Middlesex Canal Association
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The Middlesex Canal
From Route 3 North or South:
From Route 495 North or South:
Directions by train:
The President of the Middlesex Canal Association is J. Jeremiah Breen.The Vice President of the Middlesex Canal Association is Traci Jansen.
For information about publications available through the Middlesex Canal Association, contact Betty Bigwood.
For information on membership in the Middlesex Canal Association, contact Neil Devins.
For information about upcoming walks and tours of the Middlesex Canal, contact Roger Hagopian.
Send comments, suggestions, photos, and any other interesting information about the Middlesex Canal to webmaster Robert Winters at email@example.com.
Note: E-mail sent to several of the above addresses will be forwarded by the webmaster to the appropriate person after being screened for SPAM and viruses.
National Canal Museum
Fred Lawson's "Start of the Middlesex Canal Association, Oct 1961" talk is available at the Internet Archive:
Calendar of Middlesex Canal Association Events and Related Events
The Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center is open every Saturday and Sunday, noon-4, except holidays. [Facebook Page]
First Wednesday - MCA Board of Directors' Meetings - The Board meets the first Wednesday of every month (except July and August), at the Museum, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Members and the public are invited to attend.
Spring Walk: At 1:30pm on Sunday, March 24, 2019, the Middlesex Canal Association in conjunction with the Appalachian Mountain Club will sponsor a pleasant walk along the remnants of the Canal in the vicinity of Sandy Beach. Those wishing to participate in the walk are encouraged to meet in the Sandy Beach Parking Lot, 4 Mystic Parkway, Winchester, MA. Sandy Beach is a ten minutes’ walk from the Wedgemere train station on the Lowell line. The turnaround of the walk is at the Sagamore John Memorial near the West Medford Train Station. Leader: Robert Winters. More information is available on the web at www.middlesexcanal.org.
Bicycle Tour South: On Sunday, April 14, 2019, the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor a bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. Incorporated in 1793 with John Hancock as the first proprietor, the canal connected the Merrimack River at Lowell with the Charles River at Boston by a ditch 3 1/2’ deep, 30’ wide and 27 miles long. It was the greatest work of its kind in the United Sates until the Erie Canal. The canal operated for 50 years, then the one-horse power canal boat quickly lost to a new competitor, the 30-horsepower steam locomotive. The tour will start at the Lowell train station after the 10:44am, when the 10:00am train arrives from Boston. This year an early group will take the 8:00am train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the Owl Diner, United States Historic Landmark, www.owldiner.com. Train fare is $10.00. The tour visits Lowell canals, River Walk, Francis Gate, the canal plaque at Hadley Field, then south on the route of the canal. Riders will stop at the mini-mall, 95 Boston Road, Billerica, MA for lunch at 1:00pm followed by a quick visit to the canal visitor center/museum, 71 Faulkner Street, Billerica, MA., and then back to Boston. More information is available on the Web at www.middlesexcanal.org.
Directions to Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center
Winter Meeting: On Sunday, February 10, 2019, the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a Public Meeting at 1:00pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica, MA. Bill Kuttner will speak on “Concrete in Boston: Revolution and Evolution” building on his talk in 2017, “History of Modern Surroundings,” to make what would be a subject for specialists interesting for a general audience. Bill is President of the Board of Governors of the Shirley-Eustis House Association as well as a director of Boston’s West End Museum. Bill will be traveling to the meeting on the train from Boston if you would like to have a conversation with a long-time Charlestown Alternate to the Middlesex Canal Commission, Proprietor of the Association, and leader of the canal bicycle tours.
Fall Meeting: The Fall Meeting of the MCA is scheduled for Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 1:00pm in the Reardon Room (possibly) of the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center Located at 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA 01862. In addition to the formalities of the meeting, the planned topic is "Development of NH & VT Canals" presented by northern New England architect and historian Frank J. "Jay" Barrett, Jr., AIA.
Flyer for Fall Meeting (PDF)
Fall Walk: The Fall Walk will take place on Sunday, October 14, 2018. Participants are encouraged to meet at 1:30pm at the southeast corner of the parking lot behind the Woburn Cinemas. The Appalachian Mountain Club and the MCA will host the three-mile walk along two level sections of the historic Middlesex Canal. MCA member, Robert Winters will lead the walk accompanied by co-leader Marlies Henderson or Roger Hagopian.
Directions: From Rte. 128, take Exit 35, Rte. 38S. Proceed 1/10 of a mile and take a left turn off Rte. 38 onto Middlesex Canal Drive past the Crowne Plaza to the meeting place. Additional information is available at www.middlesexcanal.org.
