Digitized by tine Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Boston Public Library
City Document. — iVb. 3.
APPOINTED BY THE CITY COUNCILS
€\ius of llfl^krg anb ^ssim,
RESPECTIVELY, ON THE
UNION OF THE TWO CITIES
UNDER ONE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.
L. B. WESTON, PRINTER, GUILD ROW.
CITY OF ROXBURY.
In Boaed of Aldekmen, March 4, 1867.
Okdeked, That 3000 copies of the Report of the Commissioners
on the subject of the union of the Cities of Boston and Roxbury,
made by the Commissioners of the two cities, be printed for the
use of the citizens of Roxbury.
Sent down for concurrence.
JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk.
In Common Council, March 4, 1867.
FRANKLIN WILLIAMS, Clerk.
REPORT OF THE ROXBURT COMMISSIONERS.
CITY OF ROXBURY
The Commissioners elected by the City Council of the City
of Roxbury, to meet and confer with the Commissioners ap-
pointed by the Mayor of the City of Boston, upon the ques-
tion of the annexation of Roxbury to Boston, and to consider
the whole subject, and to report to the City Council of Rox-
bury the financial and industrial and sanitary condition of the
City of Boston, with such suggestions as they may think
proper regarding the conditions which would make such an-
nexation mutually desirable, respectfully submit the following
to the City Council of Roxbury.
The Town of Roxbury, including within its limits what is
now the City of Roxbury, and also what is now the Town ot
West Roxbury, continued for a period of more than two hun-
dred and thirty years from its origin, without any material
change in its boundaries, or in its government.
In the year 1846 the City Charter was granted, and was
accepted by the people. The territory of the City of Roxbury,
which at the time of the acceptance of the City Charter was
large, was greatly reduced by an act of the Legislature passed
in the year 1851, incorporating the Town of West Roxbury.
6 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
Between the years 1840 and 1850 the population of Roxbury
increased from about 9000 to more than 18,000. A large
portion of this increase was upon that portion of the territory
which is within the present city limits. The people of the
westerly part of Roxbury, while they were seeking to obtain
their act of incorporation as a town, gave as reasons for the
separation, that the population of the easterly section had
become comparatively dense, and would continue to rapidly
increase, — that the people were fast becoming assimilated to
the people of Boston, — that the wants of the easterly section
and the pursuits of its inhabitants were like those of Boston,
and unlike theirs, — that Boston, by dense population and
compact building, was fast pressing on the easterly borders of
Roxbury, and would, of necessity, soon comprehend and include
within its municipal limits all of that territory which now
remains to the City of Roxbury, — that the westerly section
retained to a great extent its agricultural character, and could
be better managed and controlled under a town government.
They, therefore, asked that the relations which had so long
existed between the two sections might be severed, and that
they might be permitted to return to the form of government
from which they were taken by the acceptance of the City
The Legislature recognized the force of these reasons, and
passed the act incorporating the Town of West Roxbury. The
question of the annexation of Roxbury to Boston then became
the subject of discussion. In the year 1852 it became the
subject of a very lengthy and elaborate enquiry, before a
Legislative committee, who came to the conclusion that al-
though Boston would at some future period include Roxbury,
and other adjoining territory, the exigency for such a measure
had not then arrived. Since that period the subject has been
presented to committees of the Legislature three times, viz. : in
the years 1859, 1860 and 1865, in all of which the committees ,
reported in favor of annexation.
ANNEXATION OP ROXBURY TO BOSTON. I
In the year 1866 the City Council of Boston adopted an
order, of which the following is a copy :
City of Boston, in Board of Aldermen, )
April 2, 1866. J
Ordered, That whenever the City Council or Selectmen of any city or
town, whose territory adjoins that of the City of Boston, shall notify the
City Council of Boston that, in accordance with a vote of their respective
bodies, they are empowered to consult with the authorities of Boston
with a view to the annexation to the City of Boston of their city or town,
it shall be the duty of his Honor the Mayor of Boston to appoint three
commissioners from the citizens of Boston, to meet an equal number from
the city or town making the request. Said commissioners shall take
the whole subject into consideration, and those appointed on the part
of Boston shall report to the City Council the financial, industrial and
sanitary condition of the city or town applying for admission, with such
suggestions as they may think proper regarding conditions which would
make such annexation desirable.
Passed. Sent down for concurrence.
(Signed) G. W. MESSENGER, Chairman.
In Common Council, April 12, 1866.
(Signed) JOSEPH STORY, President.
Approved April 14, 1866.
(Signed) F. W. LINCOLN, Jr., Mayor.
Subsequently, but in the same year, the City Council of
Roxbury adopted the order under which we were appointed,
and in obedience to which we submit this report.
