Become a member of the
Middlesex Canal Association
Reardon Room Rental
For the past ten years a group of dedicated volunteers has operated the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center at the Faulkner Mill in North Billerica. We have good facilities for rental in a charming Museum. Should you plan a function, we hope that you will consider us. The reasonable charge of $200 covers the room and a committee member who will be present throughout to assist you. For more information phone 978-670-2740, leave a message and someone will return your call.
The Middlesex Canal
is open noon to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year, except holidays.
See the Calendar for exact dates.
The Middlesex Canal
Museum - Visitors Center
is located at the Faulkner Mills,
71 Faulkner St., No. Billerica MA
For more information on the Museum, call 978-670-2740.
Volunteers for the museum are being recruited. If interested, e-mail
museum2013 AT middlesexcanal.org (Will Barker)
Directions to the
From Route 3 North or South:
Take Route 3 North or South to Exit 28 "Treble Cove Road, North Billerica, Carlisle". At the end of the ramp, turn onto Treble Cove Road toward North Billerica. At about 3/4 mile, bear left at a fork. After another 3/4 mile you'll come to a traffic light; this is Route 3A; go straight. Go about 1/4 mile to a 3-way fork; take the middle road, which will put St. Andrew's Church on your left. Go about 1/4 mile; bear right, then turn right onto Faulkner Street. Go about 1/4 mile; the Museum is on your left and you can park across the street on your right, just beyond the falls.
From Route 495 North or South:
Take the Woburn Street N. Billerica/Lowell Exit. From the North take a left, from the South a right onto Woburn Street, which becomes Billerica Avenue. At the RR Station parking lot, take a right; Go 1/4 mile and the Faulkner Mill is on the right. The parking lot is on the left.
Directions by train:
The Lowell Commuter Line runs between Boston's North Station and Lowell's Gallagher Terminal. Get off at the North Billerica station, which is one stop south of Lowell. From the station side of the tracks, the Museum is a 3-minute walk down Faulkner Street on the right side.
Calendar of meetings of the Middlesex Canal Association and Museum volunteering
Officers and Directors of the Middlesex Canal Association
By-Laws of the Middlesex Canal Association
|Presidents of the
Middlesex Canal Association
|Arthur Louis Eno
||1962 - 1972
|Douglas P. Adams
||1972 - 1975
|Wilbar M. Hoxie
||1975 - 1977
|Frances B. VerPlanck
||1977 - 1981
|H. Lawrence Henchey,
||1981 - 1983
|Nolan T. Jones
||1983 - 1985
||1985 - 1987
|David A. Fitch
||1987 - 1990
||1990 - 1994
|Nolan T. Jones
||1994 - 2010
|William E. Gerber, Jr.
||2010 - 2011
|J. Jeremiah Breen
The President of the Middlesex Canal Association is J. Jeremiah Breen.
The Vice President of the Middlesex Canal Association is Traci Jansen.
For information about publications available through the Middlesex Canal Association, contact Betty Bigwood.
For information on membership in the Middlesex Canal Association, contact Neil Devins.
For information about the Middlesex Canal Commission and its efforts to preserve and restore what remains of the Middlesex Canal, contact Tom Raphael.
For information about upcoming walks and tours of the Middlesex Canal, contact Roger Hagopian.
Send comments, suggestions, photos, and any other interesting information about the Middlesex Canal to webmaster Robert Winters at email@example.com.
Note: E-mail sent to several of the above addresses will be forwarded by the webmaster to the appropriate person after being screened for SPAM and viruses.
Colonel Loammi Baldwin gets his sword
National Canal Museum
(in Easton, PA)
Calendar of Middlesex Canal Association Events and Related Events
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, May 5, 2013. MCA-AMC Spring Walk: Historic Middlesex Canal, Wilmington. Meet at 1:30pm; Wilmington, MA. Walk a rural section of the canal from near the Wilmington Town Park to Patch’s Pond, once a canal basin. Examine grooves worn in a boulder by towropes as boats wound around the Ox Bow; also the remains of Maple Meadow Brook Aqueduct, and a quarry used in its construction. Directions: From Route 128/95 take exit 35 in Woburn. Follow Route 38 (Main St.) north 2.4 miles to the Wilmington Town Park on the left just prior to the railroad overpass. For more information see our web site - <www.middlesexcanal.org> or contact: Roger Hagopian (781-861-7868) or Robert Winters (617-661-9230, <firstname.lastname@example.org>).
