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Full text of "[City documents, 1847-1867]"

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City Document. — No. 1L 



REPORT 



JOINT SPECIAL COMMITTEE 



PUBLIC SQUARES, 



THE NUISANCE IN STONY BBOOK. 




ROXBURY: 

NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL PRESS 

THOMAS PRINCE, CITY PRINTER. 

X851, 



CITY OF ROXBURY 



In Common Council, August 4, 1851. 
Ordered, That a Joint Special Committee be appointed to ascertain if 
any suitable parcels of land can be procured for one or more Public Squares, 
and if so, upon what terms and conditions they can be obtained. 
Passed and sent up for concurrence, and 
Messrs. Brewer, 

H. Williams, and 

Sweat, appointed on the part of the Common Council. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 

In Board of Aldermen, August 4, 1851. 
Concurred, and 
Aldermen Jackson, and 

Hall, joined on the part of this Board. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



In Common Council, October 20, 1851. 
Ordered, That the Report of the Joint Special Committee on Public 
Squares be printed and distributed among the inhabitants of this city. 
Passed and sent up for concurrence. 

JOSHUA SEAVER, Clerk. 



Concurred. 



In Board of Aldermen, October 20, 1851. 
JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



REPORT. 



The Special Joint Committee, appointed under an order 
of the City Council, August 4th, to ascertain if any suitable 
parcels of land could be procured for one or more Public 
Squares, and if so, upon what terms and conditions — and 
to whom was referred the Message of the Mayor, and sun- 
dry papers relating to a nuisance in Stony Brook, have 
considered the same and respectfully 

REPORT— (in part.) 

The time has arrived when an effort should be made by 
those into whose hands the fiscal, prudential and municipal 
affairs of the city have been committed, to obtain suitable 
tracts of land to be set apart for Public Squares. The im- 
portance of having in every populous town large open 
squares as lungs to the city, will be admitted by all. They 
are needed by all classes who spend their days amid the 
wearing and unwholesome din and dust of close rooms and 
crowded streets — needed for air, for healthful recreation and 
exercise, and refreshment. 

A city that is expected to become dense and large, usually 
makes early provision for such open squares or parks, for it 
is only at an early period of a city's growth, that they can 
be obtained, sufficiently ample, in sufficient numbers, and 



4 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c, [Oct. 

in central situations, so as to be easily accessible to all. At 
an early period they are not wanted, and at a late period 
they cannot be had. It is a subject on which it is necessary 
to anticipate and be wise in time. 

Some twenty years since a Public Square or Common 
might have been obtained for a very small sum, which 
would have been an honor and an ornament to our city. 
We allude to the tract of high land of about thirty acres, 
lying between Centre and Highland streets, and known as 
the " Forts." This property, the committee understand, 
could have been obtained for about $'3500, and was actually 
offered to the town authorities. An effort was made to in- 
duce the town to purchase this spot, but it was frowned 
down by the economical portion of the people, who seemed 
to think that true economy consisted in merely providing 
for the present, and that, too, on a very small scale, and 
letting the future take care of itself. Since the purchase of 
this property by Mr. Alvah Kittredge, an opportunity was 
again offered to the town to secure it for a very reasonable 
sum, but there did not appear to be any disposition to fa- 
vor the project. 

If those who managed the affairs of the town at the time 
alluded to, or even if their successors in office in subsequent 
years, had looked into the future and dared to be visionary, 
we should have had open areas of good extent and centrally 
situated, at a very small cost ; and the people of this day 
would gladly have paid the cost and interest, which would 
have been far less than what we shall now be obliged to 
pay, and transmit the debt to posterity. But there does not 
seem to have been a disposition on the part of either the 
authorities or the people to encourage public improvements, 
especially of this kind. They seem to have acted upon the 
principle of that public functionary — and possibly he resid- 
ed in Roxbury — who gave as an excuse for not favoring a 
measure, whose benefits were not to be immediately felt, 
"that we should do nothing for posterity, as posterity had 
never done anything for us ! " 

The Committee believe that the people of this city are 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 5 

decidedly in favor of public improvements. They desire 
that something should be done — and that speedily — to fur- 
nish them with suitable Public Squares. There may be 
those who lag behind the age, and oppose all public im- 
provements, of whatever name or nature ; if there be any 
such, their number is very small, and they must be regard- 
ed, — certainly in this age and in these times, — as specimens 
of an extinct race, whose day and generation have long 
since passed by. 

