The meridian monument
MONG the interesting objects to be seen in the woods and fields and on the hills of Medford
is the old cairn that bore the meridian mark of the observatory at Harvard College.
It was erected many years ago, but is comparatively little known, and because of its location in a sparsely settled section, and of the contour of the hill on which it stands, is rarely seen by the numerous passers.
The Register presents the view and preserves this account of it; all the more timely and important, as its demolition in the near future seems possible.
With one exception (the article by the present writer in the Boston Globe
and copied by the Medford Mercury
, to which latter, thanks are due for our illustration) no view of it is ever known to have been in public print.
This monument measures seven by thirteen feet at its base, tapering to about three and nine at its top, and about nine feet high; in form, a truncated pyramid.
It is composed of quarried stone and boulders, with a single block of dressed granite at the top of the southern face.
This cap-stone is smoothly dressed on its face and top side, with three circular projections of three-fourths of an inch on the former, the central one being slightly smaller than the other two.
All are smoothly dressed, being formed in the cutting of the stone.
Whether this stone was thus shaped for this particular use, or was one removed from some demolished building, cannot now be ascertained, but the latter seems probable, as no remains of paint can now be traced on the projecting portions.
As the rough masonry is not carried up behind this granite, there may have been a similar cap-stone on the northern face, at some time removed.
Among the smaller field stones that compose its interior, is solidly embedded a stick of native red cedar, broken at the top. This may have been a flag-staff or signal pole, and its fracture must have required an enormous outlay of force—which may have caused the loosening