Old landmarks gone.
ITH the demolition of the old Withington
bakery, the dismantling of the Historical Society's former home, and the alteration of half the tenement-block known as Doctors' Row
for business purposes, the view of Salem street from Medford square is materially changed.
The glass and stucco front of the latter, the marble, and tapestry brick of the theatre building, and the stucco walls that hide the little that was left at Ashland street, are in marked contrast to the view in May last.
We were told that the old-time architecture would be there retained, at least in the upper stories, and so stated in the June register.
But we look in vain therefor.
The legend is,
Bvilt, 1802; Rebvilt, 1915
but what the craft shown in the front panel may be— ark, viking ship or hydroplane-we are waiting to learn.
If Major Jonathan Wade
could drop into his old domicile today he might enjoy an uninterrupted view of the market-place, as the City Hall annex, alias
Simpson tavern, alias
Thomas Seccomb house, the three-story brick house, and the more modern Tufts
hall building, have all been razed.
But not for long the major's outlook, as a deep cellar has been excavated and built in their places, and a modern mercantile building is in process of erection thereon.
We regret that it was necessary to remove the big horse-chestnut tree to which the birds resorted, but it was unavoidable.
The excavation of the cellar failed to reveal the treacherous quicksand, said to underlie the spot.
But the various alterations and public improvements, notably the sewerage system, have drained the ‘duck pond’ mentioned [p. 98]
a century ago, and improved conditions here as elsewhere.
Another change should be noted, the demolition of the old gambrel-roofed house on Main, corner of Emerson street. Beside this was once the home of Dr. Luther Stearns
, (father of Major George L. Stearns
), and here he had his noted ‘academy’ for boys a century and more ago. Sectional and factional spirit ran high in those days, carried even into the sports of the schoolboys.
The disastrous effect of a snowball fight at the town school raised the siege of a snow fort here.
One had been built and date set for its storming by the Fag-enders
. Its defenders were Maggots
, but Dr. Stearns
was an autocrat whose prohibiting word was law, and had to be obeyed.
See register, Vol.
XI, p. 47.
For years this old house has been falling into decay, and, uninhabitable, has been an eyesore, inviting lawless attempts at its destruction by fire.
A lesson may be learned from its construction, i.e
., the brick filling of its walls that has resisted the numerous incendiaries that have called the alarm of sixty-one so often.
Incidentally we wonder how the modern construction of lath, paper, and plaster will stand fire test.
We have heard no lament of its passing, and there are doubtless others that might well be removed and something desirable and durable take their places.
An instance of this is the removal of Dr. Gahan
's house on Washington street, demolition of another, and the erection of a modern dwelling of concrete construction on the former site.
As a matter of historic fact, 1915 marks the erection of this, the Medford
theatre and the Medford Messenger
buildings, the material therefor dug largely from the ground where they have been built.
should welcome a method of construction that reduces the fire risk, and in time proves more economical to its citizens.