Sullivan Square: Part 2 of 3 Reply

Sullivan Square in the late 19th century with a fountain in the middle

While we hear of the Middlesex Canal today primarily for its value in transporting freight, the canal was also used for pleasure trips. An amusement area was even built on Horn Pond, Woburn, to cater to tourists on the canal.

By facilitating the transport of the materials needed to build a railroad, the canal helped put itself out of business. The Boston and Lowell Railroad, completed in 1835, captured much of the freight business, and the canal ceased operation by 1853. The Boston and Lowell and the Fitchburg Railroads, the earliest railroads to pass through Somerville, did not come through this area of the city, but in 1842 the Boston and Maine Railroad opened a station near Sullivan Square. This led to the construction of a residential enclave for commuters to Boston. New streets were laid out, such as Mt. Vernon Street and Mt. Pleasant Street, and small lots were plotted out along them.

Sullivan Square in 1885. The location of the current Sullivan Square “T” station is shown on this map.

The present T station is located on the old Boston and Maine corridor, but the Sullivan Square green and the small residential blocks to the east of the railroad disappeared in the twentieth century as the result of changes in transportation networks.

Next: Sullivan Square: Part 3 of 3

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