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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, October 24, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


          Sixty years ago, it was the “Eastern Railroad,” not the Boston & Maine, when traveling to Lynn, Salem, Newburyport and Portsmouth, and by that route up into Maine and Canada.  (“Boston & Maine” was just a competing line, running by way of Lawrence and Haverhill.)  Eastern Railroad passengers came into a terminal on a pier in East Boston, then got a ferryboat from there to Boston, landing at a Boston water-front terminal now called Eastern Avenue (after the old railroad).  Ferry service is still running from there to East Boston―the only remaining ferry line for regular passenger service on the Boston waterfront.  The Boston & Albany Railroad, planning through freight (and possibly passenger) service to Northern New England, built a connecting line, branching off the main B. & A. line at Cottage farm, running through Cambridge, Charlestown, and Chelsea, joining the Eastern in Revere.  About 1890, the Eastern Railroad merged with the Boston & Maine, and its trains were detoured, via the Boston & Albany’s connecting route, to the Boston & Maine’s tracks in Charlestown, then into Causeway Street, while the East Boston route was left as a freight line of the Boston & Maine and the Boston & Albany.  The set of piers formerly used as the Eastern’s rail terminus, is still to be seen on the East Boston waterfront, while trains from the old “Eastern Division” now make a wide detour through Chelsea, Everett, and Charlestown to reach North Station, a point towards which the original railroad was never headed.


        Besides Harvard Square, named after the famous university, in Cambridge, there is a Harvard Square in Brookline and also one in Charlestown.  The Brookline one represents part of the road to Cambridge; the Harvard Square in Charlestown takes its name from the fact that, at some unidentified spot in that square, John Harvard, the first chief donor of the college, is buried.


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