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Neighborhood Sketch number 8 Washington and Prospect streets

By Joseph H. Clark

I lived at the corner of what is now called Washington and Prospect streets (then Charlestown) about the year 1838-40, with my parents, Jonathan C. and Irene G. Clark. Father kept a grocery store in the same building that now stands there, and there was at that time but one other grocery in town—that was Johnny Ireland's at the corner of School street and Somerville avenue, now called, whose principal trade was retailing New England rum, which was a common custom in those days with grocerymen.

I attended school at the building or schoolhouse on Medford street (Mrs. Whittredge, teacher), and I think there were but two other schoolhouses in town at that time. I attended church and Sunday school in the hall of the old Engine house, situated corner of Washington and Prospects streets, opposite my house, where I think the first Unitarian society first worshipped. Next to me, easterly, was the residence of Mr. Clark Bennett, who at that time was prominent in ‘town matters’; beyond me, next easterly, was what was called the ‘Yellow Block,’ in which resided Nathan Fellows, who sold fish out of a wagon; next easterly was Ives till; next, James Underwood.

Opposite my house, on Washington street, resided Joseph Clark (no relation of mine); next westerly, William Bonner (on the site of Prospect-hill schoolhouse), next westerly, Miss Eliza Bonner, afterward Mrs. Augustus Hitchings; next westerly, David Sanborn.

Adjoining my estate were the residences of Benjamin F. Ricker and John (B.) Giles, on Somerville avenue. All of my neighbors that I have mentioned lived to a good old age, and have long since departed and joined the silent majority.

At the time I refer to there was no public conveyance to Boston—Somerville avenue was not completed from Prospect to Medford streets. Farming, brickmaking, and milk were the principal occupations of the townspeople.

Somerville, April 26, 1900.

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