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Quality service on the Mother Brook

A contractor for the state (I assume) has been busy in recent months dredging and re-lining the Mother Brook near where it connects with the Neponset. In the process, the company's cleared away a lot of brush and brambles and trees (oh my), exposing such things as the side of the old Morrell Builders Supply Co. building on Hyde Park Avenue (now the PMDI building). At least at Hyde Park Avenue, the work makes the brook seem a lot wider (you can also see they haven't yet taken out the three pipes that were diverting the brook for awhile):

But alas, it also means they took away the old "landing" at the PMDI building. See the big window on the left above? This is what used to be there:

On the plus side, you can once again see BWSC Stormwater Outfall No. 244 on the other side of Hyde Park Avenue:

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Comments

I worked in the factory that's in the far background of the second picture, across the railroad tracks. The brook came right along the side of the building, and during heavy rain, the building would always flood. There was also a drain from the factory, and liquids of the prettiest colors flowed out of it. I heard that the EPA or the state caught up with them during the '90s and fined them. Not to worry - they soon closed down.

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to walk the boundaries annually, or is that a local
urban myth? No Mumbles is an Island unto himself....

Another forgotten localism is the "Great Ditch" dug
around 1648 (they were busy, them whacky Puritans)
connecting the Charles in Dedham off Great Plain Ave.
and Cutler Park to just in back of WR High School/Cow
Island Pond.

And apropos of not much, a PDF illustrating Boston's
Island-hood:

http://www.masspaths.org/photos/dm5555/BostonIslan...

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If so, I think it is still required by state law that the Selectmen walk the corporate boundaries of their town. I don't think this is required in municipalities that are incorporated as cities (IE with a council or mayor). My sister-in-law's best friend is a selectman in a town north of Boston. Next time I see her I'll ask her if she had to do it (or if they sent the Town Administrator).

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I seem to remember a walking the borders req in
Boston, that established official island-hood due to
the Chuck-Neponset canal under the Dedham Mall.

Or am I having a Chess King Flash Back?

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A bottle of whiskey is involved - and it gets emptied along the way ...

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The Town of West Roxbury had an official perambulator - not the town council members. A few of the old markers are still around. (See the Home Page link above)

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This is at Dale Street and Windham Road in what most folks now consider Roslindale (since it's on the other side of the Amtrak/Readville line), but which obviously was once the gateway to Hyde Park. The other side says BO, not WR, which means it was put in sometime between 1873 (when West Roxbury was annexed to Boston) and 1912 (when Hyde Park was annexed to Boston). It's kind of amazing it's still standing; you'd think a plow would have taken it out long ago.

Some marker

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They recut some of them when WR was annexed, changing R for Roxbury to a B, so this one might have been a HP-WR marker at one time.

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Unless West Roxbury incorporated as a city, it probably never had a council. It did have a board of selectmen though.

If I recall correctly, the selectmen may appoint a proxy to perambulate (among other things).

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Made me look...

State law Chapter 42, Section 2, is still on the books. It sort of requires something kind of like that. Every five years, cities and town have to verify the location and state of boundary markers. They renew or repair as necessary, and then provide records of their perambulation to neighboring towns.

At least two selectmen or their designated (in writing) substitutes have to do the checking. Is the Boston analogue City Councilors? Maybe Tommy can come along on his mountain bike.

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Well, it doesn't mention who would do it in a city, but since selectmen are the executive branch in town government in Massachusetts, it would only make sense that that the mayors would do it if the municipality is a city.

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From British History Online's description of Bovey-Tracey (located in the hundred of Teignbridge and in the deanery of Moreton, lies about four miles from Chudleigh, and about five from Newton Abbot):

The town is governed by a bailiff and portreeve; the bailiff is elected annually at the lord's court, and the year after serving this office, he fills that of portreeve. It seems probable that the latter officer was originally called mayor: an ancient procession for perambulating the bounds of the parish or manor with a large garland of flowers, &c, similar to that at Bodmin in Cornwall, is still called the mayor's riding. This procession takes place on the Monday after the third of May, called Roodmas Day. The portreeve has, during his year of office, the profits of a piece of ground called Portreeve's park, for defraying the expenses of this procession, &c.

Also: Boston selectmen to perambulate the bounds with Roxbury selectmen in 1738.

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