A Medford-Malden Movie.Unlike the modern ‘movies’ this was not a picture show, yet we of today would consider it spectacular, and were it filmed it would cover a stretch of about six miles. At its occurrence photography and even the daguerreotype was in its infancy. In 1843 the Baptist church in Maiden built a new meeting-house on the present eligible site. The following year the old one was sold and moved from its location beside the cemetery on the Salem road, to South Woburn, which became Winchester in 1850. It was there used as ‘a leather shop of some kind.’ Some twenty years since Mr. Corey, the Malden historian visited Winchester and endeavored to locate [p. 81] (but without success) the old building in which his mother had worshiped, and who told him of its being ‘drawn over to South Woburn with a large number of yokes of oxen.’ There had been two buildings in Winchester used as leather shops which would answer the description and had been demolished a few years before his visit. The probabilities are that it was the wooden portion of the Thompson shop, which stood nearly opposite the Winchester railroad station where is now Manchester field, rather than another on the road toward Montvale. Medford, by change in town lines, is now smaller, and the road the oxen and meeting-house traversed, shorter than in 1844. Building moving of that sort has, by the introduction of modern improvements, become a lost art, and in fact can only now be done in restricted areas and under close limitations. Could this moving picture be reproduced and show Salem and Pleasant streets and the square in Malden, and Salem and High streets and the square in Medford, and Upper Medford with its Purchase and Main streets, what a contrast to present conditions would be revealed. It would be a ‘moving scene’ and ‘bring down the house.’ Though the route through Medford was mainly level, yet at the last the oxen ‘brought down the [meeting] house’ from the height of land in their journey, at present Winchester town line, over the slope of Black-horse hill in South Woburn. That oxen were used in the work indicates that it was loaded upon wheels and made more rapid transit than if by capstan, ropes and pulleys, with small rollers, such as are used with one horse as motive power. Still, it was quite a feat, and one rarely accomplished, and doubtless attracted much notice at the time, now seventy-three years agone. Incidentally we note that recently (October 15) the Pacific Coast Borax Company's ‘twenty-mule team’ passed up High street drawing a train of three big wagons and a tank as an advertising feature. There were but a quarter as many beasts of burden, and their [p. 82] load took up but little of the road. With a hundred tinkling bells and their costumed outriders and drivers it was not as spectacular as must have been this old meeting-house moving over the same road, probably narrower then. The Medford papers have noticed this latter event, but as a current incident the Register preserves the following, copied from a Boston daily, which showed a view of
. . . the unique team (that fifty years ago used to haul borax from the mines in Death Valley) with its corps of attendants, including Borax Bill, Tarantula Pete (the orator of the team, who discoursed on borax mining, and gave a talk on the need of everybody who can buying a Liberty Bond), and Alkali Joe. The mules are directed by a ‘jerk line’ 120 feet long, reaching from the head mule to the driver's seat. The wagons weighing 8000 pounds were used in the early days to haul borax from the mines to the railroads, 162 miles. In Death Valley the springs are 50 miles apart, so a 1200-gallon water tank was carried to supply water for men and animals. The present tour was organized to give the public an opportunity to view this novel historical spectacle.