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Boston and Worcester Rail Road Ledgers


Three ledgers binding the corporation’s retained copies of deeds and releases regarding their right of way, primarily through Boston, Roxbury (then a separate town), Brighton (a western part of Boston), Newton, Brookline and other locales. Dating mostly from the 1830’s, but with some as late as 1875, this archive contains around 1500 pages, most in holograph, but some partially printed, and with numerous hand-drawn plot plans. The contents are generally in very good condition, although the bindings show expected use. The rail bed that extended through Brookline and into Newton eventually became the Riverside branch of the MBTA, which goes underground near Fenway Park and into the city itself. The line that extends west to Worcester and beyond parallels the Massachusetts Turnpike part of the way, and is still in use for freight and commuter service. Assembling this property was a complex and expensive task, even though much of the route was then rural. This railroad opened what are now parts of the city or near suburbs to development and sped travel to the west, and to New York via connections with steamboats.


An Archive of Material Relating to Boynton’s Bicycle Railway
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An Archive of Material Relating to Boynton’s Bicycle Railway


1887-1895. This railway, tested experimentally on a short track at Coney Island, was based on a light, narrow-gauge design with tracks under and above the locomotive, closer in concept to a monorail than a traditional railroad. While only four feet wide, it was meant to pull carriages along at speeds of over 60 m.p.h. This group consists of the following: a receipt for stock (1887) with a diagram of the locomotive, noting that stock certificates were yet to be issued; two additional handwritten receipts signed by Boynton, the second with some news of the railway’s construction; a printed 1891 notice regarding stock; three engraved stock certificates, two of which have a cut of the locomotive pulling carriages, and a third showing what appears to be a single, self-propelled passenger car. Minor creasing and wear; excellent condition.