The name of this downtown street nods to a big, grassy field that’s across from a stately strip of Federal, Italianate, and Greek Revival houses. In warmer months, the lawn hosts food trucks, concerts, and farmers’ markets. This time of year, it’s flooded to create a skating rink. Flooded, by the way, was more or less its original condition: the field was a swamp until the 1820s, when three local men deeded it to the town for five cents, on the condition it be turned into a “public walk or mall,” which it remains to this day. The elegant residences were once home to ship captains, caulkers, tanners, printers, Revolutionary War veterans, and probably some college professors too. Now, they host, among other things, an inn, a consignment shop, and salons — plus a historical society, whose volunteers could tell you plenty more about how this grand lane went from boggy to beautified.
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