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City Document — No. 17. 










In Board of Aldermen, Sept. 24th, 185& 
Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed. 


The Committee to whom was referred the petition of Syl- 
vester Bowman and others, abuttors on Fellows Street, 
praying the City to lay a Common Sewer on said street, 
and also requesting the City to establish the grade and 
build the street-, the expense of building the street to be 
charged to the abuttors, respectfully 


The subject of under-drainage and sewerage is one which 
has long occupied the attention of the City Government. 
From the growing density of our population, and the in- 
creasing difficulty experienced on all sides, a loud and con- 
stant demand is heard that a movement should be com- 
menced, on a liberal and permanent basis, for a thorough 
drainage of our City. 

In the past it has been deemed a project of so much 
magnitude, and involving so much expense, that the heart 
of the stoutest friend of improvement has well nigh 
quailed in view of it. Many attempts have been made to 
induce the city government of Boston to allow our sewers 
to connect with theirs, but no satisfactory arrangement has 
been reached. Boston has amply provided for her public 
wants of water and drainage, at vast expense, and we can- 
not wonder at her unwillingness to yield to other hands 
the slightest control of her public works. 

In the lower section of our City, especially in Ward 1, 
an intolerable nuisance is created every year by the accu- 
mulation of stagnant water, hemmed in on all sides, seeking 
in vain an escape to the sea. Its existence is a standing 


reproach to our City, besides exercising a deleterious in- 
fluence on the surrounding neighborhood. From its con- 
tiguity to Boston, the abatement of the nuisance would 
seem to rightfully belong to both governments, but from 
recent experience, we judge a satisfactory arrangement is 
as distant as ever. 

With these considerations in mind, forcible as they cer- 
tainly are, the Committee found themselves inclined to give 
a favorable hearing to the prayer of the petitioners, in the 
hope that their proposition might furnish a satisfactory so- 
lution of the whole matter. 

The Committee accordingly made a careful survey of 
the premises. They find that Fellows Street, through to 
the water's edge, is within the limits of Roxbury. The 
street as it now is would have to be but slightly excavated 
to lay the bottom of the sewer. 

A sewer to meet the present and future wants of the 
City, the Committee think should be at least four feet 
square in the clear. An estimate of the distance is as fol- 

From Hunneman Street straight to water, - 1210 ft. 

" to City Wharf, - 1400 " 

The probable expense of constructing a thorough plank 
sewer and cess pools, it was estimated would not exceed 
three thousand dollars to the City. 

After the sewer is built, the City is requested to grade 
and build the street upon it, and charge the expense to 
the abuttors. 

It was urged upon the Committee that now was a very 
favorable time to move in the matter. The season is ex- 
ceedingly dry ; it could be built with far less inconvenience 
than when those low grounds were saturated with water; 
the consent and cooperation of the abuttors were now ob- 
tained, and if it should be postponed another season they 
might not again be easily secured. 

Another thing considered by the Committee, and worthy 
of statement, would be the fact, that, immediately upon the 
construction of the sewer, the whole condition of that 
neighborhood would be changed. Possessed of an oppor- 
tunity to drain, the attention of owners would at once be 
turned toward improving their vacant lands; and, from 
ample assurance, the Committee are well convinced, that 
in a few years those lands would be covered with build- 
ings, for dwellings and mechanical purposes, thus adding 
largely to the taxable property of the City. 

The importance to the whole City, if this improvement 
should be granted, could hardly be estimated. It will con- 
stitute for the eastern section of the City the main outlet, 
to a Common Sewer (and at a reasonable expense), capar 
ble of being extended through all the ramifications of the 
City, and of bearing to the healthful embrace of " Old 
Ocean" the cast-off and polluted waters of our City. 

In conclusion, the Committee are well aware of the great 
improvements making by the City, and of the expense in- 
curred thereby; but from the pressing necessity every 
where felt, that a system of drainage be speedily com- 
menced, they cannot allow considerations of an economical 
and pecuniary nature to weigh with sufficient force to pre- 
vent so desirable a result. 

They accordingly recommend that the prayer of the 
petitioners be granted, and the work done the present 

For the Committee, 

SAM'L S. CHASE, Chairman, 

Roxbury, Sept, %Uh, 1855.