Saturday, April 16, 2011


1. Archie’s Report.
2. Summary.

1. Archie’s Report.


By Archie Mazmanian


Q. Which bridge over the Charles River did Paul Revere cross on his historic Midnight Ride from Boston to Lexington/Concord?

A. There were no bridges over the Charles River to cross. Rather, Paul Revere took the ferry between Boston and Charlestown.

For some great maps illustrating the different routes taken by Paul Revere and William Dawes on their rides, Google “Paul Revere’s Route to Lexington” and their relations to the Charles River back then.

While there may have been bridges over some of the narrow parts of the Charles River well upstream, the first bridge between Boston and points north was built in 1786, between Boston and Charlestown, known as the Charles River Bridge, replacing the ferry operation used by Paul Revere in 1775 for his Midnight Ride. The ferry operation had been granted to Harvard College in 1650 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the tolls of which augmented Harvard’s coffers.

In 1785, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in granting a charter to the Charles River Bridge company in effect shut down Harvard’s ferry operation. To compensate for this, the Charles River Bridge company was authorized to charge tolls for a period of 40 years subject to paying an annuity to Harvard to replace its lost ferry toll charges.

In 1792, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted a charter for the West Boston Bridge (now the Longfellow Bridge, aka the Salt and Pepper Bridge). To offset the resulting toll losses to the Charles River Bridge downstream, the Commonwealth extended the latter’s charter to 70 years.

In 1828, the Commonwealth chartered the Warren Bridge to be constructed very close by the Charles River Bridge. The resulting competition benefited MA citizens with lower tolls, significantly reducing the revenues of the Charles Street Bridge. So the Charles River Bridge sued the Warren Bridge in a MA court. Charles River Bridge, represented by eminent counsel Daniel Webster and Lemuel Shaw, claimed that the charter granted to the Warren Bridge violated the U.S. Constitution’s Contract Clause (Article I, Section 10) on the basis that the earlier charter grant to Charles River Bridge provided, by implication, exclusive rights attributable to the yet earlier grant to Harvard for its ferry service.

In 1829, the MA Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of the Warren Bridge, that had argued no exclusive rights had existed for crossing the Charles River and technological - and thus economic – progress should prevail over the private interests of Charles River Bridge (as well as Harvard).

The Charles River Bridge appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The appeal was first argued in 1831. It is reported that Chief Justice John Marshall, Justice Joseph Story (who did not recuse despite his connections with Harvard and its law school) and Justice Smith Thompson seemed to accept the Contract Clause argument of Charles River Bridge. But the case continued on for years because of some disagreements among the Justices. Meantime, in 1836, Roger Taney had replaced Marshall as Chief Justice. In 1837, the Supreme Court ruled (5-2) in favor of Warren Bridge, the opinion of the Court being written by Chief Justice Taney, with Justices Story and John McLean dissenting.

Just imagine if Charles River Bridge had won. How might that have impacted upon the Charles River’s development as we know it today with its many bridges? Might the economic growth of Boston, Cambridge and environs have been stifled? And how much larger might Harvard’s endowment and real estate holdings along the Charles River have become with its annuity?

The decisions of the MA Supreme Judicial Court and the U.S. Supreme Court are quite lengthy and include a lot of history of interest for fans of the Charles River. To avoid extensive reading that may seem somewhat arcane, those interested may Google “Charles River Bridge vs. Warren Bridge” for short but informative narratives.

[Part VIII of this series will continue to discuss the bridges of the Charles River. For those interested in the Esplanade discussed briefly in Part VI, check via the Internet “Charles River Esplanade Study Report” by the Boston Landmarks Commission dated 5/4/2009; it runs 76 pages with quite extensive information, including environmental, about the Charles River. The role of Harvard vis-à-vis the Charles River has been referenced in earlier Parts of this Series and will be further addressed (along with other abutting institutions) in future Parts as the series progresses, somewhat in the mode of “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”]

2. Summary.

These historical structures are under attack by the Charles River Destroyers (they keep calling themselves a Conservancy) and their friends including, as usual really bad people in Cambridge.

A recent bad vote by the Cambridge City Council was unanimous.

