Conversations of the Converse Site

By Hue Holley

Courtesy Photo

During and after grammar school, I grew up on Avon Street next to Converse ball field.  Avon Street is pictured to the left of the ball field.  From our backyard there was a slope of a foot and a half to reach the lower level of the ball field.  Many a pickup baseball game was played there with Albert and Nick DellArchiprete, my brother Jim, and others.

On the right side of the picture is a square section where water would be sprayed into the air into a pool and presumably circulated back to the factory.  There was an outflow from that pool onto a section of the field where a black gel like substance collected and was confined by dirt berms. During dry weather you could walk across this substance, but if had rained and the surface was still damp, walking across it would invariably find you sinking up to your waist in thick, congealed gunk.  Shoes and clothing would have to be discarded by not happy mothers, including mine.

Many Converse workers ate lunch on the edges off the ball field, and discard their soft drink bottles before going back to work.  My friends and I collected these bottles in a cart and would take them a local variety store for the two send deposit. It worked out well for a while until the store owner would only refund the deposits in merchandise.

In the spring time, the bottom left of the field would flood and become a breeding pool for Eastern Toads. Another neighborhood friend, Hank Volpe, the nephew of the Governor, delighted in startling my mother by having a frog or two peeping/ leaping out of his shirt pocket.

At the bottom right is a billboard, and to the right of that was an extensive marsh area with a meandering creek made its way to the Malden River (Little Creek).  There were minnow traps placed there by a few locals.  Walking in the marshy area was always an adventure.


MALDEN HISTORY: Remember when?

Courtesy Photo


By Peter Levine

Posted Jan. 25, 2016 at 2:10 PM


Each week, we intend to bring you a rare and vintage glimpse into Malden’s glorious past. Rarely seen photograph’s and images that we hope you will enjoy, and share with friends.

This week’s photo — before Mammoth Mart! Before Star Market! Before the Stadium Cafe! Before even Donut Villa, there was nothing. Here is the layout: top of the photo is the Malden River — in those days the only known place on earth with more chemicals and contaminates than Dow Chemical. Converse Rubber Factory on Pearl Street is located in front of the river where, I swear, more sneakers went out the back windows than the back loading docks. In front of Converse was where Edgeworth gathered on the 4th of July and many other special celebratory occasions. It may have been called Converse Field, I will ask a few Edgeworth old timers like Hank Pitts, Joe Teta, or Phil Longo if they remember. It was also home to a baseball diamond that many in Edgeworth remember fondly to this very day. The ball field is the current home to John Brewer’s Tavern, Donut Villa and the Dollar Store, amongst others. via @maldenobserver

Please share your stories!  There is a comment attached to this article at the Malden Observer  by Bill Nutile.  Now, Bill lives in Chestertown, MD (right on the Chesapeake Bay).

From Bill Nutile: “…my friends and I would walk over the railroad tracks from Edgeworth, (Pearl Street and Malden Street area) to go swimming in the Malden River…”

Stay tuned for more stories to be shared on the river!


Click here to read the comments and share your stories



Finally, the Malden River Gets Friended…

By Rusty Russell

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For more than a century, a ribbon of shallow water has connected the Mystic River to downtown Malden.  That riparian finger, straightened by the demands of the heavy industry that once lined its shores – tanneries, rubber works, aircraft engine manufacturers, chemical plants, coal tar refiners – has long given rise to minor local humor.  Asked for directions to the Malden River, a city resident is heard to reply: “I didn’t even know Malden had a river – where did it go?”

But this sad comedy is itself becoming history, now that the Friends of the Malden River is under full sail.  This volunteer organization, which turns three this fall, is helping to put the Malden River back onto the map – geographic and political.  The Friends came into being as a result of pent-up local interest in preserving, protecting and enjoying the two-mile long portion of the river that hasn’t been culverted.  Propelled and steered by MyRWA, with help from a Tufts graduate-student Practicum in spring 2013, FoMR has become a full-fledged citizens advocacy group that’s developed a full complement of strategies designed to ensure that the Malden River is not forgotten again.

