Middlesex Canal Association    P.O. Box 333    Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Volume 19, No. 2    April, 1981


The annual meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association, for the election of directors and officers, will take place on Saturday, April 11, 1981 at the Museum of Transportation, Museum Wharf, 300 Congress Street, Boston, at 5:15 p.m., immediately preceding the reception.


At 5:30 P.M. at the Museum of Transportation, reception in honor of the opening of the Middlesex Canal Exhibit. Please use enclosed form for reservations.

SATURDAY, APRIL 11 at Museum Wharf


I plan to come and bring guests.



Mail to: Middlesex Canal Association c/o W. K. VerPlanck
37 Calumet Road
Winchester, Mass. 01890


The spring programs of the Middlesex Canal Association are hitting the "big time' as you can see as you read on. The headlines are:

- Saturday, April 11 at 5:30 P.M. at the Museum of Transportation, Museum Wharf to celebrate the opening of the Middlesex Canal Exhibit there.

We are planning a Champagne Reception where M.C.A. members will meet Transportation Museum officials and State officials and beginning at 5:30 enjoy champagne and hors d'oeuvres. It is hoped that members will get together afterwards with friends to dine at one of the many restaurants in the area as: Victoria Station, Pier 4, Rusty Scupper, Chart House and Kevin's Wharf. Please note the reservation form for the Museum of Transportation reception. Please return it as soon as possible.

We are pleased to include a picture of the Woburn Five Cents Savings Bank presentation and extend our gratitude for their most generous gift making this fine exhibit possible!

- Sunday, May 24th Lowell Canal Tour Day by canal barge and antique rail car and walking, led by Lowell National Historical tour guides. Board member and Assistant Lowell National Historical Park Director, John Debo has arranged this very grand day for us. We are most grateful to him and the wonderful tour guides! The whole day has been reserved for the M.C.A. All calls for reservations will be handled through the Park Service. We expect to fill the whole day. However if you do not reserve a place before May 20th the tours at the end of the day will open to the general public. So be sure to sign up early! The Lowell Canal Tours are already heavily booked! Please get together with your M.C.A. friends and guests as you make these reservations. You are urged to bring a box lunch which you may leave at the reservation station to picnic with your friends when you so desire beside a Lowell Canal. The tours will run rain or shine. At the reservation station, Middlesex Canal materials and books and our displays will be ready for perusal and purchase. Please read carefully Mr. Debo's further instructions for joining this Mill and Canal Tour.

Sundays in July and August must be reserved now for
Middlesex Canal packet boat rides on the Col. Baldwin pulled by horse. This summer only 4 days have been set aside to run these towpath rides! These Sundays are July 12 and July 26th. The Sundays in August are the 9th and the 23rd. Rides start at the Baldwin Landing beside the Baldwin Mansion in North Woburn at the junction of routes 38 and 128. These rides are truly the greatest and the only horsedrawn tow path rides that take place here in New England. Call Len Harmon 935-3561 to hold a reservation.

While in Lowell a visit to our Archives is always in order. Board Member Joe Kopycinski is head librarian at the Lowell University Lydon Library and his assistant Martha Mayo is there in the rare book section to welcome you and show off the treasures of our Middlesex Canal. For the Museum of Transportation Exhibit they are making it possible for us to reproduce the large and most wonderful Lasher map in addition to the loan of certain of our artifacts.

The Baldwin Mansion is to be made into a restaurant! This is good news, for it is a viable way to make this fine building a meeting place for us and enhance the enjoyment of our Col. Baldwin rides on the old towpath, making it truly an old time canal corner.

We have in this issue included a letter to the Alexander Market owners who are building a restaurant uncomfortably close to the Middlesex Canal Locks on the banks of the Merrimack River. Board Members Joe Kopycinski and Leonard Harmon have discussed our concerns with them and this letter shows how they go about this important aspect of the Middlesex Canal Commission Work. We hope all our members will alert us when any part of the canal is in danger of further oblivion.

I look forward to meeting all of you very soon.

