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[p. 91]

A Rill of water-troughs.

As a matter of history, be it noted that Medford has ‘gone dry’ (this in 1914) in the matter of public watering places for horses. Within the memory of our oldest people the principal highways passed through Meetinghouse, Gravelly and Whitmore brooks, as well as over their various bridges. There horses and cattle could drink or the family carriage be washed. Mr. Woolley has preserved a view of the first-named in his picture of the second meeting-house.

Time was when the town-pump was indispensable and its condition carefully noted by the fire engineers. To such, a necessary adjunct was the old-time watering-trough, kept full by the laborious effort of each comer, though some thoughtless ones did not fill it. After Spot pond water was introduced, the old troughs disappeared and ‘drinking fountains’ of various patterns were installed. In the square, and at West Medford, a big iron vase with a lamp-post rising from its center made an ornamental feature, but was too frail to withstand the shock of the heavy pole of a two-horse truck. The former gave place to a circular and substantial structure of granite, and the latter to a section of heavy water-main set upright in the ground and partially filled with concrete. At Winthrop square and at corner of Salem and Spring streets were triangular granite blocks nearly four feet high, which saved the need of alighting to uncheck the horse. The latter is referred to on another page, and in verifying its date a visit was made to the Water Department's ‘graveyard.’ It still remains intact, but inverted among the remains of various others. In reply to inquiry, the courteous registrar said, ‘Oh! Medford wasn't up-to-date,’ and explained that in 1914 the Bureau of Animal Industries requested the closing of all such watering places because of the prevalence of glanders, and consequent dangers to horses.

This was done, and after a time, for various reasons, [p. 92] all were removed and faucets provided at accessible places where teamsters can procure water in their own pails. Thus, now even the horse has his individual drinking cup, the watering-trough is a thing of the past, and Medford, in this at least, is ‘up-to-date.’

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