Our city is capable of being made one of the most beau- 
tiful and attractive in the land. And why should it not be 
so ? Why should we not commence the work forthwith ? 
We need only to make the effort to accomplish this. It can 
be done in our own way, under our own direction, in our 
own time, and by our own means. Let us make the effort, 
and we shall bring the benedictions of posterity upon the 
memory of this generation. 

Since the change in our municipal form of government, 
much has been done to improve the condition of the city. 
Our schools and school houses have kept pace with the 
times, and are equal to any in the Commonwealth; our 
streets and highways have been greatly improved, and kept 
in better repair than formerly; many miles of sidewalk 
have been constructed, and many more are required and 
will be done in good time; our police system has been 
re-organized, and our officers are active, watchful and 
vigilant ; our fire department is under good discipline, well 
conducted, orderly and efficient ; we have made ample and 
better provision for our pauper establishment, by the pur- 
chase of the Brook Farm, and are now providing the 
necessary buildings there ; we have purchased a large tract 
of land, and laid out the beautiful Cemetery at Forest 
Hills, and consecrated it to its sacred purposes ; — we have 
done these things and much more, and we should now 
turn our attention to other matters, which have an impor- 
tant bearing upon the future welfare, happiness and con- 
dition of the people of this city, and which ought not to be 
delayed any longer, and if delayed, the consequences may 
prove more injurious than we can now anticipate. 



6 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c. [Oct. 

The subject of Public Squares was brought to the 
attention of the government by our late Mayor. In his 
inaugural address, delivered April 5th, 1847, Mayor Dear- 
born said: — 

" As the health of the city does not more depend upon its 
cleanliness than a free circulation of pure air, it has been 
the enlightened and sanitory policy of all governments to 
reserve areas of land, in the midst of their populous capi- 
tals, commercial emporiums, and interior cities, as spacious 
reservoirs of that vital element, for the perpetual replenish- 
ment of the numerous streets which diverge from them, as 
well as appropriate places of exercise and innocent recrea- 
tion, for all classes of people. 

"If the prospective destinies of Roxbury maybe con- 
jectured, from the rapid increase of population during the 
past fifteen years, the number must be augmented to at 
least one hundred thousand, before the close of the present 
century. Does it not then merit inquiry, whether sufficient 
land should not be obtained in each of the parochial 
divisions of the city, for the purpose of being gradually 
formed into public squares, by the erection of enclosures, 
the construction of avenues, and the planting of trees 1 It 
may be alleged, that even the expense of the purchase of 
the land will be too onerous upon the existing generation ; 
but could not such an arrangement be made, as that most 
of it can be transferred to those of after ages for liquidation, 
since they cannot but be grateful for the precious advan- 
tages which will thus be secured to them by the prescience 
and beneficent exertions of their ancestors ; while, on the 
other hand, would they not have just cause of complaint, 
should the most favorable opportunity of extending to them 
such an important benefit, be utterly neglected." 

And again in his inaugural, April 3d, 1848 : — 

"Although it has not been practicable to obtain land in 
such quantities and situations as would best subserve the 
various purposes of public squares; yet a site has been 
designated, on the hill west of Highland street, by a com- 
mittee to whom that subject was referred, which is worthy 
the most serious consideration ; for it will afford not only 
a pleasant promenade, and from its commanding elevation 
a most extensive and interesting prospect, which is richly 
diversified with objects of exceeding beauty and grandeur, 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 7 

and historical celebrity; but includes one of those renowned 
military works which were constructed by the Revolution- 
ary Army, during the investment of Boston, while that city 
was occupied by the British troops." 

A committee was appointed in 1848, on so much of the 
Mayor's address as related to Public Squares, and that 
committee submitted a report, recommending the purchase 
the Forts alluded to by the Mayor, in rear of the resi- 
dences of David A. and Thomas Simmons, on Highland 
street, and they were authorized to ascertain and report the 
cost of the same. But it does not appear that any further 
action was had at that time, in reference to Public Squares, 
or since, until the appointment of your Committee in Au- 
gust last. 

The Committee have given this subject a careful exami- 
nation, and are now prepared to submit, in part, the result 
of their deliberations. 

