By jove, it looks as good as the day it was carved!

On the Newton/Boston line

Inspecting Marker No. 19 at the Newton line in Brighton.

One of our oldest and least known laws is the requirement for municipal officials to "perambulate the bounds," or walk their borders once every five years to make sure nobody's moved the boundary markers.

The City of Boston Archives has posted a set of photos of Boston officials braving harsh conditions in 1896 (imagine: they had lots of snow back then) to make sure nobody dastardly in Newton or Hyde Park or any of the other places surrounding Boston had tried to expand their borders at the city's expense. Also included: Maps of where all the markers were (and probably still are).

Marker 19. Also note the Faneuil train station, which was destroyed to make way for the turnpike.Marker 19. Also note the Faneuil train station, which was destroyed to make way for the turnpike.

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    Comments

    Very cool!

    I love your posts from the city archives. Thanks, Adam!

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    Voting is closed. 12

    I second that! These unique

    By anon on

    I second that! These unique historical snippets are a nice reprieve.

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    Also note Union Market

    By on

    Also note Union Market Station on the abandoned Watertown Branch of the Fitchburg Railroad, that branched off from the mainline near present-day Alewife (map) and which rejoined the mainline at Waltham (map). The right-of-way of the branch is still plainly visible in aerial views.

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    Thanks for this info

    Actually has the line been officially abandoned? Obviously the right-of-way is no longer usable, with big trees growing through the tracks near Fresh Pond. I know when they rebuilt the rotaries on Fresh Pond Parkway they spent a lot of effort with signage and track grading to allow the railway to remain. That wasn't that long ago.

    I also remember reading a while ago that they used to run a train back and forth every now and then just to keep the line legally open, and that at that time the tracks were so bad the small loco they used had derailed just doing that.

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    The ROW is essentially dead

    Portions are being converted to trail, which is fine, that can always technically be reconverted to transit. But there is at least one spot where a building had been placed across the ROW, rendering it not so useful. The same thing happened to the line branching off of the Needham line in West Roxbury that goes to Dedham Center. Most of the ROW is still intact with the exception of 3 houses that the MBTA allowed to be built. There were plans at one time to extend the Orange Line to Dedham via West Roxbury and this branch. Won't happen now, even if money and will were available. Same goes for the Watertown Red Line branch.

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    Buildings encroaching on Watertown railroad right-of-way

    From School Street west to Irving Street, it looks like at least two buildings (industrial?) block the right-of-way:

    http://g.co/maps/2fzy8

    From School Street east to Arlington Street, the right-of-way has already been converted to a paved trail, with a spur added to reach the Arsenal Mall. East of Grove Street, the tracks are still present (though in terrible shape). This is the section where the trail will eventually extend towards Cambridge.

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    #18

    #18 must be back behind the ice rink along Nonantum Road. Worth an exploration -- when the weather is better.

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    Photo walk

    My girlfriend and I have been talking about getting out my 4x5 camera and going on a ramble to photograph any remaining monuments we can find when the weather warms up a bit. If we're feeling particularly enterprising, we'll make up some glass plates for negatives so we can do it up right.

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    A defunct one!

    By on

    Dale and Windham streets in Roslindale - marks the boundary between the city of Boston and the town of Hyde Park, whose 100th annexation anniversary seems to have gone completely unremarked.

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    Boundary Stones

    By on

    There's still one on River St between Rector Rd & Caton St

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    Perambulation

    "Walking the bounds" is an old custom deriving from Elizabethan England. All cities and towns did this, not just Boston. It was - maybe still is - the law in MA and NH:

    http://www.nhlgc.org/publications/item_detail.asp?...

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/1496/hist...

    I remember hearing how neighboring towns would pick a day and the selectmen would meet and walk together along their common borders. I believe Bedford and Burlington were still doing this a couple of decades ago.

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    Still on the books here

    By on

    Chapt. 42, sec. 2 of the Mass. General Laws (link up yonder in the original post).

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    When did they stop perambulating?

    Or have they?

    It is still the state law, but I've rarely heard of town or city officials actually walking the bounds unless there is some town bylaw that says that they must.

    In this day and age, it could become a civic event - although it would take several days in Boston.

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    Ah, my favorite stalker

    You never disappoint, either!

    Now, you better run along and catch that ropey thing hanging off of your rear end before it gets away! Hurry! Bite it before it bites you!

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    Faneuil

    Such a bummer that the Faneuil stop and Faneuil neighborhood aren't called such anymore. That family deserves more credit. Too bad Peter's sisters ended up loyalists...

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    Faneuil

    The intersection of Arlington and Faneuil Street is still known as Faneuil Square. Not so much, the surrounding area being called Faneuil, although I heard it used occasionally, years ago.

    Marker 19, shown in the photo, seems like it is along my regular dog-walk route, so I may sniff it out.

    The street where I live is within the map, but didn't exist at the time.

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    I still call it that...

    ..and I'm not even from the area.

    While shopping for houses about 10 years ago at least one well-rooted real estate agent referred to the area as Faneuil while showing houses.

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    Why on earth didn't they

    By on

    Why on earth didn't they undertake this in the summer? Is part of the requirement that it be done at the beginning of the year?

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    Manly Men of the Markers

    Actually, getting around in the brush and scrub and swamps is far easier in the winter. Marshes are frozen (see markers 1-9 in the photoset), swamps are frozen or dry, and you don't have to hunt through abundant vegetation while being bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria or yellow fever to find your marker!

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    Google Map of all the markers

    Just made up a map to make it a little easier to figure out the locations. If anyone has any fixes or better ideas about where they go, feel free to fix them!

    Map!

    ...I get altogether too excited about this sort of thing/have way too much time on my hands.

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    Awesome

    By on

    The bounds perambulator in the family doffs her hat to you.

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    Marker 17 is out of position

    Perhaps someone (maybe even me?) accidentally picked it up while editing, and dropped it around Melrose or Malden.

    Do Google Maps have any sort of source control or version history, like Google Docs do?

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    That may have been me

    It kept glitching while I was editing it on my phone this morning, that might've been it.

    There's no history as far as I can tell, I'll have to drop a suggestion in google's box.

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