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
is open noon to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, except holidays.
See the Calendar for exact dates.
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
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.
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,
||1981 - 1983
|Nolan T. Jones
||1983 - 1985
||1985 - 1987
|David A. Fitch
||1987 - 1990
||1990 - 1994
|Nolan T. Jones
||1994 - 2010
|William E. Gerber, Jr.
||2010 - 2011
|J. Jeremiah Breen
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Colonel Loammi Baldwin gets his sword
National Canal Museum
(in Easton, PA)
Calendar of Middlesex Canal Association Events and Related Events
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.
Sun, Feb 9, 2014 — Middlesex Canal Association Winter Meeting
The Winter Meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 1pm in the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center, 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica, MA. Our speaker will be Patricia Henry. Her topic is “Billerica’s Utopia”, a planned community from 100 years ago. This was the focus of her master’s degree thesis published at http://tinyurl.com/krq214x. The recognition that North Billerica received as a result of her thesis was from the American Institute of Certified Planners – a National Historic Planning Landmark- in 2005.
“The development was prompted when the Boston & Maine Railroad announced in 1912 it would build a $3 million repair shop in Billerica, which would cause a two-to three-fold population increase in the rural community. To avoid overcrowding, squalor and associated public health risks evident in nearby industrialized communities, the Billerica Board of Trade decided to implement the innovations of the Massachusetts Homestead Commission. The board’s goal was to develop a progressive community where workers would be able to own their own homes with gardens, playgrounds etc.”
The Billerica Garden Suburb is one of the 4 utopias described in Robert Campbell’s “Forgotten Utopias” published in the Boston Globe which won a 1996 Pulitzer Prize [pulitzer.org/archives/5828]. The entrance to Billerica’s utopia is one block east of our Museum, i.e. midway between our Museum and the North Billerica train station. Along with our Museum the presence of the utopia is another reason to visit us here at the Billerica Falls on the Concord River. Please join us for good conversation and refreshments.
Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 1:00-2:30pm: Artist Talk - Thomas Dahill Illustrating the Middlesex Canal (Bestsellers Cafe, 24 High Street, Medford, MA) –
Acclaimed artist Thomas Dahill will present a brief history of the old Canal which ran through Medford, with drawings and watercolors from the two books he illustrated, “The Incredible Ditch” and “Life on the Middlesex Canal”. He will also talk about the Middlesex Canal Museum in North Billerica, where he serves as its Resident Artist. The talk will be on illustrating the canal and will include a PowerPoint presentation and actual drawings. Thomas Dahill is a School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduate and a recipient of a painting fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. He has taught for many years at the Museum School and Emerson College, where he has chaired the Department of Fine Arts for 25 years. His works have been exhibited widely in Europe and America.
Sat, Apr 12, 2014: 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 1:07 or 3:14pm to return to Boston early. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded at http://www.mbcr.net) Participants responsible for one-way train fare [$6.75 from Boston to Lowell]. For changes or updates, see http://middlesexcanal.org. Leaders Bill Kuttner (617-241-9383) & Dick Bauer (857-540-6293).
Apr 20, 2014: Easter Sunday, the Middlesex Canal Museum will be closed.
Sun, Apr 27, 2014: Joint Middlesex Canal Association - Appalachian Mountain Club Spring Walk. This walk is jointly listed as a Local Walk of the Boston Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). “Show and Go”; meet 1:30pm at the Sandy (Shannon) Beach parking lot off the Mystic Valley Parkway by the Upper Mystic Lakes in Winchester. The walk will follow the route of the Middlesex Canal through parts of Medford and Winchester. Sites along the way include the aqueduct and mooring basin, those segments of the canal bed and berm visible off the parkway, and the stone wall of the Governor Brooks estate, in Medford. For additional information, contact Robert Winters (617-661-9230) or Roger Hagopian (781-861-7868).
Sun, May 4, 2014: Middlesex Canal Association Spring Meeting will be held in the museum, beginning at 1pm. Speaker TBD. Refreshments will be served.
Sun, Oct 5, 2014 - Bike Tour, north-bound, starting at 9:00am (tentative date)
Sun, Oct 19, 2014 - MCA-AMC Fall Walk, TBD (tentative date)
Sun, Oct 26, 2014 - MCA Fall Meeting (tentative date)
Other Canal-Related Events
Sat & Sun, Feb 15-16, 2014: New Bedford Whaling Museum, The River and the Rail: a Symposium on New Bedford’s Industrial Evolution. Synopsis at: whalingmuseum.org/sites/default/files/RiverRailSymposiumMailer.pdf. For tickets, information, and a list of speakers see www.whalingmuseum.org/programs/river-and-rail.
Sat, Mar 1, 2014: Canal Society of New York State; Winter Symposium, Rochester, NY. See www.newyorkcanals.org/explore_events.htm for more information.
Sat, Mar 1, 2014: Society for Industrial Archeology, New England Chapters Annual Conference. To be held at Plymouth State College, Plymouth NH, beginning at 9AM. Research papers will be presented describing America’s Industrial past. Additional information can be found at the chapter websites at www.sia-web.org/chapters/nnec/ and www.ecom-venture.com/snecsia/snecindex.html. [Conference Flyer]
Apr 25-27, 2014: Joint Pennsylvania Canal Society and Canal Society of Ohio Spring tour of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The American Canal Society directors’ meeting will be held in conjunction with this trip. The tour will be based in Akron, OH. For more information see www.pacanalsociety.org, www.canalsocietyohio.org and/or www.americancanals.org.
April 25-27, 2014: Virginia Canal and Navigations Society’ Annual Conference at Glen Maury Park, Buena Vista, VA
May 2-4, 2014: Canal Society of New York State Spring 2014 Field Trip will explore the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal; Headquarters will be in Hagerstown MD. Check http://www.newyorkcanals.org/ explore_events.htm for additional information.
May 15-18, 2014: Society for Industrial Archeology Annual Conference will be held in Portland, ME. Tours of Bath Iron Works and Maine Maritime Museum will be included. See www.sia-web.org for more information.
July 24 to Aug 3, 2014: Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration. A weeklong celebration will be filled with maritime-themed events, from historical exhibits and tall ships on display, to a tugboat parade and children’s activities along the canal. There will be an opening gala and a grand ball as well as a tour of the historic Charles W. Morgan, the last surviving wooden whaling ship. See www.capecodtoday.com/article/2013/01/19/16597-cape-cod-canal-centennial-coming-next-year for a synopsis, capecodcanalcentennial.com/events/ for a listing of events, and/or search for “Cape Cod Canal Centennial” for further information.
2014 - World Canals Conference, Navigli Lombardi, Milan, Italy
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.
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
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)
[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
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.
1890 photo of the remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct of the Middlesex Canal (from a glass slide)
(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".
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)
Anchor stone of the floating towpath (foreground)
Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors Center at Faulkner Mills (background)