not, compared with the all day canal ride of twenty-six miles this was certainly rapid transit
. Within a few years American mechanics were building better engines in the Lowell
machine shop and running them at the speed of a mile a minute through this corner of Medford
, while Medford
's people were accommodated by the little station house down the track called Medford Steps.
The artificial features of water
crossing each other, and both crossing the river, changed the natural view in this corner somewhat, yet nature was kind, the tides ebbed and flowed as before, and ere long the embankments of both were grass grown, and the scars man had made were healed.
With the coming of the rail
way, began the water
way's decadence; which was more pronounced as steam transit extended northward from Lowell
After a few years of profitless competition, the canal succumbed, the aqueduct over and the lock beyond the river began to go to ruin.
Picturesque indeed they were, as ruins generally are, and finally, after twenty years of disintegration, gave way to the new thoroughfare of Boston avenue. But in all these years this corner
had no dwelling places.
A resident of West Medford1
used it in the old time way, i.e
., for a cow-pasture.
One day in 1865, another2
came over on the railroad bridge, set up his easel and made the sketch in oil, that well portrays the decaying aqueduct, and which is preserved in the Historical Society's collection.
The cows driven homeward by their owner's son are in evidence in the picture, and in the distance is the old house of Henry Dunster
and the ‘spire of Menotomy
A few years later (1870) Mr. Stevens
moved into the new house he had erected in Medford
, but his only neighbors were two families (in Somerville
) one of whom came with the advent of the Charlestown water works in 1865. . Only one had located on all the hill-slope, and that on Winthrop
street, and for some years the reservoir on the hill-top was needlessly considered a menace.