16th Annual Bicycle Tour North: On Sunday, September 30, 2018 riders are encouraged to meet at 9:00am at the Middlesex Canal plaque, Sullivan Square MBTA Station (1 Cambridge Street, Charlestown, MA 02019). The ride will head north following the canal route for 38 miles to Lowell. There will be a stop for snacks at Kiwanis Park across from the Baldwin Mansion (2 Alfred Street, Woburn, MA 01801 ~12:15pm), stop for a visit at the Canal Museum (71 Falkner Street, North Billerica, MA 01862 ~ 3:00pm) and arrive in Lowell in time for the 5:00pm train back to Boston. Riders can choose their own time to leave or join the tour by using the Lowell line which parallels the canal. For example, an abbreviated ride can be had by parking at Sichuan Garden, just off Rte. 128 at Rte. 38, cycling with the group to the museum (or Lowell), and returning by train to Anderson/Woburn at 3:19 (or 5:19), three miles from Sichuan Garden.
The ride is easy for most cyclists. The route is pretty flat and the tour group will average 5 mph. Steady rain cancels; helmets are required. For changes and updates see www.middlesexcanal.org. The leaders of the tour are Bill Kuttner and Dick Bauer.
Spring Meeting: The Spring Meeting (Annual Meeting) of the MCA is scheduled for Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 1:00pm in the Reardon Room of the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center located at 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA 01862. A colloquy of Robert Thorsons’s book, The Boatman, is planned.
On Sunday, May 6, 2018, at 1:00pm, the Middlesex Canal Association will host a colloquy about Robert Thorson's book, The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau's River Years. For example, the Billerica town historian has been invited to discuss the credibility of Thorson's aspersion, p. 206, on the character of Daniel Wilson (1790 - 1861):
Judge Samuel P. Hadley wrote in "Boyhood Reminiscences of Middlesex Village", c1905, that Wilson was a man of "sterling worth" to whom his father, locktender at the Merrimack River, was warmly attached. Thoreau said of the father in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:
The father, locktender and honest man, friend of Wilson, is in the photo. [Flyer]
This Saturday, Apr 28, 2018, the celebration of the new Thoreau Towpath exhibit will take place with a ribbon cutting at 11:00am sharp (Lowell St at Nussey Terrace, Billerica). This is a good opportunity to walk the towpath and later visit the nearby Middlesex Canal Visitor Center/Museum, 71 Faulkner St, open noon-4:00pm.
Spring Walk: The Spring Walk will take place on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Participants are encouraged to meet at 1:30pm at the Wilmington Town Park across from 760 Main Street (Rte. 38). The Appalachian Mountain Club and the MCA will host the 2-mile walk, roundtrip, along a section of the historic Middlesex Canal. Points of interest along the route will include the Ox Bow Turn where striations from the tow ropes are imbedded in the ledge along the canal, the signs of spring as the trek continues through the 14-acre tract gifted to the MCA by Stanley Webber and his daughter, Julia Ann Fielding, and finally Patches Pond. MCA member, Robert Winters will lead the walk. Additional information is available at www.middlesexcanal.org.
Bicycle Tour South: On Saturday, April 14, 2018, riders are encouraged to meet at 10:44am at the Lowell Train Station (the time the 10:00am train from Boston’s North Station arrives at the Gallagher Terminal). For those who arrive early, they may wish to have breakfast at the historic Owl Diner. The route visits the Pawtucket and other Lowell canals, the river walk, the Francis Gate, and the Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Lunch at Rte 3A mini-mall in North Billerica is followed by a quick visit to the Canal Museum, then on to Boston. It will be a long day of exploration (35 miles end-to-end) but sunset is late.
Riders can board northbound trains at other stations or catch southbound trains to return to Boston. A complete Lowell Line schedule can be downloaded at http://www.keoliscs.com. For changes or updates see www.middlesexcanal.org. Steady rain cancels; helmets are required. The leaders of the tour are Bill Kuttner and Dick Bauer.
Sun, Feb 11, 2018: Winter Meeting: In October of 1961, at the Annual Meeting of the Billerica Historical Society, Harry Lasher was the keynote speaker. The Middlesex Canal was the topic of his presentation. Fred Lawson, who had received a grade of “A” on a college English paper on the canal was in attendance. At some point during Lasher’s talk, Fred suggested “out loud” that Lasher was in error. This prompted a conversation with another member of the audience, Dick Manning. It was this exchange that sowed the seed that eventually give birth to the Middlesex Canal Association.
To learn more of this fascinating story, plan to attend Fred’s presentation on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. in the Reardon Room of the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center located at 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica, MA 01862. Come, share your knowledge of the beginning of the MCA, relish the warm camaraderie on a mid-winter’s day and enjoy the tasty fare at the conclusion of the meeting. You will not regret it!!!!
Fall Meeting – Sunday, October 22, 2017
Bill moved to New England in 1975 to attend M.I.T. Today he serves on the boards of the Shirley-Eustis House www.shirleyeustishouse.org and the West End Museum www.thewestendmuseum.org He has also developed an interpretive map which is now on display by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/ commonwealth:7h149v32x Bill helps lead the twice-yearly Middlesex Canal bicycle explorations, and is always on the lookout for any overlooked or underappreciated infrastructure that helps explain today’s built environment. Please see the MCA website for more information on Bill’s scheduled lecture History in Modern Surroundings.
