Middlesex Canal Association P.O. Box 333 Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Volume 27, No. 2 March, 1989
CANAL TOUR AND ANNUAL MEETING
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 1989
THE MIDDLESEX CANAL ASSOCIATION will hold a Canal Tour in Winchester and adjacent towns, followed by its Annual Meeting, also in Winchester, on Sunday, May 7.
TOUR: 1:30 p.m. Meet in the parking lot of the Jenks Senior Center, Winchester, across Washington Street from the Town Hall.
We will tour the route of the Middlesex Canal by car with stops at several points of special interest.
The first stop on the tour will be in West Medford at the Boston Avenue bridge, which was the site of the Gilson Lock and an aqueduct to carry the canal over the Mystic River.
The tour will then proceed along the Canal route in Winchester and will go as far as the new Canal Commission monument on Horn Pond in Woburn. From there we will return to the parking lot across from the Winchester Town Hall.
ANNUAL MEETING: 3:30 p.m. The Annual Meeting will take place after the tour in the Winchester Room of the newly renovated Town Hall. Following a short business meeting for the annual election and reports, Fran VerPlanck will present a brief slide show of the Middlesex Canal.
Refreshments will be served, and there will be an opportunity to socialize.
Both the tour and the meeting are open to the public. Please bring your family and friends. Questions? Call Fran VerPlanck at 729-2557.
This is an exciting issue, with a lot of interesting articles and useful news. I'm particularly pleased that the American Canal Society will be holding its annual meeting in Lowell over the Memorial Day Weekend, and that some of our members will be helping out with the program and bus tours.
Our programs just keep getting better. Special thanks to Dick Scott, for the hospitality we enjoyed at the Lowell State Heritage Park and our November meeting (I sure hope his gatekeeper friend will bring Colonel Baldwin or one of his contemporaries to a future meeting). And to Martha Hazen and Dave Barber, for sharing their slides of their trip on the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario at our February 5 meeting. We have had a chance to see living history (and hear how it's made) and living canals (and how they are enjoyed). Please let your officers and directors know if you've got any good ideas for future programs.
On the historic preservation front, we may not be gaining, but at least we don't seem to have lost much ground since the last issue. There are plans to rehabilitate and convert one of North Billerica's mills at the headwaters of the canal; and to establish historic districts that could include portions of the canal. The Judge Hadley house, at the Lowell terminus of the canal, hasn't been saved yet, but it hasn't been knocked down either (as of this writing). What's most promising is the number of local groups and city boards that are becoming interested in helping with historic projects. I hope our spring walk and programs will continue to create more interest in our local history.
Do your part - bring a friend to the next meeting or walk!
David Allan Fitch, President
Middlesex Canal Association
BILLERICA HISTORIC DISTRICT STUDY COMMITTEE FORMED
By order of the Selectmen, the Town of Billerica has established a committee to study the establishment of historic districts in Billerica. Several buildings and areas in the town, including the entire length of the Middlesex Canal Route through Billerica, are already on the State or National Registers of Historic Places. However, these designations provide little real protection for historic properties, as they only come into play when federal or state funding is involved.
The proposed local historic districts would have to be approved by the town meeting enacting a by-law establishing the districts, and regulations governing proposed alteration or demolition of historic structures in the districts. A permanent Historic District Committee would be established, to review proposed building changes in the districts.
The seven-member Study Committee is at a very early stage in its work, and no formal recommendations are expected until much later this year. In the past, three districts have been proposed: the town center; the North Billerica Mill District; and the Middlesex Canal. This committee could thus help preserve the remaining portions of the Middlesex Canal in Billerica. David Allan Fitch, current president of the Middlesex Canal Association, is a member of the committee.
CANALS OF NEW ENGLAND
AMERICAN CANAL SOCIETY
SPRING 1989 FIELD TRIP
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, MAY 26-29, 1989
In keeping with our title, we plan to investigate several of the canals of New England, some by visits and some by talks and slides. The program will begin at 8 p.m., Friday evening, and will continue until about noon on Monday. In much of this endeavor, we will be touring with and supported by members of the Middlesex Canal Association. Our base of operations will be the Hilton Hotel in Lowell, Massachusetts, immediately adjacent to "Lower Locks" on the Pawtucket Canal!