By reference to this order, it will appear that the subjects
upon which we are to report, relate to the financial, industrial
and sanitary condition of the City of Boston, with such sug-
gestions as we may think proper, regarding the conditions
which would make the union of the two cities mutually desira-
ble. The terms of the order, while directing us to take into
consideration the whole subject of such union, probably with a
view of ascertaining under what conditions, if any, such union
should be accomplished, limit us in our report to a statement
8 CITY DOCUMENT. — NO. 3.
of a part only of the considerations which are involved in this
very important movement.
There are matters of great importance, affecting the ques-
tion of annexation, which we shall, therefore, omit to present
or discuss in this report. These matters have been the sub-
jects of legislative enquiry, and, more or less, of public discus-
sion. We propose to say nothing further of them, except that
they have not escaped our attention, and that they all tend
to give us additional confidence in the correctness of the con-
clusion to which we have arrived.
We have received great assistance in our labors from the
very able and intelligent Commissioners appointed by the
Mayor of Boston. The report which they have submitted to
the City Council of Boston, a copy of which is appended to
this report, contains much of the information which it was the
object of the order under which we have acted to obtain, and
which otherwise we should have incorporated into this report.
The report made by the Commissioners of the City of Bos-
ton has been published in the newspapers of both cities, and
has been thus widely circulated, and any repetition of the
statistics and facts contained in it has been rendered entirely
The original area of the upland of the Town of Boston
was less than seven hundred acres. The original area of the
Town of Roxbury was about 10,720 acres. Both were settled
in the same year.
The great difference in the original size of these towns, we
think, can only be accounted for from the fact that Boston, from
its then almost insular position, had the natural boundary of the
sea. The narrow neck of land, which originally united Boston
and Roxbury, has been expanded by filling, until it has now
become the widest part of Boston,
Had the same geographical connection existed in 1630 which
exists to-day, Boston would have undoubtedly included all the
territory which is now contained within the municipal limits of
Roxbury. The boundary line between these cities has ceased
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY TO BOSTON. 9
to be a natural one, and has become purely artificial in its
character ; and the question now arises, shall the separation,
which had its origin in natural' causes, continue after these
causes have ceased to exist, or are there reasons which, inde-
pendent of geographical connection, require or make it ex-
pedient that these places shall remain under distinct municipal
Mere geographical connection is an insufficient reason for
the union. In order to give it force, as such, there should be
such a similarity in the character, pursuits and condition of the
inhabitants, such an association of the people, such common
needs, purposes and hopes, as to create a common interest.
These subjects we shall hereinafter briefly consider.
Immediately connected with the great change which has been
wrought in the mutual relations of these cities, by reclaiming
land from the sea, in that part of Boston which, for no other
reason than a regard for, or deference to, an ancient name, is
still called " the Neck," and growing out of this change, are
considerations of the highest importance, affecting the sanitary
condition of both cities.
An examination of the map which accompanies this report,
will show that a large extent of land, orignally covered by the
waters of the Back Bay, and from which the sea has been ex-
cluded by artificial structures, still remains within the limits
of Roxbury. A portion of the land in the same manner re-
claimed from the sea, in the South Bay, is also in Roxbury.
The land from which the sea has been excluded, in both
bays, lying partly in Boston, partly in Roxbury (only a portion'
of which has been filled), is in a condition which demands im-
mediate attention. We respectfully call the attention of the
City Council to the map before mentioned. The extent and
the situation of these lands will thus be readily understood.
Within ten years the two cities will probably contain not
less than three hundred thousand people. An examination of
the history of their progress for the last twenty-live years, and
the exercise of a reasonable hope for the future, will, as we
10 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
think, convince any candid enquirer that this is not an extrav-
agant estimate. A population of such a magnitude, on an area
of less than 5400 acres, can only be protected from disease by
the most efficient sanitary measures. Such measures are
rendered the more urgent, from the fact that a large portion
of the unoccupied laud in Boston proper (including the lands
before mentioned), and which must soon be densely populated,
is now in a condition unsuitable for occupation.
The Back Bay lands and the South Bay lands, before men-
tioned as lying in Roxbury and adjoining Boston, are in the
same unfortunate condition. Thus a large territory, lying
partly in one city and partly in the other, and divided only by
an artificial boundary line, to-day needs, and for years has
needed, prompt and vigorous action, to save it from becoming
a nuisance to the inhabitants of both cities. Parts of it are
already in a condition dangerous to the public health. We think
this very important territory will only be redeemed and saved by
energetic and uniform measures, devised and executed by a sin-
gle municipal power. For years this land has, in our judge-
ment, required the exercise of such a power. During this
period, we have reason to believe that the authorities of botli
cities have sought to save this territory from becoming a
source of pestilence and disease, and have only been prevented
from accomplishing such a result, by the intrinsic difficulties
which must exist, through divided counsels, in executing sys-
tems and plans which require for their success united purposes
and uniform action. This territory, properly cared for, may
•become, and we trust will become an ornament to the City of
Boston ; but unless the policy of the future, in respect to it,
shall differ from that of the past, it will become, under an in-
creased population, and an additional accumulation of filth, a
fruitful source of discomfort and disease, not only to those
who shall have the misfortune to dwell upon it, but also to
those, in both cities, whose places of residence or business
shall be in its vicinity.
