By Kathy Collins
In April, John and Kay Sullivan, town founders of Winthrop and Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview, held a ceremony where they dedicated the park located behind Boca and Ciccio Cali’s and renamed it Winthrop Common. On hand for the celebration was John Winthrop of Charleston, South Carolina, who is the eleventh descendant of John Winthrop (1587-1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and for whom the community of Winthrop is named.
When the Sullivans bought the 148 acres land back in 1999, they engaged architect and town planner Andres Duany to design the community. He urged them to give the community a name that was both personal and significant to them. As Kay explained at the dedication ceremony, “We envisioned a pedestrian friendly community where people can live, work and play. We wanted to create an alternative to urban sprawl.”
So the Sullivans looked at both their personal history and the history of the United States. John Sullivan’s family had lived in a house on Winthrop Street near Boston.
“My mother loved the house. It was in a walkable community,” John Sullivan said.
Being from Boston, it was only natural to look into the writings of John Winthrop. He had come up with a plan to bring colonists to America. He is often called the “Forgotten Founding Father.” While onboard the ship Arbella, Winthrop, a wealthy English Puritan lawyer, gave a sermon where he told the colonists that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill,” one that is watched by the world. That city is now known as Boston.
John Sullivan said, “John Winthrop wanted to create a city that would be a model for others to follow.” The community of Winthrop is such a model. There are homes, restaurants, parks, schools, grocery store and places to rest, relax and play.”
At the dedication ceremony, John Winthrop said, “I am so happy to be here. I have been looking forward to coming here for 10 years.” John Winthrop also donated $1,000 to Winthrop Arts, Inc.
So the next time you go to the community of Winthrop and visit the Winthrop Town Centre, thank the Sullivans for having the forethought to create a place that truly represents community.The community of Winthrop is located at the intersection of Bloomingdale Avenue and Providence Road in Riverview.