On Friday evening, there will be talks about the Middlesex Canal, followed on Saturday by a trip along both the Middlesex and the Pawtucket Canals. At dinner on Saturday evening, you will hear about the new Blackstone River and Canal National Corridor; on Sunday, we will visit sites along the Blackstone, and also tour the Cape Cod Ship Canal where, at the visitors' center, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers guides will tell you all about that waterway. If time permits, we will make a pass by the "Cut River," the oldest known canal in the United States, authorized by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1633. On Sunday evening, you may hear about the Cumberland and Oxford Canal that ran west out of Portland Maine, and the Farmington Canal that extended from Northampton, Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut. Then, too, you could hear about a new canal boat rental service and you might get to learn a few canal songs! On Monday, you are invited to tour the canals and textile mills of Lowell, America's first industrial city, with the State and National Park Services.
You have choices to make: to join us for all or any of the several parts of this program. These are explained on the attached registration form. Please register for your room directly with the hotel before their deadline of May 5, mentioning the American Canal Society. Send your program registration and all other correspondence to the undersigned at the address below. Please send a check, made out to the American Canal Society, for the program segments you will
participate in; lunches are included in the tour prices. (Breakfasts will be on your own.)
If $62 + tax ($68 per room per night) charged by the Hilton seems a bit "pricey" and you would like to cut costs a bit, drop me a note and a SASE to let me know that you would be willing to share a room. Indicate the nights you will stay, your gender, and whether you prefer a smoking or nonsmoking roommate. I'll try to match people up and save you half the cost of quarters if I'm successful. (Please let me know by April 26, so that I can respond to you in time for you to register with the Hilton by their May 5th deadline.)
Bill Gerber, 16 Princess Ave., Chelmsford, MA 01863; (508)251-4971
MALCOLM CHARLES CHOATE
On November 15, 1988, the Middlesex Canal Association lost one of its founding proprietors, its long-time treasurer, and one of its best friends, Malcolm Choate. The following is excerpted from tributes read at his funeral service at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Friday, November 18, by the Very Rev. Thomas B. Kennedy, and at a memorial service at Memorial Church, Harvard University, on November 21, by the Rev. H. B. Sedgwick.
Malcolm Charles Choate was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on March 6, 1912, son of the late Mayor Charles Henry and Mary Pauline (Culver) Choate, members of prominent families in Lawrence and Groton. He had lived in Reading for the past 30 years.
He was a graduate of Harvard College, class of 1934, and had continued to be active in Harvard affairs. He served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps during World War II in France, at the time of the D-Day invasion.
Before the war, he worked with United Fruit Co. in promotion of the care and sales of bananas. After the war he worked in advertising as a Media and Research Director with industrial advertising agencies.
Malcolm was an avid hiker and mountain climber, and very active with the Appalachian Mountain Club, which he served in several official capacities. Here he met another mountain climber in 1950, Edith Johnson, whom he married in 1958 at the Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. Malcolm and Edith had no children of their own, but he was "Uncle Malcolm" not only to his two nieces and two nephews, six grand-nephews and one grand-niece, but also to a host of children of his cousins and of many family friends, who are now devastated by his loss.
He was active for many years with Boy Scout Troop 55 in Billerica and was co-organizer of the annual Old Middlesex Canal Walk for more than 25 years. He was a Director and Proprietor of the Middlesex Canal Association and recently completed a 12-year service as its treasurer.
His philosophy of life was that he "must be of use to people" or life wasn't worthwhile. After retiring in 1974, he became active with the Retired Men's Club of Wakefield, serving as secretary and more recently historian. He served as president of their Camera Club, and was very active in presenting slide shows to nursing homes and to the fourth and fifth grades in the Wakefield schools, as well as at other locations. Another retirement activity he was most devoted to, and very faithful to, was the delivery of Meals on Wheels on Thursdays and the delivery of books for the Reading Public Library to the homebound and shut-ins. He also had a great interest in history and genealogy.