Prior reports may be found at:

Part VI,4/11/11:

Intermission, 4/1/11:

Part V, 3/29/11:

Part IV, 3/7/11:

Part III, 2/19/11:

Part II, 2/5/11:

Part I, 1/29/11:

Day 397 at the Destroyed Nesting Area, the Cambridge Pols and Totalitarianism

1. Visibility.
2. Cambridge Pols and Totalitarianism.
3. What little I was able to get in under the watch of Big Brother on Wednesday night.
1. Visibility.

On Friday, April 15, 2011, I conducted the 397th day of visibilities at the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese.

The moving of the construction work to the other side freed up the area next to the now Goose Ghetto for me to prop up a sign and leaflet. I was there over the noon hour which is a moderately quiet time.

At the beginning of the visibility, two police were managing traffic so that only one lane was allowed to move at a time in front of me. This was to permit a concrete truck to pour concrete into the far side of the bridge.

When they were done, we had two lanes of traffic and normal lights.

Some drivers, stopped for the red, rolled down their windows to ask for fliers. Pedestrians very nicely accepted fliers, along with bicyclists. I had an extended discussion with one construction worker.

The geese were in their devastated, devegetated ghetto.

2. Cambridge Pols and Totalitarianism.

The outrage at the fake public meeting on Magazine Beach plans was not at all unusual.

The Cambridge Pol Machine, apparently consisting of friends of the Cambridge City Manager and City Council, routinely abuses their offices in these various groups, and they certainly look like they control pretty much all the most visible organizations.

The first and most important mission forced by the Pols onto the groups is to perpetuate the lie that Cambridge, MA, USA has a responsible city government, a government worthy of the respect of an electorate which wants to be enlightened.

The next con game / "public meeting" will be a meeting to save street trees Tuesday night. The con there is that nothing will be allowed to be MEANINGFULLY discussed except street trees.

The people pulling the strings are aggressively destroying Memorial Drive, Alewife, and Fresh Pond. Environmental destruction is common in city projects. So the Cambridge Pols allow fake organizations (either created that way or rendered that way by outorganizing responsible people) to "protect" what the Cambridge Pols do not feel like destroying. This is one way they lie to the voters that the City of Cambridge protects the environment.

3. What little I was able to get in under the watch of Big Brother on Wednesday night.

I left early. The totalitarian dictates from the chair are normal in such fake meetings. The Pols thus put out the lie that there has been some sort of meeting.

I was not allowed to object to their heartless animal abuse. So the lie put out will be that nobody objected to heartless animal abuse. They will just neglect to mention that they prohibited such discussion. They will also conveniently ignore what I did get in.

The state commented that it would consider "native" grasses. I commented that we had native grasses at Magazine Beach ten years ago, but YOU destroyed it.

The state promised to consider putting in trees. I replied: you are destroying hundreds.

The most environmentally destructive City Councilor, Henrietta Davis, was present and calling shots.

The big lie there was that "improvements" (translate: environmental destruction) would "continue" (translate: how dare you expect us to stop poisoning the banks of the Charles. How dare you expect us to remove the wall of vegetation barring access between the Charles and Magazine Beach. How dare you expect us to stop dumping poisons on the banks of the Charles. How dare you want the poison drainage ditches replaced with the playing fields that used to be there. How dare you expect us to stop heartless animal abuse.)

I started my Big Brother censored presentation with the standard pitch of the Charles River Destroyers organization (they claim to be a Charles River Conservancy). I spoke in favor of swimming in the Charles, and to allow swimming, the bizarre wall of introduced bushes would have to go, along with all those poisons on the banks of the Charles.

Destroyer Davis justified the bizarre wall of introduced bushes on the grounds that, in addition to everybody else and the Charles River White Geese, the annual rowing event is kept off Magazine Beach by the bizarre wall of introduced bushes. She, of course, only mentioned the Head of the Charles Regatta.

The Director of the Charles River Destroyers whose letter was published ahead of mine in last week’s Chronicle parroted Destroyer Davis. By doing so, he rejected the non stop claims of the Charles River Destroyers that they are fighting for swimming in the Charles. They got caught in that lie, so they change reasons, the nonstop search for "Truth" (whatever the sucker will swallow) by very destructive people.