They would recommend that a tract of land be purchased 
in Ward 3, (provided it can be obtained on satisfactory 
terms,) and a portion of the same be laid out as a Public 
Square. The tract of land proposed is situated between 
Tremont and Ruggles streets, and north east of a line com- 
mencing on Ruggles, near Vernon street, to the foot bridge 
across Stony Brook, thence across said bridge to Tremont 
street ; containing by measurement, seven acres, three quar- 
ters, nine rods, or 342,800 feet ; four acres, twenty-five and 
a half rods, or 181,000 feet, of which is upland, and three 
and one half acres, and thirty-three rods, or 161,000 feet, 
is water, or flats covered with water. 

The Committee consider this proposed square as first in 
importance to all others, and the reasons which have in- 
duced them to recommend the purchase of this territory, 
will be apparent to those who are familiar with the locality, 
without requiring the Committee to give them in detail. 

For a long time past, the flats lying within the area de- 
scribed, have been very offensive both to eye and nostril, 
and have continually grown more and more so every year, 
until the stench arising from them has become insufferable 



8 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c. [Oct. 

and beyond endurance. The causes of this are given in 
the opinion of the Consulting Physicians. 

The inhabitants residing in that section of the city, have 
been induced to make one more effort to rid themselves and 
the city of what has been considered by them for several 
years, a great nuisance, the like of which cannot be found 
in the city, or any where else, within the knowledge of 
your Committee, (or to use the language of one of them, "on 
this terrestrial globe.") Efforts have heretofore been made 
by the inhabitants, to have this abated, but without avail. 
In consequence of the complaints and representations made 
to the members of the city government, by persons residing 
in the vicinity, and by others who have occasion to pass 
through that region, an order was introduced and adopted 
by the City Council, requesting the opinion of the Consult- 
ing Physicians, as to the present condition of the Brook 
near Ruggles street, so far as it relates to, or affects the 
public health. 

The Consulting Physicians made an examination and 
submitted their opinion, and the attention of the City Council 
is respectfully directed to it, which is as follows : — 

Roxbury, August 30th, 1851. 

The Consulting Physicians of the City of Roxbury, hav- 
ing been requested, by a vote of the City Council, to express 
their opinion in regard to the present condition of Stony 
Brook, near Ruggles street, so far as it relates to, or 
affects the public health, beg leave to submit the following 
Report. 

They have visited the above named premises and have 
given them a careful inspection. They find that the waters 
of what is called " Stony Brook," are so obstructed by the 
building of the Mill Dam, and of the bridges on Tremont 
and Ruggles streets, that what was formerly a running 
stream, is now little better than a stagnant pool, a mere 
receptacle of the waste matters thrown off from various 
establishments, situated on the stream above. Carpet fac- 
tories, tan yards, starch factories, and stables, probably all 
contribute in pretty equal proportions to form a large and 
constantly increasing mass of decaying animal and vege- 
table matter, daily deposited in that portion of the " Brook," 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 9 

bordering on Ruggles street, and little if any of this deposit 
is ever carried beyond this point. 

When, as occasionally happens, the Avater is drawn off, 
by opening the gates of the Mill Dam, the whole is exposed 
to the action of the sun, not sufficiently long to dry it, but 
only to increase the fermentation and to produce a rapid 
exhalation of offensive and unhealthy vapors. 

The Board of Physicians are decidedly of opinion that 
the condition of " Stony Brook," at this point, cannot but 
have a prejudicial effect on the health of all who live within 
its influence. 

It may at times be a direct cause of disease, and, at any 
rate, must at all times so far impair the vigor of the human 
system, as to render it more susceptible to those un- 
known atmospheric influences which produce disease ; and if 
typhoid fever, dysentery, scarlet fever, &c, should at any 
time be extensively epidemic, it would be in a district like 
this, that Physicians would expect to meet cases, the most 
frequent, most fatal, and least amenable to medical treat- 
ment. 

There are other considerations which might be urged, to 
call the attention of the city authorities to this subject, 
arising from the interruption to the comfort of all who live 
near it, or pass by it, and the mortification which every 
citizen must feel, that an abomination so offensive to eye 
and nostril, should be permitted to continue and to increase, 
year after year, without any attempt being made for its 
removal. 

