In May 1904, ten yards beyond a barbed wire fence in the East Billerica woods, James Marnell stumbled over a small mound of dirt, uncovering an ornate silver serving tray. “Sanborn’s treasure!” Marnell, a railroad worker, excitedly deduced. Townspeople knew Sanborn’s treasure to contain silverware, jewelry, and furs stolen the year before from Billerica’s plush…Read more Billerica, 1904: The Peddler’s Sons and Their Buried Treasure
Like today, the summer months of a century ago were no stranger to hot spells in the Greater Lowell area either. One particular hot spell, during the middle of July in 1910, was said to be 'hotter than the hobs of Hades', as it was reported by Oscar, a popular downtown Lowell personality who worked at…Read more Hot Spells of Long Ago – Lowell, Massachusetts, 1910
Is Massachusetts getting warmer? Wetter? There has been a lot of talk about global warming, climate change, its causes and its implications for our future. But, how has climate change affected Massachusetts? To really identify climate change, one needs a consistent set of data, taken reliably, continuously, and consistently at the same location over a…Read more Climate Change: Is Massachusetts getting warmer and wetter?
If you were to travel Bedford's North Road in, say, 1908, you would see, as you progress into the town's northern reaches, a road named Sweetwater Avenue. Sweetwater Avenue led to Dr. William Richardson Hayden's Sweetwater Hotel, built in 1897 near Fawn Lake, itself well-known for its 'restorative properties' that were said to cure many…Read more Bedford’s Fawn Lake – and its Sweetwater Hotel
High school entrance exams during the Civil War era were hard, really. For arithmetic, 14-year-olds in Lowell, Massachusetts were asked to calculate the diameter of a cannon ball weighing 250 pounds, if the diameter of a 128-pound ball was 8 inches. In grammar, they were asked for the plurals of Mr. Smith, Miss Smith, and…Read more Lowell High’s Entrance Exam in 1865 – Difficult Questions and High Expectations
It wasn't Cornhill Street, Cornhill Road, Cornhill Avenue, or even the Cornhill; instead, it was just Cornhill, and in its day, knowing this was just one more way that those in the know had to distinguish locals from those visiting Boston as tourists. In its history, Boston has had two roads called Cornhill. The first,…Read more Cornhill – Once Boston’s Literary Center, Today Replaced by Government Center
Genealogists spend a lot of time immersed in old records - especially really old ones, from decades and centuries past. These records yield valuable information in building family trees. And, as any genealogist will tell you, every tree ends at its treetop, with the names of its brick wall ancestors, those whose parentage is unknown and…Read more Forgotten Genealogy: A Letter Reveals Memories from Two Lifetimes Ago