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And that’s great news.  The tri-city area surrounding the Malden – which had meandered between Medford and Everett before being dredged into an industrial canal more than a hundred years ago – is facing a barrage of changes that are bound to affect both the ecological health of the river and its availability as a public recreational and conservation resource.  Particularly critical is new development along its banks, the construction of segments of a much-needed multi-use pathway that it is hoped eventually will embrace the entire riverbank, a proposed minor league baseball stadium at the river’s “headwaters” (that is, the point just south of downtown Malden where it emerges after more than two miles of underground travel starting at Ell Pond in Melrose), the prime, undeveloped former GE site in Everett, and – the gorilla in the room – the proposed Wynn casino, which is to be constructed just below the Amelia Earhart Dam, right around the corner from the mouth of the Malden.  The Wynn casino, once built (as most expect it to be), will have a profound and long-lasting impact on economic development in the area around the Malden River, particularly on the Everett side.

Enter the river’s new Friends.  FoMR, as it’s known acronymically, meets nearly every month, and has attracted dozens to its gatherings and events.  The most recent one, which drew nearly 50 local residents of all ages and filled the Maccario Room at the Malden Public Library, engaged in a close review of a draft Public Involvement Plan (a “PIP”) presenting ways in which Honeywell International, a former owner of a contaminated industrial parcel at 378 Commercial Street in Malden, plans to clean up the site, while protecting the public and its river.  The Friends also have met with key municipal and state officials from the three cities, and have participated in a public forum and training session coordinated by the nonprofit Toxics Action Center.  This training is helping to guide the Friends’ future initiatives.  Last spring, a second Tufts graduate student team researched two key questions: the extent to which river protection increases neighboring property values, and how to develop an initial methodology to study potential health risk posed by contaminated river sediments.   Six graduate and undergraduates from MIT also completed projects looking at aspects of the river.

The big challenge going forward is to maintain public awareness of and interest in the Malden River, while advancing central goals: engaging political actors at all levels, addressing stormwater runoff and leaking sewer pipes, holding off inconsistent development plans, and, perhaps most important, addressing the issue of the contaminated river bed.  Here, issues of risk and remediation will need focused attention over many years.

But beyond this lies something even more vital – developing a vision of the kind of resource the Malden River could be for the people who live in Everett, Malden and Medford – the ones who used to say “Malden has a river?  I had no idea.”


Greening Malden & Everett to Improve the Malden River

As part of the Urban Waters Malden River Partnership, MyRWA (Mystic River Watershed Association) is hosting two public meetings to gather community insight and input on where to implement green infrastructure, such as a rain garden. All are welcome to attend these meetings to learn more about the project and share their community knowledge!

Community Charrette: Greening Malden & Everett to Improve the River
Tuesday, August 18, 7:00 p.m.
Malden Senior Center auditorium, 7 Washington St, Malden, MA 02148

Community Charrette: Greening Medford to Improve the River
Wednesday, August 26, 6:00 p.m.
Andrews Middle School, 3000 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford, MA 02155

Collecting comments for the Final Public Involvement Plan: FoMR Meeting July 21

Please attend our final meeting before submitting our comments to Honeywell, Inc. and Kerry Tull, LSP.

We will meet at the Cambridge Health Alliance, 195 Canal Street, Malden in the Community Conference Room.  The meeting date is Tuesday, July 21 at 6:30 – 8:00PM.   Look for the signs after entering the main entrance!  Parking is a breeze!  We will offer light refreshments.

We will be finalizing our comments to be submitted to Honeywell, Inc. and Kerry Tull.

Please contact to receive a draft of our comments based on the PIP presented to the Malden Public at the library on June 4, 2015.

The draft PIP is available on the Department of Environmental Protection website:

Please contact us if you have any comments that you would like to submit, yet cannot attend the July 21 meeting.  The comment submission deadline is July 31, 2015.