The Spring Walk on Sunday, May 5 drew a crowd of more than 50 people.
At the Maple Meadow Brook, participants crossed the "Bigwood Bridge" built for the day.
"May the Eye of Wisdom and the Eternal Mind aid this work designed for the benefit of the present
& all Future Generations," prayed Loammi Baldwin. September 10, 1794, Billerica, Massachusetts.
May 5, 1:30pm. A round-trip of three miles along some of the best remnants of the Middlesex Canal will begin at the Town Park, 759 Main St (Rte. 38), Wilmington 01887. From the intersection of Rtes. 128 and 38, go 2.4 miles north. The Town Park is on the left. Walkers will cross Maple Meadow Brook on boards. Tea and cookies at Patches Pond, gift of Mike & Diane McInnis. Leader - Robert Winters. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club and Middlesex Canal Association, www.middlesexcanal.org. [Flyer]
October 5, 2013 - 11th Annual Bike Tour North, starting at 9:00am
October 20, 2013 - MCA-AMC Fall Walk in Woburn (tentative date)
October 27, 2013 - Fall Meeting, 1:00pm at the Museum
Other Canal-Related Events
April 26-28, 2013 - The Annual Meeting of the American Canal Society will be held in conjunction with the Joint Canal Society of NY State and Pennsylvania Canal Society’s spring tour of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Northern End, Kingston to Port Hyxson. The ACS meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 26th from 3 - 5 PM at the Holiday Inn in Kingston. In addition to exciting 19th century canal sites, including a Roebling canal aqueduct remnant, we will see the Hudson River port at Roundout where it meets the river and the historic Rosendale cement industry, a canal museum, and a maritime museum. A boat trip to a Hudson lighthouse and up the Round-out is possible as well. See <www.newyorkcanals.org>, <http://www.pacanalsociety.org/fieldtrips.htm>, and/or <http://www.americancanals.org/Calendar/Calendar.htm> for further information and updates.
Mon to Fri, April 29 to May 03, 2013 - National Canal Museum Immersion Days - Hugh Moore Park - Easton, PA
Immersion days are day-long programs bring history, science, and technology to life for children in grades 3-12. These programs inform learners of all ages about the people, processes, and products that forged the industrial revolution in eastern Pennsylvania. The revolution transformed the region from an agricultural economy to a leader in the industrial and transportation revolution. During immersion days, students participate in activities at four main stations: Canal Life, Buoyancy, Simple Machines and Blacksmithing. Click here for registration information.
Directions to Hugh Moore Park: from I-78, follow signs for Route 611 north 1.3 miles; turn left at end of bridge onto Larry Holmes Drive; turn left (1 block) onto Lehigh Drive; go 2 miles and turn left onto bridge into Hugh Moore Park. From Route 22, take 25th Street 2 miles south. For more information call the National Canal Museum at 610-991-0503.
May 11, 2013 - Cooper & Santee Canal Park, Guided Interpretive Walk - 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. Allow our educators to show you both the historical and natural beauty of Old Santee Canal Park. One mile walk includes stairs, boardwalk and gravel, meet at the Interpretive Center. The guided tour includes the Stony Landing Plantation house and an easy 1 mile nature hike through Biggin Swamp. Many wading birds as well as alligators, turtles, and nesting ospreys may be observed during this trip. Free with regular admission. Register by Thursday, May 24, 2012. For more information Contact: Brad Sale <email@example.com>.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM - National Canal Museum Heritage Walk - Hugh Moore Park - Easton, PA. presented by Charles Derr, Park Ranger, Retired, free and open to the public. The Lehigh Navigation walk will begin at the Canal Boat Store at 1:30 PM. Cancelled by inclement weather.
Wed to Sun, Jun 6 to Sept 2 2013 - Labor Day and weekends only in Sept; rides hourly, 1 - 4 PM. National Canal Museum - Canal Boat Rides. See the Josiah White in action! <http://www.canals.org/movies/canalsJosiahWhiteII1.wmv>. About our mules: <http://www.canals.org/movies/canalsMules1.wmv> Adults - $11.75; Seniors - $10.50 (65 and older) ; Children (3 - 15) - $9.00; Children (2 and Under) - FREE. Admission includes the Museum.
