IN the summer of 1911 the upper reach of the Mystic River was dredged to a uniform depth, including the portion under Wear Bridge. By means of the gates in the Cradock dam the river was for a time drained to its lowest point, revealing the bottom, never before seen by mortal eyes. As the work progressed some interesting features were noticed, but none more so than the exhuming of a heavy framework of oak timber on the Medford side, about midway between Harvard and Fairfield avenues. It was in a good state of preservation, and though incomplete, enough remained intact to indicate the existence, long ago, of an extensive and substantial structure. Comparatively few people saw it, as the location was not much frequented, and it was, ere long, removed. By the accident of a Sunday morning stroll it was observed by the writer, who returned in the afternoon and secured the visible evidence shown in our illustration,1 meanwhile wondering what the structure could have been. As nothing of the kind has been found elsewhere in Medford, a description of this may not be amiss as a matter of record. The timber in the foreground was twelve inches square and about fourteen feet long. The two extending from it were nearly thirty feet long and tapered from twelve to ten inches. Extending from one to the other of these, and parallel with the first, was a ten-inch timber, and all were mortised and tenoned together. Midway, and parallel with the first, extending toward the river at the right and the land on the left, were two other ten-inch timbers about four feet apart. The framework was thus in the form of a Greek cross, one arm of which was over twice the width of the other. Mortises in the inner sides of
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Medford Smelt and Smelt Brooks .
[p. 15] A bit of Medford archaeology.
1 The writer also made a sketch and measurements, which has been mislaid, and after developing his negative, made another visit, hoping to secure a better, but found it impossible as the water was higher and the timbers, waterlogged and heavy, were partially submerged. Absence from the city for a few weeks followed, and on his return he found it had been entirely removed, the river bank graded and flowed to the normal height.
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