Middlesex Canal Association
Dedicated to the Preservation and Restoration of the Historic Middlesex Canal


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Middlesex Canal
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October 2017 (HTML)

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The October 2017 issue was mailed to Members and Proprietors
on Mon, Oct 2, 2017.

April 2017 (HTML)

April 2017 (color PDF)

January 2017 (HTML)

January 2017 (color PDF)

September 2016 (HTML)

September 2016 (color PDF)

April 2016 (HTML)

April 2016 (color PDF)

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September 2015 (HTML)

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April 2014 (Flash)

Middlesex Canal Publications
Order Form (PDF)
Order Form (HTML)
(updated March 2014)

Become a member of the
Middlesex Canal Association

Reardon Room Rental

For the past ten years a group of dedicated volunteers has operated the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center at the Faulkner Mill in North Billerica. We have good facilities for rental in a charming Museum. Should you plan a function, we hope that you will consider us. The reasonable charge of $200 covers the room and a committee member who will be present throughout to assist you. For more information phone 978-670-2740, leave a message and someone will return your call.

The Middlesex Canal
Museum-Visitor Center

is open noon to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, except holidays.
See the Calendar for exact dates.

[Facebook Page]

The Middlesex Canal
Museum - Visitors Center

is located at the Faulkner Mills,
71 Faulkner St., No. Billerica MA

For more information on the Museum, call 978-670-2740.
Volunteers for the museum are being recruited. If interested, e-mail 
museum2014 AT middlesexcanal.org
(Will Barker)

Directions to the
Museum/Visitors Center

From Route 3 North or South:
     Take Route 3 North or South to Exit 28 "Treble Cove Road, North Billerica, Carlisle". At the end of the ramp, turn onto Treble Cove Road toward North Billerica. At about 3/4 mile, bear left at a fork. After another 3/4 mile you'll come to a traffic light; this is Route 3A; go straight. Go about 1/4 mile to a 3-way fork; take the middle road, which will put St. Andrew's Church on your left. Go about 1/4 mile; bear right, then turn right onto Faulkner Street. Go about 1/4 mile; the Museum is on your left and you can park across the street on your right, just beyond the falls.

From Route 495 North or South:
     Take the Woburn Street N. Billerica/Lowell Exit. From the North take a left, from the South a right onto Woburn Street, which becomes Billerica Avenue. At the RR Station parking lot, take a right; Go 1/4 mile and the Faulkner Mill is on the right. The parking lot is on the left.

Directions by train:
     The Lowell Commuter Line runs between Boston's North Station and Lowell's Gallagher Terminal. Get off at the North Billerica station, which is one stop south of Lowell. From the station side of the tracks, the Museum is a 3-minute walk down Faulkner Street on the right side.

Telephone: 1-978-670-2740

Calendar of meetings of the Middlesex Canal Association and Museum volunteering


Officers and Directors of the Middlesex Canal Association


By-Laws of the Middlesex Canal Association


Presidents of the
Middlesex Canal Association
Arthur Louis Eno 1962 - 1972
Douglas P. Adams 1972 - 1975
Wilbar M. Hoxie 1975 - 1977
Frances B. VerPlanck 1977 - 1981
H. Lawrence Henchey, Jr.    1981 - 1983
Nolan T. Jones 1983 - 1985
Paul Pearsall 1985 - 1987
David A. Fitch 1987 - 1990
Burt VerPlanck 1990 - 1994
Nolan T. Jones 1994 - 2010
William E. Gerber, Jr. 2010 - 2011
J. Jeremiah Breen 2011 -

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 the Middlesex Canal Commission and its efforts to preserve and restore what remains of the Middlesex Canal, contact Tom Raphael.

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 robert@middlesexcanal.org.

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.

News Item:
Colonel Loammi Baldwin gets his sword
(YouTube video)

Haulin' Down to Boston
on the Middlesex Canal

(sung by Official Middlesex Canal Troubadour Paul Wiggin,
length 2:12)

MP3 format  (2MB)

Lyrics and Music (JPG)

Rediscovered add'l stanza (GIF)

Journey Along the Middlesex Canal
(WMV format - low resolution - 28MB)

National Canal Museum 
(in Easton, PA)

Middlesex Canal
Photo Gallery

(more photos are welcome)
Photos from the Spring Walk
April 27, 2002
Photos from the MCA
Annual Meeting - May 5, 2002
Hoxie Map
of the Middlesex Canal route

(246KB GIF)

Photograph of the canal taken from the School St. bridge in North Woburn (early 20th century)
Phase IV report (PAL)
on the Middlesex Canal,
submitted November, 1999

Remains of the Maple Meadow Aqueduct
Archaeological Report (1998)

Remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct

Bridge at Brooks Estate
West Medford

Count Rumford
(reproduction of booklet prepared by the Woburn Historical Commission, 1975)
This site was last updated
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 11:58 PM

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.

