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New England

What It Is and What It Is To Be

New England

What It Is and What It Is To Be

Edited by

Geome French


Boston Chamber of Commerce

Copyright, 1911.
By Boston Chamber of Commerce


^ i;£ \'/ YCPI<



ASTOR. L.-r'X^K.o


ff 1913 ,


The University Press, Cambridge, U.S.A.

Prepared under the direction of a special com-
mittee of the T^oston Chamber of Commerce, con-
sisting of Walter M. Lowney, chairman of the
Trade Extension committee, George S. Smith,
chairman of the committee on Manufactures,
and George B. Gallup of the Publicity committee.


Prefatory Note

The reason for this book is the desire of the Boston Cham-
ber of Commerce to acquaint the people of New England with
the country they live in, and furnish them with the means to
acquaint others. It has been a fault of New England people
that they have been keenly alive to the growth and develop-
ment of all sections of the country except their own, and that
they have had a better knowledge of all other sections than of
their own. New England has been so earnestly engaged in de-
veloping the rest of the country that its people have had no
time to notice the growing demand for development at home.
Now there is an awakening. We are beginning to realize that
there is here at home as much opportunity as anywhere in the
country, and we are slowly finding out what that opportun-
ity is.

This book is not a catalogue of the opportunities nor the
achievements of New England. It treats of both. An effort has
been made to show, in an impressionistic manner, what New
England is and what it may be, if its people will turn their
attention to the work of developing it with the same earnest
devotion they have lavished upon the other sections. Statistics
have been avoided, as also have eulogistic statements. That
which is herein set forth is, so far as possible, plain statement
of fact, and mostly w^ell-known fact. The possibilities are all
soberly stated.

If it is necessary to apologize for the manifest defects of
the book, or for that of which it docs not treat, or for that
which it does not treat adequately, let the apology be that the
editor is aware of more, and more serious, defects than the
most determined critic can discover; and regrets them more

The editor wishes to gratefully acknowledge his indebted-
ness to every person who has assisted in the preparation of


Prefatory Note

this book, either by contributing to its pages or by suggestion
or information. There are too many to admit of mention of
all. Those who have contributed are: Mr. Edwin M. Bacon,
Boston, the chapter on " Waterpowers " ; President Kcnyon
L. Butterfield of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Dr.
E. H. Jenkins of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment
Station, Mr. H. F. Tompson, Seekonk, Mass., Prof. F. C.
Sears of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Prof.
Charles D. Woods of the Maine Agricultural Experiment
Station, Mr. William H. Bowker, Boston, Mr. A. W. Fulton.
Springfield, Mass., and Mr. G. C. Sevey, Springfield, Mass.,
the chapter on " New England Farming " ; Dr. J. A. Bon-
steel, Washington, the chapter on " New England Soils " ;
Mr. Harold Parker, Boston, the chapter on " Good Roads " ;
Mr. Winthrop L. Marvin, Boston, the portion treating of
textiles in the chapter on " New England Manufacturing " ;
Dr. David Snedden, Massachusetts Commissioner of Educa-
tion, and his deputies, Messrs. Charles A. Prosser and Wil-
liam Orr, the chapter on " Education ' ' ; Mr. D. F. Edwards,
Boston, the chapter on " The Industrial Boston " ; Mr.
Thomas F. Anderson, Boston, the chapter on " New England
Summer Resorts," and data about the shoe and leather in-
dustries; Mr. George P. Morris, Boston, the chapter on
" Religion " ; Mr. Richard H. Edmonds, Baltimore, the chap-
ter entitled " An Expert's Opinion " ; Prof. F. W. Rane,
Boston, the chapter on " Forestry " ; Mr. James A. McKib-
ben, Boston, the chapter on "Commerce"; to the chapter
on " The New England States " Hon. Robert Luce, Somer-
ville, Mass., Mr. Charles E. Julin, New Haven, Conn., Mr.
Colby Stoddard, Newport, Vt., and Mr. J. John Buzzell,
Boston, contributed; Mr. George B. Gallup, Boston, the
chapter on " Publicity for New England." The New Eng-
land Homestead, railroad officials, Mr. J. Horace McFarland
of Harrisburg, Pa., school .authorities, manufacturers and
others have contributed photographs.

