Table of Contents

The Mystic River

 A Natural and Human History and Recreation Guide

Richard H. Beinecke



Table of Contents

Introduction and Description

The Focus of This Book

How It Started

Areas Covered

The River and the Watershed

Habitat Description

Part I: Shared History


Geologic History

Native Americans and Their Land


Battle of Chelsea Creek

Paul Revere and April 18-19, 1775


Putnam’s Fortress

The Battle of Bunker Hill and Other Revolutionary Activities

Middlesex Canal

The Route

Canal Construction

The Boats

Canal Goods

Canal Recreation

The End

Where to See It on the Mystic Lakes and River

The Boston and Lowell Railroad


Declining Fortunes


Part II: Paddler’s and Boating Guide


Paddling Overview and Put-ins

Four Boating Trips

The Upper Mystic Lake Dam Area

The Upper and Lower Mystic Lakes

The Upper Mystic Lake Dam

The Water Works

Rebuilding the Dam

Boat and Yacht Clubs on the Mystic Lakes

Tufts Sailing

Racing Canoes


The Medford Boat Club

The Winchester Boat Club

The Shuh-shuh-gah Canoe Club

Ice Boating and Skating


Trip I: Upper Mystic Lake

The Aberjona River




Interstate 93

Route 3 Connector


Trip II: Upper Mystic Lake Dam to Grandfather’s House and the Condon Band Shell



Cyrus Dallin



Mill Brook

Tide Mills

Boston Mills

Mystic River Mills

Slade’s Spice Mill at Chelsea

Arlington Tide Mills

Woods’s Tide Mill

Alewife Brook to Fresh Pond

Alewife Brook Station and the Route 2 Junction


Blair Pond

Spy Pond

The Ice Industry

The MPC, MDC, and MDCR

Mystic Valley Parkway

Lydia Maria Francis Child and Grandfather’s House

Slaves and the Abolitionists

Prince Hall

George Luther Stearns

West Medford

Tufts University


Trip III: Medford to the Earhart Dam and the Malden River


Boat and Yacht Clubs on the Mystic River


Early History

18th and 19th Centuries

Medford Race Tracks

Gypsy Moths

Middlesex Fells

Amelia Earhart

Cradock Bridge

Cradock Locks

Medford Industry and Business


Salt Hay

Ship Building and Shipping

Two Years Before the Mast

Brick Making

Medford Rum

Medford Crackers

Other Interesting Businesses and Business Figures

Jingle Bells

The Mystic River

Impact of I-93 and the New Malls

The Amelia Earhart Dam



The Malden River

Malden River Industry


Other Companies

Telecom City

River’s Edge

River Quality



The Tufts Boathouse

Gentle Giant Rowing Club

Village Landing, General Electric, and RiverGreen


Trip IV: Somerville Up River to the Earhart Dam and/or then Downstream to Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor



Early History

Town of Everett and the 1800s

Post Civil War Industry and Growth

East Side


The Mystic Power Station

Everett Marine Terminal and LNG Facility




Early History

Early Industries

Joseph Barell and McLean Asylum

Ursuline Convent


The Town of Somerville


The City of Somerville




Assembly Square Mall

Draw 7 Park



The Land Above the Malden Bridge



Early History

The Revolution and Rebuilding

1800s Waterfront Land Making

Late 1800s

The Mystic River Waterfront Industry

1960s to Present


Early History

Ferries and Bridges

1800s Development

Related East Boston Development

The Chelsea Naval Hospital and Marine Hospital

The Clay Pit

Chelsea Ship Building

East Boston Shipyards

Winnisimmet Shipyard and Marine Railway


The Chelsea Clock Company

The Boston Rubber Company

Forbes Lithograph and Forbes Park

Fires and Flood

The 1900s

The Oil Industry and Chelsea Creek

The Eastern Minerals Salt Dock and PORT

Chelsea Creek Lightship Depot


The Island End River

Island End Parks

Coal Tar Processing Facility

The Tobin Bridge


Part III: Other Recreation

Parks, Hiking, Biking


Mystic Lakes

Mystic Lakes to Route 16

Route 16 and Points West

Route 16 and Points East

The Mystic River Watershed Urban Trail Map

The Menotomy Minuteman Historical Trail

Assembly Square and the Mystic Waterfront Somerville Self Guided Walking Tour

Other Somerville and Charlestown Walking Tours

The Brooks Estate

Menotomy Rocks Park


Routes and Organizations

Watershed Bike Path Development

Bike to the Sea

Birds, Fish, and Other Nature

Fish and Fishing

Fishing Locations

The Mystic Lakes

The Mystic River

The Malden River

Other Watershed Fishing Areas

Fish Reported in the Mystic River Basin and Drainage Area

Other Watershed Fishing Areas


Birding Locations

Belle Isle Marsh

Other Good Birding Sites in the Watershed

William Brewster’s Legacy

Mystic River Watershed Bird List

Other Wildlife

River Events

Movies, You Tube, and Art

A Civil Action

Mystic River

The Town


You Tube Videos

Federal Art Project Murals

Mystic River and Alewife Murals


Part IV

The Rivers’ Environmental Problems and Cleanup

Mystic River Water Quality Issues


Stormwater and Public Health

Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)

Sanitary Sewer Overflows: What You Can Do

Invasive Plants

Japanese Knotweed

Water Chestnut

Purple Loosestrife

The Work Ahead: Restoring the Mystic


The Future



Hard Copy and On-Line Sources

Maps ** add if added to book

Photos, Audio-Visual ** add if added to book

Historical Associations

Other Watershed Environmental and Recreation Resources

Interviews, Manuscript Reviewers, and Other Assistance



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