The Board of Physicians, however, restrict themselves 
to the vote of the Council, and in conformity to that vote, 
respectfully report, — that they consider the present state of 
Stony Brook, near Ruggles street, as decidedly prejudicial 
to the public health, and demanding the immediate atten- 
tion of the city authorities. 

Henry Bartlett, 
Charles M. Windship, 
John Sydenham Flint. 

Upon receiving this opinion, the City Council referred 
the whole matter to the Board of Health — which is the 
Board of Mayor and Aldermen — and adopted the following 
preamble and order : 

Whereas, The Consulting Physicians have expressed the 
opinion that Stony Brook, near Ruggles street, is in a con- 



10 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c. [Oct. 

dition which is prejudicial to the public health, and demands 
the immediate attention of the city authorities, it is therefore, 
Ordered. That the Board of Health be requested to take 
the matter into immediate consideration, and to adopt such 
measures in relation to the same as the preservation of the 
public health may demand." 

The Board of Health immediately set about an investi- 
gation. Persons residing in the vicinity of, or doing busi- 
ness, near the stream, were notified to appear before the 
Board, to give in their testimony concerning the condition 
of the brook, or of any nuisance or source of filth therein. 
Handbills were distributed and posted, calling upon all 
persons who were interested to appear before the Board, if 
they desired so to do, and be heard in relation to the matter. 
The testimony before the Board was full and conclusive. 
They then visited the premises, and after making a thorough 
and careful examination, they unanimously declared, " That 
Stony Brook, between the bridge on Tremont street and 
White's Mill, situated on Washington street, is in a state 
of Nuisance, and injurious to the health of the inhabitants 
of this city — and it is the duty of this Board to cause the 
same to be abated forthwith.' 1 '' 

The action of the Board was transmitted to both branches 
by the Mayor, on Monday evening, October 13, and referred 
to this Committee, and will be found appended to this re- 
port, to which the attention of the City Council is respect- 
fully directed. 

How shall this Nuisance be abated 7 is a question that has 
occupied the attention of the Board of Health, as will be 
seen by reference to the documents above alluded to. The 
Committee regard it as not only the right of the Board of 
Health to remove or abate any nuisance that injuriously af- 
fects the public health, but their imperative duty to do so, 
and that they have the power to decide in tvhat manner it 
shall be done is made a settled point, by the decision of the 
highest court in this Commonwealth. 

In the opinion of the Board of Health, the most effectual 



1851. J CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 11 

way to abate this nuisance is by changing the course of the 
stream through a new channel of about eighteen or twenty 
feet in width, beginning at a point near to the Foot bridge, 
as indicated upon the accompanying plan, and extending in 
a slightly curved line to the arches of the bridge on Tre- 
mont street — a distance of about 560 feet — and causing the 
channel to be discontinued and the flats upon both sides to be 
filled up. Another mode suggested itself to the Board — 
that of contracting the width of the channel, following its 
present course, both above and below the Foot bridge, to 
the bridge on Tremont street, to about eighteen or twenty 
feet, covering the same, so as to form a culvert, and filling 
up the flats on both sides. 

The objections to this latter mode seem to be of such 
weight and character, as would not warrant any attempt to 
abate the nuisance in this manner, as practicable. It is 
represented that the exact lines of the channel cannot be 
accurately found, and consequently the true lines of the 
abutting estates on either side of the channel could not 
easily be defined : and should this mode be deemed the most 
judicious, it is feared that the object to be attained could not 
be so effectually accomplished as by the other plan ; while 
the city would come in collision with nearly all the abutting 
owners, and the result might be a score or two of lawsuits, 
which even if the city should prevail, are certainly not to 
be desired, and should be, if possible, avoided. 

It would seem, therefore, in the opinion of the Commit- 
tee, that, the most feasible and effectual way of remedying 
all the difficulties which exist here, is the plan which is ap- 
proved by the Board of Health, to wit, that of changing 
the course of the stream from the Foot bridge through a 
culvert to the arches of the Tremont street bridge, and fill- 
ing up the old channel or stream and the flats surrounding. 
To do this, it would become necessary for the city to pos- 
sess the property here, so as to avoid any interference with 
individual rights, or the claimed or presumed rights of par- 
ties interested in property in this region, unless the assent of 
all the parties interested or supposed to be interested here 



12 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c. [Oct. 

could be obtained, which your committee understand is far 
from being probable. This course, under all the circum- 
stances, would seem the wisest and most judicious, as it 
is, without doubt, the most economical. Two objects are 
gained by it — the removal of a nuisance, declared to be 
dangerous to the public health, and the location of a Public 
Square, which will be an ornament to that section of the 
city. 

