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Public Conveyances.

After the completion of the Lowell Railroad in 1835 the few who resided near ‘the Gates’ (i. e., West Medford), or ‘the Steps’ (i. e., Hillside), which was a signal [p. 46] station, could easily reach Boston by that route, but the people at the centre, who did not own horses, were dependent upon other means. Just what those means were, patient research has failed to satisfactorily determine. The Boston Almanac credited Medford with four omnibus trips per day from Elm street in 1845, and six trips (at 9.30 A. M., 12 M., 2, 4, 6, 8 P. M.) in 1846. But memory declares them to have ceased before the winter of 1846-7, and to have given the monopoly of passenger travel to a stage coach, which made several daily trips between the Medford House and Wild's Hotel in Elm street, till the more frequent and cheaper transits by rail supplanted it. The fare was twenty-five cents.

Prior to July 1, 1845, the Boston & Maine had sent its cars from Andover to Boston, via the Wilmington Junction & Lowell Road, but a more direct route through Maiden being in the process of construction, six of Medford's progressive citizens, foreseeing the advantage that would accrue to the town if a branch were built from the centre to connect with it, petitioned the Legislature for a charter, which was granted March 7, 1845, and required the road to be built within two years.

A heated discussion arose among the citizens as to which side of the river the road should be constructed. After the present location was agreed upon and the work was commenced, there were found to be forty-three persons, who either owned land through which the road was to pass, or who fancied their property would suffer by its construction, and were unwilling to accept the award of damages made by the Boston & Maine Corporation, which owned the charter. Appeal was made to the County Commissioners, who, to adjust the disagreement, held a meeting at the Medford House, August 10, 1846. The road was completed and the first train went over it, as we suppose, early in March, 1847.1 According to a time table issued October 4 of that year, trains were run as follows: From Boston at 7 1/2 A. M., 12 M., [p. 47] 2 1/4, 4 1/2 and 6 P. M. From Medford at 7 and 8 1/4 A. M., 1 1/2, 3 1/4 and 5 P. M., with an extra train on Saturday from Medford at 6 1/2 and from Boston at 9 P. M. One year later there were seven trains each way.

Single fares were twelve cents, but, by the hundred, tickets were sold at first for $8, later for $10, and in 1851, for 11.25. John F. Sanborn was the first conductor. Several years later he became an engineer on the road till the great ‘strike’ cost him his position.

Commencing in 1850, Samuel S. Blanchard drove a daily omnibus to Boston for several years. Fare, fifteen cents.

1 Persistent effort by the writer and others to ascertain the exact date has been of no avail.

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