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Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


To the Honorable the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Common

wealth of Massachusetts.

The Board of Harbor and Land Commissioners, in accordance with the provisions of law, respectfully submits its Annual Report for the year 1890.


The work of filling and improving the tide-water lands of the Commonwealth at South Boston has been continued without material change in the plan or methods of operation.

The 100-acre lot, all of which is inclosed and filled, and on a portion of which the streets have been graded with gravel, is in substantially the same condition as at the date of the last report The sewers and other improvements are in good order. There have been sold from this lot the past year 21,421.5 square feet of land, lying between Congress and Fargo streets, for $10,710.75. Several parcels on the northerly or water front, 28,500 square feet in all, have been leased on such terms as not to interfere with any permanent disposition of the territory which it may be desirable to make hereafter. The license which was given to the city of Boston two years ago for the temporary use of about 15 acres of this lot for a play ground, has been extended, on the same conditions, to cover the year ending December 31, 1891.

Progress of the Work. The work of the last year has been mainly expended on the 75-acre lot, which adjoins the 100-acre lot on the east. This lot had been inclosed the previous year on its northerly and easterly sides by a bulkhead. The sea-wall on the side toward the reserved channel, which was in process of building at the date of the last report, under a contract with Mr. Charles H. Edwards, was completed and the work accepted early in July last. This wall, 1,828 feet in finished length, now extends easterly to a point about 80 feet beyond the line of Congress Street as located across the reserved channel ; and completes the inclosure of the 75-acre lot, with the exception of temporary gaps left in the easterly line of bulkhead for the passage of dumpSCOWS. The sea-wall will serve also as an abutment for the bridge by which Congress Street will cross the reserved channel.

Upon the completion of the sea-wall in July, the Eastern Dredging Company deposited along its front about 6,000 cubic yards of clay dredged at East Boston, at a cost of 22 cents per yard. This was done to cover and strengthen the foundation of the wall, and to protect the timber in the foundation from the attacks of worms. In August, the New England Dredging Company was employed to dredge out a trench in the rear of the sea-wall, at a distance of about 40 feet so as not to disturb the stone ballast, and to place the material taken from the trench against the back of the wall. This method of filling immediately behind the wall was adopted as likely to cause the least outward pressure against the wall. The trench was afterwards re-filled by dumping from scows other material dredged from the reserved channel.

A contract, the terms of which were stated in the last report, was made with the New England Dredging Company in April, 1889, to receive, elevate and deposit on the 75-acre lot all suitable material which should be offered by parties engaged in dredging in other parts of the harbor. There have been deposited under this contract the last year about 75,000 cubic yards of such material, equivalent

to nearly five acres of filled land, and making, with the work of the previous year, about 18 acres filled under this contract to date. All of this material has been deposited on or near the line of Congress Street extended to the reserved channel. Less than the usual quantity has been offered and handled under this contract the last year, owing to the comparatively small amount of miscellaneous dredging which has been done in the harbor, either by the general government or by private parties, excepting that done by parties who were using the material for filling their own lands. The funds provided for government work by the river and harbor act of 1888 had been exhausted, and the act of 1890 was passed too late in the year for operations to begin the past season.

A larger supply of such material is expected the present year.

In addition to the filling under the above contract, nearly 14,000 cart-loads of ashes and other refuse have been deposited on the 75-acre lot by the department of sanitary police of the city of Boston, and over 20,000 cubic yards of earth and waste material, from excavations for buildings and the like, by various other parties. The cost of the former material has been reduced the past year from 12. to 6 cents per load; and the latter is supplied without any cost except the wages of a man to superintend the dumping

Reserved Channel. In 1889, a channel 60 feet wide and 12 feet deep at mean low water was dredged from the head of the reserved channel to Lawley's yacht yard, and thence 65 feet wide and 8 feet deep to the main ship channel, - as more fully described in the last report. This channel was found to be too narrow for safe and convenient use. In September last, a contract was made with the New England Dredging Company, the lowest bidder, to widen both sections of the channel 50 feet, so that they should have a width of 110 and 115 feet respectively, with the same depths as before. The material taken from the channel has been used for filling the 75-acre lot. The work of widening will be finished the present month. The channel will then probably answer the needs of navigation for some years to come, or until the whole improvement is further advanced.

* See Appendix, C.

Congress Street. In view of the importance of Congress Street, as being the most direct and convenient public avenue by which access is had to the Commonwealth's land, and, when finished, by far the shortest and best thoroughfare for business and travel between the centre of the city and South Boston, much of the work of the last year has been directed to its early completion.

Congress Street extends across the territory of the Commonwealth from B Street easterly to the reserved channel, a distance of more than half a mile, with a width of 75 feet. All the material required to complete the filling of the land under and adjacent to the street, to the line of the sea-wall on the reserved channel, is now in place; and that portion of the street which is not already graded, will be ready for the gravel the coming spring. It is expected that the graveling will be finished during the next working season.

The city of Boston is just now making a contract for the further extension of L Street towards the line of the reserved channel on the South Boston side. The city engineer is considering the plans for a bridge across the channel to connect this street with Congress Street; and the mayor has been empowered by the city council to apply to the legislature at its present session for authority to raise the funds for its construction. All these facts point to the conclusion that the opening of this important avenue across the property of the Commonwealth will not be long delayed. In the meantime, some effectual remedy must and doubtless will be found for the dangerous and unwarranted obstruction of Congress Street by the seven freight tracks of the New York and New England Railroad Company which now cross it at grade.

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