Calendar of Middlesex Canal Association Events and Related Events
The Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center is open every Saturday and Sunday, noon-4, except holidays. [Facebook Page]
First Wednesday - MCA Board of Directors' Meetings - The Board meets the first Wednesday of every month (except July and August), at the Museum, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Members and the public are invited to attend.
Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 1:00pm – Winter Meeting (Speaker: Tom Dahill, “Summit Pond, Middlesex Canal, Circa 1822”)
At 1:00pm the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a public meeting at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA. The featured speaker will be noted artist, author, and educator, Tom Dahill, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Emerson College. The topic of his talk will be the two watercolors of the Middlesex Canal Summit Pond (circa 1822) in North Billerica. Both were assumed to be painted by Jabez Barton during his courtship of Rebecca Farmer Rogers, daughter of William and Hannah (Farmer) Rogers. A View from William Rogers House (Billerica Historical Society) provides a priceless early image of the floating towpath and the North Billerica Mill Village. The William Rogers House (New York Historical Society) portrays the scene from a point on or near the causeway at the east end of the summit pond. The William Rogers House was built about 1807 reportedly partly from funds earned by William in service of the Canal Proprietors, and stands today on Rogers Street.
For those planning to attend Professor Dahill’s Feb 14, 2016 lecture on the Barton watercolors, additional background information can be found in the following two publications:
Seaburg, Carl; Seaburg, Alan; & Dahill, Thomas. The Incredible Ditch: A Bicentennial History of the Middlesex Canal. The Anne Miniver Press for the Medford Historical Society, 1997.
Seaburg, Alan. Life on the Middlesex Canal. The Anne Miniver Press History of American Transportation Publications, 2009.
March 5, 2016 – Bill Gerber will give a talk on "Landings of the Canal and River Navigation System North of Boston" at the Society for Industrial Archaeology Symposium to be held at Plymouth State University.
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 10:43am – Bicycle Tour South
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 1:30pm – Spring Walk (Meet at Woburn Cinemas)
Sun, May 15, 2016, 1:00pm – Spring Meeting (speaker to be determined)
Sat, Oct 1, 2016, 9:00am – 14th Bicycle Tour North
Sun, Oct 16, 2016, 1:30pm – Fall Walk (Winchester-Medford)
Sun, Oct 30, 2016, 1:00pm – Fall Meeting (speaker to be determined)
Other Canal-Related Events
Week, Sept 18-21, 2016. World Canals Conference 2016, Inverness, Scotland.
Week, Sept 24-28, 2017. World Canals Conference 2017 will be based in Syracuse, New York. 2017 will mark the 200th Anniversary of the start of construction on the Erie Canal.
Sunday, Oct 25, 2015. Middlesex Canal Association Fall Meeting
At 1:00pm the Middlesex Canal Association will hold a public meeting at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center, 71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA. The featured speaker will James Baldwin, the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Loammi Baldwin, the engineer who supervised the construction of the Middlesex Canal. Mr. Baldwin will make reference to items that have been passed down through the generations of Baldwins. One of these will be George Washington’s invitation to Col. Loammi Baldwin to visit him at what would become the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. Interestingly, the regiment Col. Baldwin commanded at the crossing of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton was known as the George Washington regiment.
At the beginning of the meeting the report of the Nominating Committee will be read and the election of officers and directors will take place.
For those planning to attend the James Baldwin’s October 25, 2015 lecture on the Baldwin Family, additional background information can be found in the following issues of Towpath Topics:
Volume 37; #2, March 1999: “The Baldwin Family” by Thomas Raphael
Volume 49; #2, January, 2011: “Biographies of James Sullivan and Loammi Baldwin” Transcribed by Howard Winkler
Volume 50; #3, March 2012: “The Middlesex Canal - It was a Family Thing” by Bill Gerber and Susan Williams
MCA Fall Walk: Sunday, October 18, 2015
The Appalachian Mountain Club and the MCA will host a walk along a 0.8 mile section of the Canal situated within a 14 acre tract in Wilmington. In 1983 this parcel was gifted by Stanley Weber and his daughter, Julia Ann Fielding, to the MCA. Although the fall foliage, the fresh air, and the camaraderie should be suffi cient to encourage participation, as an added treat, Mike McInnis (from the Middlesex Canal Commission) and his wife, Diane, will serve lemonade and cookies for the walkers at the Patches Pond turnaround. Those planning to attend should meet at the Wilmington Town Park, opposite 760 Main Street, Wilmington, MA (Route #38) at 1:30pm.