On December 11, 1980, Malcolm was awarded a Bicentennial Medal by the King of Sweden, in recognition of his activities in the Swedish Community in Boston. During the Bicentennial, when the King of Sweden was in Concord, Massachusetts, Malcolm was the official photographer. The Medal was presented to Malcolm in the Phillips Brooks House of Harvard University, at a reception by the Swedish Consul in Boston.
Malcolm was a very happy individual, always with a smile on his face, a joy to all he came in contact with, had a very dry sense of humor, and a lovely twinkle in his eyes which could speak volumes.
He is at rest, but he will be sorely missed by all.
MCA LOSES ANOTHER GOOD FRIEND
We note with sadness the passing of Mr. Paul P. Pearsall of Lowell on December 12, 1988. Mr. Pearsall was a member of a prominent Lowell family and a big band musician. He was a proprietor and formerly president of the Middlesex Canal Association.
FALL CANAL WALK - 1988
by Howard B. Winkler
The Walk took place on the rain date, Sunday, October 23, with about 25 persons participating. Although the day was clear, the previous day's rain presented some problems. Would the trail beyond the B&M yard be passable? In the beat of times it is marginal. I had called Jim Sager, who is the Scoutmaster of the Billerica troop, to enlist his support as we do every year. He told me that the Assistant Scoutmaster, George Lyna, would be on the hike and would check out the trail on Sunday morning.
We assembled in the parking lot of the Hajjar School in Billerica at 1:00 p.m., and I was pleased to meet George Lyna and three scouts, two of whom were of Star rank and one of First-Class rank. George told me that the trail beyond the B&M yard was too wet, as I had suspected. After a brief history of the Middlesex Canal and its significance, I told the group of the problem caused by the rain and that we would have to have a double shuttle. On the first leg, we would spot some cars at High Street, and when the walkers reached this first destination, we would use these cars to return the drivers to the Hajjar School. From there they would then return to High Street and drive their passengers to Pond Street. From Pond Street, some cars would be spotted at Gray Street, where the Walk ended, to be used to return the drivers to their cars on Pond Street.
Being a novice walk leader and being concerned about the finish time because of the added logistics, I set a fast pace from the Hajjar School to the Rogers House. There were some complaints upon our arrival there. I explained my concern, and slowed down. Jane Drury, one of our Directors, sent a copy of an article she had prepared for Towpath Topics (see the October 1981 issue) about the Rogers House. The original building on the site was built by the Toothakers in about 1660. Part of the Toothaker House, also known as Toothaker Tavern, coexisted with the Rogers House, which was built in 1807, until about 1911, when it was removed. Based on Jane's research, the structure on the site where the Middlesex Canal entered the Concord River on the south side of the River is the Rogers House. The Toothaker House is no longer on the site and it probably never was a tavern!
We walked from the Rogers House to the Talbot Mills. The Scouts led the way, controlled the vehicular traffic as we crossed the streets, and swept the trail to make certain that no person was left behind. At the Mills we saw a guard lock, and then crossed the street to where the Canal entered the Concord River on the north side and saw an anchor ring used to secure the Floating Towpath. Next, we walked back to the Rogers House and picked up the trail along the Canal.
The excellent work of the Scouts became apparent to me after we left the site of the Deep Cut. I would have led the group along an unsightly path with the Canal on the right. The Scouts had marked a trail in the woods with the Canal on the left. We emerged at High Street and continued south so that we could see the monument to six people who died in 1811 during a smallpox epidemic. This tragic event was compounded by the knowledge that Edward Jenner in Great Britain had already developed a vaccination before the close of the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson, at the turn of the 19th century, had enough confidence in this public health measure to have himself, his family, slaves, and neighbors vaccinated.
