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allow us to ride at ease among tangled shrubbery and ancient oaks, where, as children, we were forbidden to venture, for fear of being lost. Some hundred years hence, when this lovely spot shall have been occupied with country villas and beautiful gardens, the fathers may sit in a pavilion on Pine Hill, and tell their children how the rich fields below them were an impenetrable forest.
A similar show of diagrams is presented by Mr. Bishop on his lands east of the “ Fountain House;" and, we trust, corresponding good results will hereafter be experienced. This was done July 13, 1853; and, in honor of the Indian chief, he has called it “Sagamore Vale.” In former times, they built houses, and then laid out roads; now, they lay out roads, and then build houses.
The large farm of one hundred and sixty-five acres, belonging to Messrs. James and Isaac Wellington, situated on the eastern border of Medford, was divided into lots and parallel streets, Nov. 1, 1854. Its nearness to Boston, and the facilities of travel by railroad, offer tempting situations for suburban residences.
In 1854, twenty small houses were built on one street in East Medford; ten on one side, and ten on the other. They are all of the same size and form, equally distant, very near together; and each house is opposite a space left open on the other side of the street. The settlement is called Williamsburg, after the builder and owner of the houses.
The “Edgeworth Company,” in Malden, on the eastern border of Medford, has commenced a promising settlement.
From earliest times, the town chose annually a Surveyor of Highways,” whose duty it was to superintend the repairs of the public roads. He had full power to decide where and to what extent repairs should be made. As population and streets increased, several surveyors became necessary; and they received compensation for their time and labor. After the brick Alms House was built in West Medford, near the Lowell Railroad Depôt (1812), Isaac Brooks, Esq., who had taken the deepest interest in the matter, proposed to employ the male paupers in repairing the highways. This plan was adopted; and, under the guidance of a general surveyor, the keeper of the Alms House went forth every day with his picked men and horse-cart. As this procedure converted the Alms House from a place of ease to a place of labor, it had the magical effect of thinning the number of male occupants.
The annual cost for repairing the roads had been from two hundred and fifty to four hundred and fifty dollars.
In 1814, the town opposed the opening of a road from the Charlestown Road, at the foot of Winter Hill, to Cragie's Bridge in East Cambridge. A long and warm debate concerning this project prevailed for a considerable time; but, at length, the patrons of the measure succeeded, and the road was opened. For twenty years, it proved to be, what the town foretold it would be, an almost unused highway. Even now, it diverts very little travel from the better and shorter routes through Charlestown.
In 1818, the town voted to expend one hundred dollars in repairing the roads; in 1831, voted three hundred dollars ; in 1810, voted one thousand dollars ; in 1850, voted fifteen hundred dollars. Appended to the vote of 1810 was this prohibition: None but inhabitants shall be allowed to work in repairing the roads; and each inhabitant shall have the same right and opportunity of working out his highway tax.
In 1831, the Lowell Railroad was laid out through Medford, creating no small opposition in some quarters, and as warm advocacy in others. Its charter is dated June 5, 1830, and bears the names of John F. Loring, Lemuel Pope, Isaac P. Davis, Kirk Boot, Patrick T. Jackson, Geo. W. Lyman, and Daniel P. Parker. The number of directors was five; the number of shares, one thousand. The act provided, that no other railroad should, within thirty years, be authorized leading to any place within five miles of the northern termination of the road. Its stock has, at times, maintained a higher premium than that of any other company; and the road has caused fewer deaths than any one so long and so much travelled.
1832: The town chose a Committee to sell the Alms House and lands adjoining to the corporation of the railroad; and also to see that said road be no obstruction to travel.
The construction of this road through Medford has added vastly to our wealth and comfort. It has doubled the price of land upon its borders. It has induced the building of the new houses in West Medford, and promises to make this beautiful portion of the town a rival in population to the older East. For the small fare of fifteen cents, it presents each day a dozen opportunities for going to Boston, and as many for returning; and occupies about fifteen minutes in
the passage. Rival roads have lately deprived it of some of its former exclusive advantages. This was the first railroad made in New England for public travel. Its cost was enormous, and its rails were all laid on granite blocks. These have been found to wear the machinery of the locomotives and cars so rapidly as to induce a substitution of wooden sleepers. The longest freight-train, drawn by one engine, that has passed loaded over the road, numbered one hundred and sixty-three baggage cars.
The " Medford Branch Railroad” was incorporated March 7, 1815; and the names of the petitioners are James O. Curtis, Henry L. Stearns, Jos. Manning, jun., Daniel Lawrence, Nath. H. Bishop, and Andrew Blanchard, jun. Jan. 22, 1815 : The town passed the following: “Resolved, as the sense of the people of Medford, that it is expedient that the prayer of the petitioners for a railroad to connect Medford with Boston be granted.”
By the act of incorporation, “the capital stock shall not consist of more than one thousand shares at one hundred dollars each." The Act further stated, “If the said railroad shall not be constructed within two years from the passage of this act, then the same shall be void.” It was readily finished, and proves to be a most productive and convenient road.
The “Stoneham Branch Railroad Company ” was incorporated May 15, 1851; Thaddeus Richardson, Amasa Farrier, and William Young, named as the corporation. Section 7th of the Act has the following condition: “The construction of the said road shall not be commenced until the capital named in the charter shall have been subscribed by responsible parties, and twenty per cent paid into the treasury of the said company.” This road was commenced and graded from Stoneham into the bounds of Medford, where its further construction suddenly stopped. That its proposed course through Medford may be changed, and the whole road then completed, is probable.
The streets in Medford are, in most places, furnished with sidewalks and ornamented with elm-trees. It is cheering to see the spaces at the meeting of some roads occupied with trees. The delta of four hundred feet at the meeting of Grove and High Streets, in West Medford, was the first example. The trees were planted, and the fences made and maintained, by Hon. Peter C. Brooks. The town granted him permission, Nov. 22, 1822. A legacy of five hundred dollars