Boston, October, 1910.



New England , , . 1

The Chcaim of New England , 32

Manufacturing in New England 48

New England AVaterpowers 87

New E;. gland Agriculture 110

Soils of New England . 16G

Forestry in New England 179

New England Workmen 189

The Industrial Boston 197

Boston : The Next Phase 221

Transportation 233

Good Roads in New England 250

New England Commerce 260

New England Summer Resorts 282

Education in New England 301

Religion in New England 320

Publicity in New England 331

Civic Work in New England 342

An Expei't's Estimate 361

Commission Government 372

The New England States 380

Potential New England .418


New England Settlement Kast of the Mississippi River . . 0pp. 7

Typical New England Farm Home 24

A New England Town Hall 30

The Old Oaken Bucket at Melvin, N. H S6

Bringing in the Sap, Vermont 42

Wood Worsted Mill, Lawrence, Mass 54

The Arlington Mills, Lawrence, Mass 62

Factory of The Gorhani Company, Providence, R. L ... 70

Nashawena Cotton Mills, New Bedford, Mass 78

Print Works of Pacific Mills, Lawrence, Mass 84

A Field of Boston Lettuce 114

A Commercial Apple Orchard in Northern Vermont . . . 120

Mr. J. H, Hale and one of his Apple Trees at Seymour, Conn. 126

Prize Apples at the Boston Show in 1909 l.'^4

A Connecticut Peach Orchard Showing Irrigation Method 142

A Profitable Peach Orchard was Planted on this Land . . 148

A New Hampshire Country Home 150

A Massachusetts Country House 152

Prize- Winning Oxen at Danbury, Conn., Fair 156

A Veteran Apple Tree in Bloom 158

A Field of Shade-Grown Tobacco 16O

Clydesdale Stallion, Native of Maine l64

Holstein Bull, Owned in Massachusetts l64

Typical Valley Farm Land in New England 168

Wellesley Farms Station, on the Boston & Albany Railroad . 176

White Pines Forty Years Old, in Carver, Mass 182

White Pine Transplants, Six Years After Setting .... 186

Hale Peach Orchard, Connecticut — Two-year-old Tree . . 192

Charles River Basin, Boston 2l6

Wellesley Hills Station, on the Boston & Albany Railroad . 218

[ xi ]