Fran Ver Planck


MAY 24, 1981

On Sunday, May 24, the Lowell National Historical Park has reserved 9 "Mill and Canal" Tours for members of the Middlesex Canal Association. Each tour lasts three hours, and provides an opportunity to see first hand Lowell's magnificent system of transportation and power canals. The bulk of the tour is by canal barge and antique rail car, however, a small amount of walking is involved. Each tour is limited to 32 person capacity, and tour departure times are at 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, and 3 o'clock.

Reservations for Middlesex Canal Association members and their guests will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis, beginning on April 1, 1981. To make a reservation, call the Lowell National Historical Park at (617) 459-1000, and request your preferred departure time for a Mill and Canal Tour on May 24th -- be sure to identify yourself as a member of the Middlesex Canal Association, or you will not be able to reserve a tour for. that date. Directions to Lowell and the tour starting point should be obtained at the time reservations are made. The tours will operate rain or shine; dress accordingly, and wear comfortable walking shoes. There is no charge for the tour. Be sure to make your tour reservation by Wednesday, May 20, as this is the last date that tour openings will be held open exclusively for MCA members.

The National Park Service will provide the Middlesex Canal Association with a registration station which will be located close by the tour starting point, and members are urged to sign in. New members will also be recruited throughout the day.

February 27, 1981

Dear Mr. Brooks:

The Middlesex Canal Commission is most appreciative of your cooperation in regard to the preservation of such remains of the Middlesex Canal as may be revealed during the excavation in connection with your proposed development near the Merrimack River in Lowell.

It is our understanding that your excavation will be approximately sixteen to twenty feet deep in the general canal and lock area. The 1979 report from Industrial Archeology Associates states that 'the level of fill is nearly thirty feet above the lowest features one might expect to encounter'; it is therefore unlikely, although not impossible, that trench remnants or the lock may be unearthed. There is a good possibility, however, that Canal related artifacts may turn up. We do ask that, should you encounter any such artifacts, or evidence of the trench, or of the stone locks, the Canal Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Commission be promptly notified so that we can work jointly towards appropriate preservation action.

We value your cooperation in this work and would be happy to discuss ways of recognizing the Canal route, its history and relationship to industrial development in the Greater Lowell Area by indoor or outdoor exhibits and signs at your developed site. As you know, there is a wealth of Canal information and memorabilia in the University of Lowell archives. Some of it may be suitable for reproduction as part of a permanent or temporary exhibit.

We look forward to continuing work with you.

Dist.: Mass. Hist. Comm.
Lowell Hist. Comm.
Lowell Canal Comm.
Very truly yours,
Leonard H. Harmon, Chairman


Boston Museum of Transportation staffers are now well under way preparing the Middlesex Canal exhibit scheduled for completion for the Association's April 11th fete at the Museum. The Canal exhibit is being funded by the Association through a generous donation by the Woburn Five Cents Savings Bank. According to Museum exhibit coordination director Shari West, designer Dave Seibert has completed overall exhibit design and Museum personnel are now at work on its various components.

A number of documents now on loan from the Association are being framed. Documents include a toll rate sheet, rules statement, bill of lading, bills for work done, and a canal passport.

In the meantime, custom cases have been designed for Canal Association artifacts that will also be placed in the exhibit including a shovel, ice skates, and models of the Canal and a canal boat.

West and other Museum staff members are in the process of writing supporting text which will be given to Association experts for a final check prior to typesetting.

The Middlesex Canal section will form a fascinating component of the Museum's walk-through exhibition, Boston/A City in Transit, which explores 350 years of Boston and vicinity transportation. West points out that the program and tour staffs are most excited about having the exhibit ready to present to the many school groups who visit the Museum in the late spring as well as the heavy upcoming tourist season.

"We've long felt the need for a piece on canals", says West. "Now that this short-lived but very important element of our transportation evolution will be represented, we'll really be providing a complete overview of our social as well as technical heritage."


The Museum of Transportation, located on the Boston waterfront has announced that it will shortly complete the preparation of a permanent gallery of exhibits reflecting the development and importance of the Middlesex Canal to the history of the region's transportation. The area will contain numerous canal models, artifacts and graphic displays.

This major assemblage of historic Middlesex Canal memorabilia is being made possible by a most generous donation from the Woburn Five Cents Savings Bank. As the area of Winchester and Woburn was the center of the canal's social and commercial life, the local financial institution was most interested in seeing that this important exhibit be successfully carried through to completion.

