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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, August 15, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        Two women from Kansas came out to these parts, and were overheard comparing their impressions of the ocean.

        Said one: “always thought the ocean would have much higher waves, and it would sound more like real thunder.

        To which the other replied:

        “Maybe; but the ocean doesn’t seem as big as I expected.


        The fishing weir was an old Indian invention characteristic of New England. It consisted of wooden dams in the rivers which served somewhat the purpose of a permanent fishnet; and large settlements grew around those weirs, as modern cities in New England have grown around their successors, the power dams, which have mostly been placed in the same spots, and which are, in many cases, merely the weirs reinforced. Cooperation of tribes in building and using these weirs was one of the factors in bringing about, in New England, the world’s first democratic federation, the Penacook, also called Pawtucket (falling river) from the weirs that were its important distinctive feature. In the construction of the new building of the New England Mutual on Boylston Street, an old Indian weir, some two or three thousand years old, was uncovered, apparently damming up Muddy River and Stony Brook at their confluence at that point, before the Back Bay had sunk below water, old Shawmut (now Boston) would appear to have sprung up around this dam. After tidewater flowed over the site, mud covered the dam . . . and preserved it; the filling in of the Back Bay buried it deeper, and over that old Indian invention was built the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Digging foundations for the New England Mutual building uncovered the weir in 1940, and an interesting background of ancient Boston was revealed.


       A summer bus route that is not too well known is the Houghton’s Pond route from Mattapan Square. Mattapan Square is reached by trolley from Ashmont, Egleston, or Forest Hills Stations. Fare, 10˘ from Boston to Mattapan Square, 10˘ to the pond. The pond is a popular bathing point in the Blue Hills Reservation, which is the largest single park in any metropolitan area. The pond is otherwise known as Hoosickwhisick Pond.


        If you are looking for a cheap tour of Eastern Massachusetts, try the dollar-a-day tickets issued by the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company. These are good for the day of issue on all cars and buses of that company in Massachusetts (10˘ extra to enter New Hampshire or Rhode Island) except the express buses to Fall River. The ride is good to Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Newburyport, Quincy Brockton, Taunton, Fall River, and many intermediate communities, not to mention local bus lines in most of those cities.

      Get on the E.M.S.R. routes at Haymarket Sq., Everett, Arlington Center, Ashmont, Mattapan, Fields Corner, Forest Hills, or Sullivan Station, get an all-day ticket from the conductor, and plan your own tour from there on.


Sidis discusses the E.S.M.R. in Notes on the Collection of Transfers, Chap. 6, and in many other chapters.


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