Sept 1 - This week we are grieving the loss of our dear friend Tom Raphael who died on Sunday, August 27 at the age of 95. Tom was a longtime Board member of the Middlesex Canal Association and was the Chair of the Middlesex Canal Commission. He was a Renaissance man, an inventor, an inspiration to all who knew him, and one of the most wise and interesting people I have ever known. - RW
There was an informal gathering in Tom Raphael's memory at the Middlesex Canal Museum & Visitor Center at 4:30pm on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 after the 3:30pm monthly meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association Board of Directors. A portion of Roger Hagopian's Video of the life of Thomas Raphael was shown along with a sharing of reminiscences of those present.
2017 Fall Walk – Sunday, October 15, 2017
Sunday, April 30, 2017, 1:00pm – MCA Spring Meeting
Among her many other works are a biography, Bloomers and Ballots: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Women's Rights, and a compilation, “Women’s Rights in the United States”.
The talk on Mary Stetson Clarke will be in the Reardon Room, Middlesex Canal Visitor Center/Museum, at the Billerica Falls of the Concord River, 71 Faulkner St, Billerica MA 01862. The visitor center opens at noon. The Middlesex Canal Association will have a ten-minute meeting before the talk.
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 1:30pm – MCA-AMC Annual Spring Walk: Billerica to Chelmsford
Sun, Apr 23, 2017. Historic Middlesex Canal, North Billerica. Level 5-mi. walk along historic canal N to Chelmsford, 1:30-4:00pm. Meet at the Middlesex Canal Museum (opens at noon). From Rte. 95/128, take Rte. 3 N to exit 28, Treble Cove Rd., L towards N. Billerica 1.7 mi., L on Rte. 3A/129 0.7 mi., R on Lowell St. 0.7 mi. becomes Faulkner St., cross river at Faulkner Mills, R into pkg. lot opp. Joint w/Middlesex Canal Assoc. Info: www.middlesexcanal.org or Roger Hagopian (781-861-7868 to 10pm). L Robert Winters.
Saturday, April 1, 2017, 10:44am – Bicycle Tour South [CANCELLED due to snow forecast]
On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association will lead a bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of digging a ditch 3½' deep, 30' wide and 27 miles long, the canal connected the Merrimack River at Lowell with the Charles River at Boston. It was the greatest work of its kind in the US until the Erie Canal. The canal operated for 50 years, but the one horsepower canal boat quickly lost to a new competitor, the 30 horsepower steam locomotive. [CANCELLED]
The ride will start at the the Lowell train station after 10:44am when the 10am train from Boston arrives. This year an early group will take the 8:00am train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the Owl Diner, a US Historic Place, www.owldiner.com. Train fare is $10. Tour visits Lowell canals, River Walk, Francis Gate, canal plaque at Hadley Field, then south on route of canal. Lunch at mini-mall, 95 Boston Road, Billerica, around 1pm. Quick visit to the canal Visitor Center/Museum, 71 Faulkner Street, Billerica, then on to Boston.
Long day, but sunset is late. Cyclists wanting a shorter tour can plan their own start and stop using the Lowell Line schedule available at www.mbta.com. Anderson/Woburn station off 128/I-95 and I-93 is popular. Also N. Billerica because the visitor center is two blocks from the station and is open noon-4.
Sunday, March 5, 2017, 1pm – MCA Winter Meeting (postponed from Feb 12)
Speaker: Chuck Mower
Topic: Brick Making along the Merrimack [Flyer]
Sunday, October 30, 2016, 1:00pm – MCA Fall Meeting (Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica)
Speaker: Bill Gerber on the topic of “Canal Side Landings”.
In the first half of the 19th century a 120-mile system of canals and navigable waterways provided “heavy lifting” transportation services throughout the Merrimack Valley and the area north of Boston. Interspersed throughout much of the system were more than three dozen “Landings” which provided shipping and receiving services for those who had goods to transport. Bill notes that this is something of a status report on a continuing, very long term effort, not a final report.
|Abbott's Landing by Louis Linscott (1876-1996)|
MIDDLESEX CANAL FALL TALK
On Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 1:00pm, Bill Gerber will describe the "Landings" that were part of the canal and river interstate waterway between Boston Harbor and Concord NH before the steam locomotive transformed transportation.
In the first half of the 19th century a 120+ mile system of canals and navigable waterways provided ‘heavy lift’ transportation services through the Merrimack Valley and the area north of Boston. Over its lifetime, among the myriad of items that were shipped, this system transported countless logs and timber products for construction, heating, shipbuilding and export; granite and brick building materials, gunpowder and chemicals, and boatloads of cotton bales and textiles in support of the growing New England textile industry. Interspersed throughout much of this system were more than three dozen “Landings”, which provided shipping and receiving services for those who had goods to transport. It is these latter portals that are the subject of Bill's talk.
The talk will be in the Reardon Room of the canal visitor center/museum at the Billerica Falls of the Concord River, 71 Faulkner St, Billerica 01862. The visitor center opens at noon.
