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V. Town of Arlington.

A preliminary celebration of the change in the name of the town, was made on May 1, 1867, by a salute of one hundred guns, the ringing of bells and a general display of the national colors. A mass meeting was held in the evening at the Town Hall, where music was furnished by the Arlington Band, and addresses by prominent citizens were made.

A more formal demonstration was held on June 17, 1867, carried out in fine style, and in most respects according to a published programme. Appropriate decorations were placed throughout the town, the bells were rung at sunrise, and flags on the public staffs and private residences were unfurled for the day. A cavalcade of citizens received the invited guests, including the governor of the State and other functionaries, escorted by the National Lancers, at eleven o'clock, at the entrance of the town a few rods beyond Alewife Brook, and piloted them to the centre of the town, where a salute was fired by a section of a State battery. A procession, under the marshalship of Addison Gage, Esq., was formed, comprising mounted police, bands, the National Lancers, civil officers of the town and state, the legislature, masonic organizations, soldiers of 1812 and the late war, children of the public schools, representation of trades, citizens in carriages, and a cavalcade, in all over a mile and a half in length. It passed through the principal streets, and a collation was afterward partaken of by the school children in a large tent on the common near the Unitarian Church, and by the invited guests in a mammoth tent on the grounds of J. R. Bailey, Esq., on Pleasant Street. Dinner was prepared by J. B. Smith, and speeches were made by Governor Bullock, the Hon. Charles Sumner, Richard H. Dana, Jr., Generals Foster and Osborne, and Commodore Rodgers and General Banks of the late war. A poem, written by Mr. J. T. Trowbridge of Arlington for the occasion, was read by Prof. M. T. Brown. The celebration closed with a regatta of Harvard students on the lake. [162] In the course of his remarks, Hon. Charles Sumner said:

In coming here to take part in this interesting celebration, I am not insensible to the kindness of good friends among you, through whom the invitation was received. But I confess a neighborly interest in your festival. Born in Boston, and educated in Cambridge, I am one of your neighbors. Accept, then, if you please, the sympathies of a neighbor on this occasion.

Yours is not a large town; nor has it any considerable history. But what it wants in size and history, it makes up in beauty. Yours is a beautiful town. I know nothing among the exquisite surroundings of Boston more charming than these slopes and meadows, with the back-ground of hills and the gleam of water. The elements of beauty are all here. Hills are always beautiful; so is water. I remember hearing Mrs. Fanny Kemble say more than once that water in a landscape is “like eyes in the human countenance,” without which the countenance is lifeless. But you have water in abundance, gleaming, shining, sparkling in your landscape. The water-nymphs might find a home here. You have gardens also beautiful to the eye and beautiful in their nourishing and luscious supplies. Surely it may be said of those who live here, that their lines have fallen in a pleasant place.

I go too far when I suggest that you are without a history. West Cambridge was a part of that historic Cambridge which was so early famous in our country, the seat of learning and the home of patriotism. The honor of Cambridge is yours.

After allusions to the times of the Revolution, Mr. Sumner continued:

Many years ago, when I first read the account of this period by one of the early biographers of Washington, Rev. Dr. Bancroft of Worcester, the father of our distinguished historian, I was struck by the statement that in case of attack and defeat, the Welsh Mountains in Cambridge and the rear of the lines in Roxbury were appointed as places of rendezvous. “ ” The Welsh Mountains' are the hills which skirt your peaceful valley. Since then I have never looked upon those hills, even at a distance—I have never thought of them—without feeling that they are monumental. They testify to that perfect prudence which made our commander-in-chief so great. In those hours, when undisciplined patriots were preparing for conflict with the trained soldiers of England, the careful eye of Washington calmly surveying the whole horizon, selected your hills as the breast-work behind which he was to retrieve the day. The hills still stand firm and everlasting as when he looked upon them, but smiling now with fertility and peace.1

1871-72. The Arlington Water Works were constructed. Water Commissioners were elected in 1873. Cost of construction [163] to the town, over $300,000. The source of supply is an artificial reservoir located near by in Lexington, which receives the waters of 173 acres, embracing the area known as the Great Meadows in that town.


