Celebrating the B’s and Making a Lowell Connection

In today’s Globe writer Eric Moskowitz tells us about his out and about coverage of fan reaction to the Bruins Stanley Cup victory. His wanderings around Canal Street led him to an exhibit at the West End Museum, a gallery on Staniford Street. His discovery of the origin of Canal and Causeway Streets as the terminus for what many call the “nation’s first great canal” is what makes the Lowell connection. Here’s a bit of its history:

The Middlesex, a hand-dug, 27-mile waterway completed in 1803, was “Boston’s First Big Dig,’’ as organizers from the Middlesex Canal Association and the museum call it.

The canal linked Boston to the Merrimack River and what is now Lowell, opening the seaport to inland trade and facilitating the Industrial Revolution; its success encouraged the start of the Erie Canal. It also helped build Boston, ferrying the granite used to construct the first Massachusetts General Hospital building and other landmarks.

The canal was financed by a corporation formed in 1793 by James Sullivan, the future governor for whom Sullivan Square is named. It was enabled by an act of the Legislature and completed under Loammi Baldwin, the Revolutionary War colonel regarded as the father of American civil engineering.

The canal initially ended near what is now Bunker Hill Community College, where the Charles River met Boston Harbor. Baldwin concocted a cable tow to pull less-than-seaworthy canal barges across the open water. On the other side, the area around today’s Garden was flooded, except for a narrow berm topped by a causeway (now Causeway Street) separating the open water from what was known as Mill Pond.

Read the full article here at Boston.com and find out much more on the website of the Middlesex Canal Association – better yet – take a trip to Billerica and visit the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors Center.