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acter. And yet upon Beacon street eight dollars a foot will hold better than five dollars will on Boylston street, and I know of but little reason for it except valuation.
Q. We understand you to say, that this property all would be less valuable if this class of people should be moved out of town?
A. I did express that opinion.
Q. And that you infer that it was more valuable on account of these open spaces?
A. I do.
Q. Then it would be less valuable, if it should be filled with houses?
A. Yes, sir, for my purposes.
Q. Do you mean to say that you prefer houses looking out on the railroad track?
A. The point that I spoke of on Boylston street, opposite the Public Garden, is not opposite the freight houses, but is opposite the passenger station, which is a sightly building.
Q. (By Mr. PUTNAM.) Whether the value of the lands on St. James's Park, which have been built up and occupied lately, does not depend very largely on its having that broad space near it occupied by the Providence Railroad?
A. I think, sir, these houses would not be worth much without that; although I can say that the railroad does injure the property to the extent of about fifty cents a foot on that street.
Q. Is the advantage of having this open space greater than the injury?
A. Yes, sir. If on the small yards attached to these estates they were to put up edifices, it would decrease the value of the land another half dollar a foot, certainly.
Q. (By Mr. DERBY.) I will ask you, sir, in reference to the value of property on Charles street. You spoke of the property down by Cambridge street and Craigie's bridge being worth one dollar and fifty cents per foot?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Just as you come on to Charles street, what is the value of property there?
A. Well, sir, along on Charles street, for a hundred feet deep, property is worth about three dollars a foot. Where it is so deep that the rear lot cannot be used except in connection with the flat, I suppose the rear land is worth about half as much; perhaps one dollar and fifty cents or one dollar and seventyfive; but as soon as you reach the district where manufacturing begins, land in the vicinity of the jail, and Mason & Hamlin's organ factory, and the Coolidge building, the prices cannot be maintained. The people who live here between Cambridge street and Beacon street maintain a certain style of house and neighborhood, which enables them to maintain a price of three dollars a foot.
Q. The Coolidge building is one used for manufacturing purposes?
A. Yes, sir. And although on the corner of a broad street, we cannot make as much of a price hold as we can on this side, which is not a corner.
Q. Then, as you come down towards Brimmer street, how is the price there?
A. I think the price there is from two dollars and fifty cents per foot to three dollars on the river there, and half a dollar higher on the corners; and about half a dollar less on the other side, which was cut off from the river.
Q. They get occasional apertures on these streets where they can look out on to this open sheet of water?
A. A man in the centre of a block wouldn't see much; those living at the corners might.
Q. Then, as you come to Beacon street, I would call attention to this fact, this land is occupied very much, isn't it, by stables? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is the value of that land?
A. Well, sir, the value of that land is maintained, I think there much better than one would suppose. These people who live in these high cost houses like to have a stable near them, and the prices, I think, are fully equal to other prices in the vicinity; that is, wherever they choose to locate. There is a place near Lime street, where they have not seen fit to go; there it would not range as much as two dollars.
Q. I will ask you, sir, how far the fact that the commonwealth had a dam already made before the filling in of lands which it has sold heretofore has had an effect upon the profit of those lands?
A. It would save them the expense of a sea-wall, certainly; and that must be a very important item. And they had a shallow basin; that is another important item.
Q. And has the proximity to Beacon street had an influence also upon the price for which the lands have been sold?
A. The character and style of Beacon street have carried the commonwealth lands at a very large advance over the rate that has been obtained by the Boston Water Power Company in this
Q. And independently of the style and character of Beacon street, has not the fact of having this area ready to be filled up and a dam already built, and being no charge to them, added materially to the profit to be gained to them?
A. Of course it has. If the State has one-third of the area, of course that is one-third of the value of these lots.
Q. And to estimate and compare this area with that, what would be a final conclusion? You have made some comparison between the Mill Pond and this; what would be the comparison between the two?
A. I don't know that I can express myself any better than by saying that if you would give me these flats, I would not agree to fill them without a good strong guaranty of a million dollars. I would not to-day take them as a gift, and be obliged to fill them.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) Can you show where the old original area of that opening of the basin was before they began to fill at all?
A. [Explained by reference to map.]
Q. The question I want to ask you is, whether you have any idea of the comparative amount of filling which has already been done here, and occupied, or more or less occupied ?
A. Well, sir, I should say, including the South Bay, and calling that all the filled land which was outside of the line of high water before the Mill-dam was built, that this area built here might equal one-third of the other, the area colored in yellow. Q. Then since 1837 there has been found necessary to fill, (and a large proportion of it is occupied), three times as much area as is represented here [indicating upon map]?
A. Twice as much.
Q. Three times as much has been filled since 1837?
A. The idea I tried to convey was, that, let that represent one-third, including the South Bay, which is not occupied
Q. My question is, how much has been filled?
A. That would reduce my idea. Well, no material difference, because South Bay is partly filled up.
Q. About three times as much has been filled?
A. My outside figure included South Bay; and that an area twice as much as that has been filled. [Explained in connection with the map.]
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) I understood you, I think, to say, that if this were filled out around here, it would materially reduce the value of the property around in this territory?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Suppose it were filled up, and an esplanade built out there?
A. I think it would improve it; just as much as for instance the Public Garden and the Common give a greater value than the Charles River in its present condition. My answer
ought to be qualified, if the laying out of a park would tend to render the drainage of the district imperfect; of course no man will live where he cannot have a house that can be drained. Q. (By Mr. PUTNAM.) Mr. Hills, did you put any limit to this proposed park in your answer to Mr. Kimball?
A. My idea was, that an open area, made beautiful either by nature or by art, will enhance the value of property surrounding it.
Q. But suppose an open area of filled land, made beautiful by art, were interposed between these houses and this water, would not the width of that area be a material element to be considered?
A. Yes, sir; the very inuch comes in there very strongly. For instance, if a man lives opposite to Union Park, or any other beautiful park, the value of his property is very much enhanced by that reservation. Let him be opposite the Public Garden, and the value of his property is enhanced twenty-five or twenty-six per cent; and if on the Common, forty-eight per cent; and so it is correspondingly increased.
Q. But suppose it should be proposed to put in an esplanade there, should you think it would be an advantage to the inhabitants of Beacon street?
A. It would depend upon how much they beautified it.
Q. When you answered Mr. Kimball in regard to having an esplanade there, did you mean that this esplanade should be something comparatively narrow?
A. I had simply in mind this, sir, that this real estate has a value by reason of its distant outlook. I do not consider that, if the drainage was taken care of, if the water was simply converted into land for ornamental purposes, it would deteriorate the value; on the contrary, I think it would improve it.