The group retraced its steps to High Street, and we shuttled over to Pond Street where we started the second leg. The section from Pond to Gray Streets is perhaps the best preserved part of the Canal in that the banks are sharply defined and the cut is filled with water. Unfortunately, the encroachment of development is apparent. Less than twenty years ago there was no observable development along this section of the Canal; today, houses can be seen a short distance away. We must continue to strive to preserve what is left. We soon reached Gray Street, and at 4:10 p.m., the Fall Canal Walk ended.
MCA GRANTED EASEMENT IN CHELMSFORD
contributed by Jane B. Drury
Canal Street in Chelmsford is located on the towpath of the Middlesex Canal between Brick Kiln and Riverneck Roads. In 1987, United Parcel Service opened a new distribution center here, its largest facility in the northeast. Part of the center's 83 acres is bounded by Canal Street, about midway between the two roads.
This past year, U.P.S. granted to the Middlesex Canal Association an easement on land 1664.12 feet long and extending from the center line of Canal Street 30 feet into U.P.S. land. This easement is for "recreation and canal preservation purposes (including the right to cut brush, keep clear and maintain the prism of the Old Middlesex Canal." The location is described in the deed as follows:
Southwesterly: by the center line of Canal Street by six lines measuring respectively 464.57 feet, 168 feet, 730 feet, 246.55 feet, 20 feet, and 35 feet;
Southwesterly: by the center line of Canal Street by six lines measuring respectively 464.57 feet, 168 feet, 730 feet, 246.55 feet, 20 feet and 35 feet;
Southeasterly: by land now or formerly of Chelmsford Water District 30 feet;
Northeasterly: by a line 30 feet northeasterly of and parallel with the center line of Canal Street by land of the Grantor 1664.12 feet more or less; and
Northwesterly: by land now or formerly of John Jason and Eva Smith 30 feet.
U.P.S. did reserve the right of access across this land to Canal Road for various utilities, etc., if needed.
It is with deep appreciation that the Association accepts this easement. Perhaps when warmer weather arrives, a brush-clearing party could be organized - any volunteers?
Note: a map of the route of the Middlesex Canal through Chelmsford, showing the easement granted by U.P.S. is on pp. 8-9 of this issue of Towpath Topics.
FAULKNER MILLS TO BE REHABILITATED
Plans are being made to convert the Faulkner Mills in North Billerica to subsidized rental housing.
The mills sit at the headwaters of the old Middlesex Canal on the Concord River, on the north and east side of the dam. The mills produced wool until about two years ago. A group experienced in mill rehabilitation and conversion has approached the town of Billerica for permits necessary to turn the now vacant mill buildings into rental apartments and townhouses. Because state and federal funds will be involved, the group is working closely with the Massachusetts Historical Commission as it develops its project plans. The original facade of the historic building will be restored, by the removal of some of the newer additions facing the street.
The developers have approached the town of Billerica for the necessary permits for housing of this density. They also propose to construct some new units on land adjacent to the existing mill buildings, and on what is now a parking lot across the street on the Mill Pond river front. In its informal comments to the developers, the Billerica Housing Opportunity Partnership Committee has asked that some open space on the Mill Pond be preserved, or set up for recreational access, and that the buildings' main lobby area include space for the display of historic and other exhibits which would be of interest to area residents. The developers seem receptive to these suggestions, and we can hope that the result will be a project that helps hold onto, and highlight, a bit of the canal region's industrial history.
MIDDLESEX CANAL ARCHIVAL COLLECTION
contributed by Frances B. VerPlanck
Our Middlesex Canal Archival Collection has finally moved to its fine new home at the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center at 40 French Street Extension in Lowell, beside the Boots Mill.
The Archive is in an elegant new wing of the newly restored Lowell Boarding House. Our collection is housed on the first two floors of the new wing. Martha Mayo, who served as Curator of the Special Collections at the Lydon Library, is now on the job here as the Curator for the Lowell History Special Collection. The new Center is handsomely appointed and spacious.