Unless we over-estimate the magnitude of the calamity which
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY TO BOSTON. 11
will ensue to both cities from the neglect of this territory, and
unless it can be protected and saved by the authorities of the
two cities acting separately, then we find in this matter alone
a sufficient cause for the proposed union.
The financial condition of the City of Boston is disclosed
by the report of the Boston Commissioners. It need not be
restated in this report.
It is difficult to make a statement of the sanitary or indus-
trial condition of one city, without also making a statement of
the sanitary or industrial condition of the other city. The
cities appear to us, in all respects, except in government, to
be substantially one. The population of both are engaged in.
kindred pursuits, and have kindred interests. Large numbers
of them live on' one side of the line, and labor and do their
business on the other. One city is much smaller than the
other in population, in wealth, and even in extent of territory;
but both communities are wealthy, both are prosperous, both
are industrious, and both are increasing _in wealth, in pros-
perity and in energy ; both are under the same necessity of
providing for the future ; both should be enabled to unite in
advancing a common prosperity, or adverting a common calam-
ity. Both have the same wants, and both should be guided
and controlled by the same policy. They meet each other,
by population and compact building, at a boundary line, which,
for the purposes of separation (if separation is to exist),
might as well be elsewhere. The territory of Boston proper
(on the land) is bounded by the territory of Eoxbury, and
of Roxbury only; on all other sides Boston proper is still
surrounded by the sea. If the area of Boston is ever to be
increased, we think that all will agree that it is to be in-
creased by the addition of Roxbury ; and if Roxbury is ever
to be annexed, we think all will agree that such annexation
should immediately take place. The laying out, the construc-
tion and the completion of important avenues, the great
measures needed for sanitary purposes, and other important
improvements, can be better and far more cheaply accomplished
now than hereafter.
12 CITY DOCUMENT. — NO. 3.
We therefore respectfully suggest that the question which
has for so many years been the subject of public discussion,
should be determined and settled now. The questions of
policy in the future should be determined with reference to it.
We regard the union as inevitable. The few local and tem-
porary interests which oppose it, must yield to the pressing
demands and wants of a great people. The interests of both
cities, and to a large extent the interests of the Commonwealth,
are involved in it, and these must soon overwhelm all opposi-
The procuring of a supply of water for Roxbury is a subject
now assuming importance. We can not doubt that there will
be a rapid increase of population on her territory, whether
annexed or not. This fact forces upon the attention of those
having her interests in charge, the necessity of adopting im-
mediate measures to procure a supply of water. The Presi-
dent of the Cochituate Water Board has addressed a letter to
the Commissioners on Annexation appointed by the Mayor
of Boston, a copy of which is subjoined to their report. We
infer from the concluding paragraph of this letter, that it
was not written with any desire to promote annexation. We
have examined it with some care. While we are aware that
the estimates and conclusions of its author, as to the capacity
of the lake, and of the present conduit, to supply both Boston
and Roxbury with water, differ materially from those of other
scientific and intelligent gentlemen who have examined the
subject, we propose, for the purposes of the present enquiry,
to assume that his estimates are correct.
Boston is estimated to contain 200,000 people at the present
time. The present conduit will safely convey 18,000,000 of
gallons of water per day. The capacity of the lake is assumed
to be 16,000,000 gallons per day. The rate of consumption is
63 gallons per day for every inhabitant. When Boston shall
have added 54,000 more to her population, she must obtain an
additional supply for her own use. Such an addition to her
population will be accomplished in fourteen years. During
ANNEXATION OF EOXBURY TO BOSTON. 13
five of these fourteen years, she will have an ample supply for
both cities. The territory of Boston (as he thinks) can
accommodate 600,000 people. Then long before Boston shall
become populated to half her capacity, she must adopt measures
to increase her supply of water. If, then, Roxbury shall be
annexed, Boston will have to inaugurate measures for increas-
ing the supply nine years earlier than she otherwise would.
This is the strongest form against annexation, in which the
Water Board or its President deem it wise to present the
Roxbury must have water, whether annexed or not. Boston
in a few years must have an increased supply for her own use.
We think that both will act unwisely, unless they unite in
obtaining what they both need. If they do not thus unite,
we shall see two adjoining communities, with no visible lines
of separation, both together not occupying a large area, both
needing a supply of water, adopting independent means of
obtaining it, at their separate expense, when probably substan-
tially the same outlay, which each would be required to make
for its own separate use, would be sufficient or nearly sufficient
to procure a supply for both.