At 11:30am, all are welcome to join proprietors of the Middlesex Canal on the porch of the visitor center for a walk to the beaver lodge recently built on the Thoreau Towpath, a round trip of less than two miles. A car could park at the Middlesex Canal sign at 100 Brick Kiln Road, Billerica 01862, approximately 1200' from the beavers. Henry Thoreau traveled on this part of the canal September 1, 1839, and wrote as follows:
"in the lapse of ages, Nature will recover and indemnify herself, and gradually plant fit shrubs and flowers along its borders. Already the kingfisher sat upon a pine over the water, and the bream and pickerel swam below. Thus all works pass directly out of the hands of the architect into the hands of Nature,
to be perfected." - A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
The walk is an opportunity to experience Thoreau's prediction after a lapse of 177 years.
Directions. Rte. 3 to exit 28, Treble Cove Road, then follow the Middlesex Canal signs. After crossing the Billerica Falls bridge over the Concord River, the parking lot is 100' on the right. Treble Cove Road, exit 28, is 7 miles north of Rte. 128 (I-95).
On I-495, take the N. Billerica exit south to the road's end at a T intersection, turn right, then bear right at the Y, go 700' and turn left into the parking lot. The visitor center is across the street. North Billerica, exit 37, is between Rte. 3 and I-93. By train, take the Lowell line to N. Billerica Station and walk west two blocks.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 7:00pm – Special Event
J. J. Breen, President of the Middlesex Canal Association, will address the Winchester Historical Society, 15 High Street, Winchester, MA 01890. His talk entitled “The Middlesex Canal in Winchester: 4,000 Tons of Granite at Sandy Beach” should serve to enlighten those in attendance on this fascinating part of Canal history. For background information please read Tom Raphael’s article, pages 13-17, in Towpath Topics, http://middlesexcanal.org/TowpathTopics-Sept2011color.pdf. Refreshments will be served at 7:00pm in advance of the presentation at 7:30pm.
Sunday, October 16, 2016, 1:30pm – MCA Fall Walk (Winchester-Medford)
On Sunday, October 16, 2016 members and guests of the MCA are invited to a pleasant walk and talk on the remnants of the Middlesex Canal. Those planning to participate in the walk are encouraged to meet at 1:30pm in the Sandy Beach (a.k.a. Shannon Beach) parking lot, 4 Mystic Valley Parkway, Winchester. Sandy Beach is a ten minute walk from the Wedgemere train station. The walk will follow the route of the towpath south for a round trip of four miles. The turnaround at Sagamore John Memorial is near the West Medford train station. This is a joint walk sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Middlesex Canal Association. More information is available at www.middlesexcanal.org.
Wednesday, July 13th at 11:00 AM
The Lobby at One Canal
1 Canal Street Boston, MA 02114
In November of 2000, David Dettinger presented his paper entitled "The Canal that Bisected Boston". This was one of 10 events which correlated with the anniversary of the ten years it took to build the Middlesex Canal. The following year, Middlesex Canal Association Directors David Dettinger, Tom Raphael and Betty Bigwood requested that there be some recognition of the Middlesex Canal in the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In response, Dick Garver of the Boston Redevelopment Authority agreed to allow for a space on Canal Street to make some historic interpretation. Fifteen years later and after many more meetings and correspondence, a mural by Thomas H. Dahill titled "The Canal that Bisected Boston" will be officially recognized. You are invited. Please RSVP by July 8th to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to come. Parking is not easy so allow enough time. If there are any questions please contact Betty M. Bigwood (978-657-7870).
Join state and city officials, business leaders, Aimco representatives and project partners for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of One Canal Apartment Homes.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Charlie Baker, Governor
City of Boston – Martin J. Walsh, Mayor
Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Stephanie Pollack, Secretary
Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority – Frank Depaola, General Manager
City of Boston – William Christopher, ISD Commissioner
Boston Redevelopment Authority – Brian P. Golden, Director
MCA President J Breen holding one panel of Dahill’s mural
Artist Tom Dahill seeing one of six panels to be hung
Artist Tom Dahill at the installation at One Canal
March 5, 2016 – Bill Gerber will give a talk on "Landings of the Canal and River Navigation System North of Boston" at the Society for Industrial Archaeology Symposium to be held at Plymouth State University.
At 1:00pm the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a public meeting at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA. The featured speaker will be noted artist, author, and educator, Tom Dahill, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Emerson College. The topic of his talk will be the two watercolors of the Middlesex Canal Summit Pond (circa 1822) in North Billerica. Both were assumed to be painted by Jabez Barton during his courtship of Rebecca Farmer Rogers, daughter of William and Hannah (Farmer) Rogers. A View from William Rogers House (Billerica Historical Society) provides a priceless early image of the floating towpath and the North Billerica Mill Village. The William Rogers House (New York Historical Society) portrays the scene from a point on or near the causeway at the east end of the summit pond. The William Rogers House was built about 1807 reportedly partly from funds earned by William in service of the Canal Proprietors, and stands today on Rogers Street.
