History reigns where pies are now flipped

Jimmy's Pizza former site of historic home

The Blanchard Hospital
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Jimmy’s Pizza at the corner of Pleasant and Hildreth Streets has been a popular eatery for many years.

But that location has a long history dating back to the 18th century when Revolutionary War General, William Hildreth, Jr., built his home there.

William Hildreth, Jr. was born on November 16, 1757. He was a grandson of Major Ephraim Hildreth—the first Hildreth to settle in Dracut back in 1709.

Following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, Hildreth joined the military when the American Revolution started. He served under Captain Stephen Russell at Lexington and Concord, then fought at White Plains, N.Y., and eventually fought in the southern colonies near the end of the war.

Hildreth ultimately rose to the rank of Brigadier General. After the War, he returned home to Dracut.

Hildreth married first wife, Sara Bodwell on December 16, 1786. They had 4 children together—William III, Susannah, Harriet, and Frederick. (Hildreth married 3 times).

The year after his marriage he was appointed town clerk — a position previously held by his father. In addition to his role as town clerk, or perhaps because of it, Hildreth was active in all aspects of civic life. He served oversaw the town schools for three months, served as selectman, and oversaw the construction of the town’s powder house. It was located on what the townspeople called Powder House Hill. It was southwest of Hildreth’s barn.

He also served as state senator, state representative, and town assessor. During this time, as if though he wasn’t busy enough, he built a beautiful, colonial style mansion for his family on ½ an acre of land purchased from Jonathan Taylor.

His time fighting in the South during the Revolution, left a lasting impression upon Hildreth. He greatly admired the Southern architecture and the spacious southern mansions he saw firsthand. When the time came for him to build his home in Dracut, he modeled it after the homes he had seen in the South. The Hildreth mansion was two stories high, had two enormous chimneys, and a ballroom on the second floor. There were partitions in the ballroom that could be lowered as needed to create three separate rooms if needed. Along the roof was a walking gallery. The home was so impressive that his brother, Micah, who live just opposite of him added a second story to his own house so as to not be outdone by his brother.

Hildreth and his third wife, Mary Shephard, left Dracut upon his election to Sheriff of Middlesex County in 1809. They moved out to Concord which was the county seat at the time. William Hildreth, Jr, died on September 5, 1813 at the age of 57. His body was brought back to Dracut and interred in the Hildreth Cemetery.

After his passing, the Hildreth mansion had several owners throughout the 19th century. It became known as the Blanchard Hospital when it came under the ownership of Miss Eva Blanchard. She sold the home when she retired.

Like many of Dracut’s colonial homes, it was lost to fire. It burned in 1965.

The Hildreth mansion was located where Jimmy’s Pizza now stands.