While we do not intend to dispute the correctness of the
estimates made by the author of this letter, we cannot agree
with him, that his facts and his estimates do not add to the
reasons in favor of annexation.
We have directed our attention to the condition of the
schools, the police departments, the fire departments, the
sewers, the streets, and to the debts and liabilities of both
cities, and we concur substantially with the statements and
opinions of the Commissioners of the City of Boston in rela-
tion to these subjects.
We have examined these matters with a view of ascertain-
ing under what conditions (if any) the union of the cities
should be accomplished ; and we find that there are no such
inequalities as require, in justice to either city, that any condi-
tions shall be inserted in any act which shall be passed for
14 CITY DOCUMENT. — NO. 3.
uniting tliem. If any disadvantages to either city exist, in
any of these matters, they are compensated for, or more than
compensated for, by advantages in other directions; and if
any conditions were to be made, it would be a difficult matter
to determine what the conditions should be, or in whose favor
they should be made. The advantages of union, in our opin-
ion, are mutual.
Your Commissioners have discussed but few of the subjects
involved in this important enquiry. They have sought to keep
within the limits prescribed by the order ; but they have given
the whole subject a diligent and careful consideration, and
they have come to the conclusion that the growth, the pros-
perity, and the welfare of both communities will be promoted
by the proposed union. Both are indissolubly connected.
Their interests cannot be severed. The value of our property,
the success of our business, is dependent upon the prosperity
of Boston. We cannot afford to injure her. From her great-
ness and her fame we derive our importance. We are essen-
tially a part of her people, and the continuance of any system
of government which makes, or attempts to make, any sepa-
ration between us, will work the common injury of both.
Your Commissioners, therefore, with an entire appreciation
of the importance of the duty assigned to them, earnestly
re commend the immediate consummation of the proposed union
REPORT OF THE BOSTON COMMISSIONERS.
CITY OF BOSTON.
Mayor's Office, Feb. 18, 1867.
To the Honorable the City Council of the City of Boston.
Gentlemen, — I have the honor to submit, for your informa-
tion, the Report of the Commissioners, appointed under an
Order approved April 14, 1866, upon the subject of the Annex-
ation of Roxbury to Boston.
CITY OF BOSTON.
In Board of Aldermen, April 2, 1866.
Ordered : That whenever the City Council or Selectmen of
any city or town, whose territory adjoins that of the City of
Boston, shall notify the City Council of Boston, that in accord-
ance with a vote of their respective bodies, they are empowered
to consult with the authorities of Boston with a view to the
annexation to the City of Boston of their city or town, it shall
be the duty of His Honor the Mayor of Boston, to appoint three
Commissioners from the citizens of Boston, to meet an equal
number from the city or town making the request. Said Com-
missioners shall take the whole subject into consideration, and
those appointed on the part of Boston shall report to the City
Council the financial, industrial, and sanitary condition of the
city or town applying for admission, with such suggestions as
they may think proper regarding conditions which would make
such annexation mutually desirable.
Sent down for concurrence.
G. W. MESSINCER, Chairman.
In Commoti Council, April 12, 1866.
JOSEPH STORY, President.
Approved April 14, 1866.
F. W. LINCOLN, Jr., Mayor.
CITY OF BOSTON.
The Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Boston, in
pursuance of the foregoing order, to meet Commissioners on the
part of the City of Roxbury, respectfully submit their
to the City Council of Boston.
Two neighboring communities, each dating its origin in the
year 1630, have existed for two hundred and thirty-seven years
under separate municipal organizations. These organizations,
congenial to the character of the people, were, for more than
two centuries, well adapted to their convenience and welfare.
In the year 1852 they began to consider the expediency of
annexation ; and from that date this question has been one of
the important problems of public discussion. In some aspects
its decision may affect the Commonwealth : in other respects, it
relates especially to the residents of the two cities.
The original area of upland in Boston was
The area added, and in progress by filling
flats, is . . .
The area of South Boston is
The area of Bast Boston is
Making a total of .
The area of Roxbury is
The united areas of Boston and Roxbury are
6 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
The area of the City of
New York is 14,502 acres.
" ", Philadelphia is 82,560 «
" " London is 74,070 "
Boston to the
square acre is
5 . . .
The population of Boston in 1865 was
in 1855 "
Increase in ten years ....
19x^0^5 per cent.
The population of Roxbury in 1865 was
in 1855 «
Increase in ten years . .
53xmy per cent.
The Assessors' valuation in Boston, in 1865,
was — Real Estate
Total . . . . . .
In 1855 Real Estate was $136,357,300
Personal Estate 105,580,900
Increase in ten years . . .
