Walter Frye Turner.

Somerville [Mass.]: its representative business men and its points of interest online

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and also Webster avenue, has been paved during the last season. The work required about



6G0,OO() blocks of granite, whifli were purchased by tbe city, ami tbe work of laying them done by
contract. This was an improvement long needed in this portion of the city. There are other
streets in groat need of decided improvement, which will receive proper attention in due time.

During the year 1S91 over sflO, 000 was spent for macadamizing various streets, independent
of other repairs. Somerville has ov^er eighty iniles of public and private streets.

Tiic city is lighted I)y electric lights, supplied by the Somerville Electric Light Co.. requiring
a total of 158 arc and 35(i incandescent lights.



Somerville is well provided with an ably managed and cflicieut police force under Melvin 0.
Parkhurst, Chief : Robert R. Perry, Captain ; Samuel R. Dow, Sergeant ; Edward McGarr,
Sergeant : Chris. C. Cavanaugh, Sergeant : and twenty-seven patrolmen.


The very large portion of the buildings in the city being private residences, as compared with
most places of the same number of inhabitants where manufacturing interests are prominent, and
hence cheap rents and boarding-houses abound as well as much other more hazardous property,
may explain why the city escapes with so small a demand upon this department ; for while the fire
alarms in the year 1891 exceeded in number any other year in the city's history (according to
the chief engineer's n^port), yet it only reached eighty alarms. But these made at times a severe
tax upon the department, for many of the runs were long and hills to encounter : but the depart-
ment i.s very efficient, and accomplished all that could be expected with the facilities fuinished



them, wbich consist of two steam fire engines, each of a capacity of 700 gallons per minute ; four
hose wagons, each supplied with forty-three feet of ladder ; two hand chemical extinguishers and
900 feet of hose : one hose reel with 800 feet of hose ; one combination carriage, carrying ladders
chemical tank, large and small hose ; one ladder truck, supplied with ladders. Jumping canvas,
and all kinds of necessary tools.

There are 8,000 feet of hose in the department.

The department is under the control of Chief Engineer James E. Hopkins, with Nathaniel C.
Baker assistant engineer, and Edward F. Backus fire alarm operator, and 75 men divided up
among the different companies in their several capacities. The city is provided with fire alarm tel-
egraph, and has 51 signal boxes. 48 miles of wire and six town bell strikers.


The city of Somerville is not the owner of its own water plant or source of supply, but is
furnished with the Mystic Lake water by contract with the city of Boston, which owns and controls

this plant. But Somerville's plant
within the city, for furnishing
water for all demands, is quite
extensive ; it has over sixty-four
miles of mains, 441 hydrants.
The city has been to very heavy
expense to establish its high-water
service, which demanded a pump-
ing station, supplied with steam
power, and a powerful pump, lo-
cated on Cedar street, near Broad-
way, by which the water is forced
into an immense stand-pipe on
Spring Hill. Its dimensions are
thirty feet in diameter and 100 feet
in height. This is used to give
the Highlands an ample supply of
water. To give a more clear idea
of its value and importance, we
quote from the excellent rejiort of
the water board for the year

" The high- water service, which
was put into operation for the first
time last year (1890), continues to
give complete satisfaction. Until
the introduction of this system,
residents upon the high lands were
subjected to grievous annoyance
by the scanty water supply, while
their property was in constant
peril from fire. In fact, some of
the finest residential lands in the
city were rendered almost valueless
for building purposes in consequence of the lack of water. The high service has brought perma-
nent relief to the more elevated portions of the city, and largely increased the value of hundreds

The Water Tower.



of buildiug lots. Beautiful and sub.staatial are being rapidly erected on the summits of
our hills, where are to be found the most eligible and healthful locations for the homes of the
people. No intelligent taxpayer will to-day question the wisdom of the expenditure which has
been made foi- the introduction of the high-water service, an investment which, in after years, will
yield a considerable revenue to the city.