Saturday, October 17, 2015. 13th Bike Tour North, starting at 9am,
Sullivan Square, Charlestown
We will meet at 9:00am at the Middlesex Canal plaque, Sullivan Square MBTA Station (1 Cambridge Street, Charlestown, MA 02129) and follow the canal route 38 miles to Lowell. [This is a postponement because of rain from the original date of October 3rd.] There will be a stop for a snack at Kiwanis Park across from Baldwin Mansion (2 Alfred Street, Woburn, MA 01801 ~12:30pm), stop for visit at the Canal Museum (71 Faulkner Street, North Billerica, MA 01862 ~3pm), and arrive in Lowell in time for the 5:00pm train back to Boston. Google “canal ride cue sheet”. Riders can choose their own time to join or leave the group by using the Lowell Line which parallels the Canal. (For example, an abbreviated ride can be done by parking at the Sichuan Garden, just off Route 128 at Route 38, cycling with the group to the museum and returning by train to Anderson/Woburn at 3:19pm, three miles from the Sichuan Garden.)
The ride will be an easy one for most cyclists. The route is pretty flat, and we will average 5 miles per hour. Along the way we will stop at several canal remnants and restored sections. Steady rain cancels. Helmets required. For more information: www.middlesexcanal.org.
The Middlesex Canal Association Presents:
Historic Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal
Sat, Oct 17, 2015
On Saturday, October 17, 2015, the Middlesex Canal Association, along with the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission will sponsor the 13th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. [This is a postponement because of rain from the original date of October 3rd.] The Canal was the "big dig" of the end of the 18th century. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimac River in what is now Lowell with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown. In many ways it served as a model for later canals including the Erie Canal. The Canal remained in operation for 50 years, providing both passenger and freight service, but could not compete successfully with the Boston and Lowell Railroad which began operation in the 1830's.
The ride will meet at the Canal marker on the front of the Sullivan Square MBTA station just to the right of the main entrance at 9:00am. From there we will ride about 28 miles to the Historic Mill Village and Canal Museum on the Millpond in North Billerica. We should get to North Billerica in time for anyone who wants to catch the 3:07pm train back to Boston. The ride will then follow the northern section of the Canal another 10 miles from North Billerica to Lowell and catch the 5:00pm train back from there. We will make a lunch stop in Woburn, so we recommend that you bring a lunch.
The route is pretty flat and level and we will average 5 miles per hour, so the ride will be an easy one for most cyclists. Along the way we will stop at a number of remnants and restored sections of the Canal, as well as the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, the chief engineer of the Canal (who discovered the Baldwin apple while building the Canal), the two remaining aqueducts (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks), and the northern end of the floating towpath that carried horses over the Millpond.
The ride is listed on the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Archaeology Month calendar, and two years ago was named one of the four highlights of Massachusetts Archeology Month.
The ride will be led by Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission, and Bill Kuttner of the Shirley Eustis House. Helmets required. Steady rain cancels. For more information, contact Dick at email@example.com (857-540-6293), or Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org (617-241-9383).
For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org
For more information about the Middlesex Canal Association and Museum go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org/museum/index.html
For more information about the Middlesex Canal Commission go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org/commission/
Cue sheet for the Oct 2, 2010 Ride (similar to 2015 Ride)
Sun, May 3, 2015. Rare Unscheduled Walk on Towpath of Undeveloped, Watered One-Mile of Middlesex Canal. Prior to a Middlesex Canal meeting Sunday a walk on the towpath at the Shaffer Landfill to follow-up on the Feb 8 talk by Don McElroy, EPA's remedial project manager will be available. Mr. McElroy said two lawyers, EPA's attorney and the attorney for the group paying for the 40-year operation and maintenance of EPA's landfill remedy, favor an easement by the owner of the landfill to benefit the Middlesex Canal. The walk to see what the easement might be like will start at the visitor center/museum (71 Faulkner St., No. Billerica MA), 11:00am, Sunday, May 3, with a return in time for the 1:00pm public meeting of the association. The walkers will carpool to the 200-year-old canal and see how little nature has reclaimed of it. More information, www.middlesexcanal.org. L Marlies Henderson.
Sun, May 3, 2015. Middlesex Canal Association Annual Meeting in the museum, beginning at 1:00pm. Our speaker, Marcis Kempe, has as his topic, "Boston's Water Supply and the Middlesex Canal", based on Caleb Eddy's Historical Sketch of the Middlesex Canal, 1843, which can be read at http://tinyurl.com/eddy1843. Refreshments will be served following. [Flyer for Meeting]
Sun, April 26, 2015. Joint MCA-AMC Spring Middlesex Canal Walk.
Meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center in the Faulkner Mill in North Billerica. The walk will be for 2-3 hours, rain or shine, over generally level wooded terrain and streets. The route follows the canal for a round trip of under 3 miles south of the Concord River. Sites to be visited include: two guard locks; an anchor stone and the 'peninsula' at the opposite ends of the floating bridge that once carried the towpath across the Concord; the 1825 iron bolt pond-level reference; the “deep cut”; a smallpox memorial marker; stretches of canal some of which are still watered; and possibly the impending photovoltaic facility on High St. The Museum and bookstore will be open from 12:00pm-4:00pm. Phone 978-670-2740. L Robert Winters (617-661-9230; email@example.com), CL Roger Hagopian (781-861-7868 to 10pm), CL Marlies Henderson.
If you're free before the Middlesex Canal Spring Walk......
The Chelmsford Town-Wide Cleanup will be this Sunday, April 26
- Gloves and trash bags are available upon request from the recycling office at 9 Alpha Road.
- If you can’t pick up on Sunday, another day is fine.
- If you have questions, please call the recycling office between 9am and 1pm at 978-250-5203.
- Our town website has this information on the home page: http://www.townofchelmsford.us
- The cleanup flyer available in PDF format here: http://www.townofchelmsford.us/DocumentCenter/View/4558
Sun, Apr 12, 2015: Middlesex Canal Association’s Spring bicycle tour. Meet 9:30am at North Station (commuter rail) and take our bicycles on the 10am train to Lowell. Riders meeting the group at Lowell meet at the train station at 10:40am. This year an early group will take the 8:00am train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the historic Owl Diner (www.owldiner.com, aka the Four Sisters).
Route visits the Pawtucket and other Lowell canals, the river walk, Francis Gate, and Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Lunch at Route 3A mini-mall in Billerica. Quick visit to Canal Museum, then on to Boston. A long day of exploration (35 miles end-to-end) but sunset is late.
Riders can board northbound trains at other stations or catch southbound trains at 1:07pm or 3:14pm to return to Boston early. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded at http://www.keoliscs.com. Participants responsible for one-way train fare [$9.25 from Boston to Lowell]. For changes or updates, see http://middlesexcanal.org. Leaders Bill Kuttner (617-241-9383) & Dick Bauer (857-540-6293).
Poster for Spring 2015 Middlesex Canal Bike Tour (PDF)
April 12, 2015 Canal Ride South
Attorney Arthur L. Eno, Jr. 1924 - 2014
Attorney Arthur L. Eno, Jr. was born in Lowell April 27, 1924 and died August 6, 2014, a stone's throw from where he grew up overlooking the Merrimack River in the city he loved.
As the firstborn son of Arthur L. and Claire (Lamoureux) Eno, Sr. his first language was French. He attended St. Joseph Grammar School and Keith Academy in Lowell, and his childhood buddy was Jack Kerouac, another of Lowell's Franco-American sons.
While Jack's destiny was to leave Lowell, Louis' destiny was to stay. Except for college and the war, he never lived more than 20 minutes from the city. Gifted with a strong intellect and an indomitable work ethic, he was accepted into Harvard at age 14. At the suggestion he prepare a bit more socially, he took an additional year of studies at Phillips Academy Andover.
Never one for dawdling, he completed his undergraduate Classics degree in three years; served in the Signal Section of the Army in Morocco, Italy, France and Germany for three years (he was in Paris at the end of the war); spent a year studying at the Sorbonne and returned to enter Harvard Law School, which he completed in just over two years.
After admission to the Massachusetts Bar in 1948, he became an Assistant Professor of Law at Northeastern University at age 24, just as he was opening his own private law practice in Lowell. Then, for the next 53 years, he commuted every day to the same neighborhood, many of them in his bright orange VW bug. In 1994, he created a firm, Eno Boulay and Martin (now Eno Martin Donahue) and retired in 2001.
In 1957, friends masterminded a fateful meeting with Ann Fitzpatrick of New Rochelle, New York. He called her at her New York City office to ask if she could arrange theater tickets for his girlfriend and him. This interesting tactic somehow worked and he successfully wooed Ann to Massachusetts. While the couple couldn't have been more different in temperament or outlook, they were married 56 years and raised three children, John, Madeleine, and Will.