Wedgemere Station, on the Boston & Maine Railroad . . . 236

Electric and Steam Railroads in the Boston District . 0pp. 243

Hoosac Tunnel Docks, Boston & Maine Railroad, Boston . . 244

Map of Massachusetts Showing State Highways 252

Modern State Road, Cai)e Cod 254

Road Around " Jacob's Ladder," Morey Hill, Becket . . . 256

Pelham Manor Station, on the N. Y., N. H. & H. Railroad . 258

Map Showing Proposed Boston Harbor Improvements . . . 264

Boston Chamber of Commerce Building 278

Approach to Station on the Boston & Albany Railroad . . . 280

Mt. \\'ashington from Base Station, Train Going Up . . . 284

Sportsmen's Cabins at Heald Pond, Maine 2f)0

Looking South from Summit of Mt. Washington 2£)6

Newton, Mass., Technology High School 304

Girls Make Their Own Graduation Gowns 310

A Workroom in the Worcester Trade School 3l6

Typical New England Village Street 326

New England Credo S3Q

The Mother of Village Improvement Societies 350

A New England High School 358

The Home of Mr. Maxfield Parrish, Cornish, N. II SQQ

A Picturesque and Progressive New England Town .... 376

Home of Helen Keller at Wrentham, Mass 378

Typical Boston Suburban Residence 382

Scene in Berkshire Hills 384

A Massachusetts Village Street 386

The "Minute- Man" of 1776 388

Aroostook Potato Field in Harvest Time S[)Q

Summit House, Mt. Mansfield, Vermont 404

The Main Street in a New Hampshire Village 410

Bridge at West Haven, Conn., on N. Y., N. H. cS: II. R.R. . 41 6

Village Residence at Hatfield, Mass 420

Within Eight Miles of Massachusetts State House .... 424

One of the Unoccupied New England Farmhouses .... 426

A Boston Suburban Residence 430


New England

What It Is and What It Is To Be

New England

The six states of the United States which constitute the
arbitrary geographical section known as New England oc-
cupy a unique position in the history of the country, and have
a story that teems with interest. No other section of the world
has had so much that was consequential to do with the de-
velopment of this era as has New England, or has done it so
gloriously well. The reasons for this are partly natural,
partly historical, and partly providential. Nature thrust
New England out into the ocean in such a manner as to make
it probable that whoever should come discovering from the
Old World would be caught on her rocky shore. New Eng-
land did catch the vital immigrants from Europe. That they
were directed hither instead of to some other section of the
eastern coast of the new Western World suggests the germ of
the providential element in the story of our beginning, and
history is slowly disclosing to us the great fact that the
event of the birth of this land was an essential arc in the
grand cy^le of Christian civilization that Omnipotence was
then bringing into view. We trace the workings of conscious
design in the development of New England, looking backward
in the light of history, and note the part played by physical
location, climate, soil, race, religion, circumstance; and that
greater than any other force, the aspiration of the human
race toward higher civilization, which we are but beginning
to understand.

While we are forgetting the old geographical divisions of
the states of the Union, which classed them as North Atlantic,
South Atlantic, Southern, Gulf, Middle Western, North-
western, Southwestern, Pacific, etc., the distinction which has
set off New England remains as precise as ever, and there is
nowhere a disposition to forget or ignore the sectional classi-
fication. New England is a unit, in fact as well as in the minds

[ 1 ]

New England

of the people of the world, and it is as a unit that it must be
considered. This fact does not indicate that the people of
New England believe themselves to be in any sense a peculiar
people, different from the people of any other section of the
country, superior or inferior to any other people of any other
state or section. We are set apart, so far as we are differently
located and circumstanced, to our advantage or disadvantage,
and we are to make the best of the fate that has come to us
through phj^sical facts that we had nothing to do with mak-
ing and economic facts that our forbears have created.

New England is the land of opportunity. It has the greatest
potential future of any section of the country, for reasons
that are obvious. It is no argument against the future of Ne<'
England to say that it does not utilize its opportunities. N'
section of the United States does that. No state does it, nor
any town. It has not been necessary to do so, and until it is
necessary it will not be done. New England comes nearer
to applying the intensive method to its industries and to its
agriculture than any other section, and its business men are
giving the subject more practical study and attention. They
will be ready whenever the country demands more than the
cream. They are now ready, in many lines, and there is a vast
amount of work now going on in many other lines in the way
of preparation. There are commercial bodies, publicity clubs,
and various civic associations, which are doing the most valu-
able investigation work, and are sending into the country a
constant stream of information and creating a steadily rising
tide of enthusiasm. There are few towns but have some ex-
ample of the new farming, in successful operation and demon-
strating what can be done through the application of modern
methods and scientific knowledge, some new factory projected,
some new industry taking shape, or some practical plan for
civic and industrial betterment engaging the constant atten-
tion of their citizens. There are many manufactories that are
run upon the highest scale of efficiency, as that new profession
is understood by its expert exponents. There are many model
towns — model in the sense that they are organized and oper-
ated upon good business principles, and have demonstrated

[ 2 ]

New England

that it is quite possible to conduct the communal business of
an association of citizens calling itself a town in as economic
and successful a manner as the business of a private corpora-
tion can be conducted.

There are everywhere in New England evidences of the
prevalence and the influence of the new spirit in business, and
that this spirit exists and is manifesting itself in a practical
manner is the most hopeful sign that New England has en-
tered upon a new era in its industrial life. This new spirit in
business is promoted by a new spirit in social and civic life.
The people of New England seem to be seized with the desire
to work for the common good, quite aside from whatever per-
;^onal profit they may believe may ultimately flow from com-
}:nunal interests. This is being demonstrated in many ways,
but in none with more marked efl'ect than by the work of the
associations of business men known variously as boards of
trade, chambers of commerce, civic clubs, publicity clubs, and
the like. A study of these bodies reveals the business temper
and aspirations of the times. The w^ork they are doing is dif-
ferent in aim and quality from work ever before attempted by
such bodies, and vastly more practical and consequential.
The organized efficiency of these bodies is of a high order,
and is made possible by the unselfish personal service given by
the members. A large proportion of the work of these quasi
public bodies is of necessity of a nature w^hich does not reach
definite results — formative, suggestive, and advisory; but
each of them has a roll of definite accomplishments which so
much more than justifies its efforts as to warrant the belief
that they will finally lead the way up to some form of indus-
trial cooperation which will solve many of the painful and
perplexing problems coming from the modern study of labor
and social conditions, as well as those more definitely in the
field of business.