63y8^0jy per cent.
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY.
The Assessors' valuation in Roxbury, in 1865, was :
Real Estate . . . $16,574,900 00
Total . .
In 1855, Real Estate .
Increase in ten years .
SlyVa per cent.
The amount raised by taxation in Boston, in
1865, was, including polls . . . . $5,945,313 84
and the rate was $15.80 per M. : deduct-
ing the amount included in the tax, and
raised for military purposes, the rate
was $15.63 per M.
in 1855 1,910,280 00
and the rate was $7.70 per M.
Increase in ten years $4,035,033 84
211 per cent. ■ :::^::^^
The rate of taxation, for 1866, was $13 per M.
The amount raised by taxation in Roxbury,
in 1865 was, including polls . . . 507,089 90
and the rate was $21 per M, ; deduct-
ing the amount included in the tax, and
raised for military purposes, the rate
was $17 per M.
in 1855 127,208 16
and the rate was $7.80 per M.
Increase in ten years ..... $379,881 74
299 per cent. :
The rate of taxation for 1866 |ras $16 per M.
CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
The debt of Boston, Dec. 31, 1866, was
of which is payable in specie, by vote
passed April 5, 1862 .... $10,690,375 91
in currency, contracted since 1863 . 2,330,000 00
From which deduct cash assets
Net debt . . $9,651,849 91
The debt of Roxbury, Dec. 31, 1866, was $971,145.00 in
We add to these statistics a table showing the population and
percentage of increase in Boston, and nine of the neighboring
cities and towns in 1855, 1860 and 1865. It will be observed
that the percentage of increase was very much smaller during
the war than in the five preceding years.
Cities and Towns.
Total (except Boston)
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY. V
A table prepared by the Board of Assessors, May 1, 1865,
shows that six of the twelve wards iato which Boston was then
divided. (1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 10,) had, in the aggregate, three hundred
and seventeen thousand three hundred and sixty-nine square
feet of vacant land, equal to seven acres and a quarter ; and
that, excluding East Boston and South Boston, all the vacant
land in the city, excluding the Common and squares, and includ-
ing flats inside of riparian ownership, is equal to one hundred
and seventeen acres and a half, of which eighty-five acres and
three-quarters were in "Wards 9 and 11, To this must be added
the tract of land belonging to the Commonwealth and other
parties, partially filled, below the line of riparian ownership,
and not included in the estimate of the Assessors. The area of
this territory, usually called the Back Bay, including streets and
squares laid out on a liberal scale, may be two hundred acres.
The aggregate population of the six wards (1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and
10) decreased, as shown by the census of 1865, 4702 from the
census of 1855; and the aggregate increase in East Boston,
South Boston, and Ward 11, which adjoins Roxbury, exceeded
the increase in population in the whole city from 1855 to 1865;
in other words, there was a loss of population in the aggregate
of nine wards (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10), of the twelve
wards into which the city was divided. We use the old wards
in conformity with the statistics given.
If we recall the comparative density of population in the
large cities already mentioned, in connection with these facts,
the inference seems inevitable that, under existing circumstances,
no further increase of population is to be expected or desired
in eight of the wards, — 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10. It is not to
be expected, becq,use the land is too valuable to continue to be
used for dwelling-houses to the extent to which it is now occu-
pied; it is not to be desired, because it can only be had by
crowding together larger numbers of persons to the injury of
health and character. Some other territory must be sought for
10 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
the future homes of an increasing population. Within the
limits of the city, there remain the vacant lands in East Boston,
South Boston, and Wards 9 and 11.
In regard to East Boston, the census of 1865 shows an
increase, in ten years, of 4,609, equal to 28x^7 per cent, and the
valuation of its vacant land by the Assessors averages 12-i^^
cents per foot. From the moderate increase in this district,
we infer that its insular position will prevent its attracting a
large population, as long as land can be had on reasonable
terms in territory contiguous to the city proper, or connected by
In South Boston, the census of 1865 shows an increase in ten
years of 12,751, equal to 76^^ per cent, and the valuation of
its vacant land by the Assessors averages l^^u cents per foot.
There can be no doubt that the population of this district will
largely increase ; but South Boston as well as • Bast Boston,
will probably be chiefly occupied by those employed in manu-
factures, to the exclusion in a great measure of persons engaged
in commercial and professional pursuits.
In Ward 11, the census of 1865 shows an increase in ten
years of 13,876, nearly 105 per cent; and the valuation of its
vacant lands by the Assessors averages 88j^g- cents per foot.
The increase and valuation in this ward shows that population
is not deterred from favored spots by a large increase in the
price of land, and, to the extent of its capacity, this district
will continue to attract population. Nearly four-fifths of its
territory is already occupied, however, and no very great addi-
tion can be made to the number of its residents. The high
cost of the land on the Back Bay, and the restrictions imposed
as to building on that territory, will prevent its occupation by
persons of moderate wealth.