"All of the machinery, structures and appurtc^nances of the high service are in good condition
and doing excellent work. Another year's trial of the boilei-, pump and stand-pipe has but con-
firmed the favoi'able opinion expressed concerning them by our immediate predecessors in office.


an ..-.^ -, „...- ., , j...^, , , _ .

now in use, water takeis may not be deprived of their supply while repairs are being made
additional stand-pipe will soon be required for the high service system. We would, therefore, rec-
ommend that ste])s be taken towards the purchase of a suitable lot of land for that purpose on
the summit of Winter Hill.''

rs are beint:



The beautiful l'ul)lic Librajy building, as seen in cut above, is on Central Hill, in a delightful
and central location near the High School building. It was built and dedicated in 1885, and is
very attractively arranged and convenient for the purpose designed. It contains only 21,012
books (Sept., 1892), which reveals the weak point in Somerville's showing as a city of over 40,000
inhabitants, which does not compare favorably with the large towns and cities of Massachusetts as
shown by the "Report of the Fi'ee Public Library Commission." The method of teaching now
pursued in the high schools makes the public library an im])0itant auxiliary to the schools. The
two go hand in haml to secure the best results in the education of our children, hence the necessity


of the public libraries being well supplied with the class of books to meet this requirement, aside
from the demands of the general reading public. It is to the credit of the Board of Trustees of
the Public Library that they are alive to this question, and are working for its improvement. The
Board of Trustees are: Charles S. Lincoln, President ; C. E. Eymes, Geo. A. Bruce, William E.
Weld, James E. Whitaker, J. Henry Flitner, Charles H. Brown, John B. Viall, E. C. Clark ;
Librarian, Harriet A. Adams.


Somerviile has long needed a hospital for the proper care and treatment of the sick or un-
fortunate who might need the provisions afforded in a well-appointed modern hospital. The sub-
ject had been discussed and agitated, especially in the i)ublic press, until benevolent people
became interested in the subject. The first donation for this object was made by Miss Mary R.
Hunt, who gave •'*10,000 on condition that a like amount should be raised ; this was accomplished.
The Somerviile Hospital was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, and its thirty
trustees selected from all parts of the city. A building committee was appointed, and after an
extended examination of other hospitals and jjlans, they decided upon what to them seemed best
adapted to the present and prospective demands of our city. The site on Spring Hill is a delight-
ful one, where jilenty of sunshine and fresh air abound, and so located that its desirable views
cannot be obstructed by other buildings. The principal wards are one story high, and due atten-
tion is paid to sunlight and ventilation : in short, in all its detail of construction, everything has
been done to conform to the most apjjroved regulations that experience elsewhere has demonstrated

Officers of the Somerviile Hospital are : Charles G. Pope, President ; Lewis Lombard, Vice-
President : John F. Cole, Treasurer ; Thomas M. Durell, M. D., Clerk ; with thirty trustees.


Somerviile is attracting wide-spread attention as a desirable place for residence, — first,
on account of its many most desirable locations, such as surrounds Union square, Davis squai-e,
Russell square. Pollard square, Somerviile Highlands, Spring Hill, Central Hill, Prospect Hill,
Winter Hill, Broadway, and others ; second, land generally is not held at so exorbitant prices as
in very many of the suburban towns, — hence we deem it favorable to these various localities and
the city at large to show in some detail the valuable public transit facilities enjoyed ; so we give
some space to this purpose, for the city is especially favored in the convenience enjoyed for pas-
senger transit, both l)y steam and street cars.

The Fitchburg Railroad runs twenty local trains per day from Boston, entering Somerviile
from Charlestown, with stations at Vnion square, Somerviile Station at Park street, then passing
into Cambridge, with -'Porter" Station near Somerviile line; thus accommodating the south-
western portion of the city. On the extreme southeastern portion of the city the Western
Division of the Boston & Maine Railroad is located, with station at East Somerviile, or, to be
more correct, the station is located just over the line in Charlestown, and called East Somerviile
Station ; forty-six of the trains per day that leave Boston & Maine Depot, Haymarket square,
stop at this station.



The Eastern Division of tlie same road also has a station here only a few rods from that of
the Western Division, but on the opposite side of tlie tracks, and is called Somerville Station.


Thirty-seven of the trains per day leaving Boston from Eastern Depot, Causeway street, foot of
Friend street, stop at this station. The Southern Division of the Boston & Maine Eailioad,

Peospect Hill Station.

Lowell system, runs its trains from Lowell Depot, Causeway street, foot of Portland street,
Boston, the route being through East Cambridge into Somerville, with stations at Prospect Hill,



Somerville Station at Central Street, and North Somerville at Broadway ; thirty-eight trains per
day from Boston stop at these stations.

