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City Document. — No. 13. 



CITY ooxjisrcii., 






Citg 0f lla^bwrs. 

In Common Council, January 3, 1861. 
Ordered, That twenty-five hundred copies of the Address of His 
Honor the Mayor, be printed for the use of the City Council, and for 
distribution to the Citizens. 
Sent up for concurrence. 


In Board of Aldermen, January 3, 1861. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 

Citjj of |lo^kri|. 

In Board of Aldermen, January 3, 1861. 

Alderman Frost offered the following resolutions, wliich 
were unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That the thanks of this Board be tendered to His Honor Mayor 
Otis, for the able, dignified, and impartial manner in ■which he has pre- 
sided over its deliberations during the past municipal year, and for the 
faithful and devoted manner in -which he has discharged the varied duties 
devolving upon him in his official capacity as Mayor of this City. 

Resolved, That on his retirement from the office of Mayor, -which he 
has filled -with so much credit to himself and honor to the City, he has 
the united -wishes of this Board for his future health, happiness, and 

The Common Council having expressed a wish to be 
present during the delivery of the Mayor's Valedictory 
Address, a Convention of the two branches was held in 
the Council Chamber, when the Mayor responded to the 
foregoing Resolves, in the following 


Gentlemen op the City Council: 

In responding to the very flattering resolutions you 
have just passed, I am aware that they may be regarded 
as the mere ceremony of the hour ; I am aware, also, no 
one can be more so, of the many short comings, imperfect 
service and great deficiencies on my part ; but when I 
reflect that during the two years I have had the pleasure 
of being connected with the Government, every member of 
each Branch, has treated me with the greatest kindness 
and friendship, that no personal or party animosity or dis- 

4 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

trust has ever interrupted for a moment our friendly inter- 
course ; that the various measures brought forward have 
received the cordial and nearly unanimous support of all, 
I am encouraged to consider them as the genuine expres- 
sion of your continued kind regard. 

Accept, therefore, my grateful acknowledgments for the 
complimentary manner in which you are pleased to refer 
to my services. 

The Mayor of a City, Gentlemen, in addition to the 
specific duties assigned him by its charter, is expected to 
assume all the responsibility, and solve all the difficulties 
that arise. If aided, as I have been, by the cheerful assis- 
tance and support of the other members of Government, 
his task is greatly relieved ; but in addition to this, the 
abundant confidence, sympathy and kindness which he is 
sure to enjoy from his fellow-citizens, transforms many 
labors into genuine pleasures. 

If at this Board I have been able to perform my duties 
acceptably, let me ascribe it to your forbearance, indul- 
gence and kindness. Faithful and prompt in attendance 
here, kind, conciliatory or firm, as the occasion required, 
diligent in the discharge of business entrusted to your 
care, you have made the duty of presiding officer easy 
and agreeable. 

The amount of labor performed by the Government 
during the past two years, both on account of the steady 
growth of our city, and also from the magnitude of some 
of the undertakings, has consumed much of the valuable 
time of members of both branches. The diligence, fidelity 
and unselfishness with which those labors have been per- 
formed, entitles you to the thanks and gratitude of your 
fellow-citizens, which I have no doubt you will abundantly 

Gentlemen, while I feel under special obligations to the 
Board over which I have presided, and where most of my 
labor has been performed, it gives me great pleasure to 


acknowledge to every member of the Common Council, 
my appreciation of their valuable assistance, uniform kind- 
ness and courtesy during my official service, and to extend 
with added emphasis my heartfelt thanks to the City Clerk 
and Treasurer, for their experienced counsel, advice and 
assistance, whenever required. I desire, also, to bear tes- 
timony to the fidelity and promptness of the Messenger, 
and my indebtedness to all the heads of the various de- 
partments of the Government, for unvarying kindness. 

In reviewing rapidly some of the more prominent trans- 
actions of the past two years, it is gratifying to find that 
the extra expenditures have been for the most important 
objects for which money is appropriated and paid out, em- 
braced mainly under three heads, viz. : 

1st. For the promotion of business and general pros- 
perity of the city, in laying out and building new streets, 
widening, grading and repairing of old. 

2nd. For the promotion of health, in construction of 
sewers, raising the grade of streets above the marsh level, 
purchase of Parks. 

