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
museum2013 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 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.
Colonel Loammi Baldwin gets his sword
National Canal Museum
(in Easton, PA)
Remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct, N. Billerica - October 2013
(Photo by Cathy Norton)
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, Oct 20, 2013. Joint MCA-AMC Fall Middlesex Canal Walk, Woburn
Meet at 1:30pm at the the SE corner of the parking lot behind the Woburn Cinemas, along Rte. 128. Level, 3-mi., joint walk w/Appalachian Mountain Club along 2 sections of the historic canal. From Rte. 95/128 exit 35 in Woburn, take Rte. 38 S 0.1 mi., R onto Middlesex Canal Dr. past the Holiday Inn to the meeting place. Info: www.middlesexcanal.org. Phone 1-978-670-2740. L Robert Winters ((617) 661-9230; firstname.lastname@example.org), CL Roger Hagopian ((781) 861-7868 to 10pm).
Sun, Nov 3, 2013 - MCA's Fall Meeting will take place in the museum, at 1:00pm.
Our speakers will be Bob and Linda Barth who will tell us about the Delaware & Raritan and the Morris, the two principal canals of New Jersey. Refreshments will be served.
One of our nation's most successful towpath canals, the Delaware and Raritan has meandered across the narrow waist of New Jersey for more than 170 years. In 1866 it carried more tonnage than the more famous Erie Canal. The D&R transported men and supplies between New York and Philadelphia during three wars, and now provides the people of central New Jersey with both a water supply and a premier recreational facility. Author of many canal and travel articles, historian and frequent tour guide, Linda J. Barth will introduce you to the people, the bridges, the locks, and the aqueducts that made the canal work.
Complementing his wife Linda, past CSNJ President Bob Barth will provide a virtual tour of the Morris Canal. One of six towpath canals built to carry eastern Pennsylvania anthracite coal to market, the Morris connected Phillipsburg on the Delaware River with New York Harbor, opening in 1831 to Newark and in 1836 to Jersey City. A unique engineering marvel, this 102 mile canal crossed the highlands of New Jersey, overcoming more change in elevation than any other transportation canal ever built. Most of the elevation changes were accomplished through the use of 23 inclined planes, on which canal boats were carried up or down long and steep ramps on plane cars, i.e., open-ended cradles, that ran on rails.
Other Canal-Related Events
Oct 18-20, 2013 - Pennsylvania Canal Society - Fall Field Trip
Union Canal from Middletown to Reading including a tour of C. Howard Hiester Canal Museum, which shares the story and history of the Union and Schuykill Canals. Contact Bill Lampert <email@example.com> for more information.
Oct 18-20, 2013 - Canal Society of New York State
Based in Schenectady the tour will examine the storm and flood damage in this area of the Erie Canal.
Sat, Oct 26, 2013 - Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Society - Annual Heritage Hike
Evening dinner and program to follow. Details will be in September newsletter. Contact Marjorie Richman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 - World Canals Conference, Navigli Lombardi, Milan, Italy
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)