It seems to us that a large, additional territory will soon
become a necessity for the healthful growth of Boston. Persons
especially engaged in foreign commerce have expressed the
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY. 11
opinion that our city must become stationary, unless her former
relative position in this respect can be regained. It must be
remembered, however, that while the exchange of the product
of its industry, beyond the requirements of Its own consump-
tion, is essential to the prosperity of a community, and that the
greatest portion of its accumulated capital must be drawn from
other communities by such exchange, — such other communities,
within the territorial limits of our own country, may be as val-
uable to us in this respect as residents of a foreign soil. A
rapidly increasing coastwise commerce, facilitated by the use of
steam, connecting the industry of New England with consumers
throughout our own country, may be a full compensation for the
relative loss of a foreign commerce, valuable as it was. And
it cannot be fairly doubted, that a territory comprising the cities
and towns in the. table already given, whose population increased
from 260,746 to 331,875 in ten years, during five of which its
people were witnesses and actors in a great rebellion, has other
elements of growth than those furnished by foreign commerce.
Unless additional territory be obtained at an early day, the in-
creasing population of Boston will be compelled to seek resi-
dences beyond its limits, if not constrained to emigrate to
places offering more liberal accommodations, to our loss and
injury. If the ofi"er were now made of a territory of the size
of Roxbury, as favorably situated as that, in proximity to Bos-
ton, without buildings or population; we entertain no doubt that
the welfare of our own city would dictate its acceptance.
With these views we ask attention to the relative condition
of the two cities :
The property of Boston in 1865 was equal to $1,934 00 per head.
Roxbury " '' " 831 00 "
The tax in Boston " " " 30 91 «
Roxbury « " " 17 84 "
12 CITY DOCUMENT. — NO. 3.
The tax in Boston in 1865, on valuation, was equal to l^^oV per ct.
Roxbury " " « 2^0% "
The debt of Boston in 1866 was equal to $50 18 per head.
Roxbury " " " 34 16 "
The debt of Boston in 1866, on valuatiou,was equal to '2^-o- per ct.
Roxbury " " " 4tV "
The increase of capital in Boston in 10 years was 53 iVo- per ct.
Roxbury " " " 51 tV^ "
The increase of tax in Boston " " " 211 •'
Roxbury '' " "299 ■ "
The increase of population, Boston " '^ " 19 ro\i "
Roxbury" " " 53tVo "
The wealth and probable future growth of a people are to be
estimated by their accumulated capital and recent increase of
population ; neither is to be omitted. Many cities, with great
accumulated capital, have dwindled and passed away; and, if a
large population exist without accumulated capital, it can only
be a victorious army or a wandering people, consuming the
accumulations of those whom they despoil. With tliis principle
in mind, we find the accumulated capital in Boston far in excess
of that of Roxbury, while, in the percentage of increase in pop-
ulation, the latter largely leads the former.
In order to ascertain on which side the balance inclines, it is
necessary to consider some of the most important objects of
The whole number of seats for pupils in the Boston
Public Scliools is 30,346
in Roxbury Public Schools is . 5,150
The average number of Pupils in Boston, in 18 66,
was . . 27,723
in Roxbury " 5,189
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY. 13
The estimated value of Boston Public School Houses
Roxbury " " " 300,000
Tlie cost of teaching in Boston is $20.77 per scholar,
Roxbury, 14.89 '' «
The per centage of population attending Public
Schools in Boston was 14yb-.
The proportion of children from 5 to 15 years of
age attending Public Schools in Boston was 79 per ct.
in Roxbury « 82 '•
We have made inquiry as to the relative condition of the
Streets, Fire Department, Police, Lighting, and Paupers in the
two cities, and find no such differences as are material, and it
seems unnecessary to introduce the details into this Report.
The great want of Roxbury at this moment is a supply of
water, and in this respect she is less fortunate than her sister
city. We have addressed inquiries to, and had conferences
with, the Cochituate Water Board, as to the supply in regard to
the present and future wants of Boston, and the expense of its
introduction into Roxbury, and we annex their written commu-
nication. We adopt this course, that the full force of the objec-
tions may be presented in the language of the Board especially
intrusted with this subject in Boston. After full consideration,
however, we feel bound to declare, that, in our opinion, the facts
stated ought not to prevent the annexation of the two cities.
We cannot doubt that from some source Roxbury, either alone,
or united with Boston, will procure a supply of water. Her
natural advantages of position, the character of her people, and
the necessity of the case, require and demand it. It will greatly
facilitate an early introduction of it, should annexation take
1)1 ace, and it may be justly said that in this respect Roxbury
will derive the greatest advantage at the earliest time; but we
14 CITY DOCUMENT. ^NO. 3.
believe that the people of both cities intend to consider this
great question in a liberal spirit, and with a comprehensive
Roxbury is also at a disadvantage on the subject of sewerage.