From near Somerville Station, Central street, a branch leaves the main line, running through
Somerville Highlands, Davis square, in West Somerville, into North Cambridge, giving to these
stations thirty-one local trains per day from Boston. This main line and branch open np some of
the most desirable locations for residence to be found anywhere in the suburbs of Boston, and is
being developed very rapidly. The Boston & Maine Railroad Company has built three very
handsome and well-appointed stone stations : one at Prospect Hill, one at Winter Hill, whicli also

Winter Hill Station, Lowell Division, B. & M.

accommodates the vicinity of Central Hill, and one at Somerville Highlands. Cuts of each of
these stations are given in these pages. The stranger desiring to visit Somerville by rail from
Boston is at once confused to know at which depot he ought to take his train, whether at Boston
& Maine, Haymarket square, or Eastern Depot, Causeway street, foot of Friend street, or
Lowell Depot, Causeway street, foot of Portland street, or Fitchburg Depot, Causeway street, for
from each depot trains run to different parts of Somerville; hence, to those not familiar with the
several routes, there is danger of their taking a train for a part of Somerville quite different from
the destination desired ; with many, only careful inquiry will insure them from uncertainty and


A glance at the map of Somerville will show that its territory extends from Charlestown Neck
in a northwesterly direction, a distance of about four miles, while its width varies from three-
fourths of a mile to about two miles, and that its bills have a general range lengthwise, and hence
the railroads, both steam and street car lines, conform to this general direction, >virh the exception




of the cross liuc of street railway through Cross street. The West End Street Railroad Company
of Boston has the entire franchise of street railway service in the city and has nine lines running'
throngh portions of Sonicrville, each running to and from Boston and forming a part of the West
End's great system. They are rapidly supplanting the horse cars with electric cars and the trolley

Skirting the southeast(>rn border of the city is a line running through Beacon street and the
west end of Somerville avenue into North Cambridge, its terminal points being " Porter Station,"
North Cambridge, and Bowdoin square, Boston, via Cambridgeport. Another, and the longest
line in the city, traversing most its entire length, runs from Park square, Boston, through
Union square, Somerville, Somerville avenue. Elm street, Davis square. West Somerville, Holland
street to Russell square on Clarendon Hill, or junction of Holland street and Broadway, this being
the present terminus, and in the northwestern part of the city. Another line from Spring Hill to

Looking down Washington Street.

P:uk s(|uare, Boston, via TTiiion S(iuare, Webster avenue. East Cambridge and North Charles
street; also from Spring Hill to Bowdoin square, Boston, through Cambridgeport; also from
Spring Hill to Scollay square, Boston, via Webster avenue, Cambridge stieet, through East
Cambridge, to Eastern Depot and Portland street. To those residing in the westerly portion of
Somerville these lines when e(iuip]ied with electric cars will afford excellent accommodation, while
those near l)a\is scjuare are still further accommodated ))y the electric line on North avenue,
Cambridge, within two or three minutes' walk, by which they can reach Bowdoin square, via
Cainbiidgejiort, oi' Tivmont street, via Harvard bridge and IJoylston street. Union square also
has another line through Washington street, via Charlcstown to Temple place, Boston; this


gives Union square five lines into Boston. Another line runs from Winter Hill, via Broadway and
Charlestown, passing Fitcliburg depot at Causeway street, through Boston to Boston & Albany
and Old Colony depots. Another line of cars from Central street. Highland avenue, and practically
from Davis square, as a transfer car from there connects with it, running through Highland avenue,
past Central Hill Park, City Hall, Public Library, High School building to Central square, through
Cross street to Broadway, through Charlestown to Northampton street via Columbus avenue. This
gives, to Davis square, two lines to Boston besides the one on North avenue before mentioned.
This, with the twenty-seven trains per day by steam cars, gives this part of Somerville splendid
advantages, which are being rapidly appreciated, for West Somerville is building up with surprising
rapidity. Another line runs from Magonn, or Pollard square as it is now called, through Medford
street to Gilman square, thence through Pearl street and Cross street to Broadway, thence through
Charlestown and Boston to Northampton street via Columbus avenue ; this line opens a fine build-
ing location at Pollard square, which is the junction of Medford and Broadway, and a very siglitly
place on high ground, overlooking Medford Valley beyond.


