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[p. 31]

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

5 miles.

20 miles.

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.

Mr. Wait's letter suggests a study of the view of Medford Square shown in Brooks' history. 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

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