3rd. For the promotion of education, in the construc- 
tion of school-houses. 

Large expenditures have been made during the past two 
years in widening streets. In selecting those to be widen- 
ed, the Committee have been governed by three considera- 

1st. Urgent necessity, like Tremont, &c. 

2nd. Those that needed and would ultimately have to 
be widened, and where no buildings or other reasons made 
it expensive to do it now, — Washington street, for in- 

3rd. Those cases where abuttors held out inducements 
in the low price of land, such as Lambert Avenue, Dennis 
and Heath streets. 

6 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

Can any one who reflects upon the steady and rapid 
increase of this city in wealth and population, nearly 
doubling in ten years, doubt the wisdom of anticipating 
the future, and making such improvements now, as expe- 
rience has demonstrated will be required ere long, at com- 
paratively less expense. 


By the action of our predecessors, the policy of widen- 
ing Tremont street was commenced in 1858, and the orders 
passed for taking various pieces of land, and a number of 
buildings moved back, to make this street eighty feet wide. 
The first question of importance, almost, after our organ- 
ization, and apparently the only one on this subject, was, 
How can the work be done most economically for the city, 
and all parties interested ? No street in the city is so 
much used — three-quarters, probably, of the heavy team- 
ing of Roxbury passes over this great highway to and from 
Boston. It is, as it were, the backbone of the city. It 
contains three water pipes, a gas pipe, two railroad tracks, 
and will soon have to furnish room for a trunk sewer. It 
dictates the grade to all collateral streets leading into it, 
and the sewers they shall ultimately contain. How abso- 
lutely necessary, then, that its grade and width should be 
established ! It was necessary, therefore, not only to take 
a strip of land three-quarters of a mile long and twenty 
feet wide, in part covered with buildings, but to bring the 
street to the test of the engineer's grade, causing many fills 
and cuts, and heavy damage to the abutting estates. 

Careful examination was made of the value of each lot 
of land to be taken, estimates made of the expense of 
moving buildings, &c., and agreements made with the abut- 
tors for almost every piece of land, on the basis that if the 
land was put at a fair price the whole undertaking should 
be done at once. 

Fortunately, when the matter was brought before the 


Government for its decision, there was not a dissenting 
voice upon the course to be pursued. To the energy, fair- 
ness and good judgment of the Alderman of Ward 2, then 
in the Council, great credit is due. It has proved the 
most successful widening of a street ever accomplished, 
in Roxbury, as demonstrated by two conclusive tests. 
1st, The approval of almost the entire population of the 
city. 2nd, That land upon it has risen at least 20 per 
cent, in value. 

The bearing of this large expenditure upon the claims 
and demands of citizens in other parts of the city for 
necessary and reasonable improvements,, is obvious ; and 
to this beginning may be largely ascribed other under- 
takings, which must be the excuse if this subject has been 
dwelt upon at too great length. 

A new and important street (long sought for by some of 
our most respected citizens), fifty feet wide, has been con- 
structed from Centre to Parker street, — New Heath 
Street, — which will develop and enhance the value of 
some two or three hundred acres of land, before very 
poorly accommodated with access to business, and conse- 
quently assessed at a very low rate, and paying but light 
taxes. That part of the city is now very directly connect- 
ed with the centre, where are the schools, churches, stores, 
and business generally. 

The amount of land taken for this street is over 50,000 


The whole expense of land and construction is about 

Another new street, forty feet wide, has been laid out, 
constructed and widened, from Dudley to Bustis street, 
called Winslow street. 

The amount of land taken is over 20,000 feet, at an 
expense, including construction, of about $12,000. 

This street is of local advantage, has increased the 

8 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

value of property, promoted building in the vicinity, is a 
protection against a wide spreading fire, and will very 
much facilitate the drainage of that locality. 

A private street from Warren street to Grove Hall 
Avenue, forty feet wide, and half a mile in length, has 
been laid out as a public street, at trifling expense, which 
will prove of essential benefit to that part of the city. 

