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The early names of Medford's streets.

DOWN to 1829 the people of Medford apparently cared little for uniformity in the names of their highways. It is probable that so long as ways were few, public convenience made no demand for names. With the increase in numbers, however, a fixed method of designating the various ways became important; and at the town meeting in April, 1829, the selectmen for that year were directed to assign names to the streets. Their report, indorsed ‘Names of the Streets, May, 1829,’ is still on the files in the office of the City Clerk. It read as follows:

The Selectmen being appointed a Committee at April meeting for the purpose of naming the Streets, report the following that the road leading from the Town pump (West) to Charlestown Line be called High St., from Town pump (east) to Malden Line Salem St. from Town pump (South) to foot of Winter Hill Main St., from porter's corner S. E. to Wellington Farm Ship St.— from Hotel (west) to where the road leaves the River South St. & from thence over the cannel to Charlestown Line Spring St. from Main St. to Charlestown Line on the Road leading to Lechmere point Court St—from Main St. near Nathan Adams' House to Charlestown Line leading to Harvard College, Cambridge St from Benjm Tufts Corner to Stoneham Line Mountain Street— from Ship St to Salem St leading by the new Burring Ground Cross Street from Turell's Corner to Woburn Line purchase St from High St by Jona Brooks the old road to purchase St Woburn St—from High St near Cannel Bridge by P. C Brooks to Symme's Corner Grove St.

Whether, as a matter offact, the town adopted all these names I do not know. Certainly some of them did not [p. 175] last many years; for only old residents of Medford or students of her history will recognize all the ways now known as High, Salem, Main, Riverside avenue, South, South Winthrop, Medford, Harvard, Fulton, Cross, North Winthrop, Woburn, and Grove streets. Several of the names are improvements on the present nomenclature, for there was a meaning in them, lost in the present names. Court street, for instance, designated the shortest way to Court at East Cambridge.

It would be interesting to know why the names of many have been changed. I hope some one may be led to find this out and put his discoveries in print.

The report brings to mind very forcibly that in May, 1829, Somerville, Arlington, and Winchester were not.

W. C. W.

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