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Local changes in Medford.

Since the electrification of street railroads, moving of buildings has become difficult, but before that time such changes were not uncommon. We have thought that an account of such as have occurred within our knowledge of fifty years might not be wholly devoid of interest; though such might possibly prove unacceptable to present occupants. We remember a case where a citizen (now long gone) was boasting of ‘my fine residence’ and was [p. 59] taken down a little by another's saying, ‘Why, yes, we thought it pretty good when it was father's carpenter-shop down at our place.’

The present writing is suggested by examination of the United States engineers' plan referred to in a previous article about a gristmill, and on which is clearly shown the Wood mill, over which there was such a stir in ‘68–‘70.

The ‘Fuller plan’ of the ‘Smith estate’ at West Medford (the tract lying between High street, the railroad and the river), plotted on the same scale, shows a similar inward curve, but not the former's island. A plan (by Hovey), in 1870, of a portion of the above, lying beside the river, shows a somewhat lesser curve with no island, and another street nearer the river. This is set down as ‘Beach street.’ Facing this street, upon lots extending backward to the Mystic, seven dwelling-houses were erected prior to 1875. One was destroyed by fire, another torn down, and five removed to other sites, as under conditions then existing they proved undesirable habitations. With the introduction of sewerage and the building of the Cradock dam the adverse condition ceased.

Beach street disappeared in the Metropolitan reservation, but after some work was done on the new parkway on the Medford side, plans were changed and it was built on the Arlington side nearly the entire length of the ‘linefeilde,’ obliterating the last vestige of the old Broughton mill-site, the old Dunster house, changing the course of Menotomy river, passing through the Somerville appendix and only entering Medford at Auburn street. By the ‘taking’ of this riverside by the Metropolitan Park Commission came later the sale of several houses, and their removal, but prior to that three others, built in 1873 and 1875, were removed for similar cause as those on Beach street. One even took a journey, in 1877, over the Usher bridge into Arlington, via Broadway to Curtis street (the Somerville continuation of [p. 60] Medford's Winthrop) where it now stands, near the western corner of the reservoir, in West Somerville. It was a notable incident, for in its journey it was in three municipalities, and only lacked a few rods of being in Medford again. But before this triple exodus, owing to the extension of Brooks street (from Irving to High) the barn of Samuel Teele, Sr., was moved to Arlington street, as an adjunct to one of those houses. When that house migrated to the old barn site, the barn followed it, but stopped at Mr. Usher's, and was later destroyed by fire, a regretable circumstance, as in it were destroyed some of Mr. Usher's old Medford journals, of which no file is known to have been preserved. Were that barn now standing it might be adapted to dwelling purposes and relieve the housing situation now so acute. A list of the shops, barns and factories in Medford so adapted would be an extensive and interesting one. But we doubt the adaptability of the modern garage to such use when people become tired of being on wheels and gas and rubber prices become prohibitive.

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