A Medford guide-post.
The reading of a paper on milestones by Mr. Read
at our Historical Society suggested to one of his hearers the writing of a letter, from which we quote:—
At the corner of Main and High streets there was once a granite guide-post.
On its top was a large square block of stone with the faces lettered
When Lowell was started, a great many tip-carts and truck of all sorts passed through the square.
Because the natives were so often asked the way to Lole by emigrants on foot, John Howe, a selectman whose business was near by, insisted on lettering this post thus for their information.
As very few of them could read, the guide-post was called ‘Howe's Folly.’
The first mill employees at Lowell were from the country towns of New England; but later came the deluge.
James Ewell, who was employed on the highways many years, said that after its removal the stone post was built into a bridge over Gravelly brook, and that the heavy cap-stone lay for a time in the department yard on Swan street.
We well remember the old way-mark at the street corner, a portion painted white to receive the black letters.
As we recall it, there was a lantern projected cornerwise from it over the sidewalk and lighted with gas.
's letter suggests a study of the view of Medford Square shown in Brooks
In that steel engraving (from a daguerreotype by Wilkinson
) the tall stone post is clearly shown, surmounted by another (probably of iron) bearing a lantern at its top. The lantern was nearly level with the window-sills in the town hall.
This picture is of itself an interesting study, a record of conditions of sixty years ago. The classic town house, that has been styled the ‘Parthenon of Medford
,’ is the central figure and stands at a higher elevation than now, evidenced by the steps on either side.
It lacks, however, the stone bases of the columns, and of course the flag-staff, balcony and door in the High