One of their proudest achievements was to move a 300-year-old house from Amesbury to Carlisle.. Louis heard that a beautiful old home was up for auction due to the construction of Route 495. He carefully tucked two sealed bids, one low and one high, into his jacket pocket. When it came time to present bids, he forgot which was which, but still managed to win the house. He & Ann dismantled and moved it-board by board, brick by brick-and painstakingly recreated it on acreage in Carlisle.
Civic involvement was important to him, and he served on numerous professional organizations and political groups: the Lowell School Committee (1951-1955), the Lowell Historic Board (1984-1993), and the Middlesex Canal Commission. He was a Trustee of the Central Savings Bank, a Director of the Jeanne d'Arc Credit Union (1972-1992), President of the Lowell Humane Society, President of the Middlesex Canal Association (1962-1972) and President of the Mass. Conveyancers Association (1982-1984).
While law was his vocation, the history of Lowell was his passion. He edited Cotton Was King, a compilation of essays about Industrial Revolution-era Lowell, published in 1976. He translated Immigrant Odyssey from French to English. Antiquarian books, bottles, and artwork all with the common theme of Lowell lined the bookshelves of the living room, and his office was a veritable museum to the city.
His numerous awards include Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate (1979), the Richard Johnson Award (Mass. Conveyancers Association), Lawyer of the Year (Greater Lowell Bar Association, 1991) and Franco-American of the Year (2000).
He was co-author of Massachusetts Real Estate (West Group) and editor of annual supplements of the publication for dozens of years. He edited the Massachusetts Real Estate Sourcebook (published by Mass. Continuing Legal Education).
Deeply religious, Louis rarely missed attending Mass, even while traveling. In his rare spare time, he took the family in the station wagon to explore the canals and locks of the eastern seaboard.
Until he lost his sight several years ago, reading was his ultimate pleasure. All he needed for a happy vacation at the family cabin in Vermont was his tall glass of ice tea and a tall stack of library books. He read quickly and remembered details. His 10-year-old daughter once asked him to read Charlotte's Web so she could discuss it with him. He sat on the porch and read it in a single sitting while she watched. A lifetime classics student, he gave his young children Peanuts books in Latin for Christmas.
He loved lobster, croissants, Paris, Quebec, speaking French, reading the Greek philosophers, sci-fi movies, Bennie Hill, large dogs, and his family. There was very little about the world, history, or politics that he did not know. For the past several decades, he met his friends, Lenny and Jay for lunch, jokes and political talk just about every Saturday. His baby granddaughter was making her entrance into the world at the very moment he departed.
Surviving him in addition to his beloved wife, Ann, are his children John (Jeanne Palanza) of North Andover, Madeleine (John Roper) of Sandy, Oregon, Will (Maria Dizzia) of Brooklyn, NY, and brand-new granddaughter, Albertine Eno. His brother, Paul A. (Janice) Eno of Taunton, MA, and dozens of nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces, each of whom he adored. He was predeceased by his beloved sister, Jacqueline.
This obituary was published in the Lowell Sun August 9-10, 2014.
Restoration of Canal Museum seeks to preserve a part of history (June 14, 2014, Billerica Minuteman)
Events from Previous Years
Sun, Oct 5, 2014. Bicycle Tour of the Historic Middlesex Canal. MassBike, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the Middlesex Canal Commission and the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor the 12th annual bicycle tour of the canal which was the “big dig” of late 18th century Massachusetts. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimack River, west of what is now Lowell, with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown. The Canal provided passenger and freight service for 50 years. It pioneered many innovations and in many ways served as a model for later canals, notably including the Erie Canal.
We will meet at 9:00am by the Canal marker at the Sullivan Square MBTA station. From there we will ride about 28 miles to the Mill Village and Canal Museum by the Concord River Millpond in North Billerica. We’ll stop for lunch in Woburn, so please bring a lunch. We should get to North Billerica in time for anyone who wants to catch the 3:07pm train back to Boston. The ride will then follow the northern section of the Canal another 10 miles to Lowell in time to catch the 5:00pm train back from there.
The ride will be an easy one for most cyclists; the route is pretty flat and we will average 5 miles per hour. Along the way we will stop at: several canal remnants and restored sections; the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, chief engineer for the Canal (for whom the Baldwin apple is named, discovered during an early canal survey); the two remaining aqueducts (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks); and the northern end of the floating towpath that enabled horses to tow boats across the Concord River.
The ride will be led by Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission, Robert Winters of the Middlesex Canal Association, and Bill Kuttner of the Shirley-Eustis House and the Middlesex Canal Commission. Steady rain cancels.