Classrooms for the University of Lowell are on the top floors above the Mill Girl Boarding House Restoration. The National Park runs the Mill Girls and Immigrant exhibits here. Soon to be completed will be a Labor exhibit, as the third part of the Working People Exhibit, and a one-acre park for concerts and similar events. The exhibits feature furnished rooms, audio programs, and original artifacts. Voices of "mill girls" describe their life in the mills and boarding house - the drudgeries, the excitements, and political issues. It is a most impressive exhibit!
Groups are allowed to rent meeting space in the classrooms; Paul Marion (508/458-7654) is in charge of reservations. Open hours for all of the above are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
THE HADLEY HOUSE
by Albert J. Welcome
I. The Hadley' of Middlesex Village:
Their House and the Canal
The Hadley House was built in 1822 by Mr. Harvey Burnett. It is presently located at 1708 Middlesex Street, at its intersection with Hadley Street in Middlesex Village. This area was formally Chelmsford but was annexed by Lowell in 1874. In 1822, Mr. Samuel P. Hadley, Sr. Arrived in Middlesex Village to take the job of running the Middlesex Canal at its northern terminus with the Merrimack River. For several years Mr. Hadley and his family occupied an apartment in the "three storied house" owned by Samuel Fox Wood, which was located diagonally across the Great Road from the Hadley House.
On May 28, 1827, Mr. Hadley purchased the home from Mr. Burnett for a sum of one thousand dollars. In 1828, be added a large wing to the house on the south side. Mr. Hadley worked for the Middlesex Canal Corporation until it closed in 1851. During this period he also served as a Selectman and Town Treasurer in the Town of Chelmsford, and also in 1852, he served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
On September 5, 1851, Mr. Hadley purchased from the Middlesex Canal Corporation for the sum of seven hundred dollars, all its property located north of present-day Middlesex Street to the Merrimack River. This sale included the three Merrimack Locks. (Ref: Book 71, page 585, Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds.)
On April 23, 1860, for the sum of six hundred dollars, Mr. Hadley sold to the Nashua and Lowell Railroad a small parcel of land located at the head of the Canal. Since 1838, the Railroad had maintained a bridge it had erected over the Canal by use of an easement granted by the Legislature of the Commonwealth. With this purchase in 1860, the Railroad was able to remove this bridge and fill in the Canal adjacent to the Merrimack River. Also included with the purchase was the right of passage on Mr. Hadley's land to remove the granite blocks remaining in the locks of the defunct Canal. The blocks in the upper locks had to be removed within one year of the date of the sale, while those remaining in the lower two locks had to be removed within two years. (Ref: Book 3, Page 446, Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds.)
Judge Hadley was born in the Hadley House on October 22, 1831. He was a lineal descendent of George Hadley, one of the first settlers of Ipswich, Massachusetts, who came to New England from England in 1637. Judge Hadley, at the age of 14, began working for his father during the spring and summer months as a locktender on the Canal. He received his early education in local schools and later attended Phillips Andover Academy and Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts. In 1851, at the age of 20, he began the study of law in the local office of Isaac S. Morse. He graduated from the State and National Law School in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1853, and was admitted to the bar the same year. He then studied law in a New York City law office for some time before returning to Lowell. In 1857, he was appointed Clerk of the Lowell Police Court upon the death of Judge Crosby. In 1887, he received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College. For many years, Judge Hadley was President of the Lowell Historical Society. Because of his knowledge and retentive memory, he was the "authority" to be contacted for data and personal impressions of early Chelmsford and Lowell. Judge Hadley retired from official duties on January 19, 1912, and died March 18, 1919, in Hadley House at age 87.
Hadley House remained in the Hadley family's possession until December 18, 1957, when, upon the death of Judge Hadley's daughter, Miss Bessie Butler Hadley, it was sold to Mr. Roman Pasinski.
II. Saving the Hadley House
In the summer of 1988, "For Sale" signs appeared on the Hadley House. Mr. Pasinski had suffered a fatal car accident, and his son, Dr. Roger Pasinski, was appointed administrator of the estate.