Shown presenting the bank's donation for the museum exhibit are (1 to r): Vernon Parkhurst, President of the Woburn Five; Mrs. Frances Ver Planck, President of the Middlesex Canal Association; and Leonard Harmon, Chairman of the State Canal Commission.

The Middlesex Canal Association and the State's Canal Commission are serving as the overall technical consultants to the Museum of Transportation for the program.

According to our records, 47 of our present membership joined in 1964, the year the Middlesex Canal Association was organized.- Thirty nine others of the present membership joined the Association in the subsequent 5 years. In recognition of their loyal support, these early joiners are listed as follows:


Marion Adler, Bedford
Robert Baldwin, Belmont*
Herbert N. Baldwin, Cambridge
Arnold H. Barben, Seneca Falls, N.Y.**
Henry H. Baxter, Buffalo, N.Y.
Lilian Birrell, Auburndale
Gordon C. Brainerd, Billerica
Isobel M. Cheney, Somerville
Malcolm Choate, Reading
R. Allen Cunningham, Lincoln
Lawrence R. DeBenedictis, No. Billerica
David Dettinger, Winchester
Brenton H. Dickson, Weston
Alan Dietch, Foster City, Cal.
Hans Dolezalek, Alexandria, Va.
Daniel F. Dunn, Dorchester
A. Louis Eno, Carlisle
Doris G. Fellows, Belmont
Richard H. Fitzpatrick, Lexington
Bernard C. Harcourt, Tewksbury
Harley P. Holden, Shirley Center
Robert U. Holden, Ayer
Wilbar M. Hoxie, Reading
Edith Hoxie, Reading
Elizabeth Irish, Lowell
Kenneth James, Melrose
Frederick L. Lawson, Jr., Billerica
Harriet P. Leach, Billerica
Richard D. Manning, No. Billerica
Malcolm H. Masters, Winchester
James H. McGinness, Medford
Anna Mikkola, Bedford
Margaret E. Mills, Belfast, Me.
Frank E. Mueller, Littleton
Howard C. Nason, Lexington
Peter D. Peterson, Melrose
Marion Potter, No. Billerica
Clarence E. Purrington, Wakefield
Rowena H. Robinson, Lexington
Roland E. Shaine, Lexington
Charles A. Snelling, So. Lincoln
Alice O. Stickney, Lowell
Gustav Wagner, No. Billerica
Ruth Westcott, Tewksbury
Richard N. Wright, Syracuse, N.Y.
Esther Goodale, Reading
Theodore Chase, Dover
Richard K. Donahue, Lowell
John A. Goodwin, Chelmsford
Edith H. Howlett, Quincy
Brendan D. Leahey, Lowell
J. Hayward Madden, Livonia, N.Y.
Charles E. Mason, Jr. Chestnut Hill
Andrew G. Meyer, Sherbon
John R. Snelling, Lincoln
Dirk J. Struik, Belmont
Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Valyou, Orlando, Fla.
Herbert F. Verity, Cincinnati, Oh.
Edmund C. Hession, Dorchester
Allister F. MacDougall, Westford
Wilbur C. Nylander, Belmont
James Wilson, Staten Island, N.Y.
Howard B. Winkler, Arlington
Edwin L. Clarke, Melrose
Mary Stetson Clarke, Melrose
Frances H. Gleason, Lincoln Center
Robert F. Grandy, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Marion E. Hazel, Jr. No. Revere
Nolan Jones, Winchester
James A. O'Boyle, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Robert B. Severy, Weymouth
William E. Trout, III, Duarte, Cal.
Henry R. Valley, Cleveland, Oh.
Marjorie B. Dunlap, Dracut
Mrs. Frank G. Elliot, New Paltz, N.Y.
Grace Elliot, New Paltz, N.Y.
David A. Heuser, Wilmington
Llewella P. Jones, New York, N.Y.
Joseph V. Kopycinski, No. Chelmsford
Albert Richardson, Jr., Billerica
Arthur W. Sweeton, III. Newington, Conn.
George O. Viau, Alexandria, Va.
William Wolfson, Wayland
*Died in 1979; Mrs. Baldwin is continuing his Proprietorship
**Died in 1978; Mrs. Barben is continuing his membership