Sept 16 to 19, 2013 - World Canals Conference in Toulouse, France, along the Canal du Midi, with accompanying excursions prior to and following. See <http://www.wcc13.com/en/> for details.
Sept. 20-22, 2013 - The Canal Societies of Indiana and Ohio will sponsor a trip to Delphi, Indiana.
2014 - World Canals Conference, Navigli Lombardi, Milan, Italy
September 16-19, 2013 - The World Canals Conference in Toulouse, France. See www.worldcanalsconference.org for details
Why is Dick Bauer smiling? Because 34 people joined him
on the Spring Bike Ride along the Canal route (Apr 7, 2013).
Traci, Debbie, and Bill are deep in thought writing up the messages for QR codes to be attached to each exhibit. Who says we aren't keeping up with the latest?
November 4, 2012 - The Middlesex Canal Association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a van tour of the canal, "the greatest work of the kind that has been completed in the United States." So wrote Albert Gallatin in 1808. The tour included a dinner in the Baldwin Mansion, home of the canal builder, and birthday cake at the canal museum.
Celebrants on the 50th Anniversary Tour
On the Bus
Bill Gerber speaking during the 50th Anniversary Tour
Celebration Dinner at the Baldwin Mansion
Association 50th Anniversary Celebrants
Fall Walk, Oct 21, 2012 - Pictures by Russ Silva
Middlesex Canal Commission Receives Grant for Walking & Biking Trails along Canal in Woburn
OneWorld Boston, a Cummings Foundation affiliate, has awarded the Middlesex Canal Commission a $100,000 grant to support construction of walking and bike paths along the Middlesex Canal in Woburn from Alfred Street to School Street. [Middlesex Canal Commission]
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LOU ENO AND THE MCA
Arthur L. Eno, Esquire, first President of the MCA, celebrates his 88th Birthday on April 27, 2012 . Lou and a small group of Billerica Historical Society members started the Middlesex Canal Association 50 years ago after hearing a stimulating lecture by Harry Lasher.
Tom Raphael, Louis Eno, and Betty Bigwood at Linscott painting
MCA Vice-President Traci Jansen taught 19 Billerica Teachers at the Museum
on April 11, 2012 - funded by the Will Barker Family Trust.
The Middlesex Canal Association Presents:
Spring Bicycle Tour of Historic Middlesex Canal - now an annual tradition
On Sunday, April 1, 2012 and again on Sunday, April 7, 2013, the Middlesex Canal Association sponsored a spring bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. 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 riders met at 9:30am at North Station (commuter rail) and took their bicycles on the 10am train to Lowell. (Riders could also board at West Medford at 10:11am or meet the Train when it arrived in Lowell at 10:43am). The route visited Lowell canals, river walk, Francis Gate, and then Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Lunch at Route 3A mini-mall in Billerica. Quick visit to Canal Museum, then on to Boston.
Riders needing to leave early could get the train to Boston at 1:07pm at North Billerica or at 3:14pm at Wilmington. Participants were responsible for one-way train fare. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded at www.mbcr.net if anyone wishes to plan a rail travel itinerary specific to their needs.
The route is pretty flat and level and the average speed was estimated at 5 miles per hour - easy for most cyclists. Along the way the riders stopped 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 was led by Bill Kuttner of the Shirley Eustis House (617-241-9383, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission (857-540-6293, email@example.com). Helmets were required.
For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org.
Update - Despite uncertain weather at the start, the Fall 2012 Bicycle Tour had 17 riders
Sat, Sept 29, 2012 - Historic Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal: On Saturday, Sept 29, 2012, MassBike, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the Middlesex Canal Commission and the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor the 10th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. 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 Sullivan Square MBTA station at 9:00am and proceeded from there about 28 miles to the Historic Mill Village and Canal Museum on the Millpond in North Billerica. After a lunch stop in Woburn, the ride continued to North Billerica (for those who wished to catch the 3:07pm train back to Boston) and on to the northern section of the Canal another 10 miles from North Billerica to Lowell and catch the 5:00pm train back from there.