For more information, contact Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org (617-628-6320); Robert at email@example.com; or Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org (617-973-7132). For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org, &/or http://www.massbike.org/resources/rides.htm.
Sun, Oct 19, 2014: Joint Middlesex Canal Association - Appalachian Mountain Club Fall Walk. This walk is jointly listed as a Local Walk of the Boston Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). “Show and Go”; meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center at the Faulkner Mill at 71 Faulkner Street in North Billerica. The Museum and Visitor Center, including the bookstore, will open at 12 noon. The 2-2½ hour walk will cover part of the Merrimack branch of the canal in Billerica and Chelmsford, about 3 to 4 miles over generally level wooded terrain and streets. Sites to visit en route will include a guard lock, the anchor stone for the floating towpath that bridged the Concord River, and many stretches of watered canal. For directions to the museum, Middlesex Canal signs point the way, or see the third paragraph under this “calendar of events” section, above. Information: contact Robert Winters (email@example.com) or Marlies Henderson (978-663-3345).
Walk leader Robert Winters telling tales during the Fall Walk, October 2014
Walk leader Robert Winters jingles the rings of the anchor stone of the floating towpath, October 2014
The Middlesex Canal Association has accepted the old Talbot cloth warehouse to be used as a future new Canal Museum. The warehouse is adjacent to the site where construction of the canal began. The deed was signed on February 5 and recorded on March 6, 2014.
As of June 1, 2014 the Middlesex Canal Association launched its Fundraising Campaign to raise $100,000 to hire an Architect/Structural Engineer. The initial appeal will go out to businesses. There is an urgent need to replace the roof. The expected total cost of the adaptive use of the building for our purposes is expected to cost less than half a million dollars. The following two page letter is being sent as we speak. Hopefully, our civic minded community will rise to the occasion.
Dear Community Members,
The Middlesex Canal Association is excited to announce a major step towards preserving the history of the Middlesex Canal. We have recently been granted the deed to an 1880's warehouse which is on the banks of the Summit Mill Pond, aside the canal where the ceremonial ground breaking took place 220 years ago and adjacent to the future Middlesex Canal Heritage Park in North Billerica. This is a significant opportunity to build a New Canal Museum and we need your help.
The Middlesex Canal was one of the first major transportation canals in the United States and was largely responsible for the initial growth of Boston as a world city. This "Incredible Ditch" served as a commercial network for the towns of Lowell, Chelmsford, Billerica, Wilmington, Woburn, Winchester, Medford, Somerville and Charlestown. Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin declared in 1808 that the canal was "the greatest work of its kind in the United States to date."
The Middlesex Canal Association strives to acquire, restore, and preserve all extant remains of the old Middlesex Canal. Our programs include teacher and student education, maintaining a historical archive and web site, thrice-yearly lectures, publication of our journal Towpath Topics, bicycle tours and guided walks along the canal. The Association is also proud to have maintained an all volunteer run Museum and Visitor Center for the past thirteen years.
We are making an appeal to all in our community to help fund this project. In the first phase, we want to hire an architect, develop a plan of approach, construct a bridge to access the building, and rebuild the roof. The second phase will bring to completion a new Canal Museum and Visitor Center for the benefit of present and all future generations.
We have chosen your name with special care. We want to start work this summer and funds are urgently needed. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-670-2740 for more information about this amazing project.
FUTURE MIDDLESEX CANAL MUSEUM
2 Old Elm Street
Billerica, Massachusetts 01862
Donation levels of $10,000 or more earns a Platinum Status, $5,000 or more earns a Gold Status, $2,500 or more earns a Silver Status, and $500 or more earns a Bronze Status. Contributing businesses will be featured on a permanent display in the museum, on our web site and in our literature. This will qualify for 501 (c) (3) tax status.
Name, Address and phone number of donor: [Click here for mailable form]
Please endorse checks to:
The Middlesex Canal Association/New Museum and send to:
Howard B. Winkler, Treasurer MCA
1010 Waltham Street, Apt 205
Lexington, Massachusetts 02421
Standing Room Only: President J. Jeremiah Breen officiated
over the 2014 Winter Meeting of the Middlesex Canal Association.
Pat Henry spoke of Billerica's Utopia - a planned residential area
near our current museum. It was well attended.
In photo are Josiah Rich,MD,MPH (husband). Pat Henry (speaker) and J. Breen.
Remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct, N. Billerica - October 2013
(Photo by Cathy Norton)
The Spring Walk on Sunday, May 5, 2013 drew a crowd of more than 50 people.
At the Maple Meadow Brook, participants crossed the "Bigwood Bridge" built for the day.