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[p. 39] resting on stone piers which now support Boston-avenue bridge. Following nearly the line of Boston avenue, it kept along the Mystic ponds, passing through Winchester west of Wedge pond to Horn pond in Woburn. Traversing Woburn and Wilmington, it crossed the Shawsheen by an aqueduct of 137 feet, and struck the Concord, from which it received its water at Billerica mills. Entering the Concord by a stone guard-lock, it crossed, with a floating tow-path, and passed out on the northern side through another stone guard-lock, thence it descended 27 feet, in a course of 5 1/4 miles, through Chelmsford to the Merrimac, making its entire length 27 1/4 miles.

The proprietors made Charlestown bridge the eastern terminus for their boats, but ultimate communication was opened with the wharves and markets upon the harbor through Mill creek, over a section of which Blackstone street now extends.

As the enterprise had the confidence of the business community, money for prosecuting the work had been procured with comparative ease. Such representative men as Oliver Wendell, John Adams, of Quincy, Peter C. Brooks, Andrew Craigie, Ebenezer and Dudley Hall, James Sullivan, and John Hancock were stockholders. The stock had steadily advanced from $25 a share in the autumn of 1794 to $473 in 1803, the year the canal was opened, touching $500 in 1804. Then a decline set in, a few dollars at a time, till 1816, when its market value was $300 with few takers, although the canal was in successful operation, and in 1814 the obstructions in the Merrimac had been surmounted, so that canal boats, locking into the river at Chelmsford, and making use of various locks and short canals, had been poled up stream as far as Concord.

Firewood and lumber always formed a very considerable item in the business of the canal. The navy-yard at Charlestown and the ship-yards on the Mystic for many years relied upon the canal for the greater part

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