For those planning to attend Professor Dahill’s Feb 14, 2016 lecture on the Barton watercolors, additional background information can be found in the following two publications:
Seaburg, Carl; Seaburg, Alan; & Dahill, Thomas. The Incredible Ditch: A Bicentennial History of the Middlesex Canal. The Anne Miniver Press for the Medford Historical Society, 1997.
Seaburg, Alan. Life on the Middlesex Canal. The Anne Miniver Press History of American Transportation Publications, 2009.
At 1:00pm the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a public meeting at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA. The featured speaker will James Baldwin, the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Loammi Baldwin, the engineer who supervised the construction of the Middlesex Canal. Mr. Baldwin will make reference to items that have been passed down through the generations of Baldwins. One of these will be George Washington’s invitation to Col. Loammi Baldwin to visit him at what would become the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. Interestingly, the regiment Col. Baldwin commanded at the crossing of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton was known as the George Washington regiment.
At the beginning of the meeting the report of the Nominating Committee will be read and the election of officers and directors will take place.
For those planning to attend the James Baldwin’s October 25, 2015 lecture on the Baldwin Family, additional background information can be found in the following issues of Towpath Topics:
Volume 37; #2, March 1999: “The Baldwin Family” by Thomas Raphael
Volume 49; #2, January, 2011: “Biographies of James Sullivan and Loammi Baldwin” Transcribed by Howard Winkler
Volume 50; #3, March 2012: “The Middlesex Canal - It was a Family Thing” by Bill Gerber and Susan Williams
The Appalachian Mountain Club and the MCA will host a walk along a 0.8 mile section of the Canal situated within a 14 acre tract in Wilmington. In 1983 this parcel was gifted by Stanley Weber and his daughter, Julia Ann Fielding, to the MCA. Although the fall foliage, the fresh air, and the camaraderie should be suffi cient to encourage participation, as an added treat, Mike McInnis (from the Middlesex Canal Commission) and his wife, Diane, will serve lemonade and cookies for the walkers at the Patches Pond turnaround. Those planning to attend should meet at the Wilmington Town Park, opposite 760 Main Street, Wilmington, MA (Route #38) at 1:30pm.
We will meet at 9:00am at the Middlesex Canal plaque, Sullivan Square MBTA Station (1 Cambridge Street, Charlestown, MA 02129) and follow the canal route 38 miles to Lowell. [This is a postponement because of rain from the original date of October 3rd.] There will be a stop for a snack at Kiwanis Park across from Baldwin Mansion (2 Alfred Street, Woburn, MA 01801 ~12:30pm), stop for visit at the Canal Museum (71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA 01862 ~3pm), and arrive in Lowell in time for the 5:00pm train back to Boston. Google “canal ride cue sheet”. Riders can choose their own time to join or leave the group by using the Lowell Line which parallels the Canal. (For example, an abbreviated ride can be done by parking at the Sichuan Garden, just off Route 128 at Route 38, cycling with the group to the museum and returning by train to Anderson/Woburn at 3:19pm, three miles from the Sichuan Garden.)
The ride will be an easy one for most cyclists. The route is pretty flat, and we will average 5 miles per hour. Along the way we will stop at several canal remnants and restored sections. Steady rain cancels. Helmets required. For more information: www.middlesexcanal.org.
Sun, Apr 12, 2015: Middlesex Canal Association’s Spring bicycle tour. Meet 9:30am at North Station (commuter rail) and take our bicycles on the 10am train to Lowell. Riders meeting the group at Lowell meet at the train station at 10:40am. This year an early group will take the 8:00am train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the historic Owl Diner (www.owldiner.com, aka the Four Sisters).
Route visits the Pawtucket and other Lowell canals, the river walk, Francis Gate, and Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Lunch at Route 3A mini-mall in Billerica. Quick visit to Canal Museum, then on to Boston. A long day of exploration (35 miles end-to-end) but sunset is late.
Riders can board northbound trains at other stations or catch southbound trains at 1:07pm or 3:14pm to return to Boston early. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded at http://www.keoliscs.com. Participants responsible for one-way train fare [$9.25 from Boston to Lowell]. For changes or updates, see http://middlesexcanal.org. Leaders Bill Kuttner (617-241-9383) & Dick Bauer (857-540-6293).
April 12, 2015 Canal Ride South
As the firstborn son of Arthur L. and Claire (Lamoureux) Eno, Sr. his first language was French. He attended St. Joseph Grammar School and Keith Academy in Lowell, and his childhood buddy was Jack Kerouac, another of Lowell's Franco-American sons.
While Jack's destiny was to leave Lowell, Louis' destiny was to stay. Except for college and the war, he never lived more than 20 minutes from the city. Gifted with a strong intellect and an indomitable work ethic, he was accepted into Harvard at age 14. At the suggestion he prepare a bit more socially, he took an additional year of studies at Phillips Academy Andover.