The town established its public library—transferring the Juvenile Library (established 1835) to it, to be known as the Arlington Public Library.

In March, 1872, the town clock in the tower of the Unitarian meeting-house having been destroyed by the falling of the steeple of that house in a gale, in Aug. 1871, the town voted to place a new town clock in the tower of the edifice when said tower was re-built.2

In 1872-73 the town erected the large brick Russell School House, at a cost of $57,911.04 and $713 for additional land, to replace the former school-house which had been burned in 1872.

In 1872 the Arlington Land Company is mentioned in the town records.

A friend contributes the following sketch, furnished by a gentleman prominently connected with the formation of this Land Company:—

Arlington Heights, formerly known as Circle Hill, has always been noted for fine scenery, and for the magnificent views, from the summit of the hill, of the city and harbor of Boston, and the numerous towns and cities adjoining.

In 1872, an Association, composed mostly of gentlemen doing business in Boston, purchased several hundred acres of land at this place, with a view to build up a village as a place of residence for themselves and others similarly situated. Many previous attempts had been made to furnish homes outside the city for its business men, but none had been entirely successful, the prime requisites for such a place being, good facilities for getting to and from the city, pure air and water, good soil and drainage, beautiful natural scenery and surroundings, [164] and an unexceptionable neighborhood. All these advantages were possessed by Arlington Heights, and under the auspices of the Association vast improvements have already been made, notwithstanding that the enormous shrinkage in value of real estate in the mean time precluded the possibility of financial success.

The principal highway, 80 feet in width, called Park Avenue, built by the Association, from the Lexington and Arlington Railroad to the top of the hill, was, in 1874, extended by the County Commissioners to Belmont, and made a county road, and is perhaps the finest street ever constructed under similar auspices in this section of the country. Several members of the Association have built homes for themselves in the village; among others, Hon. Oliver Warner, Moses Fairbanks, F. V. B. Kern, and George R. Dwelley, Esqs., also Mr. J. T. White, under whose direction and superintendence nearly all the improvements have been made.

The village now, 1878, contains about 60 houses—many of which are the best models of exterior beauty and interior comfort and convenience to be found in any houses of the class in the country—and some 250 inhabitants. There is but little local trade or manufacture carried on, most of the residents doing business in Boston.3

A weekly newspaper, known as the Arlington Advocate, was established here in 1872.


The town passed resolutions on the death of the Hon. Charles Sumner, March 18, 1874.

1875. The town made preparations, by appropriation and otherwise, for the celebration of the 19th of April, in this year, in conjunction with the Centennial Celebrations of the Battle of Concord and Lexington; which battle, in 1775, became a continuous one through the precincts of this town on the memorable 19th of April of that year. The day was accordingly observed as a holiday by the people of Arlington, and delegates from the town attended the celebrations which simultaneously took place in the neighboring towns. Immense throngs of people passed through the place during the day from Boston and elsewhere on their way to Lexington and Concord.

Nathan Pratt, Esq., in 1875, left a bequest of $25,000 to the [165] town, for a Public Library, the High School, and the Poor Widows' Fund.

1877. The town voted to erect stones to mark localities of interest connected with the battle of April 19, 1775. These have been already alluded to in the account of the battle, under the year 1775.

In 1877-78 the Locke School House was built at Arlington Heights.

1879. May 30, 1879, occurred the first extensive celebration of Decoration Day in Arlington, in honor of the soldiers of the late war. The Revolutionary tablets and the Revolutionary monument were appropriately decorated, with the stones over the remains of the two Revolutionary soldiers in the old burying-ground. A procession in the afternoon moved in the following order:

Chief Marshal, James A. Bailey. Aids—Maj. Robert L. Sawin Lieut. John H. Hardy, Lieut. Edmund W. Noyes.