Since the mid-1950's, land along Middlesex Street in Middlesex Village had become increasingly valuable for business purposes. Mr. Donald Pearsall and this writer, both members of the Middlesex Canal Association, were fearful that the Hadley House would suffer the same fate as many other historic buildings from the Canal Era and be torn down to make way for commercial ventures. Consequently, we met with Ms. Kathleen Brooker, Administrator of the Lowell Historic Board, for advice or assistance in saving the house. As it happened, Ms. Brooker was already aware of the problem and was seeking a solution, although her formal responsibilities were confined solely to the downtown Historic District. Dr. Pasinski had already contacted Ms. Brooker and apprised her of the pending sale, to be finalized by November 5. Since it was also his own desire to save the house and the prospective buyer had no use for it, he offered to donate the building to any person who would remove it from the site intact, thus saving demolition costs. The Doctor also generously offered to pay the moving costs in the event that the house was taken by an historical, non-profit organization.
The Lowell Historic Society declined the opportunity. Several people on Ms. Brooker's staff were initially interested, but for some reason or other also declined. Dr. John Hogan, the President of the University of Lowell, expressed an interest in moving the building a mile to its West Campus, located in North Chelmsford. The house was than examined by the building engineer on Dr. Hogan's staff and found to be too small for their use. However, it was determined to be structurally sound and up to the stresses of being moved. As the house had been inundated by the Merrimack River floods of 1852 and 1936, this finding was remarkable and a strong testimony to the talents of its original builder and the material used in its construction. Dr. Hogan offered the use of the West Campus to store the house pending location of a more permanent site.
Several other possibilities fell through as the November cut-off date approached. A local architect then offered to move the house to land he owned in Dracut, Massachusetts. This offer was withdrawn when moving estimates came in at $100,000.
With the architect's continuing interest in the Hadley House, Ms. Brooker was again contacted to ascertain if City-owned land in an S-1 residential area could be made available to him by the City. Such a piece of land was located on Hadley Street, just south of Route 3A, Princeton Boulevard; it lies on the fringe of the Black Brook flood plain. Privately-owned land in Middlesex Village is almost nonexistent, but we were advised that use of the land in question was possible, with the backing and approval of the Lowell City Council. Councilor Edward "Bud" Caulfield, a resident of Middlesex Village, was approached and apprised of the situation. He expressed disbelief that anyone would destroy the home and promised to shepherd the land sale through the City departments.
Assistant City Manager for City Planning, Mr. James Cook, was contacted, and he threw his support to the project. The local Conservation Commission gave its approval to the sale. A meeting was held between the principals involved, and conditions for the sale were worked out at this time. The plan was presented to the Lowell City Council, and, after several hearings, the sale was approved by the City body, unanimously.
The house will be positioned on over twenty thousand square feet of land, approximately one block from the original site and safely removed from any business area. It will be restored and then occupied by the architect as a private residence. It will also be opened for tours by the public from time to time. We are fortunate that the Hadley House will remain in Middlesex Village, as it will retain its historic value. In the future it may possibly be placed on the National Historic Register.
It is, of course, Dr. Roger Pasinski who deserves most of the credit for saving the house, but the following played important parts in its survival: Ms. Kathleen Brooker, Councilor Edward Caulfield, Assistant City Manager James Cook, the Lowell Conservation Commission, and the Lowell City Council.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As we went to press, Al Welcome reported that the architect is unable to complete the project for financial reasons. The City is interested in extending similar accommodations to other persons interested in preserving this piece of Lowell's history, but time is growing short; for information, contact Katherine Brooker at the Lowell Historic Board, (508) 454-8821.