Tt is a singular fact that when Somerville became a town there was not a church within its
borders, although the population was 1013 ; but religious efforts were put forth during the summer
of 1842, which proved to be the origin of the First Unitarian Society, which was subsequently
formed in 1844. The honor and credit of this primary effort are due to Elizabeth Page Whittridge,
a teacher in the public schools, for she organized a Sunday school in June in the Prospect Hill
school house, which in two years developed into the church mentioned. The church edifice stands
on Highland avenue, opposite Preseott street. Rev. William H. Pierson is the present pastor.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Sunday school was celebrated June 26, 1892.

The only other church of this denomination is the Second Unitarian on Elm street. West
Somerville, Rev. Joel H. Metcalf pastor.

The Baptists quickly followed the Unitarians in entering the field for organized Christian effort
and in 1845 erected a church at the corner of Main and Haverill streets, known as the "Neck
Village" Baptist Church, but eight years later was moved to Perkins street and has since been
called the Perkins Street Baptist Church. Tliey have recently built a new church of brick with
brownstone trimmings on Cross street, corner of Pearl ; it was occupied in February, 1892. The
present pastor is Rev. Andrew R. Moore.

The Baptist denomination has six churches in the city : The First Baptist Church, Belmont
street. Spring Hill, Rev. F. O. Cunningham pastor ; the Winter Hill Baptist Church, School street,
Rev. W. J. Day pastor; Union Square Baptist Church, Bow street, junction of Somerville avenue,
Rev. C. S. Scott pastor; East Somerville Baptist Church, Perkins street, opposite Pinkney street.
Rev. C. L. Rhodes was pastor, but removed to Waltham, and at the time of this writing the church
is without a pastor ; West Somerville Baptist Church, Elm street. Rev. Arthur L. Snell pastor.

The Free Baptists also have a church on Broadway near Lincoln street, Rev. E. P. Moulton

The Congregationalists have five churches in the city : First Orthodox Congregational Church,
Franklin street, opposite Perkins street, Rev. James H. Ross resigned his pastorate October 22,
to take place at the next annual meeting of the society ; Broadway Congregational Church,
Sycamore street, Rev. J. F. Lovering pastor ; Prospect Hill Congregational Church, Bow street,


corner of Walnut street, Rev. Edward Sampson Teal pastor; Winter Hill Congregational Church,
Kroadway, corner of Central street, Eev. Charles L. Noyes pastor ; West Sonierville Congrega-
tional Church, Day street, Rev H. C. Hitchcock pastor.

The Universalists have three churches : The First Universalist Church, Cross street, corner
of Tufts street. Rev. Levi Moore Powers pastor; Winter Hill Universalist Church, Evergreen
avenue, corner of Thurston street. Rev. I. P. Coddington pastoi-; the Third Universalist Church,
corner of Elm and Morrison streets, WestSomerville, Rev. Charles Macomber Smith, D. D., pastor.

The Episcopalians have three churches : The Emmanuel Church, corner of Central and Summer
streets. Rev. N. K. Bishop rector ; St. Thomas' Church, Sonierville avenue. Union square, Rev.
Geo. W. Durell rector ; St. James' Church, Broadway, corner Clarendon avenue, Rev. George
Bruce Nicholson minister in charge.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has four societies : The First Methodist Episcopal Church
on Bow street. Rev. George Skene pastor ; the Flint Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Flint
street, opposite Rush street. Rev. C. M. Melden pastor; the Broadway Methodist Episcopal
Church, Broadway, opposite Sargent avenue, Rev. Frank K. Stratton pastor; the Park Avenue
Methodist Ei)iscopal Church, Park avenue, John H. Mansfield pastor.

The Roman Catholic churches are three in number : St. Joseph's, Washington street, corner
of Webster avenue. Rev. Christopher T. McGrath pastor, Revs. P. F. McCall and J. F. Kelley
curates ; St. Ann's, Thurston street, corner of Medford street, Rev. John B. Galviu pastor. Rev.
Mark J. Sullivan curate; St. Catherine's, Summer street. Spring Hill, Rev. J. J. O'Brien pastor.

The Presbyterians have but one church in the city : The Union Square Presbyterian Church,
Warren avenue, Rev. C. S. Dewing pastor.

