CHAPTER 2

LOCATION

Solomon Willard, after his plans for the monument had been selected, was also made superintendent in charge of the construction. This prompted him to learn all he could on the subject of constructing monuments. While preliminary work was going on, the foundation being laid, he spent many months traveling over 300 miles through Maine and Massachusetts looking for the most desirable material. Finally, he found the granite he was looking for in Quincy. It was selected for its color, texture and hardness and also for the fact that the location apparently contained an inexhaustible supply.

In turn, Gridley Bryant purchased the parcel of land containing 5 3/4 acres for $250.00. Being a smart businessman, he then sold it to the Bunker Hill Monument Association for $325.00, thus realizing a nice profit. This purchase assured the Association a continued supply of granite, and at less cost than buying it elsewhere.

This piece of land was located in the so-called Furnace Land. It was originally part of the estate of Nathaniel Savil and in turn owned by James Hall who in 1824 conveyed it to Frederick Hardwick who then sold it to Gridley Bryant on June 9, 1825.

The deed reads in part:- "is bounded and butted as follows, viz: southerly on woodland formerly owned by Captain John Hall, deceased now owned by said Hardwick, Ebenezer Crane, and George Nightingale: westerly, northwardly, and eastwardly, on woodland of Hon. John Quincy Adams, and however bounded, or reputed to be bounded, together with the privilege of taking away, or removing said rocks or stones, at anytime hereafter, to suit said Bryant's convenience - and further it being understood by the parties, that the said Bryant shall have the right to cut, clear off any of the wood, or remove any other obstacle that might hinder or prevent the said Bryant from taking and casting off the rocks or stone, whenever he pleases, on or in said lot - and it is hereby agreed between said parties, that all the wood said Bryant shall cut on said lot, shall belong to said Frederick Hardwick."

Warren S. Parker, Quincy historian, gives an excellent description of the Furnace Lands in his notes which I quote in part. "The Furnace Land remained intact for nearly two hundred years, with the exception of 41 acres, near the Grove Street of today, which was conveyed by John Marsh to Ebenezer Crane. The easterly end was called the Furnace Plain and contained approximately 80 acres and was probably used for agricultural purposes. The land lying on the westerly side of the present Willard Street, containing 118 acres, was known as the Furnace Woods Lots, these, as their name implies, furnished wood for the inhabitants."

"Three wood roads, leading from the Country Highway, furnished the means of entrance to these lands. One being located near the present Bryant Ave., the second, at the present Bryant Street, which continued northerly across the highway and continued along, nearby in the line of the present Beale Street to the Farms Road, now Hancock Street. The third road left the Country Highway near the garage operated by the Badger Bros., and running southerly across the plains land and meadow in the same general location of Hall Place to the present Belknap Square continuing along the present Willard Street, to nearly opposite Furnace Ave. where it entered the woodland." Fig. 2

"As near as I can ascertain, no dwelling existed within the two hundred acres above described, up to the coming of the Railroad.

Fig. 2 gives a good idea of the Furnace Lands and surrounding area. For the purposes of identification only, I have outlined Willard Street black.

After the purchase of the quarry, many routes were suggested. One which seemed to have had considerable support was to run from the quarry through the town to Brackett's Wharf in the "Point". This route would have been beneficial to those who owned valuable quarries in the South Common but the Association would have had to construct and pay for its own railway. With their limited means this was too great an undertaking and was abandoned.

Bryant next surveyed the land and proposed the route that was accepted. Starting at the foot of the quarry and running northeasterly over a trestle over the swamp for about 750 feet, it came out near the present junction of Willard and Douglas Street. From there, in an almost straight line through West Quincy and East Milton, it proceeded to its terminus at Gulliver's Creek which emptied into the Neponset River. Fig. 3 is a copy of Hale's map of 1830 showing this original route.




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