THE HADLEY HOUSE
LOWELL HERITAGE STATE PARK
On November 13, 1988, a general meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association was held at the Lowell Heritage State Park, in the fourth floor meeting room of the Mack Building. President David Fitch opened the afternoon with a short business meeting. He read excerpts from a letter by Al Welcome describing the saving of the Judge Hadley House in Middlesex Village (see article elsewhere in this issue). He also announced the serious illness of our former and longtime Treasurer Malcolm Choate (see "In Memoriam" elsewhere in this issue). Then President Fitch introduced our speaker for the program, State Park Supervisor Richard Scott, who outlined the joint roles the State and Federal Parks play in running Lowell's highly popular Heritage Park.
The Commonwealth owns the canal system, with a $188,000 yearly budget, while the Federal Government gives $1,000,000 for its part. Mr. Scott said that the beauty of working there is that neither group is hassled by having to make a profit. The City of Lowell is consulted and gives advice in all matters. Many of Lowell's organizations are involved.
Besides looking after the physical structures of the canal system and the great museum with its dioramas of Lowell's canals and textile history, the State Park trains its guides to present living history programs at key sites along the canal. Guides are costumed in the clothes of the textile era and speak in country farm accents, since so many of the earliest workers came straight from our New England farms. The role-playing method of teaching here at the State Park makes this fascinating textile city come alive vividly and delightfully.
Mr. Scott, at the end of his presentation, while we were enjoying Betty Bigwood's delectable refreshments, donned the outfit of a Francis Gate Supervisor of the 19th century, a white homespun shirt, bulky black trousers with big black buttons on the front, a tweed vest over his white shirt, and a visor cap on his head. His exciting account, delivered in the early accent of those days, of the lowering of the Francis Gate during the great flood of 1852, two years after the gate was constructed, made a memorable ending to this most interesting meeting.
CANALING ON THE TRENT-SEVERN WATERWAY IN ONTARIO
On Sunday, February 5, members of the Middlesex Canal Association met at the Winchester Unitarian Church to watch slides and hear a talk by member David Barber and proprietor Martha Hazen on their trip on the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario. This waterway connects Georgian Bay on Lake Huron to Lake Ontario, passing to the north of Toronto. The trip was with Ontario Waterway Cruises, an outfit that takes passengers on an overgrown houseboat, sleeping 24, on both the Trent-Severn and the Rideau Canal (which runs from Lake Ontario to Ottawa).
The Trent-Severn Canal was built over many decades, beginning with the central and highest portion in 1833, and ending with the first complete voyage through the Canal in 1920. Today it is used entirely by pleasure craft in apparently large numbers. Some of the points of interest are the Marine Railway, which lifts boats up past the Big Chute falls near Georgian Bay, the two hydraulic lift locks, at Kirkfield and Peterborough, and the ten locks that are still entirely manually operated.
OFFICERS & DIRECTORS 1988-89
David A. Fitch
Burt Ver Planck
|TREASURER / MEMBERSHIP||
Howard B. Winkler
|EDITOR, TOWPATH TOPICS||
Martha L. Hazen
Betty M. Bigwood
Wilbar M. Hoxie
Jane B. Drury
Frances B. VerPlanck
The Editor expresses warm thanks to Dayle Silverman, who has overseen the production of the past several years of Towpath Topics, and who very kindly educated the Editor in the ways of producing copy-ready material. All of us in MCA are most appreciative to Dayle for her uncomplaining investment of time and effort over the years.
AMERICAN CANAL SOCIETY'S
"CANALS OF NEW ENGLAND" TOUR
The registration fee (total cost) is $90 for all activities - bus tours, lunches, dinners and meetings - on both days. Options are described below.
Please send your registration by May 19; no refunds can be made after May 24. (Note that you must make hotel reservations directly with the hotel.)
There will be ____ persons in my party.
Please register me/us as follows:
____ Complete activities packages @ $90. per person.
____ Saturday bus tours, with lunch, @ $25. per person
____ Saturday dinners @ $20. per person.
____ Sunday bus tours, with lunch, @ 30. per person.
____ Sunday dinners @ $15. per person.
Make checks payable to American Canal Society, and mail with this form to the Registrar:
16 Princess Ave.
North Chelmsford,. MA 01863
(508) 251-4971 (home)
(617) 271-6924 (work)