Heath street has been widened by adding nearly 14,000 
feet to it, making it, most of its entire length from Parker 
street west, forty feet wide, at very little expense, except 
moving the stone-walls and fences. The land for this 
widening, obtained without payment, was one of the advan- 
tages promised by abuttors if New Heath street was laid 

Dennis street, at the extreme easterly part of the city, 
very old and crooked, and in places but twenty feet wide, 
has been, after much conference with the abuttors, laid out 
to their and the public approval, thirty-five feet wide, the 
walls set back, and part of it constructed. By doing it 
now, the land damages are trifling. The amount of land 
added to the street is 8700 square feet, at a cost of $240. 


In September, 1859, a petition was presented to the 
Government, signed by most of the abuttors on Lambert 
Avenue, asking its acceptance. They relied on the action 
of the town, in 1845, when, in open town meeting, it was 
voted, to accept the street whenever the abuttors would 
contribute to the width of the street some 1200 or 1500 
feet of land, lying between Lambert and Porter streets, 
and fix the sidewalk. This the petitioners now offered to 
do. The Committee on Streets, to whom the petition was 
referred, were unanimously of opinion that the City were 
bound by the action of the Town ; that a change in the 
form of managing our affairs, from Selectmen to a City 
Council, did not release us j that the lapse of time did not, 


for no limit was fixed within which the conditions should 
be performed. Should they dishonorably try to evade, de- 
ny or postpone the duty resting upon the City ? They did 
not think it proper to do either. In addition to this, it 
was admitted, that the street had been open for so many 
years that it had become one of the public highways, and 
could not be closed up. It was dangerously narrow, only 
twenty-two feet wide, much used, with a very steep grade. 
The Committee saw that, if accepted in accordance with 
the petition, the next step would be another petition, to 
have it widened and graded at the City's expense. It 
seemed, therefore, judicious to obtain the cooperation of 
the abuttors, to have it widened and graded at once. In 
this effort, they were met, with a single exception, liber- 
ally; one gentleman offered to give 1600 feet of land, 
another two-thirds of the amount to be taken from his 

This course, recommended by the Committee, met the 
approval of the entire Government. The street has been 
laid out thirty feet wide, thoroughly built and graded, gut- 
ters paved, fences set back, edge-stone set (at abuttors' 
expense), sidewalks constructed, 8425 feet of land added 
to the street, running its entire length of a thousand feet, 
at an expense of only $4000. An improvement, for its 
thoroughness and cheapness, not equalled in the city. 

The effect of this outlay is obvious ; private enterprise 
has been encouraged, and one gentleman is spending 
$30,000 on his estate. 


Another very important improvement, in this part of the 
city, is the grading of Cedar street, from Highland street 
to Shawmut Avenue. This street was laid out fifty feet 
wide, and kept in repair for twenty-five years by the abut- 
tors. In 1858, by the construction of Shawmut Avenue, 
and the digging Mien allowed to be done in Cedar street, 

10 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

it was rendered dangerous, and was otherwise in bad con- 
dition. The City incurred the risk of accidents, as it could 
not be closed, and citizens were, to a great extent, unable 
to use it. After obtaining from the abuttors a release of 
all claims for damage, the City have graded it through its 
entire length, and set edge-stone at the abuttors' expense, 
making it one of the most spacious and elegant streets 
for dwellings in the city, at an expense not exceeding 

Washington street, the principal thoroughfare, where 
land brings the highest price of any in the city, has been 
widened in four different places, cutting off projections, 
making it uniform, and adding to it 10,000 square feet. 

Yernon street has been widened by adding to it some 
two thousand feet — building a large culvert near Wash- 
ington street, raising the grade there, and removing the 
loam from a large portion of the street and filling in stone ; 
thus making it dry and more healthy. 

Lesser widenings have been made in Union, Warren, 
School, Sumner, Bartlett and Walnut streets ; making ad- 
ditions to the streets throughout the city of 120,462 
square feet, or about three acres. And the amount of land 
taken for new streets to nearly 70,000 square feet. Total 
amount, 190,462 square feet. 

The average expense for land, damage to buildings, 
moving buildings, and construction of streets, $114,000, 
averaging per foot, sixty cents. 

Does not the example of Boston, in her large yearly 
expenditures for street widenings, and the effort she is 
now making for widening Washington and Tremont streets, 
teach us the wisdom of attending to so momentous a sub- 
ject before buildings are erected, thereby increasing the 
expense ten fold. Such considerations, I am confident, 
have influenced you in the performance of your duties. 


