This “Painter” has nothing to do with artwork. It is, instead, a nautical term referring to a length of chain that helps bear the weight of an anchor when the anchor is hauled up and made fast to a ship’s side.
The very large pond immediately west of the town center has been known by that name at least since the 1830s. (Why? Still to be researched.) The road, however, dates only to the mid-1950s, when it was paved and opened as a much-needed link between Bradford Street and Route 6. There was a faction that favored the name Hell Town Road for this new connector, on the theory that Route 6 took travelers out to the area of New Beach where the Helltown settlement once stood. But less adventuresome heads prevailed. In Town Meeting, 12 March 1956, voters approved the name Shank Painter Road. ¶ Posted 2013-08-28