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[p. 48]

Query: Who built the long retaining wall and when and where did its stone come from? The varge-way would be of little use if it did not at least rise above high-water mark. If the height of removable gravel was great the evolution of High street would be slow, and if passable at all it would be a very ‘High’ street, and it would be a long time before the people would discard their old varge-way and begin to use High street.

One would like to know where High street got its name. The selectmen undertook, in 1829, to legalize this name, but it probably had long borne the name de facto. Maybe, when long ago in some easterly storm and swirling tide the varge-way could not be used, and so a potato cart straggled over the great Bastion,—the driver named it.

One would like to see a record lay-out of High street and its date, but I am told that the early records are lost. Such date would be important, and would not only show a public purpose to finish the only link connecting the two halves of Medford, but it would start the construction of dwellings. It was a long time before they started. Mr. Hooper says (7 Register, p. 62) that all houses worthy of mention prior to 1700 were built west of the Marble brook, but that after 1700 the growth of Medford was east of that brook. Note here that of the first two meeting-houses, one was at the brook and the other yet further west. The dates of all the houses on our ‘Tract’ will be instructive here, and it may appear that there was a reason why this Tract did not get built over for nearly a century after 1630.

The Turell house was the earliest between the brook and Governor's lane (1720); the Watson house next, in 1750.

It was a long time before the two foci of the town grew together. Medford was a spectacle town. A very high, bulky and red nose stuck up between the glasses. Later this was about the best part of Medford, but neither streets nor lots yet fit for homesteads. The colonists wanted practical convenience—not hill top villas and bungalows. The Halls owned the whole of Pasture hill, but never dreamed of living up there; they left it to the kite-flying boys and preferred to dig their homes down to the level of common folks.

The opulent Benjamin Hall, Senior, married first in 1752, and built his house (the Dr. Swan house) after that. His son Benjamin, Jr., built the ‘Dudley Hall house’ in 1786. Probably High street was in a transition state for a long time, part quarry, part stones and part cart track, and the side lots impossible even longer. A man had to get rich before he could excavate his homestead out of Pasture hill. So all the Halls—Isaac, Ebenezer, Richard, etc., came late to this locality, and not until High street had become a tolerable street.

The dates of the house building will help us here. We may

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