Middlesex Canal Association    P.O. Box 333    Billerica, Massachusetts 01821
Volume 23, No. 1    October, 1984

Canal Walk - - Saturday, October 27

1:30 p.m. Meeting at:   Hajjar School, Call & Rogers Streets, Billerica

The annual canal walk in Billerica will go on despite the discovery of a hazardous waste site along our regular route. The discovery will cause us to walk towards Chelmsford rather than towards Wilmington. Leaving from the Hajjar School, we will still talk about the Toothaker Tavern, the floating towpath over the Concord River, and other important aspects of canal construction. Nolan Jones and Larry Henchey are putting together the details for the walk. Be assured that we will stay very clear of the hazardous area. Because of the changes, there will not be a spaghetti supper following the hike.

We want to thank the Troop 55 Scouts for bringing this matter to our attention. It seems that the degradation of the canal route included an asbestos dump near the Boston & Maine Railroad yard. This hazardous site is being re-capped and should be cleaned up by the end of November.


Directions to Hajjar School:   Through Billerica Center on 3-A North, at bottom of hill bear right at traffic lights onto Pollard Street (avoid sharp right onto Route 129). Continue straight for 1/2 mile, turning right at liquor store onto High Street. After crossing railroad tracks, take first left onto Rogers Street. After passing over a second set of tracks, watch for Hajjar School on left (1/10 mile from tracks) at corner of Rogers and Call Streets.


You will note that there are three Association meeting announcements in this issue. The annual canal walk will be on October 27th in North Billerica. A few changes are being made this year. Our fall meeting will be on November 18th to tour the canal route in Middlesex Village in Lowell. Our winter meeting will be on January 19th hosted by the Medford Public Library. Please see the announcements for other details.

Encroachment is occurring in Lowell, hence our scheduling the tour in Middlesex Village. An industrial development between the golf course and Route 3 includes the canal bed. Industrial development near the canal is also occurring in East Chelmsford. We have taken actions to be heard at the hearings associated with those developments. We hope that these efforts will be successful in preserving the remnants of the canal.

We understand that the state is buying land for the Blackstone Canal and Historical Park but the canal part is being delayed. I have written the historical societies in four communities along the Blackstone Canal to offer support.

The Pennsylvania Canal Society is running a tour of the Delaware and Raritan Canal on Saturday October 13th. This is the 150th anniversary of the D&R and this is the second special event that has been scheduled.

The annual meeting of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Historical Society will be at the Mohonk Mountain House on November 3rd. That is a grand resort of the old style; the gate house is three miles from the hotel.

The Canal Society of New Jersey has invited us to join them in their "Canada I Tour - 1985" of the Black River Canal and the Rideau Canal next June. Details are given in a separate announcement in this issue.

If you would like information on these and other events being planned by other canal associations please let me know.

I joined a group sponsored by the Howard County, Maryland, Recreation Department for a bicycle tour of the C&O Canal in August. We covered the 184.5 miles from Cumberland to Georgetown in five days, all down hill. It was strenuous but an enjoyable and informative trip.

No progress has been made on locating the missing boulder in Wilmington. A suggestion has been made that we offer a reward. We may have to do that. The C&O Canal Association has a group of people called the "Level Walkers" who monitor assigned sections of their towpath and canal remnants. The Level Walkers have a conference about twice a year and report on the status of their sections. Repairs and restoration are then made by the National Park Service. If we had a group of Level Walkers then we might keep track of the status of our canal much better. I am particularly concerned about Billerica and Wilmington and our properties there.

Nolan Jones
Nolan Jones


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 10:00am - 4pm

This will be a tour of the Middlesex Canal and historic sites in Middlesex Village, particularly those that are endangered. Bring picnic lunch. Coffee will be provided.


SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 1985. 2 pm


There was a branch canal from the Middlesex Canal to the shipyards in Medford for mutual benefits. This will be an illustrated talk by Mr. Condon, a member of our Association, the Medford Historical Association and the Middlesex Canal Historical Commission.


The Canal Society of New Jersey has invited us to join them on their trip to the Black River Canal near Rose, New York, the Thousand Islands, the Rideau Canal, Kingston and Ottawa. Departure is Sunday, June 23, and return is Sunday, June 30. Estimated cost is $400 per person double occupancy. A deposit of $100 per person made out to the Canal Society of New Jersey is requested as soon as possible. We rent a van from Winchester to join the tour in Rome, N.Y. to cost $35. Contact Nolan Jones, 22 Squire Road, Winchester, MA 01890, (617)729-4234

Tidbits from 1795 Bills

In 1795

Joshua Wyman made 18 bed sacks for the canal boardinghouse for $2.75 and three pillowcases for 6 cents.

The canal paid Joseph Lawrence 33-1/3 cents for some walnut timbers.

Ezekiel Walker received $4.00 for blowing up one large rock at a time when stone blowers were making $24/month. Must have been a large rock!

Abijah Thompson went to Cambridge at Colonel Baldwin's request to take a Mr. Harvey out of jail.

Canal bought a yook(sp.) of oxen from Samuel Buels for $70.

Bought 6 oars (83 ft.) from Daniel Holt.

Paid off Tom Long for wounds received blowing rocks.

Bought 72 shovels at $10 per dozen.


President Nolan Jones, Winchester
Vice President Laurence Henchey, Wakefield
Treasurer Malcolm Choate, Reading
Recording Secretary Jane Drury, Chelmsford
Corresponding Secretary Marion Potter, Billerica
David Dettinger, Winchester Paul P. Pearsall, Lowell
Leonard Harmon, Woburn Daniel Silverman, Bedford
Wilbar M. Hoxie, Reading Walter A. Specht, Winchester
Joseph V. Kopycinski, Chelmsford Frances B. VerPlanck, Winchester
Honorary Directors
Frank T. Dignon, Billerica Stanley Webber, Wilmington
Arthur Louis Eno, Carlisle