Middlesex Canal Association    P.O. Box 333    Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Volume 16, No. 2    April, 1978


SATURDAY, APRIL 29th at 200 P.M.

Thompson Library, 33 Elm Street, North Woburn

Election of officers        Important BY-LAW changes

Reports of the Middlesex Canal Commissioners

Commissioners will step forward to tell of their progress in obtaining, funding and their plans for canal projects in their respective cities/towns.

Displays by the M.A.P.C. and the N.R.P.C.


TOUR - After the meeting you are urged to visit the Count Rumford House at very nearby 90 Elm St.

Count Rumford (Benjamin Thompson) was an eccentric, Revolutionary spy, a pupil and friend of Loammi Baldwin, a brilliant inventor who made basic breakthroughs in the science of heat and heat engineering. Models of his inventions, prepared by M.I.T. are on display at this historic house.

You may also visit the lovely garden behind the house.


The annual meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association for the election of officers and directors, the hearing of reports and any other business which shall come before the meeting, will be held on Saturday, April 29, 1978 at 2:00 P.M. at the Thompson Library, 33 Elm Street, North Woburn.

At this meeting the directors will propose two sections to be added to the by-laws, in order to qualify the Association for tax exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code. The amendments to be proposed are as follows:

To add to the by-laws the following sections:

VII. DISSOLUTION. In the event of the dissolution of the corporation, all the assets of the corporation shall be distributed to such non-profit library, archive or historical society as the directors shall select, with the approval of the members.

(a) The activities of the corporation shall never be conducted so as to enure to the private benefit of any officer, director or member; no part of the funds of the corporation shall be distributed to any member for personal gain, except as reimbursement for expenses paid or incurred, or services actually rendered.

(b) No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall include the carrying on the propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation or participating in or intervening in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign in behalf of any candidate for public office. It is intended that the corporation shall be exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and shall not be a private foundation under section 509(a) of the Code.

(c) In the event the corporation should be classified as a private foundation under section 509 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code, then, notwithstanding any other provisions of the Articles of Organization or by-laws:

(i) the directors shall distribute the income for each taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to become subject to the tax on undistributed income imposed by section 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code; and

(ii) the directors shall not engage in any act of self-dealing, as defined in Section 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code; nor retain any excess business holdings as defined in section 4943(c) of the Code; nor make investments in such manner as to incur tax liability under section 4944 of the Code; nor make any taxable expenditure, as defined in section 4945(d) of the Code.


Welcome to our 175th celebration year! Indeed, it is 175 years since the opening of the Middlesex Canal in 1803 and the grand ball held in the 1790 House, just above the Baldwin Mansion, by chief Engineer of the canal, Loammi Baldwin. So... we are thinking of a Grand Ball? It is in its planning stages according to Middlesex Canal Commissioners and M.C.A. Board Members Tom Smith and Len Harmon.

Because of the watery nature of our Historic Monument, the Middlesex Canal, it seems that the best time to celebrate is the good old summertime! So.. You've always wanted to be drawn by horse on the towpath of the Middlesex Canal at the leisurely pace of 3 m.p.h. as in the old New England canal days... to seemingly drift past the alders and button bushes on the berm bank, enjoy the deft steering by the oarsman and the skilled performance of the horse and driver?

On this special year, our big social event has been deferred to August 19th, for by this magic date it is assumed that draft horse, Lightfoot will be finely honed to his whipple tree traces and harness and the 2/3 mile towpath run up and down the North Woburn section of our grand old canal. Since only 40 persons at once may ride on the "Colonel Baldwin" packet boat, other members will be invited to take a bus tour of the aqueducts, the recently restored remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct in Billerica, The Maple Meadow Brook Aqueduct in Wilmington and the restored section of canal on Rt. 129, The Aberjona Aqueduct site at Sandy Beach, Winchester, also taverns and points of interest along the way. At some designated time, packet boat riders and bus tour riders will switch places and thus be able to enjoy both excursions. You will be invited also to picnic on the canal banks at Woburn's Canal Heritage Park. It is hoped that you will plan your summer around this big celebration day! Come in costume if you wish! Reservations and details will be sent later to you.

Ever since I joined the M.C.A., the worry over the loosened granite blocks of our National Historic Landmark, the Shawsheen Aqueduct had plagued us all. Since I was on hand at a few of the many meetings, I appreciate the great amount of work expended by the Billerica Planning Board, the Billerica Historical Commission, the Public Works Office, the Billerica Selectmen's Office, our past President Wilbar M. Hoxie who used his civil engineering expertise to draw up the complex specifications and the dedication of M.C.A. Members Dr. Charles Stearns and Mr. Robert Valyou who were key figures in the implementation of this fine preservation effort. Now, once more we can look at our tallest and best preserved aqueduct remains and breaths easier because we know it is more secure.

Our Annual Meeting this year is a most important one. We will hear our Middlesex Canal Commissioners give progress reports on funding and work projects in their respective towns/cities in regard to the canal. By-law changes MUST be made and voted on by a quorum of Proprietors. I as looking forward to seeing you all on April 29th at the Thompson Library, North Woburn at 2:00 P.M.!

