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Mystic river improvements.

As we go to press, work is resumed on the Mystic river dam. We record some facts relative thereto, wishing that in 1638 Cradock's men had recorded likewise, also Thomas Broughton, in 1656, when he built his dam up stream.

The present is a far cry from the time when Winthrop was the first white man to sail ‘up the Mistick six miles,’ or Mrs. Dalkin forded the river by a firm grip on her dog's tail.

Three years ago some workmen, from a boat, made a series of borings in the river's bed, while some bystanders [p. 48] said it was ‘to let the water run through.’ These were to ascertain the nature of the ground on which the dam was to be built. The next year contractors began work upon the dam, which with automatic gates is to hold back the incoming tide; the weirs that hold the fresh water of the river at a nearly uniform level; also the boat lock and another span of the bridge.

Possibly the test borings did not reveal all there was to know, as the contractors later found to their cost. There were living in Medford, men who remembered the building of the stone bridge and the grain elevator, who shook their heads ominously. They even ventured to remark that all might not work smoothly.

Receiving the reply that ‘modern engineering would be all-sufficient for this little stream,’ one said, ‘Well, well, perhaps old Larry can tell ye something ye don't know.’

Just what he foretold came to pass in the construction of the coffer-dam, and their effort was fruitless. Work was suspended till, in the summer of 1908, another firm took up the work, and at last succeeded in building the coffer-dam around the first section. Work rapidly progressed on the concrete structures, and on November 3 the last plank was driven, closing the other section and turning the water's course through the lock. On November 10 a temporary gate was closed therein, and for the first time in the history of Mystic river the tides of ocean ceased to ebb and flow above Cradock bridge. Daily the fresh water accumulated above the weirs, and at tide's ebb was allowed to flow out.

For a month the level of the upper river was lower than ever known before. On the night of December 2 the gate could not be closed, and the tide-water flowed in somewhat. Ere long the work will be complete, and Medford will have one of the finest water parks, and the adjoining Menotomy valley be much improved. [p. 49]

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