In addition to the expense of building and widening 
streets, we have incurred heavy expenses for grading 
various streets, rendered necessary in consequence of some 
improvements taking place not under the control of the city. 
Such, for instance, as the regrading of Warren street, be- 
fore the Rail Road track could be laid down. Also, the 
grading of a portion of Walnut street, to carry off the 
surface water, at the time improvements were going on 
upon an abutting estate, thus avoiding the payment of 
large damages. The same may be said of Eustis, Mall, 
Shawmut Avenue, Centre, Webber, and part of Hunneman 

In Lowell street, the Metropolitan Rail Road Company 
has been required to pave and raise its track, in conse- 
quence of which the city regraded much of the street, 
raised it at its junction with Centre street nearly two feet, 
paved 1000 yards, set edge-stone one-third its distance, 
built an expensive bank wall and filled out the street, and 
blasted off on the opposite side a projecting ledge ; thus 
materially widening it at its narrowest point. Thus much 
seemed necessary on a street traveled continually with 
heavy teams. 

A portion of these expenditures may have seemed unneces- 
sary to some persons; but no one has complained of im- 
provements in his own vicinity, where he has observed the 
need of them, but of those in a distant part of the city 
from himself, where he could not be expected to realize 
their importance. 

A more general system of watering the principal streets 
has greatly promoted the comfort of our citizens. 

During 1859 the profiles of all the streets, both public 
and private, have been established, to enable the Govern- 
ment to give parties building a permanent grade, that 
should not be altered with every change of administration. 

An idea of the amount of street work may be obtained 

12 CITY DOCUMENT. — NcK 13. 

by a comparison of the years 1857-8 -with 1859-60, as 
to a few items. 

1857-8. 1859-60. 

Edge Stone set, _ _ _ 22,141 feet; 44,070 feet. 
Stone Blocks, - - - _ 1,900 tons; 3,869 tons. 

Paving, - - _ - _ G,704 sq. yds. ; 22,923 sq. yds. 


There is needed some additional State legislation em- 
powering the Board of Health, or some other department 
of City and Town Governments to cause buildings to be 
erected sufficiently high above the flow of the tide to in- 
sure drainage, and promote the health of low districts. 

One great cause of the large expense to which the City 
of Roxbury has been subjected, is the numerous private 
streets that are allowed to be opened upon public avenues 
before they are fit for acceptance — thus entailingpheir 
construction upon the city. This calls for immediate cor- 
rection. The Committee on Streets have collected valua- 
ble information on the subject, which, I doubt not, our suc- 
cessors will make good use of. 


We have constructed a main trunk sewer of large size, 
and in the most thorough and substantial manner, of brick, 
from the City Dock, through Davis to Dudley street, a 
distance of about 1500 feet. Owing to the quicksand 
encountered, this was a most difficult and expensive work, 
and great credit is due the Superintendent for the 
energetic and successful manner in which he accom- 
plished it. 

A sewer has been constructed through Fellowes and 
Northampton streets, of plank, to connect with it. 

Brick sewers, of suitable size, have also been constructed 
in Sumner, Short, part of Eustis, and Mall streets. 

The expenditures for sewers have been $20,000. 


In this connection, the filling of Plymouth street, both 
to promote health and save the City large expenditures in 
future, was absolutely necessary. After the construction 
of the Mill-Dam, in Boston, shutting out the force of the 
tide, builders located their houses at so low a grade, that 
the City of Boston is now spending some half million of 
dollars to raise streets and buildings to secure drainage. 
Tlie construction of Northampton street has operated in 
the same manner, and shut out the tide from Plymouth 
street and vicinity. Buildings have been placed upon the 
marsh level, and the street allowed to be accepted, with 
an absolute impossibility properly to drain it. Every 
building, therefore, erected on this grade, made the City 
poorer instead of richer, as at some time the entire tract^ 
streets, buildings and all, must be raised at her expense. 
The street has been made sixty feet wide, adding 4435 
square feet, and the grade raised ten feet. Probably no 
more buildings will be placed too low for drainage in that 
locality. A brick sewer was constructed the entire length 
of this street, some portion of which, on account of the 
settling, will have to be reconstructed. 