Never one for dawdling, he completed his undergraduate Classics degree in three years; served in the Signal Section of the Army in Morocco, Italy, France and Germany for three years (he was in Paris at the end of the war); spent a year studying at the Sorbonne and returned to enter Harvard Law School, which he completed in just over two years.
After admission to the Massachusetts Bar in 1948, he became an Assistant Professor of Law at Northeastern University at age 24, just as he was opening his own private law practice in Lowell. Then, for the next 53 years, he commuted every day to the same neighborhood, many of them in his bright orange VW bug. In 1994, he created a firm, Eno Boulay and Martin (now Eno Martin Donahue) and retired in 2001.
In 1957, friends masterminded a fateful meeting with Ann Fitzpatrick of New Rochelle, New York. He called her at her New York City office to ask if she could arrange theater tickets for his girlfriend and him. This interesting tactic somehow worked and he successfully wooed Ann to Massachusetts. While the couple couldn't have been more different in temperament or outlook, they were married 56 years and raised three children, John, Madeleine, and Will.
One of their proudest achievements was to move a 300-year-old house from Amesbury to Carlisle.. Louis heard that a beautiful old home was up for auction due to the construction of Route 495. He carefully tucked two sealed bids, one low and one high, into his jacket pocket. When it came time to present bids, he forgot which was which, but still managed to win the house. He & Ann dismantled and moved it-board by board, brick by brick-and painstakingly recreated it on acreage in Carlisle.
Civic involvement was important to him, and he served on numerous professional organizations and political groups: the Lowell School Committee (1951-1955), the Lowell Historic Board (1984-1993), and the Middlesex Canal Commission. He was a Trustee of the Central Savings Bank, a Director of the Jeanne d'Arc Credit Union (1972-1992), President of the Lowell Humane Society, President of the Middlesex Canal Association (1962-1972) and President of the Mass. Conveyancers Association (1982-1984).
While law was his vocation, the history of Lowell was his passion. He edited Cotton Was King, a compilation of essays about Industrial Revolution-era Lowell, published in 1976. He translated Immigrant Odyssey from French to English. Antiquarian books, bottles, and artwork all with the common theme of Lowell lined the bookshelves of the living room, and his office was a veritable museum to the city.
His numerous awards include Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate (1979), the Richard Johnson Award (Mass. Conveyancers Association), Lawyer of the Year (Greater Lowell Bar Association, 1991) and Franco-American of the Year (2000).
He was co-author of Massachusetts Real Estate (West Group) and editor of annual supplements of the publication for dozens of years. He edited the Massachusetts Real Estate Sourcebook (published by Mass. Continuing Legal Education).
Deeply religious, Louis rarely missed attending Mass, even while traveling. In his rare spare time, he took the family in the station wagon to explore the canals and locks of the eastern seaboard.
Until he lost his sight several years ago, reading was his ultimate pleasure. All he needed for a happy vacation at the family cabin in Vermont was his tall glass of ice tea and a tall stack of library books. He read quickly and remembered details. His 10-year-old daughter once asked him to read Charlotte's Web so she could discuss it with him. He sat on the porch and read it in a single sitting while she watched. A lifetime classics student, he gave his young children Peanuts books in Latin for Christmas.
He loved lobster, croissants, Paris, Quebec, speaking French, reading the Greek philosophers, sci-fi movies, Bennie Hill, large dogs, and his family. There was very little about the world, history, or politics that he did not know. For the past several decades, he met his friends, Lenny and Jay for lunch, jokes and political talk just about every Saturday. His baby granddaughter was making her entrance into the world at the very moment he departed.
Surviving him in addition to his beloved wife, Ann, are his children John (Jeanne Palanza) of North Andover, Madeleine (John Roper) of Sandy, Oregon, Will (Maria Dizzia) of Brooklyn, NY, and brand-new granddaughter, Albertine Eno. His brother, Paul A. (Janice) Eno of Taunton, MA, and dozens of nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces, each of whom he adored. He was predeceased by his beloved sister, Jacqueline.
This obituary was published in the Lowell Sun August 9-10, 2014.
Restoration of Canal Museum seeks to preserve a part of history (June 14, 2014, Billerica Minuteman)
Events from Previous Years
Sun, Oct 5, 2014. Bicycle Tour of the Historic Middlesex Canal. MassBike, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the Middlesex Canal Commission and the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor the 12th annual bicycle tour of the canal which was the “big dig” of late 18th century Massachusetts. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimack River, west of what is now Lowell, with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown. The Canal provided passenger and freight service for 50 years. It pioneered many innovations and in many ways served as a model for later canals, notably including the Erie Canal.
We will meet at 9:00am by the Canal marker at the Sullivan Square MBTA station. From there we will ride about 28 miles to the Mill Village and Canal Museum by the Concord River Millpond in North Billerica. We’ll stop for lunch in Woburn, so please bring a lunch. We should get to North Billerica in time for anyone who wants to catch the 3:07pm train back to Boston. The ride will then follow the northern section of the Canal another 10 miles to Lowell in time to catch the 5:00pm train back from there.