Your President,
Fran VerPlanck

P.S. May I suggest that you plan your summer family reunions around a Sunday P.M. on the "Colonel Baldwin" on the Middlesex Canal.. with grandmas, aunts, cousins granduncles, grandchildren and all. We did it last summer and they are all raving about this climax to a grand canal dream.. riding the canal for real!


This list has been included for the information of the Membership and the hope that nominations will be made from the floor at the upcoming Annual Meeting. According to the BY-LAWS of the Middlesex Canal Association, only Proprietors may officially vote in business meetings and only Proprietors may hold office. The Following, having paid their dues for the 1977-1978 year, are Proprietors.

Mr. Arthur Anderson, Boston
Mr. Joseph Azzarito, Woburn
Mr. Robert Baldwin, Belmont
Mr. Herbert Baldwin, Cambridge
Dr. Kenneth Bird, Lexington
Mr. John M. Boardman, Belmont
* Mr. Malcolm Choate, Reading
- Mr. Edwin L. Clarke, Melrose
- Mrs. Mary S. Clarke, Melrose
Mr. David Dettinger, Winchester
Mr. Brenton H. Dickson, Weston
Mr. James DeNormandie, Lincoln
Mr. Richard K. Donahue, Lowell
Mr. John H. Donald, Jr., Reading
Mrs. Marjorie B. Dunlop, Dracut
* Mr. Arthur Louis Eno, Carlisle
Mr. John H. Ericson, Malden
Mr John R. Flather, Lowell
Mr. Francis H. Gleason, Lincoln
The Hancock Press, (Mrs. G. Robinson) Lexington        
Mr. Bradley L. Haigh, Arlington, Va.
Mr. Kenneth P. Harkins, Lowell
*+ Mr. Leonard Harmon, Woburn
Mr. Edmund C. Hession, Dorchester
Mr. Harley Holden, Shirley Center
Mr. Robert Holden, Ayer
* Lt. Col. Wilbar M. Hoxie, Reading
Ms. Elisabeth Irish, Lowell
Mrs. Theodore J. Kalikow, Cambridge
- Mr. Nolan Jones, Brussells, Belgium
* Mr. Clifford Jennings, Lowell
Mr. E. P. Kingsbury, Cambridge
*+ Mr. Joseph Kopycinski, No. Chelmsford
Ms. Helen R. Knight, Billerica
- Mr. Fred Lawson, Jr., Billerica
Mr. John E. Marshall, Belmont
Mr. Charles E. Mason, Jr., Chestnut Hill
Mr. James A. Monahan, Everett
Mrs. Edward Neilson, Wilmington
Mrs. Joseph P. De Pasquale, Medford
*- Mrs. Marion Potter, North Billerica
Mr. William Ricci, No. Billerica
Mr. James Rothwell, Hyde Park
- Mrs. Marlene F. Schroeder, Newbury
- Mr. Roland E. Shaine, Lexington
Mr. Edward Shanley, Winchester
Dr. Robert. L. Shirley, Winchester
Mr. Daniel E. Silverman, Bedford
+* Mr. Thomas Smith, Woburn
- Mr. John R. Snelling, Lincoln
+ Mr. Robert Valyou, Billerica
Mr. Herbert F. Verity, Cincinnati, Ohio
+* Mrs. Frances B. VerPlanck, Winchester
* Mr. W. K. VerPlanck, Winchester
Mr. George O. Viau, Alexandria, Va
Mr. Philip Waldron, Magnolia
Mr. D. Reid Weedon, Winchester
Mr. Henry G. Weaver, Lexington
Mr. Howard B. Winkler, Arlington
* Mr. Edward E. Wood, Dedham
Mr. William Wolfson, Wayland
Mr. Richard N. Wright, Syracuse, N.Y.
* Present Board Member
- Past Board Member
+ Member Middlesex Canal Commission


The Middlesex Canal Commission, organized by legislative action in the autumn of 1977, consists of representatives from each community along the canal route, from the state Senate and House, and from state and regional agencies (the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Northern Middlesex Area Commission, Department of Environmental Management, and Office of State Planning). The legislation empowered the Commission to plan, acquire, develop, and maintain land alongside and including the old canal route, for recreational and historical purposes. Another purpose to be pursued is the use of the canal theme, or of canal-related development, in more general economic or community development projects.

With no funding to date, the Commission has been busily researching and mapping the current physical state, ownership, and present development of the canal's route. As the Commission discusses alternative plans for development, its individual members are talking with local groups and officials about the prospect of local canal route development. Funds are being sought to acquire a planner's services in creating a unified park and preservation program.

The Commission is pursuing two types of development plans. Within the legislative act was a call for plans for design and creation of a State Heritage Park along the canal route, that would include urban and rural areas. More immediately, the Commission would like to spur state and local interest in placing walking and biking trails, and descriptive and directional signs, in appropriate (public) places. These small projects will hopefully generate sufficient excitement to make the larger, more comprehensive park plan more feasible.