The Second Advent Society has its church on Putnam street, Elder O. W. Wallace pastor.

The pastors of the city have, in their i)ublic as well as private utterances, been strong in their
advocacy of temperance and no license principles, and this has had a most healthy influence in
creating and sustaining public opinion in favor of "no license," which so strongly prevails in
Sonierville; this condition of public opinion was Justly referred to in tlie inaugural address of
Mayor Charles G. Pope iu 1801, when he said : "The overwhelming opinion of our citizens in
favor of no license — an opinion that has never varied since the statute allowed its formal expres-
sion — entitles them to have their will respected and enforced by those charged with the duty of
discovering the violators of the law."


Was organized in 1867 — a quarter of a century ago, in which time it has accomplished an amount
of good not measured by finite observation ; the aid from time to time given to young men
susceptible to a word of Christian encouragement, a suggestion towards elevated morals, a genuine
welcome and social Christian fellowship, have each aided in restraining many a young man from
the allurements of vice and debasing society, and inspired them with a desire for membership in
the association and thus have become identified with its purposes and work, and step by step been
moved by the influences thus chosen until Tennyson's words were verified :

"I liold it truth with him who siii^s

To one clear h;up iu divers tones,

That men may rise ou stepping stones
Of tlieir dead selves to higher things."'

In October, 1887, the association was re-organized and a good suite of rooms secured at Union
square, centrally located, over Whitney & Snow's store. Mr. Andrew M. Wight of Sp



Mass., was called as its first General Secretary. Mr. Wight was a young man of strong social and
Christian character, and came to his work with high purposes of making the work of the associa-
tion a success. The membership cordially seconded his efforts, and the association gained largely in
numbers and materially increased and extended its usefulness in the city to a degree before
unknown. In 1891 Secretary Wight resigned and transferred his labors to a like field in Dakota.

Mr. George B. Cowles, Jr., was called as his successor, and has proved to be a most valuable
man for the position, giving added life and zest to the important work of the association. A
location has already been purchased at the junctiou of Somerville avenue and Bow street, where
the association hopes to erect a building that will amply accommodate the increased demands of the
association and also be a credit to the city. The following are the officers of the association :
Pres, W. M. Armstrong ; Treas., Frank E. Hodgkins ; General Secretary, George B. Cowles, Jr.

Odd Fellows' Block, Wintkk Hill.


Probably there are few places on earth where secrets are more secure than in Somerville;
judging from the number of secret societies supported here, evidently it is a barren field for the
professional gossip.

There are at least forty-eight secret or fraternal societies, among them : John Abbott Lodge,
F. and A. M. ; Soley Lodge, F. and A. M. ; Somerville E. A. Chapter ; Orient Council of Eoyal



and Select Miisteis ; Oiisis Lodge, No. 14G, I. O. O. F. : Paul Revere Lodge, No. 184, I. O. O. F.;
Caleb Rand Lodge, No. 197, I. O. O. F. ; Somerville Encampment, No. 48, I. O. O. F. ; Grand
Canton Washington, No. 6, P. M. ; Component, No. 16; Ermine Lodge, No. 76, Daughters of
Rebekah : American Legion of Honor, Prospect Council, No. 14; Ancient Order of Foresters
Mass. Catholic Order of Foresters ; Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division No. 6, Division No. 17
I. O. of Red Men, Webcowwit Tribe, No. 66 ; I. O. of Red Men, Wonohaquaha Tribe, No. 69
AVillard C. Kin.sley Post 139, Grand Army of the Republic ; W. C. Kinsley Woman's Relief Corps
No. 21 : Sons of Veterans, H. B. Leighton Camp 16 ; Warren Lodge, No. 1S9, Knights of Honor
Mt. Benedict Lodge, No. 872, Knights of Honor ; Cameron Lodge, No. 1146, Knights of Honor
Winter Hill Lodge, No. 423, Knights of Honor ; Franklin Lodge, No. 41, Knights of Pythias
and many others.


The location of the city of Somerville is especially favorable to make it prominently a city of
homes. With excellent steam and street car accommodations, within a few minutes' ride of Boston,

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Online LibraryWalter Frye TurnerSomerville [Mass.]: its representative business men and its points of interest → online text (page 2 of 15)