The ride will be an easy one for most cyclists; the route is pretty flat and we will average 5 miles per hour. Along the way we will stop at: several canal remnants and restored sections; the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, chief engineer for the Canal (for whom the Baldwin apple is named, discovered during an early canal survey); the two remaining aqueducts (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks); and the northern end of the floating towpath that enabled horses to tow boats across the Concord River.
The ride will be led by Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission, Robert Winters of the Middlesex Canal Association, and Bill Kuttner of the Shirley-Eustis House and the Middlesex Canal Commission. Steady rain cancels.
For more information, contact Dick at email@example.com (617-628-6320); Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Bill at email@example.com (617-973-7132). For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org, &/or http://www.massbike.org/resources/rides.htm.
Sun, Oct 19, 2014: Joint Middlesex Canal Association - Appalachian Mountain Club Fall Walk. This walk is jointly listed as a Local Walk of the Boston Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). “Show and Go”; meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center at the Faulkner Mill at 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica. The Museum and Visitor Center, including the bookstore, will open at 12 noon. The 2-2½ hour walk will cover part of the Merrimack branch of the canal in Billerica and Chelmsford, about 3 to 4 miles over generally level wooded terrain and streets. Sites to visit en route will include a guard lock, the anchor stone for the floating towpath that bridged the Concord River, and many stretches of watered canal. For directions to the museum, Middlesex Canal signs point the way, or see the third paragraph under this “calendar of events” section, above. Information: contact Robert Winters (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Marlies Henderson (978-663-3345).
Walk leader Robert Winters telling tales during the Fall Walk, October 2014
Walk leader Robert Winters jingles the rings of the anchor stone of the floating towpath, October 2014
The Middlesex Canal Association has accepted the old Talbot cloth warehouse to be used as a future new Canal Museum. The warehouse is adjacent to the site where construction of the canal began. The deed was signed on February 5 and recorded on March 6, 2014.
As of June 1, 2014 the Middlesex Canal Association launched its Fundraising Campaign to raise $100,000 to hire an Architect/Structural Engineer. The initial appeal will go out to businesses. There is an urgent need to replace the roof. The expected total cost of the adaptive use of the building for our purposes is expected to cost less than half a million dollars. The following two page letter is being sent as we speak. Hopefully, our civic minded community will rise to the occasion.
FUTURE MIDDLESEX CANAL MUSEUM
2 Old Elm Street
Donation levels of $10,000 or more earns a Platinum Status, $5,000 or more earns a Gold Status, $2,500 or more earns a Silver Status, and $500 or more earns a Bronze Status. Contributing businesses will be featured on a permanent display in the museum, on our web site and in our literature. This will qualify for 501 (c) (3) tax status.
Name, Address and phone number of donor: [Click here for mailable form]
Please endorse checks to:
Remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct, N. Billerica - October 2013
(Photo by Cathy Norton)
The Spring Walk on Sunday, May 5, 2013 drew a crowd of more than 50 people.
At the Maple Meadow Brook, participants crossed the "Bigwood Bridge" built for the day.
Why is Dick Bauer smiling? Because 34 people joined him on
the Spring Bike Ride along the Canal route (Apr 7, 2013).
Traci, Debbie, and Bill are deep in thought writing up the
messages for QR codes to be attached to each exhibit.
Who says we aren't keeping up with the latest?
November 4, 2012 - The Middlesex Canal Association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a van tour of the canal, "the greatest work of the kind that has been completed in the United States." So wrote Albert Gallatin in 1808. The tour included a dinner in the Baldwin Mansion, home of the canal builder, and birthday cake at the canal museum.
Fall Walk, Oct 21, 2012 - Pictures by Russ Silva
OneWorld Boston, a Cummings Foundation affiliate, has awarded the Middlesex Canal Commission a $100,000 grant to support construction of walking and bike paths along the Middlesex Canal in Woburn from Alfred Street to School Street. [Middlesex Canal Commission]
Heritage Corridor Map Book (4.6MB, 41 page PDF)
The MCA-AMC Fall Walk took place on Sunday, October 17, 2010 along a scenic section of the Middlesex Canal from the Wilmington Town Park to Patch's Pond. Photos from the 2010 Fall Walk
Middlesex Canal Prism
Southern terminus of the Middlesex Canal (Sullivan Square, Charlestown)
[Canal Street is now Rutherford Street]
1794. - Chap. 0067
[January Session, ch. 43]
AN ACT IN ADDITION TO AN ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT FOR INCORPORATING JAMES SULLIVAN & OTHERS BY THE NAME & STILE OF THE PROPRIETORS OF THE MIDDLESEX CANAL."