Works are now in progress designed to remedy this defect.
The large tract of land lying partly in Boston and partly in
Roxbury, on the easterly and westerly sides of Boston Neck,
comprising the territory of South Bay and Back Bay, demands
immediate attention. We annex a map on which is indicated
the level of this territory above the base line of mean low water.
The grade originally adopted for the new streets on the Back
Bay was twenty feet above the base line. It having been ascer-
tained that in many places the streets in Ward Eleven were at
the grade of sixteen feet ; and objection having been made that
the water from the new streets would flood such places, eighteen
feet was adopted by the State Commissioners as the grade for
the streets of the Back Bay.
Upon this intermediate territory at an early day will be a
large population. The difficulties in the Church Street dis-
trict, originally occupied when there was an outlet to the sea,
and the grade of which is similar to that to which we refer, fore-
shadow the greater evils which must follow if a proper grade
be not immediately established throughout this territory. Cities
may refuse to accept streets as public highways unless at a
grade established or assented to by them. But private owners
may lay out ways, and erect buildings and sell lands, which may
become densely occupied before a city is applied to for action.
A nuisance is indictable, but what redress does this remedy
furnish as a cure for a pestilence which may have ravaged a
city ? During the last summer the Back Bay, within the limits
of Boston, was frequently so offensive that the windows of cars
passing over it were of necessity closed; the surface of the
water was covered with filth, and we deem it our duty to pre-
ANNEXATION OF ROXBURY. 15
sent this aspect of the case with the earnestness which we
We cannot doubt that the Legislature will confer a power
commensurate to the end required. If this cannot be done
under the powers usually given in regard to highways, perhaps
it might be found under those given for Sanitary purposes to
city authorities, or to a special commission. The interests of
the Commonwealth in its own property, and, more especially
in the health of its citizens, forbid the doubt of its ready
acquiescence in a request for this purpose.
Upon the map annexed will be found the old lines of Boston
Neck, in our early history the only connection between the
peninsula and the main land. Upon the same map are the
lines indicating the expansion of that thread of land until it
has become broader than any portion of the original peninsu-
la. Originally settled like the modern cities of the old world,
Boston has suffered from her narrow streets, and like them,
also, she has begun to open avenues which do credit to her
sagacity. She must soon decide whether these avenues shall
be carried over the intermediate territory to the hills of the
open country, and be occupied by a thriving and prosperous
people, or whether portions of that territory shall become
suburbs of two distinct cities, and, like all suburbs, the residen-
ces of the poorest of its population in character and intelligence.
It is obvious that the character and value of the buildings upon
this territory, as well as the kind of population which settles
there, are to be controlled by its own character and convenience.
We are led by our investigation of this subject to the convic-
tion, that immediate annexation is equally important to Boston
and Roxbury. If Boston would be the gainer by the addition
of vacant territory, she will be the greater gainer by annexing
a territory already occupied and improved by a people who
have accompanied her own in the progress which they have
16 CITY DOCUMENT. — ^NO. 3.
already achieved. We are satisfied that in all material respects
the two communities are nearly equal in the advantages which
each offers to the other, and we believe that the welfare of
both will be greatly promoted by the early consummation of
Boston, Feb. 16, 1867.
A. S. WHEELER,
City of Boston, City Hall,
CocHiTUATE "Water Board Office.
Feb. 18, 18G7.
Sir, — In reply to your communication of the 9th ultimo,
requesting to be informed of all the facts within our knowledge
upon the supply of water, and of our opinion as to the sufficiency
of the supply for the two cities, Boston and Roxbury ; and also to
be furnished with an estimate of the probable expense of the intro-
duction of water into Roxbury if annexed, Ave have to say, that to
furnish you with answers as correct and as much in detail as would
best satisfy ourselves, much more time for engineering and survey-
ing would be required than you can well allow us, if your Report is
to be acted upon by the Legislature now in session, — and therefore,
with the assistance of our able City Engineer, we have made various
estimates founded upon such data as were immediately available ;
and now present the same for your consideration :
The area of Boston Proper (not including streets) is
about . . . . . . . . .970 acres
Of this there are built upon and improved about . . 630 "
Leaving of available unimproved land about . . 340 "
The filled area of East Boston (not including streets
and squares) is about ...... 660 "
Of this there are built upon and improved about . . 170 "
Leaving of available unimproved land about . . 490 "
Besides this, there are of flats wholly unimproved . 440 "
And of flats already enclosed ..... 103 "
Maldng a total, ultimately available, of . . 1,033. "
18 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
The upland (304 acres) and marsh (416 acres) of
Breed's Island, which will probably become a part
of East Boston, amounts to about . . . 720 acres
The filled area of South Boston (not including streets
and squares) is about . . . . . . 675 "
Of this, there are built upon and improved . . . 285 "
LeaA^ng of available unimproved land . . . . 390 "
The area of the flats on the northerly shore, which may
be added, is about ...... 600 "
The area of Roxbury (not including streets and squares)
is about . 2,184 "
Of this, there are built upon or improved . . 684 "
Leaving of available unimproved land about . 1,500 "
The foregoing estimate of the area built upon is, of course, very
rough ; for in cases where, to a single house, there appears upon the
map to be several acres, there has been allowed to such isolated
house a half acre as improved land, calling the balance unimproved.