Maplewood Band, John A. Spofford, Leader. William Penn Hose Co., Warren A. Pierce, Foreman, twenty men.

Menotomy H. & L. Truck Co., William N. Winn, Foreman, seven men.

Highland Hose Co., E. B. Moore. Foreman, six men.

Returned Soldiers and Sailors, Wilson W. Fay, Commander; J. A. Blanchard, E. F. Kenrick, Aids.

Cambridge Brigade Band.

Mt. Horeb Lodge, No. 19, L. O. I., James Durgin (mounted), Commanding.

The following programme was carried out in the Town Hall:

Overture.—Maplewood Band, twenty pieces.

Prayer.—Rev. William F. Potter.

Choral.—‘To thee, O Country,’ sixteen male voices.4

Remarks.—C. S. Parker, Chairman Committee of Arrangements.

Chorus.—‘Comrades in Arms,’ sixteen male voices.

Oration.—Rev. J. Lewis Merrill.

Selection.—Maplewood Band.

Benediction.—Rev. W. J. Parrot.


After the exercises in the Town Hall, the procession passed through several of the principal streets, and thence to the cemeteries, where each grave of a soldier of the war was generously decorated with flowers, in accordance with the custom throughout the country.

The names of those whose graves were decorated were as follows:

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.—Edward Clark, James Ferguson, Franklin Ford, Samuel Gates, James Gibson, John Grant, Charles G. Haskell, Charles C. Henry, John Locke, Thomas Martin, Charles J. Moore, Henry S. Pollard, S. G. Rawson, Minot Robbins, William W. Snelling, George H. Sprague, William Stacy, George Trask, Nathaniel White, Henry W. Whittemore. 20.

Old Burying Ground.—George P. Cotting, William Cotting Tomb; Augustus O. W. Cutter, Nehemiah Cutter Tomb; Albert Frost, Ephraim Frost Tomb: Rev. Samuel A. Smith. 4.—Arlington Advocate.

Hiram Lodge.—Of fraternal societies in the town, the most ancient is the Hiram Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, organized 1797.

The Odd Fellows re-instituted a lodge here in 1866.

1 The Welsh Mountains near Cambridge, and the rear of the lines at Roxbury, were designated for that purpose. Marshall's Washington, vol. II. p. 230. —Memorandum made by Dr. Benjamin Cutter many years since (died 1864).

2 Sunday evening, Aug. 27, 1871, about 11 o'clock, a violent gust or tornado came up suddenly from the west and blew down the spire of the church edifice of the First Congregational Parish, throwing to the ground the bell and clock. The bell was uninjured, but the clock was badly injured, and the dials were broken. The spire of the Orthodox Church was also blown down, together with its bell, which was uninjured. The Baptist Church edifice, which for several weeks previous had been undergoing thorough repairs, then nearly completed, was injured by the wind, and the plastering on the walls and ceiling was thrown down and badly cracked. Throughout the town many chimneys were blown down and some beautiful trees uprooted or broken down. The loss in the town amounted to $25,000 to $30,000.—Statement from First Parish Records.

3 A small pamphlet, entitled ‘A Short Account of the Location and Prospects of the New Village at Arlington Heights, showing its advantages as a home for people doing business in Boston,’ was published by the Arlington Land Company, No. 84 Washington St., Boston.

The land in the last century belonged in part to the estate of Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Appleton, of Cambridge First Parish, Samuel and Francis Locke, and Ephraim Cooke, victualler. See sketch entitled ‘Our Predecessors,’ in paper called Our Enterprise, published at Arlington Heights, April 10, 1878

4 1st Tenor.—William H. Poole, Edward H. Cutter, B. Delmont Locke, Stephen B. Wood.

2d Tenor.—Warren W. Rawson, William E. Wood, Augustus B. Osborn, George H. Rugg.

1st Bas.—William Proctor, Charles C. Cox, E. S. Fessenden, F. H. Fessenden. 2d Bass.—Herbert H. Ceiley, George A. Field, G. Allen, Thomas H. Russell.

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