To facilitate this desirable object, the Committee, some time 
since, took measures to ascertain what would be the proba- 
ble cost of the land embraced in the area already described, 
and they are enabled to state that, through the efforts of 
gentlemen friendly to this, as well as to other judicious pub- 
lic improvements, they have obtained bonds from nearly all 
the owners, and where bonds have not been obtained, an 
agreement to sell and convey, and abide by the decision of 
referees appointed in the usual manner, as to the value of 
the land, has been taken. 

An estimate of the cost of constructing the culvert, fill- 
ing up the channel, flats, and upland has been made by an 
able and experienced engineer. His estimate is based upon 
a calculation for a culvert composed of two arches of ten 
feet span and four feet rise each, resting on an pile founda- 
tion, where such an one is required, and the bottom of the 
water way paved. In regard to the filling, the estimate is 
based upon the supposition that the earth is to be hauled 
from Dedham Low Plains by the Boston and Providence 
Railroad Company, the company furnishing the cars and 
engines. The earth, labor for excavating, dumping, and 
spreading, also the track from the railroad to Ruggles street, 
and the removal of a portion of the same from time to time 
as may be required, to be done by the city. 

A considerable reduction can be made in this estimate, if 
the earth can be obtained within a mile and a half, and 
hauled by horse power. 

The inhabitants residing in the vicinity have manifested 
an earnest desire in behalf of this project, and the Commit- 
tee have assurances that the sum of ten thousand dollars, or 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 13 

thereabouts, will be subscribed by them and placed at the 
disposal of the city. It will be for the City Council to de- 
termine whether this shall be received or not, as it doubtless 
will be given upon the condition that the grounds shall be 
forever kept open, and for a public square. 

The Committee believe that this territory can be pur- 
chased, and the filling up and grading the same, construct- 
ing the culvert, &c, for a sum not exceeding $70,000. 

They estimate the cost of 342,800 feet of land, 
say at, ------- - $50,000 

Deduct for sale of buildings, say, - $5000 

The Committee think that the cost of abating 
the nuisance, which must be done, ought also to 
be deducted from the cost of the land. This they 
estimate at $10,000, as the smallest sum for 
which it can be done in any other way, — not 
taking into account any law suits that may arise 
therefrom. - $10,000 

Making, ------- 15,000 



Leaving the cost of the land, after deducting 
for sale of buildings and abating the nuisance, 
about ten and a quarter cents per foot, ox, - 35,000 

Cost of culvert, 560 feet long, - 5,936 

Cost of filling, ------ 14,252 



Making the cost of land, after constructing the 
culvert, filling up and grading, about sixteen cents 
per foot, or, ------ - 55, 1S8 

Now, if a portion of this land should be sold, 
say, 139,200 feet, at 33 1-3 per foot, it would 
give, _ _ _ 46,400 



And would leave 203,600 feet at a cost of about 
four and a half cents per foot, or, - $9,162 

The utility of public lots, set apart for the public use in 
various portions of a place which is already, or is likely to 



14 PUBLIC SQUARES, &c. [Oct. 

become, densely populated, is sufficiently obvious even 
where the cost is considerable in amount, and the pecuniary 
demand somewhat severe. But, certainly, it is much more 
incumbent upon a government to make such provision, 
when it can be done on such terms, that, for a long course 
of years, in all probability, the lands purchased can at any 
time be sold for cost and interest, if it is found that they are 
really not needed for public use, or if the exigencies of the 
case require their sale in order to meet the payments prom- 
ised for them. 

We will illustrate this position by the case now in hand. 
Setting aside the fact that the property in question, in its 
present condition, is not only a disgrace to the city, but is 
really a public nuisance, — and has been declared such by 
the Board of Health, and must be abated, — we proceed to 
show that the purchase and disposition of it in the manner 
proposed by the committee, is really a good operation in a 
financial view. 

