I was about eight years old when Medford
became my home, and I have a very distinct recollection of the impression the town made upon me on my first introduction to it. It had then a population of little more than two thousand two hundred, pretty widely scattered.
You must remember that since then we have lost some territory, taken from us to help form the towns of Somerville
The older part of the town showed all the marks of its antiquity, and its general aspect was one of old-time respectability.
I do not suppose, however, there were a dozen houses in Medford
at that time that cost more than six thousand dollars. They were plain but substantial structures that accorded well with the homely ways and thrifty habits of the earlier New England
There was plenty of timber in the frames of these buildings, not held together with ten-penny nails, but well mortised and well braced, calculated to set at defiance a September gale or a winter blizzard.
These houses were all hand-made.
The mechanics of those days could frame their own sashes and doors, and could turn out, often with self-made tools, the most elaborate mouldings.
We have one of them in our own body in the person of our respected fellow-citizen, Mr. Cleophas Johnson
— long may he live!
but his works will live after him.
To resume my description of Medford
: the public square and high street as far as Meeting House brook, looked very much as they do now, making allowance for some changes in buildings—not very many.
Between Meeting House brook and the Lowell railroad there were very few houses—not more than half a dozen, as I remember.
West Medford had then practically no existence as a settlement.
There was but a house or two on Purchase street (now North Winthrop street) as far as the present Winchester line; and the same might be said of Forest street up to the Stoneham
line, —as well as of Salem street below Fulton street to the Maiden
On Main street, from the present Stearns