Beside the above 1,500 acres
there are, of marsh land or flats, to be improved, 300 "
making a total of . . . . . . 1,800 "
The population of Boston in 1865 was 192,324, and the rate of
increase from 1855 to 1865 was 19y\)3^So- per cent. At the same
rate of increase the present population of Boston is about 200,000.
When the whole territory within the present limits of Boston is
peopled as densely as the portions now built upon, our population
will amount to near -600,000.
The pi-esent population of Roxbury is said to be about 30,000,
and the rate of increase for the ten years from 1855 to 1865 was
nearly 54 per cent ; and, upon the same basis that Boston can
accommodate 600,000, Roxbury can accommodate about 400,000.
Lake Cochituate, with all its tributaries, has not the capacity to
furnish a constant supply of over 16,000,000 gallons daily. By
gauging the lake in 1834, Loammi Baldwin estimated the supply
at 16,156,800 gallons per day. It is true, that since raising the
Outlet Dam in 1859, we have averaged a daily waste of 4,000,000
gallons ; but we know of no practicable way to save this, as it occurs
only when our ponds are already full. Should reservoirs be built
to retain such a quantity, this extra supply would occasionally fail
us, as in the case of 1864, when the water in the lake was drawn
to within four feet and ten inches of the bottom of the conduit,
and the net quantit}^ received into the lake actually available was
only 11,620,000 gallons per day for that year. In 3 860 there was
no water wasted at the Outlet Dam, and in 1862 only 33,200,000
gallons were there wasted, being equal to about two days' supply to
The present conduit, when put in good repair, can safely convey
only 18,000,000 gallons per day.
Assuming the capacity of the lake to be 16,000,000 gallons per
day, and the rate of consumption for domestic use, manufacturing
and all other purposes, at 63 gallons per inhabitant, the lake can
supply a population of 254,000 ; and, at the present rate of
increase, Boston will attain that population in 14 years. If Rox
bury should be furnished from our works, and the present rate of
increase in her population continue, the limit of our water supply
would be reached in a Kttle less than 5 years.
Under these ch-cumstances and conditions we are very positive
in the opinion, that if any material increase to our present stock of
water is needed, we must seek an additional source and convey it
to the city by an entirely independent conduit.
The Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company, we are informed, supply
a population in Eoxbury of about 5,000, besides the breweries and
manufactories, — and a liberal estimate of the capacity of their
pond as now used, is about 400,000 gallons per day ; but as the
pipes laid by the Company are inadequate in strength to bear the
Cochituate pressure, we have, in making the estimate for the dis-
tribution of water in Roxbmy, disregarded this supply and the
present means of distributing it.
The estimated cost of a suitable Reservoir and of distributing
the Cochituate water in all that portien of Roxbmy (excepting
the marsh and flats of the Back Bay north of Ward Street and
20 CITY DOCUMENT. NO. 3.
west of the Providence Eailroad), lying north of a line drawn
from the junction of Grove Hall Avenue and Moreland Street,
crossing Warren Street at Clifford ; Walnut Street at Otis ; through
Otis to Shawmut Avenue ; from Shawmut Avenue through Marcella
and Highland Streets to Center Street ; through Center and Lowell
Streets to Washington Street, and through Washington Street to
the line between Roxbury and Brookline, is $650,000.
Where from, and in what manner, to obtain a further supply of
water, is a problem not easy to solve. It can only be solved by
extensive surveys and skilful engineering, requiring months to
execute ; and what might be the result is at this present time so
obscure, that the Board are disinclined to make even a suggestion
in regard to it.
So far as the supply of water may affect your decision as to the
feasibility of annexing Roxbury to Boston, vve presume that the
foregoing facts and estimates will not add to any reasons you may
have for favoring it.
JOHN H. THORNDHIE,
Prest. CocJiituate Water Board,
Hon. William Gray,
Chairman of the Commissioners, on the part of the City of Boston, upon
the subject of annexing Boxbury to Boston.
WAY IB <905