Sunday, October 1, 2017, 9am – Historic Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal
On Sunday, October 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission will sponsor the 15th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. Because the MBTA is not running trains on the Lowell Line this Sunday (because of track work), the ride will only go as far as Wilmington, and then we will bike back to Boston rather than taking the train. We apologize for the late notice, but we were trying (unsuccessfully) to work out arrangements with the MBTA to get bikes back from Lowell by bus.

Canal lockThe Canal was the "big dig" of the end of the 18th century. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimac River in what is now Lowell with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown. In many ways it served as a model for later canals including the Erie Canal. The Canal remained in operation for 50 years, providing both passenger and freight service, but could not compete successfully with the Boston and Lowell Railroad which began operation in the 1830's.

The ride will start at the Canal marker on the front of the Sullivan Square MBTA station just to the right of the main entrance at 9:00am. From there we will ride about 15 miles to Wilmington. We will make a lunch stop in Woburn, so we recommend that you bring a lunch.

Along the canalMost of the route is pretty flat and level and we will average 6-7 miles per hour, so the ride should be an easy one for most cyclists. Along the way we will stop at a number of remnants and restored sections of the Canal, as well as the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, the chief engineer of the Canal (who discovered the Baldwin apple while building the Canal), one of the remaining aqueducts (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks), and will get to walk along the bed of the canal and see traces of the ropes that connected the hoses to the canal boats.

The ride will be led by Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission, Bill Kuttner of the Middlesex Canal Commission, and Robert Winters of the Middlesex Canal Association. Helmets required. Steady rain cancels. For more information, contact Dick at dick.bauer@alum.mit.edu (857-540-6293), Bill at bkuttner@ctps.org (617-241-9383), or Robert at robert@middlesexcanal.org.

For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org

For more information about the Middlesex Canal Association and Museum go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org/museum/index.html

For more information about the Middlesex Canal Commission go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org/commission/

Cue sheet for the Oct 2, 2010 Ride (similar to what had been planned for Oct 2017)

2017 Fall Walk – Sunday, October 15, 2017
This walk is jointly listed as a local walk of the Boston Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Middlesex Canal Association. On Sunday, October 15, 2017 those planning to join the walk should meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center on 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica. The walk will take 2-3 hours, rain or shine, over generally level wooded terrain and streets. The route follows the canal for a round trip of approximately 3 miles south of the Concord River. Sites to be visited include: two guard locks; an anchor stone and the ‘peninsula’ at the opposite ends of the floating bridge that once carried the towpath across the Concord; the 1825 iron bolt pond-level reference; the “deep cut”; a smallpox memorial marker; and stretches of canal some of which are still watered. The walk will be led by Robert Winters and Marlies Henderson.

Fall Meeting – Sunday, October 22, 2017
On Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 1:00pm the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a public meeting at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA. Bill Kuttner, the featured speaker, is a transportation planner at the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) in Boston where he works on a range of studies often focusing on freight transportation. He grew up in southern California where he sought out Spanish missions and remnants of Red Car lines, and rowed a boat in Long Beach harbor to try to get a peek of the Spruce Goose when it was Howard Hughes’ personal property.

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.

Tom Raphael - Dec 7, 2016
Tom Raphael - Dec 7, 2016
Tom Raphael - May 5, 2002
Tom Raphael - May 5, 2002

Raphael, Thomas
Of Winchester passed away peacefully on August 27, 2017. Beloved husband of late Elva W. (Holmes) Raphael. Loving father of William G. Raphael of Wakefield, Constance J. Raphael and her husband Kenneth W. Leach of Medford, the late Allan T. Raphael and his wife Suzanne of Blue Point, NY and the late David G. Raphael. Dear grandfather of Pamela S. Raphael of Blue Point, NY. At the family's request all services will be private. Late veteran US Navy WWII. [Details and online condolences]

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.

Other Canal-Related Events

Week, Sept 24-28, 2017 – World Canals Conference 2017 will be based in Syracuse, New York. 2017 will mark the 200th Anniversary of the start of construction on the Erie Canal.