The route is pretty flat and level and cyclists average about 5 miles per hour including all the stops at important remnants, 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 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. Steady rain cancels. For more information, contact Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org (857-540-6293), Robert at email@example.com, or Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cue sheet for the Oct 2, 2010 Ride (should be similar this year)
Heritage Corridor Map Book (4.6MB, 41 page PDF)
[Note: Use landscape format for printing pages]
David Dettinger -
October 3, 2011
David Dettinger, age 92, of Winchester, died Oct. 3, 2011. Born in 1919 in Little Falls NY, he was the loving husband for 59 years of Carolyn (Poole). He was the devoted father of Douglas Dettinger of Woburn, and Ellen Fleischer and her husband Balint of Groton. Dave was the loving grandfather of Kyle and Ryan Fleischer and the dear brother of the late Jane Anthony and her husband Dave of Costa Mesa CA. He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law Archie and Harriet Mathews of Knoxville TN, loving nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. Dave was a graduate of St. Lawrence University and attended graduate school at MIT.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church, 34 Dix St., Winchester (corner of Dix and Church St.), on Sat., Oct. 15th at 10am. Relatives and friends are kindly invited.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Dave's memory may be made to CARE Gift Center, PO Box 7039, Merrifield VA 22116-9753 or online at www.care.org.
Dave has been a long-time Board member of the Middlesex Canal Association and the prime mover of the Bicentennial Decade commemoration marking the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the Middlesex Canal. He was one of the nicest and most decent men you could ever know.
April 3, 2011 - Former MCA President and long-time MCA Board Member Wilbar Hoxie passed away peacefully today, April 3, 2011 at 6:00PM at the Bear Hill Nursing Center. He was 94 years old and in failing health for the last few years. Atty. David Fitch, Past President of the Middlesex Canal Association, has been handling Will's affairs and will arrange for him to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in Maine as his wife Edith's were. There will be a celebration of his life to be arranged within a week or so.
Wil was a very early member of the Middlesex Canal Association, served on its Board of Directors for about 35 years and as its President from 1975 to '77. He was also actively involved with several other historical and preservation oriented organizations. As a career Army Officer, he served in Coastal Defense, Air Defense Artillery and Civil Engineering assignments.
The MCA-AMC Fall Walk took place on Sunday, October 17, 2010 along a scenic section of the Middlesex Canal from the Wilmington Town Park to Patch's Pond. Photos from the 2010 Fall Walk
Middlesex Canal Prism
75 ft. Buffer
Southern terminus of the Middlesex Canal (Sullivan Square, Charlestown)
[Canal Street is now Rutherford Street]
1794. - Chap. 0067
[January Session, ch. 43]
AN ACT IN ADDITION TO AN ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT FOR INCORPORATING JAMES SULLIVAN & OTHERS BY THE NAME & STILE OF THE PROPRIETORS OF THE MIDDLESEX CANAL."
Be it enacted by the Senate & House of Representatives in General Court assembled & by the authority of the same, That the property of the said Proprietors in the said Canal, & in any other Canal connected therewith, which they shall effect, pursuant to any authority of the Government, & all real estate of which the said Corporation shall be seized shall be divided into eight hundred shares & that each share therein shall give the person holding the same one vote in the proceedings of the said corporation, provided that no one proprietor shall have a right to more than twenty five votes on any occasion; And that the shares in the same Canal, including the towing paths & wharves thereon, shall be so far considered as personal estate, that the same may be transferred according to such rules & regulations as the said Corporation shall establish; And that the proprietors shall be subjected to taxes therefor in the towns & parishes where they shall severally reside as for personal estate.
And be it further enacted, that the said Corporation shall have power to receive & hold real estate as appendant to the same Canal & for the purpose of facilitating the business of the same, to the value of thirty thousand pounds, over & above the value of the Canal itself simply considered; And that the Corporation shall be liable to pay taxes therefor in the Town & Parish where the same may be; And such taxes may be assessed on the corporation or on its tenants at the discretion of the Town where the tax shall be made.
