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Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 7., An eighteenth century enterprise. (search)
lained bitterly of their treatment of him, saying that the cusses had stolen his invention. Not despairing, however, he invented a new form of engine, for which he secured a patent. This was acquired by Sullivan, after his experience with a heavy engine from Philadelphia, which he wrote had a damaging effect upon the boats used upon the canal. Full of hope, Mr. Sullivan purchased the shops and water privilege at Medford, now within the bounds of Winchester. These were located on the Aberjona river opposite the present Parkway and just below the present Wedgemere station. He then entered upon the manufacture of steam engines, to use upon the canal and the Merrimack river. The writer finds no evidence of the construction of but one steam-boat; but of that has seen the receipted bill of one of the employees for his services, 1 day to Medford with steamboat $1.50, this on August 11, 1818. In addition to this, it has been his privilege to converse with an aged lady, whose father's
d credible. For a time persistent inquiry among the aged people long resident along the old canal, failed to throw light on the subject. An allusion in Amory's Life of Governor Sullivan to many judicious inventions by the canal manager (the governor's son), led to further search in Boston Public Library. There we found his printed statements of the same, and also that he had acquired a water power in Medford and had begun to build steam engines for use on the canal. This was on the Aberjona river, a quarter of a mile up from the aqueduct that carried the canal over that stream. This water power was destroyed by the explosion of a keg of powder beneath the dam in 1865, at the instance of the Charlestown Water Board. Mr. Sullivan's steamboat Merrimack was of the type of canal boat then in use. He already had some unsatisfactory experience with a heavy engine from Philadelphia and had acquired the patent of Samuel Morey's revolving engine. It was one of this type that prop
e the brick gate-houses beside the river and above the dam that separates the two divisions of what used to be called Medford ponds ere this was built. It is, or rather was, a sub-waterway, the conduit of the Charlestown Water Works. At the time of its building, public water works were confined to the larger cities. The city of Charlestown, after considering various sources of supply, decided upon Medford pond, whose watershed extended backward to the divide between the Ipswich and Aberjona rivers in Wilmington. By natural configuration Medford pond lent itself well to the design. The Narrows, or the Partings, were the names by which the location of the impounding dam had been previously known. It must have been a picturesque spot. We have found no view of it preserved by artist's brush or pencil of those pre-camera days, but have heard it much spoken of. Two wedge-shaped portions of Medford and West Cambridge extended into the pond so nearly that a plank would bridge th
d beside the brick conduit to Sherman street) conveys the water to Arlington. There, a mile up the valley of Sucker brook, is a pumping station that supplies the water tower at the heights for the high service. The Mystic dam remains intact; indeed, if it were removed it is questionable if such would be a wise procedure. It has been suggested that an additional elevation be made, and thus the improvement of the Aberjona. Mystic dam is16.25 Flow of dam6 —— Original level of Aberjona river10.25 Feet above river2 —— Symmes' meadow12.25 Communication of A. E. Whitney. The elevation proposed would raise the upper lake to 17.50 feet above Boston base, or fifteen inches higher than the tailrace of the next then existing water power on the Aberjona. The highest level the water commission could maintain is 16.25 feet, and is marked by a copper bolt in the Aberjona bridge. During more recent years that stream has been dredged and much improved by the town of Winchester,
ilized as here seen. The name was given it by the city government, at the request of the Historical Society, in 1903. The iron cover in the foreground is of the Metropolitan sewer siphon, and the daisies were in full bloom when the photographer looked up stream here. The earliest portion of the parkway to be built in Medford was from High street along the lakes to Winchester. Facing page 60 is a view of the same through the Brooks estate, another with the Symmes house and mouth of the Aberjona in the distance. The water is the farther end of the upper Mystic lake, once the meadow of Rev. Zachariah Symmes, that was flowed by the Broughton dam two miles down the river. The present flowage is by the Mystic dam of 1863, seen in the central view. Across the water is Inter-laken, and higher is Morningside, as the recent building sections of that part of Arlington are styled. No more beautiful view can be had of the Aberjona-Mystic valley than from the latter, unless it be from Gro
elmont, was the principal cause of the erection of the Cradock dam in Medford center. In the year 1861 the city of Charlestown obtained an act of the General Court authorizing it to take the upper Mystic pond as a water supply, and when that city was annexed to the city of Boston, the pond became a part of Boston's water supply. For many years both before and after Boston assumed control of the pond, many complaints were made in regard to the impurity of the water. Situated upon the Aberjona river and its tributaries were many tanneries and other works whose drainage found its way into that river and thence into the pond. This condition of things became so unbearable that some action had to be taken to remedy the evil, or else abandon the pond as a water supply. In the year 1875 the mayor of Boston petitioned the General Court for an act authorizing that city to construct a sewer to prevent such drainage from entering its water supply. In this petition the mayor was joined by
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 24., The Indians of the Mystic valley and the litigation over their land. (search)
ell unto the Inhabitants of the Towne of Charlestowne, all the land within the lines granted them by the Court excepting the farmes and the ground on the west of the two great Ponds called Misticke ponds, from the south side of Mr. Nowell's lott neere the upper end of the ponds unto the little runnet Sucker brook in Arlington. that cometh from Capt. Cooke's mill which the Squaw reserveth to their use for her life for the Indians to plant and hunt upon and the weare At the mouth of the Aberjona. This point was overflowed by the dam at the partings in 1865. above the Ponds they also reserve for the Indians to fish at whiles the Squaw liveth, and after the death of Squaw Sachem shee doth leave all her lands from Mr Mayhues house Cradock's farm house at Medford Square. to near Salem to the present Governor Mr. John Winthrop Senr. Mr. Increase Nowell Mr. John Wilson Mr Edward Gibons to dispose of, and all Indians to depart and for sattisfaction from Charlestowne, wee acknowledge t
d third, south to foot of Winter hill, Main. Three streets branched to the right from High street to Woburn line. Purchase (now Winthrop), Woburn and Grove. Today only the three Hall houses below Governors avenue, the Unitarian parsonage, and the old Magoun cottage opposite remain of those standing in 1829. The present Winthrop square was then called Turell's corner. A new road had then been recently proposed which would have crossed the Playstead and Brooks estate, and also the Aberjona river, to the West Cambridge road, but instead, another was partially bought, hence its name. It made a more direct and level route to Upper Medford, and left old Woburn street to become a residential section. Let us now look at old High street, beginning at its terminal, Charlestown line. An old resident of Medford did this for us, and his story may be found in the Regis-ter, Vol. VIII, p. 44. This was Elijah B. Smith, who passed away August 16, 1903. His father, Elijah, was born in Le
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 30., The road through the woods. (search)
f granite, within the estimated cost and so it would require no repairs for a century. Thus said the agent in his annual report. Alas for human calculations. The canal's rival, the Boston and Lowell railroad, cut another way through the estate and began the quicker travel by steam power in 1835. In 1860, the city of Charlestown built its water-works, raising the level of the upper pond six feet by the erection of a dam at the narrow strait known as The Partings. At that time there was a large, extensive woodland in that vicinity, utilized in that work. The contour of the upper pond was much changed, the mouth of the Aberjona became up-stream where was once the Symmes mill, thus destroying its water-power. Later came the Mystic valley parkway, over whose surface the modern automobiles so rapidly roll along. Grove street, once the road through the woods, has lost none of its beauty and charm, and may some day vie with its neighbors across the water, Interlaken and Morningside.