Page images

cost previous to the war. That is the cost of simply filling the land. What is to be the cost on the other side of the dam? You cannot do the work, sir, at the prices previous to the war. You know labor has advanced from twenty-five to fifty per cent. You must add at least, on any fair computation, twenty-five per cent. There were the Boston and Albany Railroad and the Brookline Railroad coming in conveniently to supply the gravel for the filling on the other side; but the former tracks are gone, and the earth must be carried further. It must be carried across the Western avenue and across the Boston and Albany Railroad, or else you must resort to the Charles River, and bring up the clay and mud and hard pan for the purpose of filling, and after you have done that, you will have an area filled with inferior material, and less valuable in consequence of the character of the filling. But at all events, in regard to the expense, you must consider that the expense will be increased at least twenty-five per cent in consequence of the change in prices.

Then you are going into deeper water. You are not going into an area bare at low water, with the exception of some flats near the Cambridge side. From Cambridge bridge to Brimmer street, and up to Berkeley and Clarendon streets, until you reach the end of the present line of buildings, you find no flats that are bare at low water within eleven hundred feet of the dam. The average must be twelve hundred feet. If you measure on the bridge, the distance is thirteen hundred feet. But there is no space bare along the dam until you approach Exeter street, where for two squares the flats show themselves at low water. When gentlemen talk about flats, I wish it to be understood that the flats lie on the Cambridge side. And the maps

that we have referred to during this hearing show that there is a channel varying in depth from twelve feet to twenty-two feet at high water, being depth enough to float a ship of the line, at high water, in the space which lies abreast of Brimmer

street and the west of Western avenue which for years has been built upon. And this is the area which you are to fill. And now, gentlemen, I put it to you that with this increased depth, in a locality which is covered at low water, as compared with the marshes and fens on the other side of the Mill-dam, you must add at least twenty-five per cent to the cost of filling. Taking the two items together will make at least fifty per cent to be added to the sixty-six cents per foot, the bare cost of filling on the other side, and you will have ninety-nine cents per foot, or, in round numbers, a dollar per foot for filling.

It was intimated that some estimate had been made — I think this came from Mr. Nathaniel Whiting yesterday a long time since, in 1857, which assumed that the gravel could be taken out of the Charles River for twenty-two and a half cents a yard, and put into this area. No such proposals were exhibited. Mr. Boschke does not intimate in his recent report that this can be done for twenty-two and a half cents. He refers to another proposition that was made to do it, and you have evidence of one man who put it at seventy-five to eighty-seven and a half cents per cubic yard. These are prices at which the work can be done to-day; and this work, instead of being done for twenty-two and a half cents, will cost somewhere from fifty cents to a dollar per yard. The filling here must cost fifty per cent more than upon the other side. For the bare filling you will have to expend, in round numbers, one dollar per superficial foot.

But, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, you have then but just begun. It is not the mere filling of this area that involves expense. Where is your sea-wall? What is your sea-wall to cost? Over in South Boston they are running one at the cost of two hundred dollars per running foot. And at Fort Point Channel, they are running a sea-wall at the cost of forty-five dollars per lineal foot. Now, what kind of sea-walls have you to build, when you enclose this area? One wall does not

suffice. You are going to enclose a large area. Various plans have been proposed. It has been proposed to have three hundred feet left for the river channel, and the channel was to be carried over on to the Cambridge side. It was then proposed to have five hundred feet left; and then, the possibility of its being widened out to one thousand feet was suggested. I will assume, for the purposes of this hearing, that the commit. tee will leave a thousand feet for the river, and will not enclose more than a thousand feet in width. We will take it, then, at a thousand feet. The present distance between Cambridge and the Western avenue is two thousand feet. That will give you an area of a thousand feet wide to fill from the cross-dam down to West Boston bridge, or six million feet to enclose. You must place the channel to the north and west of this line, and you must build a wall in the channel itself.