And whereas the said Corporation hath petitioned the Legislature for an extension of their powers for the purpose of making other Canals to be connected, & to communicate with the said Middlesex Canal: The object of which petition being to render the waters of Concord River boatable as far up as the same can be usefully improved for that purpose & to improve the banks of Medford river, so as to render the Canal more easy & useful, as well as to open a Canal round the shallows in the town of Dunstable on the banks of Merrimack river; And also to extend said Canal to the waters of Charles River or the town of Boston.
Be it therefore farther enacted that the said proprietors of the Middlesex Canal shall be empowered to render the waters of Concord river boatable as far as Sudbury Causeway & as much farther as the same can be usefully improved for that end; & to open any Canal at any place in the said County of Middlesex that may be necessary to connect the said Concord river with the said Middlesex Canal for that purpose, and also to extend said Canal from Medford to the waters of the town of Boston or Charles river in such way as to said proprietors may seem most advantageous & with all the privileges, & under the same restrictions & regulations as are granted & provided in said Act; And that the said proprietors shall be liable to have damages recovered against them by any individual who shall be injured or damnified in his property in such new Canal by the same mode of process, & in the same manner as is in the same act provided: And that for the use of any such new Canal or boatable waters the said proprietors may receive the same rate of toll which is by the same act established for the said Middlesex Canal.
"Whereas it is provided in an Act entitled an Act for incorporating James Sullivan & others by the name & stile of the proprietors of the Middlesex Canal "That no part of the waters of Shawshine river shall be diverted from their natural course for the purpose aforesaid" It is hereby declared to be the true intent & meaning of the foregoing restrictive clause that the ponds & those streams which continue a visible current thro' the year & usually empty into Shawshine River are to be considered as part of the waters of the said River.
Approved February 28, 1795.
1890 photo of the remains of the Shawsheen Aqueduct of the Middlesex Canal (from a glass slide)
(newsletter of the Middlesex Canal Association)
Communication from Robert Fulton
(from the September 1994 and March 2000 issues of Towpath Topics)
The Canal Boat by Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Hawthorne's account of a trip on the Erie Canal, originally published in the December 1835 issue of New-England Magazine, as transcribed by the University of Rochester.)
The First Issue:
Canal News - October 1963 (vol. 1, no. 1)
(added May 12, 2003)
The Middlesex Canal Association Annual Meeting on May 4, 2003 featured guest speaker J.R. Greene, historian and author of many books on the history of the Quabbin Reservoir and the towns that were eradicated to create the reservoir. If you are interested in the books of J.R. Greene, a listing and contact information is provided here: [Books by J.R. Greene]
"To step down from some busy thoroughfare onto the quiet towpath of a canal....is to step backward a hundred years or more and to see things in a different, and perhaps more balanced perspective." Tom Rolt, British author
Middlesex Canal Corporation Records
Mogan Center Archives
at UMass Lowell
The first issue of the Middlesex Canal Association newsletter was published in October 1963. Originally named "Canal News", the
first issue featured a contest to name the newsletter. A year later, the newsletter was renamed "Towpath Topics".
BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF
June 23, 2002
On June 22-23, 2002, six members of the Middlesex Canal Association made the 115-mile journey to Baldwin, Maine to join the festivities as they celebrated their 200th anniversary. Baldwin is just west of Sebago Lake. There was a parade, historical exhibit, barbecue, and block dance on Saturday. On Sunday, a formal program of speeches by prominent community members was followed by the release of green and white balloons, an ice cream social and birthday cake. It was a lot of fun.
Few people realize that Loammi Baldwin and Josiah Pierce (Count Rumford's half brother) formed a business partnership in what was then northern Massachusetts. Josiah ran the logging business for Loammi and later became its owner. This tract of land was named Baldwin after Loammi.
Loammi Baldwin constructed a home there similar to the Baldwin Mansion in North Woburn. The current Josiah Pierce, a direct descendant, gave us a most gracious tour of the beautiful estate that they still operate as a farm. Count Rumford's mother, Ruth Thompson Pierce, is buried there in the family burial ground.
- Betty Bigwood
The advertisement at left appeared as a two inch by two inch advertisement on the fourth and last page of the AMERICAN TRAVELLER, Boston MA, Tuesday morning, June 8, 1830, Vol. 5, No. 8. (Donated to the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center by John Ciriello)
Anchor stone of the floating towpath (foreground)
Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors Center at Faulkner Mills (background)