Monday, May 12, 2008

Paul Dudley's Markers

Four, Five and Six Mile Markers, 2008

In 1735, Judge Paul Dudley set out to mark the miles along the main roads that lead from Boston to the surrounding towns. The top marker, fixing mile five from the old Town House in Boston, sits at the Soldier's Monument at Centre and Eliot streets, and is the one I know from my childhood. The lower marker, mile six, gave me some trouble. When I learned that it was placed near Allandale street, I made an effort to find it whenever I drove by. After many unsuccessful attempts to locate it, I gave up and drove to the Arboretum and walked up to the site. Sure enough, there was the marker, set in the wall directly opposite Allandale street. I've looked for the marker at mile four, near Hyde Square, but I haven't been able to find it. I read somewhere that it was lost, but I can't confirm it.

These surviving markers were in place when British soldiers stopped in for drinks at the Peacock Tavern at Centre and Allandale streets. They were there for the Revolutionary War, and for Samuel Adams and John Hancock to see when they lived nearby. Carriages, stage coaches, hourlies, horse streetcars and the first electric streetcars all passed by in their time. Pretty cool if you think about it.

Addendum: With the help of a commenter, I was able to find the 4 mile marker. No wonder I missed it last time - it's right in the front wall of a store front at ground level. I would have walked by there for years without seeing it. It sits opposite Creighton street.

JP Historical Society article.

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