Recent Events

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 1:00pm – MCA Spring Meeting
Speaker: Susan Stetson Clarke
Topic: 50th Anniversary of the publication of The Limner’s Daughter

Mary Stetson Clarke (1911-1994) wrote a history of the Middlesex Canal (1793-1860) published in 1974, of even date with the photograph of her above with what looks like the newly published history in her hand. The public is invited to hear Susan Stetson Clarke, a daughter of Mrs. Clarke, speak of her mother and celebrate with the members of the Middlesex Canal Association, the fiftieth anniversary of Clarke's historical novel, The Limner's Daughter, which has as its major setting the Middlesex Canal and as characters, Loammi Baldwin, builder of the canal, his friend, Benjamin Thompson, a spy for the British during the Revolution, and his daughter, Sally Thompson, Countess Rumford.

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.

Mary Stetson Clarke - 1974
Mary Stetson Clarke, Wilmington 1974

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]
If the ride is rescheduled, that information will be posted here.

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]

Bike Tour South - April 1, 2017

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.


Notice of Annual Meeting (Middlesex Canal Commission): [This meeting was cancelled.]

The Annual Meeting of the Middlesex Canal Commission will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 3:15pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum, Faulkner Mills, 71 Faulkner Street, Billerica MA.

Members or their designees or alternate are requested to attend. Visitors welcome.



Thomas Raphael

Thomas Lincoln
Vice Chairman

Michael McInnis

Betty M. Bigwood

Charles Anderson
Asst. Treasurer


1. Registration

2. Introductions, Chairman

3. Secretary's Report

4. Treasurer's Report

5. Phase II, Extant 19 Segments

a. Woburn Segment 5 - reinvigorate

i. Political contacts

ii. MA Historical involvement

6. Phase IV, Signs — rules and procedures

7. Section Activities Reports

a. Lowell

b. Chelmsford

c. Billerica

d. Wilmington

e. Woburn

f. Winchester

g. Medford

h. Somerville

i. Charlestown

8. New Business

9. Election of Officers

10. Adjournment

C/O NMCOG 40 Church Street, Suite 200, Lowell, MA 01852-2686, Tel: 978-454-8021

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
Abbott's Landing by Louis Linscott (1876-1996)


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.

One Canal Invitation

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 events@aimco.com 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

One Canal Rooftop View

MCA President J Breen holding one panel of Dahill’s mural
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 seeing one of six panels to be hung

Artist Tom Dahill at the installation at One Canal
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.

Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 1:00pm – Winter Meeting (Speaker: Tom Dahill, “Summit Pond, Middlesex Canal, Circa 1822”)

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.

Sunday, Oct 25, 2015. Middlesex Canal Association Fall Meeting

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

MCA Fall Walk: Sunday, October 18, 2015

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.

Saturday, October 17, 2015. 13th Bike Tour North, starting at 9am, Sullivan Square, Charlestown

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).

Poster for Spring 2015 Middlesex Canal Bike Tour (PDF)

April 12, 2015 Canal Ride South
April 12, 2015 Canal Ride South

Attorney Arthur L. Eno, Jr. 1924 - 2014
Arthur Louis Eno was a founder and the first President of the Middlesex Canal Association (1962-1972)

Arthur Louis Eno, Jr.Attorney Arthur L. Eno, Jr. was born in Lowell April 27, 1924 and died August 6, 2014, a stone's throw from where he grew up overlooking the Merrimack River in the city he loved.

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 dick.bauer@alum.mit.edu (617-628-6320); Robert at robert@middlesexcanal.org; or Bill at bkuttner@ctps.org (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 (robert@middlesexcanal.org) or Marlies Henderson (978-663-3345).

Robert Winters addressing the crowd
Walk leader Robert Winters telling tales during the Fall Walk, October 2014

Robert Winters jingles the rings
Walk leader Robert Winters jingles the rings of the anchor stone of the floating towpath, October 2014

Campaign Launched

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.


June 2014

Dear Community Members,

The Middlesex Canal Association is excited to announce a major step towards preserving the history of the Middlesex Canal. We have recently been granted the deed to an 1880's warehouse which is on the banks of the Summit Mill Pond, aside the canal where the ceremonial ground breaking took place 220 years ago and adjacent to the future Middlesex Canal Heritage Park in North Billerica. This is a significant opportunity to build a New Canal Museum and we need your help.