In the first place it will be readily conceded on all hands 
that the simple fact of converting this great basin of filth, 
this nursery of disease, into a place of beauty and a promo- 
ter of health, will greatly enhance the value of all the pro- 
perty in its vicinity. It will lead to the erection of better 
dwellings, and in many cases to the introduction of a differ- 
ent class of people, thus increasing the aggregate wealth of 
the city, and at the same time purify its moral atmosphere 
as well. 

And in the second place, after selling a portion of the pro- 
perty, say for instance, 139,200 feet, there will remain about 
203,600 feet, or four and one half acres and twenty-seven 
and one half rods of valuable land, for which the city will 
owe a debt of $9,162, making a cost of about four and a 
half cents per foot. Now we believe that, in a few years, the 
valuation of the property around that square will be nearly, 
if not quite, sufficient to pay the interest on the debt ; so 
that no burden will arise from it in that respect, and we are 
very certain, that if at any time in the next twenty years, 
our successors in office should come to the conclusion that 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 15 

it is not required for the public good that it should be kept 
open, the land may be put into the market, and sold for the 
cost and interest at least, and probably for a large profit. 

It seems to us therefore, that the duty of the present gov- 
ernment in this matter, is too plain to admit of a doubt. We 
may turn deformity into beauty, and a reservoir of disease 
into a place of purity. We may increase the value of their 
property to a large number of our fellow citizens, enabling 
them in effect to pay the annual interest, or a considerable 
portion of it, on the cost, and we shall leave to those who 
come after us, a valuable property burdened with a debt, 
with the option to pay that debt by a sale of the property 
itself, or otherwise, as to them shall seem best. In short, 
we shall accomplish a great positive good without laying 
any burdens upon ourselves, and without contracting a 
debt for those who come after us, which we do not also 
leave them ample means to pay, if they choose to avail 
themselves thereof. 

In view of these considerations, the Committee would 
recommend the adoption of the accompanying Order. 

All which is respectfully submitted. 

DANIEL JACKSON, 
HIRAM HALL, 
JOSEPH N. BREWER, 
THATCHER SWEAT, 
HORACE WILLIAMS. 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Common Council, October 16, 1851. 

Ordered, 1 — That the Joint. Special Committee on Public 
Squares, be and they hereby are authorized to purchase, on 
behalf of the city, such tracts or parcels of land as they may 
think proper, lying between Tremont and Ruggles streets, 
and north-east of a line commencing at Ruggles street, 
near Vernon, thence running to the foot bridge over Stony 
Brook, and thence across said bridge in a straight line to 
Tremont street. 

Ordered, 2 — That the City Treasurer, under the direc- 
tion of the Committee on Finance, be and he hereby is 
authorized to issue the Scrip of the city, to an amount not 
exceeding Seventy thousand dollars, for a term not exceding 
ten years, with interest payable semi-annually, the same to 
be applied, under the direction of the Joint Special Com- 
mittee on Public Squares, for the purchase of the aforesaid 
land, grading the same, and constructing a culvert, to 
abate the nuisance in Stony Brook, as recommended by 
the Board of .Health. 



ACTION OF THE BOARD OF HEALTH. 



Mayor's Office, City of Roxbijry, 
October, 13th, 1851. 
To the City Council. 

Gentlemen : — In the month of August last, the City Council requested 
the opinion of the Consulting Physicians in regard to Stony Brook, near 
Ruggles-street, so far as it affected the public health. An opinion was 
given by the Physicians and transmitted to both branches, and was re- 
jerred to the Board of Health, with the request to take such action in the 
matter as they might deem necessary. 

The Board of Health have given the subject a careful examination, and 
after hearing the testimony of parties living near, or in the vicinity of 
the stream, and examining the premises, have declared that Stony Brook, 
bstween the bridge on Tremont-street and White's Mill, on Washington 
street, to be in a state of nuisance, and injurious to the health of the inhab- 
itants of the city, and that it is the duty of this Board to cause the nui- 
sance to be abated forthwith. 

The Board of Health are of the opinion that the most effective way of 
abating this nuisance is to change the course of the stream, from a point 
near the foot bridge, so called, in a slightly curved line to the arches of 
the bridge on Tremont-street, and causing the discontinued channel to be 
filled up. As this cannot be done without the assent of parties interested 
in the premises, and as their assent is not likely to be obtained, — in ac- 
cordance with the views of the Board of Health, I respectfully suggest 
that the property lying between the foot bridge and Tremont and Ruggles 
streets, be purchased by the city, provided the same can be obtained at 
reasonable rates, and the plan suggested by the Board carried into execu- 
tion. 