The widening of this street, filling it, raising buildings, 
and constructing the sewer, have cost $35,000. 


There is one expenditure made during the past year, 
gentlemen, looking exclusively to the future health, com- 
fort, recreation and amusement of a large city. When 
Roxbury becomes such, I doubt not a just meed of praise 
will be awarded the Government of 1860, for its liberal 
and disinterested policy in purchasing Parks. The great 
point to secure was the land, before it should be built upon, 
thereby making it too expensive to obtain. This has been 
done. After building the streets about them, as contracted 
for, and some other slight expenditures, let us pay the 

14 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

interest and await with confidence for their improvement 
and decoration by posterity. 

The amount of land thus set apart is as follows : 

Orchard Park, --___- 79,785 sq. feet. 
Tremont " - - - - - - 122,220 " 

Washington" -_..__ 401,000 " 
Or over 14 acres. 
At a cost of .-.____.-- $63,000 

Should the Park on Munroe street be sold, as is contemplated, 
this amount may be reduced, probably, ----- 8,000 

If to this sum was added the expense of filling the Tremont 
street Park, two years being allowed from next May for doing 
the work, and the expense of building a street around Washing- 
ton Park, say _--- 20,000 

The whole amount for Parks will be $75,000 

In addition to these, we have accepted from the propri- 
etors, Long-wood Park, of 21,140 square feet; Highland 
Park, of 5600 square feet. These have been fenced, and 
form pleasing ornaments to the city. 

All these Parks will tend to give increased value to land 
in their vicinity, secure good buildings around them, and 
insure a desirable population, and will ultimately have a 
very favorable influence on the health of the community. 
In fact, one of the conditions of purchase of the Park near 
Tremont street, is that none but good brick dwellings shall 
be built on the land surrounding it. 


Two years ago our Grammar School accommodations 
were not sufficient for the number of pupils. We were 
hiring such rooms as we could get, poorly ventilated, cold, 
destitute of yard room, and the absolute necessaries of a 
school. From one to two hundred pupils were thus poor- 
ly accommodated. The Committee asked for increased 
rooms. The first question was, ought a City like this to 
own its school-ro.oms, or hire ? This being answered in 


the afl&rmative, the nest question was, Ought not our pub- 
lic buildings to be of brick or stone, plain and substantial, 
evidences of good taste, simplicitj^, incombustible, exhibit- 
ing a due regard for the lives of pupils, and holding up a 
proper standard for citizens to imitate in private struct- 
ures — something in which a public-spirited, patriotic 
citizen could feel a just pride ? After careful and delibe- 
rate examination, you decided that the true economy of 
the City demanded brick additions both to the Comins and 
the Dearborn school-houses. They were built, and the chil- 
dren of our fellow-citizens and our own are now enjoying 

About 20,000 feet of land has been purchased near 
East street, and a substantial brick building, with six large, 
commodious rooms, has been constructed for primary 
scholars, and is now ready for occupancy, rendering any 
further accommodations in that part of the city unneces- 
sary probably for many years. 

With a view to improve the school, and lessen the ex- 
pense of instruction, the Committee concluded to unite the 
boys and girls in one high school. To carry out this mode 
of instruction, a suitable building was essential. Without 
purchasing any land, the dilapidated structure in Kenil- 
worth street is converted into an elegant and commodious 
edifice, creditable to the architect, the committee, and the 
city, and expected to supply the wants of the city for a 
long period. 

After the burning of the wooden school-house on Francis 
street, a larger and more commodious brick building was 

These five school-houses have cost over $53,000, and in 
some respects more than supply the present demand. 
With moderate additions, as wanted, so large an expendi- 
ture will not again be required. 

16 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 


A substantial brick engine-house was constructed last 
year in Eustis street, ornamental to the city. A new 
hand-engine was also added, and $1000 worth of leading 
hose purchased. Four reservoirs of large capacity have 
been constructed. Seven hydrants have been added to the 
Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Co. pipes. Four, also, to the 

One first class steam fire engine and horse hose-carriage 
and necessary equipments have been purchased, thus call- 
ing in the assistance of tireless steam and horse power to 
the aid of man in his fearful contest with all consuming fire. 

