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Chelsea, MA (1873)

Chelsea History, 1873 — "Chelsea is a a beautiful and rapidly-increasing city in the northerly part of Suffolk County, inhabited by merchants and mechanics who do business, to a great extent, in Boston. The distance from State Street, being only about four miles, can be traversed by steam and horse cars, or ferry-boat, in from twenty to thirty minutes.

Chelsea is one of the most ancient settlements of the Commonwealth; lands having been taken up here as early as 1630, at which date it was known as 'Rumney Marsh,' and formed a part of Boston. It was incorporated Jan. 10, 1738, as a town, under its present name given it, probably, in honor of Chelsea, in Middlesex County, England.

Until the year 1848, the territory of this place comprised nearly all of the north portion of Suffolk. In that year North Chelsea was separated from it, and made a new town, the name of which was changed, in 1870, to Revere. This separation curtailed Chelsea of a large part of its territory, which embraces now about 1,000 acres of varied surface.

The Indians called the place Winnissimmet. In 1855 it contained 10,151 inhabitants; and in 1857 it had a population of over 12,000, and it was on April 13 of that year incorporated as a city.

Since that period, the place has continued to increase in population and in wealth. At the last census, the population was 18,547 ; the number of dwelling-houses, 3,265; and of legal voters, 4,842. The valuation is $16,707,343; and the rate of taxation, $1.80 per $100.

The boundaries of the city are Revere on the north, Chelsea Creek (dividing it from East Boston) on the south-east and south, and Everett on the west. The geological formation is drift and alluvium. The surface is uneven, and rises into several gently-swelling eminences, the most conspicuous of which is Powder-horn Hill, about 220 feet above sea-level. Near the summit of this hill has recently been erected a splendid hotel, the Highland-park House, opened to the public June 10, 1873. It commands a magnificent view of the city, the metropolis, and the ocean.

The soil is rich, and well adapted to gardening, on which considerable attention is bestowed. The city contains many very pleasant streets, with handsome private and public buildings. It is well supplied with water from the Mystic Lake by wrought-iron and cement pipes. The total length of the main pipe is 25-1/4 miles: there are 99 hydrants and 174 gates, with 16 miles of service pipe. The total cost of these water-works, up to the commencement of 1873, was $249,330.46.

Although large numbers of the inhabitants of this city are engaged in various kinds of business in Boston, still there are at home manufactures of sewing-machines, India-rubber and woolen goods, brass and iron work, and other articles.

The city has a bank of discount, a savings-bank (incorporated April 29, 1854), and an excellent system of public-school instruction. The high-school building, erected at an outlay of $70,000, and dedicated Jan. 2, 1873, is spacious, elegant, and well arranged. The city has a Post of the G. A. R., two Masonic Lodges, one Royal Arch Chapter, and one Commandery of Knights Templars, — all in a flourishing condition; also a public library, a lyceum, and two public journals, — The Telegraph and Pioneer, and The Chelsea Public. The churches are well built and well attended. The pastors are the Revs. T. Eddy, D.D. (recently dismissed), and A. P. Poster, C.T.; E. A. Titus, L. B. Bates, and George Sutherland, Methodist; Charles J. Baldwin and Preston Gurney, Baptist; A. J. Canfield, Universalist; John B. Green, Unitarian; J. T. Burrill, Episcopal; John Couch, Second Advent; James McGlew, Roman Catholic; and Mary A. Richer, Bible Christian Society.

The United-States Marine Hospital, erected in 1827, stands upon an elevated site, commanding a grand view of teeming cities, towns, and villages, with the harbor studded with picturesque islands, and the distant ocean.

The building is of gray granite, imposing and elegant in exterior, as well as judiciously and conveniently arranged within.

Chelsea has the honor of having been among the foremost in sending its quota of men to the army and navy during the late war; and its 'Roll of Honor,' published in 1865, is evidence of the patriotism and bravery of its citizens.

A shaft of granite, surmounted by the statue of a private soldier with his gun, has been erected in honor of the fallen heroes. It was dedicated with imposing ceremonies on the 19th of April, 1869. The inscription on the east side is, 'A tribute to our citizens who fought in defence of the Union, 1861-65;' on the south side, 'The world will little note what we say, but can never forget what they did;' on the West side is the shield of the State; and on the north, 'Liberty and Union.' The whole is surrounded by a handsome iron fence. As a place of residence, Chelsea presents many advantages. The scenery is picturesque; the rents are reasonable; the citizens temperate, peaceable, and intelligent. The climate is healthful, and the city, generally, in a flourishing condition.

The old saying, Dead as Chelsea, is now obsolete; since few cities can exhibit a more rapid growth or greater material prosperity.

The Rev. Horatio Alger, [Jr.], a popular preacher and author, was born here Jan. 13, 1834; H. U. 1852.

This city is the residence of B. P. Shillaber ('Mrs. Partington'), an able writer; and also of Daniel C. Colesworthy, a popular poet, author of the beautiful lyric commencing, —


A little word in kindness spoken, 
A motion, or a tear, 
Has often healed the heart that's broken, 
And made a friend sincere;


and many other well-known lyrics."

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