Neighborhood Sketch no. 2.
The Winter Hill Road in 1842.
The thoroughfare extending from Charlestown
, through Somerville
, and now known as Broadway
, was formerly the Winter Hill Road
, and the name should never have been changed.
In 1842 the buildings on this highway were few, and, with four or five exceptions, far between.
Commencing on the right-hand side at the Charlestown
line was the Bradbury house
, owned and occupied by Charles Bradbury
,—a three-story wooden structure.
Next came a brick house; then a brick house with wooden addition.
Who occupied these two houses is not remembered.
The three houses are still standing.
The Stearns house
, still standing, but in a dilapidated condition, came next.
I think it was occupied by a member of the family, Miss Sally Stearns
, familiarly known as ‘Aunt Sally.’
‘The Yellow House
,’ as it was called because of its color, was the next in order, but was some distance back from the road, and on the summit of the hill.
It was a part of the Austin estate, and was occupied by several families.
The convent ruins came next, and beyond was the Torrey house
,—a small building owned and occupied by Mrs. Mary P. Torrey
The last three long since disappeared.
The three-story brick house which came next, land which is still standing, was owned and occupied by Edward Cutter
I do not remember any house between the Cutter house
and the house at the top of the hill, at the fork of the Winter Hill Road
, and what is now Main street. Previous to this time it had been occupied by Hon. Edward Everett
In 1842, or about that time, the house was
owned and occupied by John S. Edgerly
The late Hon. George
, one of the best-known citizens of Somerville
, used to call Mr. Edgerly
the ‘Winter Hill Eagle.’
The house is still standing.
The next was a house owned and occupied by Thomas S. Woodbury
, and was afterwards burnt.
I think the next was one owned and occupied by John David Bolles
I do not remember that there was any house on the westerly slope of the hill.
There was a three-story wooden house about opposite the Powder House
, but I do not know who owned it or who lived in it at this time.
It had been occupied previously by John C. Magoun
The one-story Walnut Hill schoolhouse came next.
It has ceased to be used for school purposes, but whether it is still on its old site I do not know.
Beyond this was the Russell property.
There was an old house on it; further than that I know nothing.
This brings us to the then West Cambridge
, now Arlington
line at Alewife brook
Commencing on the left-hand side at the Charlestown
line, pasture land of the heirs of Major Timothy Walker
had a frontage on Broadway
to the land and house of Ebenezer F. Cutter
Near to it and beyond was the house of Fitch Cutter
These two houses were long ago replaced by more modern structures.
On what is now Franklin street, then a rangeway, stood a small, one-story schoolhouse, which was afterwards removed to Winter Hill
, and is still standing.
At the corners of Cross street, then a rangeway, and called Three-Pole lane, stood two small wooden houses owned and occupied by members of the Tufts family.
The houses were taken down long ago. Beyond this there was no building till Walnut street,—another rangeway,—was crossed.
On the upper corner was a blacksmith shop, not now standing.
Then dame two houses owned, and one of them occupied at about this time, by Albert Kenneson
; They are still standing.
The next was the homestead of Joseph Adams
, now owned and occupied by myself.
It was to this house that the Superior
, the nuns, and the scholars of the Ursuline convent fled for protection on the night that the building was destroyed by a mob,—August 11, 1834.
The rioters came to the house twice in search of the Superior
, against whom their vengeance was especially directed, because of some incautious remarks said to have been made by her. A little deception was used by Mr. Adams
, and the mob went further in pursuit of their intended victim.
The next house was the house owned and occupied by the Mitchells, and is still standing.
A house owned and occupied by Gardner Ring stood on the corner of Marshall street. It was removed to make room for the Odd Fellows' building
A house owned and occupied by Asa Tufts
, on the first corner of still another rangeway—now School street—came next.
Farther up the hill, and near, if not on, the site of the house of Mr. Whitcomb
, stood the Chester Adams house
It had been occupied by him, but at this time (1842) was owned and occupied by William Tufts
, a farmer.
was the father of the late Hon. James Adams
, a prominent and much-respected citizen of Charlestown
, a well-known actor in his day, lived with Mr. Tufts
in this house.
The house is now located in the rear of Dr. Willis
' residence, on the opposite side of Broadway
A house, new at that time, came next, owned and occupied by J. P. Staniels
. Four years later it was owned and occupied by Charles Forster
,—as saintly a person as ever walked the earth.
His religion was a reality, and not a pretense or a cover.
He lived in Charlestown
before he came to Somerville
It was related of him at the time by a Charlestown baker that his bill against Mr. Forster
in one year for bread was over four hundred dollars, not one loaf of which went to his own house.
Of late years his house has been owned and occupied by Mrs. E. R. Sawyer
, but has now been removed to the rear.
One rangeway more, now Central street.
On the first corner stood a house owned and occupied by Edmund Tufts
first treasurer of Somerville
,—and his sister, Abby Tufts
The house is now a thing of the past.
The next house was owned and occupied by John C. Magoun
, for many years an assessor of the town and city of Somerville
The house is still standing, and is occupied by one of his daughters.
Next came the unfinished brick house of Samuel Welch
, about which so many romantic stories have been told.
The next was the Powder House
, with perhaps a house in front of it. I am not sure.
Beyond this to Alewife brook I have no recollection.
I may have made an omission of a house or two, but cannot say where.
The name of ‘Winter Hill Road’ is passed and gone, and in its place only Broadway
It is to be hoped that sometime the present name will be abandoned, and the original and more desirable name of Winter Hill Road be restored.