A new and appropriate building, of brick, answering the 
three-fold purpose of an engine house, stable, and Ward 
Eoom, has been erected on Centre street. 

When we reflect upon the freedom from fire that we 
have enjoyed, as compared with some of our neighboring 
cities, the good order, energy and faithfulness of the De- 
partment, we have great reason to be satisfied with the 
liberal policy pursued towards the firemen, in thus furnish- 
ing good houses, engines, reservoirs, &c. 

It is believed the Department was never before, as a 
whole, in so healthy and efficient condition. Great credit 
is due to the Fire Department and the Committee for such 
favorable results. 


The entire police force, under the thoughtful manage- 
ment of our excellent City Marshal, is believed to be dis- 
creet, energetic, and reliable, possessing the confidence and 
respect of the community. 

To carry out so many costly undertakings, in addition 
to the ordinary expenses of the Government, has of course 
required a large amount of money. To think of putting it 


in the tax bills now, would manifestly be unfair, since much 
of the outlay is for future advantage. To delay their 
accomplishment, and thereby greatly increase the expense, 
was not wise. To borrow the money at five per cent., and 
do the work at once, was the only plan that commended 
itself to your judgment. 

If these expenditures shall enable our successors to bo 
judiciously economical, so much the better. 

City Debt, Feb. 1st, 1859, - - - • - 

City Debt, Dec. 31st, 1860, - - _ _ 

Increase, -------- 

If we deduct the lot of land purchased of Mr. Ellis, 
Also the wharf lot, -__-_- 

Amount of bills due for edge-stone, - - - 
Amount likely to be received from Munroe Street Park 
in consequence of having purchased other Parks, 

Increase, - - - - - - -- 

Amount of City Debt, - - _ _ _ 


$280,240 95 
562,525 00 



284 05 




200 00 



,084 05 



325 00 

Through the instrumentality of a committee appointed 
for that purpose, the price of gas has been reduced from 
12 to 15 per cent., both to the City and the public gen- 

The Metropolitan Rail Road track has been laid from 
the Post Office to Oak street. Also a second track in 
"Warren street to Walnut street. And an extension from 
Montrose Avenue to Dorchester, with a turn-out and ter- 
minus at Dale street. These various extensions are of 
essential convenience to our community. 

You are all aware of the heavy expenditures caused by 
the tracks of this road in our streets. JBut it is believed 
that for the future they will be less, as most of the expen- 
sive grading and widening has been done. 

We can all rejoice in one very obvious and agreeable 
reflection, that in carrying out the numerous expensive and 
beneficial improvements, a large amount of money has been 

18 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 13. 

paid to our own citizens. With it buildings have been 
erected, or repaired and improved, comforts multiplied, 
children better clothed and educated, laborers, mechanics, 
contractors, traders, and, in fact, nearly all citizens have 
received direct or remote benefit from it. 

While in many places business has been stagnant, here 
there has been building, improvement, and expenditure on 
private account, before never equalled. The number of 
buildings, as appears by actual inquiry, erected during the 
past year, from the simple dwelling to the elegant mansion, 
have been 250, at an expense of over $600,000, exclusive 
of the land. $200,000 of this amount has been invested 
in good brick buildings. And the excellent quality of the 
whole, gives an average price of about $2500 for each. 

In closing our labors at this time, gentlemen, may we not 
forget the many agreeable hours we have passed together, 
and wherever our lots may be cast for the future, I doubt 
not many pleasing recollections will recall the two years 
that have now closed. 

By discussion, interchange of opinion, taste and judg- 
ment, we have learned to treat with respect and liberality 
each other's differences, and I believe the acquaintances 
and friendships formed here, will abide with us forever. 
Be assured it is the number and quality of one's friends, 
and not his acres or dollars, that makes life rich and 

In conclusion, gentlemen, let me again tender to you all 
my deep sense of obligation for the forbearance and gen- 
erosity which you have always been pleased to extend 
toward my many errors and omissions in the performance 
of duties new and untried. 

May you all live to a good old age, and in the smiles of 
friends, prosperity and happiness, look upon the improve- 
ments you have made with satisfaction, crowned by the test 
of time, that they have been for the welfare and prosperity 
of our beloved city.