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“ [67] every lighter, passing through the draw, ten cents each time, and twenty cents for larger vessels.”

This bridge answered all its intended purposes till 1829, when the question of building a new draw came up. The matter was referred to a Committee, who report, May 4, as follows: “That the town is under no legal obligation to make or maintain a drawbridge, but may build without a draw, as heretofore.” Nevertheless, the final result was a vote to build a new bridge, with a draw. It was so built, accordingly; but the draw was so narrow that, in 1834, the town voted to widen the draw, whenever the selectmen shall judge proper. This was done. The idea that ships could be built above the bridge became common ; and, as ships of the largest size became fashionable, it was found that the draw was not sufficiently wide to allow the transit of one then on the stocks. The petition for widening was granted; and, in 1852, it assumed the form it now wears. This bridge, among the earliest in the country, and among the most important in the Colony, has had an eventful history. Seldom, if ever, has there been so much legislation in the General Court about seventy-five feet of bridge ; and, certainly, no town has talked and voted and petitioned and litigated so much about such a matter. It was part of a great thoroughfare, and was second to none in importance to all travellers, from the east and north, who were going to Boston. For one hundred and fifty years, it was on the nearest land-route for all the travel of Maine and New Hampshire ; and, within the memory of some now living, the farmers of New Hampshire, who brought large loads of pork and grain in pungs to Boston, passed over that bridge in companies of five, ten, fifteen, and twenty within the months of January and February. Perhaps the strangest fact connected with it is, that it is still the only bridge for common highway travel now (1855) across the Mystic River in Medford! That another bridge, for free public travel, is imperiously demanded by the growing wants of the town, is generally acceded; and probably such a bridge will soon be built.

The other bridges of the town were of minor moment; though that at the Wear cost the town much money, and some trouble. March 6, 1699: “Put to vote, whether the town of Medford will give Mr. John Johnson three pounds towards the building a sufficient horse-bridge over the Wears; said bridge being railed on each side, and the said bridge ”

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