The larger park, not yet formally planned, would be a linear green space, with historical and recreational nodes. These nodes would center on a preserved canal section or related structure, an existing or newly-developed active recreation area, or a significant new housing or other development near the canal route. There are several alternatives for the development and management of such a park. The legislation directs the commission to recommend to the Department of Environmental Management the nature of state involvement. One alternative is the development of a state park, managed by DEM. This would likely require a Capital Outlay appropriation, a time-consuming process. Canal Commission development and management would require operating and capital appropriations, as the Commission is not now set up for general management. For segments of the canal route within Metropolitan District Commission Darks, the Canal Commission may request canal-related recreation development. If such requests coincide with MDC recreational purposes, the development can be executed and managed by the MDC park program. The fourth long-range development alternative follows the current Commission efforts: encouraging and coordinating local historical, recreational, and development efforts in and near the canal.

Of the three major thrusts of present Commission activity -- locally-sponsored hiking/biking trails and small-scale parks, directional and descriptive signs, and publicity -- the first is being pursued by local Commission members, the second by relevant state agencies, and the third by all parties. Local Commission members are now approaching their local officials, historical commissions, and conservation boards, with ideas for recreational and historical development of canal-route areas, and with suggestions for possible funding sources. These funding sources include local money (including Community Development funds) and state-administered funds such as Land and Water Conservation, Self-Help, Urban Self-Help, Historical Preservation, and CETA (for assistance with actual design and construction work). The legislation suggests state Department of Public Works assistance with sign construction and placement. The Department of Environmental Management may also be able to assist a sign program, out of operating funds. Local historical commissions and the Middlesex Canal Association can best decide the nature, wording, and placement of signs. Publicity is being achieved through meetings, conversations, and articles such as this.

As a striking example of what historical and recreational development can achieve, the Woburn Historical Commission has overseen development of a five-mile jogging trail, the "Towpath Trail," alongside the canal route, and has built a canal packet boat that is drawn on an original section of the canal. Related structures that have been renovated include the Thompson Library, Bald-win mansion, 1790 House, and Rumford House.

There are many prospects for further canal-area development, several of these along the lower, more highly-urbanized sections of the canal route. In Medford, the 1804 Tavern and the Brooks Estate include land near the canal route. The latter parcel is large enough to accommodate a biking and running trail near the canal route. The MDC park along the Mystic Lakes is a valuable recreational asset, located adjacent to the canal route.

The Commission is still working out its programs and goals. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Len Harmon (Chairman) or Tom Smith at the Woburn Historical Commission, City Hall (01801). Circulate this article; let's gain additional support for the canal program and for recreation/ preservation in general.



The Committee of the board of Directors of Middlesex Canal, to whom Authority is given to settle accounts with the admr's of the late Loammi Baldwin, Esq'r deceased, having examined the statement thereof as made out from his minutes - are of opinion that he (the deceased could never have intended to make those minutes charges against the Middlesex Canal Corporation, for the following reasons:

1st because 95 days therein charged by the Administrators are for services alledged to be performed in procuring enactment of the Canal Bridge Corporation, so called, and for attendance at the General Court. He being at the same time a member of the Court, a member of the Board of Directors, *and one of a Committee of seven gentlemen equally engaged in the same object, who have not brought accounts against the Corporation for services: - Indeed the fact is that the Canal Corporation has had no concern in said bridge.

2. From the language and manner in which the minutes are express'd they appear to be mere memorandums of the manner of spending his time, being often indefinite - often the same thing over again and often without affecting anything - frequently meeting the Committee of operations, probably for an hour, when in the account a whole day is charged, and sometimes at home when certain business has been attended to in the course of the day - the day is charg'd in the statement as if it had all been employed in the Canal service.

3. Because most of the business mentioned are remains of what belonged to the official duty of the Superintendent in preceding years for which he received his pay -- In addition to which, at the time in question the Superintendency haven fallen on Mr. Jaques, with whom (and at whose request sometimes) Co. Baldwin appears in a number of instances to have acted. -- He was then assisting Mr. Jaques, or transferring the business to him. Mr. Jaques has done the same kind of thing to his successor without thinking of charging for his time.

4. Because in the course of the Canal business the Directors have invariably given their time and labor to the Corp. without any compensation, and to a much greater extent than Col. Baldwin did in the last three years - when he was a director. And when it is recollected that he was a considerable- proprietor, and a very public spirited man & that he gave land for the Canal to pass through his far, & always from the beginning felt a deep interest in the success of the enterprize, it is impossible for the Committee to believe he would have made a charge of Five Dollars a day for every day in which he did any thing. towards closing the remains of the business in which he had been principally conversant under pay.

The Committee therefore refuse to allow any of the charges made by the administrators for time and services alledged, and direct the Agency of the Corporation to state an account agains the said adm'rs comprehending the other articles of the account, and demand the balance that will appear to be due, and if need be to legal measures to recover the same.

Boston, Sept. 23rd 1811  (Dexter)     (Weld)**

*It must be remembered that, at the time in question, the Massachusetts General Court was not regulated by any conflict of interest law.

** These names appear in pencil and are obviously the members of the Committee making the report.