History of Grand View Farm
Marion Tavern at Grand View Farm is one of Burlington's principal architectural landmarks. It has special significance since it is Burlington's only surviving 19th century connected-farm complex. The building is also an extraordinary instance of Greek revival architecture. The complex preserves at least one 18th century building and several from the 19th century. Conceived about 1840, it is currently comprised of five main structures, all linked together as an arrangement of connected houses and barns. Its highly-visible location contributes much to the character of Burlington's town center.
The Grand View Farm property was owned by blacksmith Solomon Trull (d. 1839) from the pre-Revolutionary War era to the early 19th century. About 1840, Abner Marion (1809 - 1853) and Sarah Prescott Marion (1810 - 1863) acquired Mr. Trull's property. The couple moved Solomon Trull's original saltbox house (circa 1770) approximately one block and joined it with a small home they had built on the site. This expansion allowed them to benefit from the coach route which passed through Burlington, providing regional and outreach transport between Lowell and Boston. The Marion's building served as stage tavern and halfway house. As such, it played an important role in Lowell's emergence as a model mill town during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In the 1860's the upcoming railroad by-passed Burlington because of its hilly topography. As the rail line in Woburn prospered, the stage coach route through Burlington became obsolete and was discontinued. Without the stage business, the Marion Tavern was no longer a profitable enterprise. By 1870, the property was acquired by Charles McIntire (1835-1908). Mr. McIntire developed a large, successful dairy farm, returning the land to Burlington's agricultural roots.
The McIntires are credited with giving the Grand View property its name. Because of the farm's altitude it had a "grand view" of the White Mountains and vistas to the west and south. Historian Fogelberg wrote, "The front windows of the beautiful old house command a delightful view of the west, and one can see Mt. Monadnock on a clear warm day." Dunham, another Burlington historian, wrote it is "a fine location, high and sunny with a beautiful panoramic view of the countryside. It is an ideal spot for inspirational education of our young people."
Dunham also recorded, "the old barn that once sheltered the fine horses used on the stage coaches was then used for the large herd of blooded cattle owned by Mr. [Charles] McIntire." McIntire is also credited with opening up some of the smaller rooms in the house and installing a Federal period fireplace. The mantel above the fireplace is attributed to one of his relatives, Samuel McIntire, a famous Salem carver.
The farm remained in the McIntire family until 1979. The final ancestral occupant was Mary Bernice McIntire Sleeper, Charles' granddaughter. Mrs. Sleeper took possession of the property in 1951. Farming ceased to be a major activity and the complex was remodeled to include income producing apartments. Horse stalls were added in the large barn so that the Sleepers could board horses for the residents. If you were to pass by the property during that time period, you would see horses trotting in the surrounding fields.
Upon the death of Mary Bernice McIntire Sleeper, the property was sold to Hubert and Ann Ruping. The Rupings remodeled and modernized several rooms. After the death of Mr. Ruping, Mrs. Ruping vacated the property, transferring it to the family owned construction business. In 1999, the Rupings initiated the process to develop an apartment complex at the site. Several town citizens began the "Save the Farm" movement to counteract this planned development of the historical cornerstone of the town's common area. After a lengthy and complicated negotiation process, the town, Ruping Builders, and the Gutierrez Company settled a three way land swap. In the 2002 swap the town acquired the six acres of the Grand View property along with its associated buildings.
For more information on the Marion Tavern/Grand View Farm, see the excerpts from the 1998-1999 Historic Preservation Survey of Burlington. The full Survey report is available from the Burlington Municipal Archives. Also, check out the Time Line and Artifacts pages.