The declaration of the Board of Health, and also their Report upon the 
best manner of removing the nuisance, will be found in the accompanying 
documents, to which the attention of the City Council is respectfully di- 
rected. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

SAMUEL WALKER, Mayor 



18 NUISANCE IN STONY BROOK. [Oct. 



CITY OF ROXBURY 



A PREAMBLE AND DECLARATION. 



In Board of Health, 

September 27th, 185 1. 

Whereas complaints have been made to this Board from time to time, 
respecting the condition of Stony Brook, in the vicinity of Ruggles street ; 
and whereas the Consulting Physicians of this city, under an order of the 
City Council, passed August 26th, 1851, have examined the same, and 
given as their opinion that they consider the present state of said Brook, 
near Ruggles street, " as decidedly prejudicial to the public health, and 
demanding the immediate attention of the city authorities; " and whereas 
this Board having directed the City Marshal to notify persons residing or 
doing business on or near said stream, to appear before the Board of 
Health to give in their testimony relative to the condition of the Brook, 
and the causes of any nuisance or source of filth therein ; and the persons 
so notified, or nearly all of them, did appear before this Board on the 
afternoon of Saturday, September 20th, 1851, and others by adjournment 
on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 27th, 1851, and gave in their testi- 
mony concerning the condition of said Brook, and the causes of any 
nuisance or source of filth therein ; and whereas the Board did on the 
afternoon of Thursday, September 25th, 1851, visit the premises — to wit 
— from White's mill, so called, to the bridge on Tremont street, following 
the course of the stream, and did then and there carefully examine the 
same : — and the Board do now declare : 

That Stony Brook, between the bridge on Tremont street and White's 
mill, situated on Washington street, is in a state of nuisance, and inju- 
rious to the health of the inhabitants of this city, and it is the duty of this 
Board to causee the said nuisance to be abated forthwith. 

Attest : JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



1851.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 11. 19 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Boarb of Health. 

October 10th, 1851. 
The Committee appointed to consider and report the best manner of 
removing the nuisance in Stony Brook, have examined the premises, and 
carefully considered the subject, and would respectfully 

REPORT: 

They are of the opinion that this nuisance can be abated by contracting 
the channel to eighteen or twenty feet in width, walling up on each side 
to a proper height and covering the same, so as to form a culvert, and 
causing the flats on both sides of this culvert to be filled up ; but the un- 
certainty of ascertaining the true line of the channel, and consequently 
the exact boundaries of the abutting estates would render this, in some 
measure, difficult to perform. 

Your Committee would therefore suggest that a new channel, com- 
mencing from a point near the Foot Bridge, running in a slightly curved 
line, and terminating at the arches of the Bridge on Tremont Street would 
much facilitate the discharge of the water by increasing the rapidity of 
the stream, carrying off all filth that might by any cause find its way into 
it, and effectually remedy all existing difficulties. This channel should 
be covered over so as to form a culvert, and the old channel discontinued 
and filled up. This perhaps might be accomplished if all the parties in- 
terested in the property, between the Foot Bridge and Tremont and Rug- 
gle Streets, would consent to it, but as it is not probable they would con- 
sent, it would seem desirable that the City should possess this property 
and carry out this project if it could do so upon fair terms. It is believed 
that this plan would be the most effectual in abating this nuisance, rerr- 



20 NUISANCE IN STONY BROOK. [Oct. 

edying all difficulties that now exist, and at the same time greatly im- 
prove and benefit property in that section of the city. 

In accordance with these views, your Committee would recommend, 
that the land lying between the Foot Bridge and Tremont and Ruggles 
streets, should be purchased by the city, provided the same can be ob- 
tained at reasonable rates, and the plan, as suggested, be then carried 
into effect. 

Your Committee wonld also recommend that all privies, drains, hog- 
pens, cow-yards, &c, whose contents find their way into the Brook be 
removed forthwith, or placed in such a condition so that they should in 
future conform to the City Ordinances. 

SAMUEL WALKER, Chairman. 

Report read and accepted. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Cleric.