of Charles’s store at #29 Lexington” but by 1839, Charles was assuming full tax responsibility.
In 1847, Charles “moved his own store from 29 Lexington Road to the milldam. .. . Once his milldam store was well established, Charles Davis followed the trend, converting 29 Lexington Road to a four-unit rental house in 1849-50…. After Charles Davis’s death in 1865, the combined property at 29 and 37 Lexington Road remained for several years under the ownership of his heirs.
Another shopkeeper, Joel Walcott, had purchased 47 Lexington Road in 1849. In 1872, the Davis heirs “sold 29 and 37 Lexington Road, on a parcel of two acres, to Joel Walcott, for $4,500. The actual purchase was made by the two partners who owned the grocery store, Joel W. Walcott and Silas M. Holden. Joel and his family continued to live at 47 Lexington Road, and the partners rented both #29 and 37 Lexington to tenants Over the years, the
exact ownership of #’s 29 and 37 fluctuated somewhat. From 1872 through 1875 the property was listed under the name of Walcott & Holden. Joel Walcott and Silas Holden then formed a real estate partnership with Samuel Staples” and later George M. Brooks, which “owned the 29-37 Lexington Road property from 1876 through 1881. At the end of his life, 1883, Joel Walcott owned the property under his own name.
“Tenants in the west part of #37, which under the Lee ownership had been occupied by a series of artisans who worked in the manufacturing shops at 29 Lexington Road, continued to change” frequently. “In 1870, the west tenants were carpenter Amos Barrett and his two daughters; in 1880 the occupants were butcher Charles Lawrence and his wife, Mary. In 1885, house painter E. P; Thomas used it both as his residence and workshop.”
In 1901, the Walcott Trustees sold off 29 and 47 Lexington Road. The former shop building at #29, which since the 18th century had shared the same property with 37 Lexington, was divided out on a tiny lot of less than a quarter of an acre and sold to Thomas Giblin.
In 1904 Giblin conveyed the premises to Mary E. Flahery.
In 1951 Mary Flaherty executed a purchase and sale agreement with Raymond P. and Joan Baldwin. She then conveyed the premises to the Baldwins in 1955. Raymond died in 1974 and Joan then sold to Charles A.S. and Beverly D. Heinle in 1975. Charles died in 2012.
Ball-Lee House, Concord Art Association, 37 Lexington Road, Concord, MA, Historic Structure Report, prepared by Lawrence A. Sorli, Architect and Anne McCarthy Forbes. Architectural Historian. May 2011.
Fenn, Mary R. Old Houses of Concord. Old Concord Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1974.
Schmidt, Harvey. Examination of Title: 29 Lexington Road, Concord, MA 2001. CFPL.
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