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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, January 9, 1942

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        How many people would recognize the address: 23 Beacon Street, Boston?  It is the State House.


        There is a great underground river skirting the edges of our Metropolis.  It comes out of the Merrimac at the great Tyngsboro bend, and pursues its way through endless subterranean gravel beds through Billerica into Woburn and western Reading, then curving back into Winchester.  Some of its water wells up to the surface to form the Mystic Lakes, and again at Spy Pond in Arlington.  Then, through a course not yet completely traced, into Wellesley and Needham, curving through Dedham, and passing just north of the Blue Hills, it crosses southern Quincy, to come out into the Bay at Wessagusset in Weymouth, where quantities of fresh water are often seen bubbling up off shore.  This stream was an ancient course of the Merrimac, before the debris of the Great Ice Age blocked the surface channel and forced the Merrimac into another channel which headed east instead of south.  The fact that the underground river is filtered through many miles of gravel, makes it one of the purest sources of water on the continent; and it is for that reason that many of our metropolitan communities hereabouts (notably Needham and Woburn) have such extraordinarily good drinking water.  The underground river is also the source of springs in the Blue Hills region, whose water is bottled for “water-cooler” service in many Boston offices.  As this underground channel is a quarter to half a mile wide, and a couple of hundred feed deep, there is plenty of fresh, pure, cool water to supply the whole Metropolis for a long time to come.


        Brookline had the first covered reservoir in the world.


        A few of our municipal mottoes in the Metropolis: Boston: Sicut Patribus, sit Deus nobis. (May God be to us as to our fathers).  Cambridge: Literis antiquis novis institutis decora. (With ancient letters fit for new institutions). Watertown: In peace condta. (Founded in peace).  Malden: Industry.  Lexington: What a glorious morning for America.


        There are only two roads giving access to the town of Winthrop.  And only one to Nahant.


        The name of Suffolk County was an old English abbreviation of “South Folk.”  This county in Massachusetts was so-called because it lay originally along the Old Colony Line, which was the southern boundary of Puritan territory.  After the Shays Rebellion, in which Boston and the southwesterly towns took opposite sides, the county was split in two, the out-of-town section receiving the name of Norfolk, which is south of Suffolk, though its name means “north folk.”


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