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[p. 12]

An Unshaded river.

‘It seems strange to see a river with no trees on its banks.’ Such was the remark made by a visitor while looking at our Mystic and its nearby Parkway. ‘Well, there's a reason,’ we replied, ‘for till recently the river has been salt, because of the tidal flow from the ocean.’

In the construction of the Parkway, along the marshland, provision was made at regular intervals for shade trees by excavating a ‘tree pit’ some seven feet in diameter in the salt mud and filling the same with a suitable soil, in which trees (many of them oak) have been planted. But nature is doing something closer to the river's edge in a few-very few-instances. On the river bank, down stream from Canal bridge (Boston avenue), are two birches, now about twenty feet high, that have sprung up in the made land beside the Metropolitan sewer. These are close to the water's edge, and have sprung up since the exclusion of the tide-water. At the top of the bank are two elms that started earlier in the fill made by expressman A. W. Welch twenty years ago, and on which he erected his stable. This was his business quarters until taken over by the Park Commission. These trees are not in Medford however, but in Somerville, and within the Mystic river reservation, and their roots are above the former tidal flow at its highest.

Till recently we supposed these birches to be the only trees on the banks of the Mystic. We find, however, that there are two smaller ones just below the Metropolitan pipe bridge. But for an example of nature's work in recent years, look along Meeting-house brook, both below and above Winthrop street, and see the numerous birches there rapidly growing.

It is but six years since our opening remark was made by one unaccustomed to a treeless river bank, and as in future years conditions may well be different, we make note of this as worthy of record. It would be well if the ravages of the gypsy moth could be thus remedied on the rocky hill slopes about the source of Whitmore brook.

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