It has been suggested at various stages of this inquiry that it is proposed to make a compensation by deepening the channel. I will assume that you do deepen it at low water, and excavate other flats for a new channel through the hard clay, where, according to a statement made early in this case, the oyster-men sometimes would have to put in a crow-bar in order to set an oyster stake. You have to excavate from ten to twenty feet below the depth of the water at low tide, and along this channel you are to build a wall. What will that wall cost? I assume that it will cost a hundred dollars per running foot. Then measure the distance out from the cross-dam a thousand feet, and running down to the bridge, and you do not stop there, — there is still some distance that you must run on. You have brought the new channel down to the bridge; and then the channel has to be carried on the other side down to deep water, and it will not reach deep water until you come to Craigie's bridge; and thus you would have a wall of ten thousand feet in length. There is a million of dollars to be paid out for the building of that sea-wall, and this will be an addition of thirty cents a

foot to the expense of the filling. Then there is the excavation of the channel. Taking it at seventy-five cents a yard, which is what the commonwealth is paying in the lower harbor, and all the expenses which are to be encountered, and if you get off for another million dollars you will be very fortunate. Thus comes in thirty cents more, and you carry the expense up to a dollar and sixty cents per foot.

But that is not all. You are going to change the channel very much. You are going to straighten the channel. That is exactly what you do not want to do. The curve of the channel is precisely what we require. It winds around towards the Mill-dam, and then runs at right angles with the bridge, just as it ought to. The vessels approach the draw, and pass at right angles, just as they should. The straightening will be an injury. You will destroy the right angle. You construct a wall at a distance of a thousand feet from the Boston shore; and when you have reached Cambridge bridge, what have you to do at that point? Is there any draw there? The new draw must be placed a thousand feet from the Boston shore. Those that have been built are being widened to forty and fifty feet. One draw on which there has been some progress made is to be demolished. And if the draws are to be demolished, an expense of two hundred thousand dollars is to be incurred in

superseding draws. And if you seek to obviate this by bringing the line down to Mr. Coolidge's house at the corner of the Cambridge bridge, if you make an oblique line, you cut off a third of the area, and throw the expense on a less number of feet, and the result will be that under these circumstances the expense will be proportionately increased. I take the area, however, as it is presented to us for discussion; I take the channel as presented by the committee, and the result will be that two hundred thousand dollars will be added to the expense of this filling for the cost of altering the draws.

Then, gentlemen, having come to this point, what other expenses must you encounter? We have wharf rights from the Mill-dam down to Craigie's bridge. There are wharves, sir, with the right to go out to deep water, with the right to lay vessels outside of the line. They are authorized, sir, to come to the commissioner's line. They are allowed to exercise jurisdiction beyond the commissioner's line, for the purpose of commerce. There are wharves, at every estate, and running from one estate to the other. Here are landing places for lumber materials from Maine, the property is well occupied ; at one place stone is landed, at another large quantities of slate are landed, and other building materials. Pass on, if you please, to Mr. Braman's, and there you have boating clubs, contributing to the health of the young men of the city, and strengthening their nerves; and this arm of the sea has become a great pleasure-ground for the young men of Cambridge. The shore from the Mill-dam down to Craigie's bridge is fringed with water rights, and the right to lay vessels there. How are you going to deal with them? How is the State dealing with them in the South Bay? Look at these plans of the water rights there, and you will find in front of Seth Adams's wharf, and other wharves, the commissioners have left a channel, and are making an island. In filling up the South Bay, they have respected the shore owner's rights. And at this very moment, sir (I have it from one of the commissioners), they are endeavoring to close the new channel by the purchase of the water rights. It can be done, sir, by purchase only. And do you think these people owning rights on the channel of the Charles River, having the privilege of laying two or three vessels abreast at the end of their wharves, with the right, sir, to sail up to Watertown or down to Winthrop.- do you suppose that they are going to release the rights which they hold there without any compensation? Here is a direct right, under the very seal of the Commonwealth, on which they stand. And, sir, they have a protecting power outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

« PreviousContinue »