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City Document. — iVb. 3. 





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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. 




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. 


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. 


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 


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 


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 



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 


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. 


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 


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 


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 





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. 




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. 


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 
















The area of the City of 

New York is 14,502 acres. 

" ", Philadelphia is 82,560 « 

" " London is 74,070 " 

The population 


Boston to the 

square acre is 

5 . . . 

. 59 

(t It 


. 13 

It ti 

New York 

. 56 

It It 

Philadelphia . 

. 7 

It it 


. 40 

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 

Personal Estate 

$201,628,900 00 
170,263,875 00 

Total . . . . . . 

$371,892,775 00 

In 1855 Real Estate was $136,357,300 
Personal Estate 105,580,900 


$241,938,200 00 

Increase in ten years . . . 

$129,954,575 00 

63y8^0jy per cent. 


The Assessors' valuation in Roxbury, in 1865, was : 
Real Estate . . . $16,574,900 00 

Personal Estate 
Total . . 

In 1855, Real Estate . 

Personal Estate 

Total . 

Increase in ten years . 
SlyVa per cent. 

7,057,000 00 

$10,714,800 00 
4,862,400 00 

$23,631,900 00 

$15,577,200 00 
$8,054,700 00 

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. 



The debt of Boston, Dec. 31, 1866, was 

$13,020,375 91 

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 

$13,020,375 91 
3,368,526 00 

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. 


. 1860. 




















West Roxbury 



Total (except Boston) 





















































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 


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 


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 " 


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 
municipal care. 

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 


The estimated value of Boston Public School Houses 

is $3,000,000 

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-. 
Roxbury ISy^o- 
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 


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- 


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. 




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. " 



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 city. 

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 


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. 

Very respectfully, 


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 










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