It is the New England character that must be considered in
dealing with the question of the development of New England.
If there is a hindrance to progress in New England it is that
same New England character, which has ever been loath to
accept optimism for its guiding motive. The rocks of New

[ 3 ]

New England

England make possible the distinctive flavor of the New Eng-
land apples, and in like analogy it may be just to attribute
the restraint of New England character to the influence and
the unconscious memory of generations of contention with the
hard natural conditions surrounding industrial life in New
England during its first two centuries. There has been a cer-
tain grim liking for adverse conditions in the New England
character which has operated to produce reluctant assent to
optimism. The old-fashioned New Englander often chose the
harder part apparently for the very joy of martyrdom. Not
a few of the men of New England seem yet to feel the same
impulse. It was long a part of the creed of our fathers that
the flesh must be " mortified," and it was their inclination to
reject whatever promised pleasure, ease, or comfort. Profit
they were in the habit of accepting, if it came to them in obvi-
ous guise. They never would concede that one field was better
for corn than another.' If they elected to plant corn, and it did
not elect to grow and ripen into a plentiful crop, the failure
was charged up to providence — and the same field planted
to corn the next year, and the next. The Pilgrims and the
Puritans persisted in whatever course they believed was di-
vinely marked out for them. They trusted the Lord to provide
nitrogenous stimulant for their fields^ and would probably
have regarded the planting of inoculated clover as an appeal
to witchcraft. We of today have plenty of the same spirit.
We hope for divine intervention in the matter of the fertility
of our fields, and we are inclined to be persistently stubborn
in matters of custom and tradition in our business methods.
Tell an ingrained New Englander that his old apple orchard
can be made to produce twice as many apples as he has har-
vested in his best year and he will not believe it; neither will
the average New England business man believe that the efli-
ciency expert can so order his business that it will yield 10
or 25 per cent more profit. We are averse to the new, we do
not like to experiment, and we believe that that which we are
told must involve experiment because it is outside of our ex-
perience. There arc in New England men who have for twenty-
five years practised scientific farming, and made money con-

[ 4]

New England

stantly, and their example has not Induced one neighbor to
adopt their methods.

Nature has made New England different from the other
sections of the country, and the circumstances of their ances-
try and environment have made the New England people
somewhat different from the people of other sections. While
a strong cosmopolitan tendency has been bred by modern
conditions of business and life, and New England has partici-
pated in this trend, there are certain conditions which insure
for us a marked individualism. In the not very remote past
this tendency was fairly described as insularity; but that
phase of our progression has happily passed, and we are now
no more individualistic, as a section, than the peculiar climatic
and industrial conditions force us to be. The problem we have
now to face is involved largely in the full recognition of the
nature and extent of the differences which New England has
to consider ; an estimate of those different conditions, and an
assay of our ability and disposition to meet them. Not all of
these conditions are such as imply disadvantages ; but few of
them are such. Many of the more consequential conditions
imply advantages.

For a long time New Englanders were conscious that they
w"ere the leaders in the building of this nation,) and at least
half a dozen generations were bred up in that knowledge.
From working out their own supremacy New Englanders went
out into the wider nation and built it up, and so strengthened
the feeling of adequate power which was their inheritance,
even though that very process weakened the stock that was
left at home, and began the erosion of race that resulted in
deteriorated vigor and faltering initiative. The result was
that there came over New England an era of halting effort,
due to loss of primal vigor to the West, and the other newer
sections. New England had scarcely begun to thrive when she
was called to pioneer beyond the Alleghanies, and thence to
the Mississippi Valley, the Northwest, the Southwest, the
Pacific Slope, and finally to Canada. All this time, from the
early pioneer days to the Middle West to this day of the
Canadian Northwest, there has been a drain of New England