Be it enacted by the Senate & House of Representatives in General Court assembled & by the authority of the same, That the property of the said Proprietors in the said Canal, & in any other Canal connected therewith, which they shall effect, pursuant to any authority of the Government, & all real estate of which the said Corporation shall be seized shall be divided into eight hundred shares & that each share therein shall give the person holding the same one vote in the proceedings of the said corporation, provided that no one proprietor shall have a right to more than twenty five votes on any occasion; And that the shares in the same Canal, including the towing paths & wharves thereon, shall be so far considered as personal estate, that the same may be transferred according to such rules & regulations as the said Corporation shall establish; And that the proprietors shall be subjected to taxes therefor in the towns & parishes where they shall severally reside as for personal estate.
And be it further enacted, that the said Corporation shall have power to receive & hold real estate as appendant to the same Canal & for the purpose of facilitating the business of the same, to the value of thirty thousand pounds, over & above the value of the Canal itself simply considered; And that the Corporation shall be liable to pay taxes therefor in the Town & Parish where the same may be; And such taxes may be assessed on the corporation or on its tenants at the discretion of the Town where the tax shall be made.
And whereas the said Corporation hath petitioned the Legislature for an extension of their powers for the purpose of making other Canals to be connected, & to communicate with the said Middlesex Canal: The object of which petition being to render the waters of Concord River boatable as far up as the same can be usefully improved for that purpose & to improve the banks of Medford river, so as to render the Canal more easy & useful, as well as to open a Canal round the shallows in the town of Dunstable on the banks of Merrimack river; And also to extend said Canal to the waters of Charles River or the town of Boston.
Be it therefore farther enacted that the said proprietors of the Middlesex Canal shall be empowered to render the waters of Concord river boatable as far as Sudbury Causeway & as much farther as the same can be usefully improved for that end; & to open any Canal at any place in the said County of Middlesex that may be necessary to connect the said Concord river with the said Middlesex Canal for that purpose, and also to extend said Canal from Medford to the waters of the town of Boston or Charles river in such way as to said proprietors may seem most advantageous & with all the privileges, & under the same restrictions & regulations as are granted & provided in said Act; And that the said proprietors shall be liable to have damages recovered against them by any individual who shall be injured or damnified in his property in such new Canal by the same mode of process, & in the same manner as is in the same act provided: And that for the use of any such new Canal or boatable waters the said proprietors may receive the same rate of toll which is by the same act established for the said Middlesex Canal.
"Whereas it is provided in an Act entitled an Act for incorporating James Sullivan & others by the name & stile of the proprietors of the Middlesex Canal "That no part of the waters of Shawshine river shall be diverted from their natural course for the purpose aforesaid" It is hereby declared to be the true intent & meaning of the foregoing restrictive clause that the ponds & those streams which continue a visible current thro' the year & usually empty into Shawshine River are to be considered as part of the waters of the said River.
Approved February 28, 1795.
For some historical perspective, try this:
From the April 2005 issue of Towpath Topics:
From the archives:
A COMPARISON OF THE BLACKSTONE AND MIDDLESEX CANALS
AN EXACTING STUDY OF THE COMPLEXITIES, OBSTACLES,
The Middlesex Canal Association Annual Meeting on May 4, 2003 featured guest speaker J.R. Greene, historian and author of many books on the history of the Quabbin Reservoir and the towns that were eradicated to create the reservoir. If you are interested in the books of J.R. Greene, a listing and contact information is provided here: [Books by J.R. Greene]
"To step down from some busy thoroughfare onto the quiet towpath of a canal....is to step backward a hundred years or more and to see things in a different, and perhaps more balanced perspective." Tom Rolt, British author
Middlesex Canal Corporation Records
The first issue of the Middlesex Canal Association newsletter was published in October 1963. Originally named "Canal News", the
first issue featured a contest to name the newsletter. A year later, the newsletter was renamed "Towpath Topics".
BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF
June 23, 2002
On June 22-23, 2002, six members of the Middlesex Canal Association made the 115-mile journey to Baldwin, Maine to join the festivities as they celebrated their 200th anniversary. Baldwin is just west of Sebago Lake. There was a parade, historical exhibit, barbecue, and block dance on Saturday. On Sunday, a formal program of speeches by prominent community members was followed by the release of green and white balloons, an ice cream social and birthday cake. It was a lot of fun.
Few people realize that Loammi Baldwin and Josiah Pierce (Count Rumford's half brother) formed a business partnership in what was then northern Massachusetts. Josiah ran the logging business for Loammi and later became its owner. This tract of land was named Baldwin after Loammi.
Loammi Baldwin constructed a home there similar to the Baldwin Mansion in North Woburn. The current Josiah Pierce, a direct descendant, gave us a most gracious tour of the beautiful estate that they still operate as a farm. Count Rumford's mother, Ruth Thompson Pierce, is buried there in the family burial ground.
- Betty Bigwood
The advertisement at left appeared as a two inch by two inch advertisement on the fourth and last page of the AMERICAN TRAVELLER, Boston MA, Tuesday morning, June 8, 1830, Vol. 5, No. 8. (Donated to the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center by John Ciriello)