Love that dirty water . . . Millers River, Cambridge

I was doing some data entry the other day and paused over the sad fate of Richard Black, who drowned when he was just 7 years old in 1903 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (He is related to me through the Gaule family.)

Death record for Richard Black

But I had never heard of Miller’s River. Turns out I had never heard of it because the river had been filled in as industry in Cambridge waned. Millers River is now just a small waterway between Cambridge and Charlestown, around the Zakim Bridge. Mark Jaquith at Cambridge Community Television has a great article and slideshow about Millers River.

Prior to being filled in, Millers River was heavily polluted by local industry, particularly by the Squires slaughterhouse where some of my relatives worked. The pollution and smell were so bad that it is supposed to have inspired some early Massachusetts waterway regulations. I wonder if poor Richard fell in or if it was so hot in August that he went swimming in the polluted water.