Monday, November 5, 2012

Where's the Gondolier?

From Dave Brigham:

This is another one that falls into the category of Places That I've Passed Countless Times But Never Really Noticed.

Broad Canal in Cambridge, Mass., is a shadow of its former self. Once part of an extensive system of waterways, the canal now extends just a short distance from the Charles River near Kendall Square.

Toward Boston

From Wikipedia:

The canal began in 1806 when Henry Hill, Rufus Davenport, and others laid out a canal system in the land and tidal flats along the Charles River. Broad Canal was dug before 1810, and 80 feet (24 m) wide from the low-water mark to Portland Street. In 1874 the lower part of the canal, between First and Third Streets, was 100 feet (30 m) wide. Connecting canals ran through much of today's East Cambridge.

No visible trace remains of that system, and extensive landfills have removed all remnants of Cambridge's seaport docks and wharves. Broad Canal's truncated remnants can now be found just north of Broadway, entering the Charles River immediately north of Longfellow Bridge.

I found out about the canal while doing a Google search, scanning the map for a waterfront location in the Boston area to do some Backside work.

I spied the words "Broad Canal Walkway" on the map and realized it was a spot I'd driven by numerous times on the way to and from various points, including the Museum of Science, the CambridgeSide Galleria and baseball games in Charlestown.

The walkway is hard by the massive Kendall Cogeneration Station. I saw two small boats tied up along the stone wall that defines the border between the canal and the power plant.

Jammed up

These wharf pilings are silently elegant in their quest to defy the modern world.

Pilings

But the modern world, alas, presses in from the end of the canal.

Broad Canal, Cambridge Mass.

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