The Middlesex Canal was one of the first major transportation canals in the United States and was largely responsible for the initial growth of Boston as a world city. This "Incredible Ditch" served as a commercial network for the towns of Lowell, Chelmsford, Billerica, Wilmington, Woburn, Winchester, Medford, Somerville and Charlestown. Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin declared in 1808 that the canal was "the greatest work of its kind in the United States to date."

The Middlesex Canal Association strives to acquire, restore, and preserve all extant remains of the old Middlesex Canal. Our programs include teacher and student education, maintaining a historical archive and web site, thrice-yearly lectures, publication of our journal Towpath Topics, bicycle tours and guided walks along the canal. The Association is also proud to have maintained an all volunteer run Museum and Visitor Center for the past thirteen years.

We are making an appeal to all in our community to help fund this project. In the first phase, we want to hire an architect, develop a plan of approach, construct a bridge to access the building, and rebuild the roof. The second phase will bring to completion a new Canal Museum and Visitor Center for the benefit of present and all future generations.

We have chosen your name with special care. We want to start work this summer and funds are urgently needed. Please contact us at fundraising@middlesexcanal.org or 978-670-2740 for more information about this amazing project.


J Jeremiah Breen
MCA President


Warehouse - Future Museum

2 Old Elm Street
Billerica, Massachusetts 01862

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:
The Middlesex Canal Association/New Museum and send to:
Howard B. Winkler, Treasurer MCA
1010 Waltham Street, Apt 205
Lexington, Massachusetts 02421

Shawsheen Aqueduct - October 2013
Remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct, N. Billerica - October 2013

(Photo by Cathy Norton)

Bigwood Bridge
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.

Dick Bauer
Why is Dick Bauer smiling? Because 34 people joined him on
the Spring Bike Ride along the Canal route (Apr 7, 2013).
Traci Jensen, Bill Gerber, and Debbie
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.

Middlesex Canal Association 50th Anniversary Celebrants

Fall Walk, Oct 21, 2012 - Pictures by Russ Silva

Middlesex Canal Commission Receives Grant for Walking & Biking Trails along Canal in Woburn

One World BostonOneWorld 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]

Alfred to School Street

Heritage Corridor Map Book (4.6MB, 41 page PDF)
[Note: Use landscape format for printing pages]

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
75 ft. Buffer

Brochure for the April 25, 2009 Spring Walk in Medford and Winchester. (sequenced pages)

Brochure for the April 25, 2009 Spring Walk in Medford and Winchester. (spreads for 2-sided printing)

Southern terminus of the Middlesex Canal (Sullivan Square, Charlestown)
[Canal Street is now Rutherford Street]

Incorporation - page 1

Incorporation - page 2

1794. - Chap. 0067
[January Session, ch. 43]

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.

Middlesex Canal Bibliography

For some historical perspective, try this:

From the April 2005 issue of Towpath Topics:
Middlesex Canal Facts

From the archives:

[This article originally appeared in the April 1968 issue of Towpath Topics (Vol. 6, No. 1).]


[This article was originally published in two parts in the April 1969 and September 1969 issues of Towpath Topics. It was prepared by the author as a course paper at Nasson College, and was revised by the author for publication (1969).]

Pleasure Barge - watercolor by Thomas Dahill
(story in a recent issue of Towpath Topics)

Plaque at Sandy Beach on the Upper Mystic Lake

1890 photo of the remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct of the Middlesex Canal (from a glass slide)

Towpath Topics
(newsletter of the Middlesex Canal Association)

Communication from Robert Fulton
(from the September 1994 and March 2000 issues of Towpath Topics)

The Canal Boat by Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Hawthorne's account of a trip on the Erie Canal, originally published in the December 1835 issue of New-England Magazine, as transcribed by the University of Rochester.)

The First Issue:
Canal News - October 1963 (vol. 1, no. 1)
(added May 12, 2003)

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
Mogan Center Archives
at UMass Lowell

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".

Linscott painting of Horn Pond Inn

Officers and Directors of the
Middlesex Canal Association

By-Laws of the
Middlesex Canal Association

Calendar of meetings of the
Middlesex Canal Association
and Museum volunteering

Middlesex Canal Publications
Order Form (PDF)
Order Form (HTML)
(updated March 2013)


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)

Middlesex Canal Museum from anchor stone
Anchor stone of the floating towpath (foreground)
Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors Center at Faulkner Mills (background)

the known universe http://middlesexcanal.org