New England

energy and initiative. The Pilgrims and the Puritans of New
England were all pioneers, and they bred pioneers. There has
ever been a call for New England to open other sections of
America, and the call has always been heeded. It has been in
America the call of the West, and the tide of settlement and
enterprise has rolled toward the Pacific, and then northward
into the great fertile lands of Western Canada. This tide
started from New England, and though it has been reinforced
from the South, and later from all the intermediate regions,
as well as by the great stream of immigration from Europe
and Asia, there has been a constant exhaustion of New Eng-
land's vitality comparable only to the giving of her o^vn life
to her children by a mother. New England suffered, and suf-
fered more acutely and fundamentally than ever will be esti-
mated. The wholesale and continued transfusion of her best
blood to the veins of the newer states could only mean the
weakening of her own constitution and the limiting of her own

The westward migration of initiative meant such a breeding
of the pioneer habit as necessarily must result in superficial
and speculative work and habit of mind. So long as there was
new land spontaneously to yield crops, so long as there were
coming into being new towns and cities to demand growth and
sustenance of trade and foster extravagance and ruthlessness,
so long would the pioneer spirit run rampant and ignore in-
tensive methods and sane propositions of growth. The stern
pioneerage of the early New Englanders, when it was a hardy
enterprise to migrate to Buffalo, pushed cautiously westward,
and gathered spirit and vehemence with its successes, until it
culminated in the mad rush for the gold of California in 1849.
Since then sanity has been struggling for recognition, but the
drain of New England has continued until almost the present
time, diminishing in stress as the material that New England
could furnish became limited and as the raw opportunity be-
came somewhat abated.

It is not adequately accurate to speak of the breeding of
the pioneer instinct in connection with the industrial migra-
tions of the early New Englanders. This instinct was bred in

r 6 1

From "Tbe Expansion of New England." by Lois Kiml>nll Mathews,
published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston

New England

their race long before they began to go out from the early
settlements and seek for opportunities to found other pioneer
towns and states. It was their pioneer instinct that originally
brought the Pilgrims to the shores of New England, and the
workings of that instinct were so persistent and so powerful
that they were drawn from one little community to seek for a
site for another long before the first had settled into a condi-
tion approaching comfort or economic direction. It is illumi-
nating to note the development of the motives which led these
people from one crude experiment in civilized communal life
to another yet more crude, and having less probability to
offer for successful existence. The story is most lucidly and
interestingly told by Mrs. Lois Kimball Mathews in her won-
derfully interesting book on " The Expansion of New Eng-
land." Of all the tales of crusaders and pioneers told since
the world began there is none more interesting than this, for
those people opened the world as they went from point to
point, and they carried freedom along with them and planted
it in every rood of ground they snatched from the wilderness
and jockeyed away from the aboriginal owners. These pio-
neers were actuated by precisely the motives that actuate men
of today in their pioneer enterprises. They no sooner settled
into a township, or the crude form of a township, than some
of them began to chafe at the restricting control of their
church or the unyielding policy of the communal government
they had themselves created ; or they conceived that they had
not sufficient land. While there were but few settlers to oc-
cupy all the land that lay within the limi£s of the imagina-
tion, these men complained that there was not enough, in so
many instances and so persistently, as to suggest that at that
early time the hunger for land was a dominating motive which
operated to open new territory with sure and perennial per-
sistency. These pioneers always advanced in groups. Certain
families would find that they did not sympathize with the ser-
mons of their minister, or protested against the rulings of
their chosen officers, or discovered that they did not have
enough salt marsh from which to harvest hay for their cows,
or that their corn land did not yield as much grain as they

[ 7]

New England

wished, or some other plausible reason would be assigned for
the wanderlust that was sure to sieze upon them; and they
would apply to the church for permission to move on. This
tendency to migrate toward the west they brought with them,
from their fathers and grandfathers in England, and wherever
they went they took the habits and characteristics of their
county in England. They based their new towns solidly upon

Online LibraryGeorge FrenchNew England, what it is and what it is to be → online text (page 1 of 35)