Woburn Street, the road leading east from Lexington Center to Woburn, was laid out in its current alignment in 1832 although earlier routes (including the present Vine Street) linked the two locales as early as the seventeenth century. The house at 2 Vine Street (below) reportedly dates to c.1790 and is one of the earlier houses in the neighborhood.
By the mid 19th century a number of small workers cottages and vernacular houses had been constructed along the street and the trend continued through the late 19th century.
Today, the Woburn Street area including Cottage Street and Vine Street remains an architecturally-cohesive neighborhood of nineteenth century working-class housing. The closely-spaced dwellings display similar scale and building materials and collectively represent an important concentration of workers houses that is not seen anywhere else in town. Most of the dwellings are vernacular in style although basic elements of some architectural styles including the Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne are also evident.
The Greek Revival cottage at 76 Woburn Street retains many of its original finishes. The house is unusual in that its date of construction can be determined exactly. During a renovation in the 1960s the underside of a floorboard revealed the date 1827, "Fox" (the name of the builder, and the price of the contract (2042 in Roman numerals). This makes this house the earliest of the Greek Revival cottages in the Woburn Street area.
In the late 19th century many of those living in the Woburn Street area were Irish immigrants who began moving to Lexington in the 1850s, prompted in part by the Potato Famine in their homeland. They worked as laborers, on farms and on the railroad.
In addition to single-family dwellings, there are also a number of two-family houses.
Mixed in with the worker cottages are a number of older houses which were moved here to make way for new buildings or street widening projects in other parts of town. The old town hall/high school was moved in 1902 from Massachusetts Avenue near the Woburn Street intersection and was transformed into two multi-family residences at 10-14 and 16-20 Vine Street (below).
The Georgian-style, Meriam-Viles House at 37-39 Woburn Street was moved from the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Winthrop Road in 1894 to make way for a new house.
Additional moved structures are located at 29 and 31-33 Cottage Street, 9 Utica Street, 16 Manley Court, and at 36, 78, and 132 Woburn Street.