The early years of the twentieth century were a watershed for local transportation. Electricity provided power for a trolley system (later replaced by a bus line). The advent of automobiles would in time end the golden age of bicycling (and passenger trains, and that bus line). Trucks would make obsolete the need for local freight trains.
|The trolley power station, now|
the Indian Orthodox Church
Worth a historical mention that in Boston and other cities, trolleys predated electric power. In 1890, the City of Boston had a horse-drawn trolley system, known then as the West End Street Railway Company. West End had 2,000 cars in service, and employed as many as 9,000 horses. Conversion to electric motors started in 1891. By 1897 the last horse was retired.
|Charles H. Persons (center) being driven in his 1904 |
Ford Model A, on Main Street. Note trolley tracks. Photo
courtesy of Maynard Historical Society. Click to enlarge.
Steamboats operated on the Assabet River from 1906 to 1914, offering transportation from a dock at the rear of the trolley headquarters to Whitman’s crossing, at Lake Boon. The company started with one boat, named “Queen,” but in time added “Gertrude” and “Teddy.” Weekdays, boats departed every 30 minutes, 8 AM to 8 PM. At Whitman’s Crossing, a short walk to Lake Boon brought people to a dock where the “Princess” would take them to docks scattered around to lake, providing access to summer cottages, club houses, restaurants and drinking establishments.The trolley barn, located on the west side of where Routes 62 and 117 merge, became the base for the Lovell Bus Lines (1923-1954). John Lovell started bus service from Maynard to the South Acton train station one month after the trolley stopped. In time, he added bus service to Concord and Hudson. Eventually the line was extended west to Clinton and Leominster, and east to Waltham and Revere Beach (summers only, round-trip $1.25). Lovell Bus Lines was sold to Middlesex & Boston Street Railway – which operated trolleys and buses – later merged with MBTA. Bus service for Maynard dwindled over time, ended in 1972.
As for airplanes, Sidney H. Mason created an airstrip in 1948, behind his house on Summer Street. Sid was 28 at the time, and an Army veteran. He and three friends bought a used Luscombe 1946 8A in 1947 for $1000. Sid bought out his partners soon after. The airstrip was carved out of what had been an extensive Mason family farm that dated back to at least 1875. In fact, back in the farm days, the family had two runways, and many of the pilots in Maynard and nearby towns kept their planes there. Sid was still flying as late as 1997, age 79. In the meantime, Sid's son - Jack Mason - had taken up his father's hobby while still in his teens, earned his pilot's license, and was flying a Vector Ultralight in and out of the backyard. This meant that “Sid’s Airport” continued to be an active, FAA-numbered airstrip (MA52). Sid Mason passed on to the big airport in the sky in 2005. His life-long love affair with the air is memorialized by his tombstone, as it portrays his Luscombe in flight, with the plane's registration number N72025 on the side. Jack sold the property in 2016.
|The Monster.com blimp pictured flying over the|
company's corporate headquarters, in Maynard.
On November 23, at 7:00 p.m., the Maynard Public Library will present a Zoomed talk titled: “Transportation from Horses to Airplanes.” Register at https://www.maynardpubliclibrary.org/may150.