Abstract

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.

The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
413-545-2780
Boston and Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection
1870-1920 1833-1910
19 vols. (6 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 130

Background on Boston and Albany Railroad

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed by a series of mergers beginning in 1867 that subsumed both the first commercial line in New England, the Boston and Worcester Railroad (chartered 1831) and the Western Railroad (1833), the most important line in Western Massachusetts. The expansionist Boston and Albany began extending lines eastward and westward at the same time, absorbing the Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad (incorporated in 1834 and renamed the Albany and West Stockbridge two years later) and the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, creating a powerful corporation that established the first continuous rail line across the Commonwealth.

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Boston and Albany prospered, absorbing a number of branch lines and extending its reach both northward and southward. By the 1880s, it claimed the distinction of operating one of the most efficient commuter operations, connecting Boston through Brookline and Newton Highlands to Riverside, eventually extending commuter service to Worcester. The line was noted, too, for Director Charles Sprague Sargent's initiative to beautify rail travel, hiring the architect Henry Hobson Richardson to design aesthetically pleasing stations.

Contents of Collection

The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.

The collection includes frequent citations of legislation, references to actions with respect to county commissioners, boards of selectman, registries of deeds and deed books, and to the state Board of Railroad Commissioners (later Public Service Commission). Plans regularly specify location of subject properties in relation to the properties of identified abutters.

Collection inventory
Grand Junction Railroad, Plan of locations of the several railroads connecting the East Boston freight railroad
1837-1867
19 maps
Vol. 1

Also includes Charlestown Branch Railroad (1837) and Fitchburg and Lowell Railroad.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Location of the Grand Junction Branch in Charlestown, Everett, Somerville, Chelsea
1890
10 maps
Vol. 2
Boston and Albany Railroad, Scrap book no. 2: Back Bay Park, Brighton
1845-1909

Vol. 3

Includes Old Colony and Newport Railway Co.; Boston Terminal Co.; Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn RR; Boston and Providence RR; and Boston Elevated Railway Co.

Boston and Worcester Railroad, Brookline
ca.1840-1905
30p.
Vol. 4

Includes Roxbury, Faneuil to Riverside.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Plan of locations of the several railroads connecting the East Boston freight railroad
1833-1908
36p.
Vol. 5

Includes maps of Newton, West Newton, Newtonville, Auburndale, Riverside; Charlestown Branch Railroad (1837), Grand Junction RR (1949), Chelsea Branch RR, and Eastern RR.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Wellesley, Newton, Natick
1833-1900
36p.
Vol. 6
Boston and Albany Railroad, Plan of new locations of the Boston and Albany Railroad in the town of Wellesley and County of Norfolk
1888-1893
15p.
Vol. 7
Boston and Albany Railroad, Additional land taken for railroad purposes in the county of Norfolk
1894-1914
10p.
Vol. 8

Alternate title: Plan of a new location of the Boston and Albany Railroad in the town of Wellesley and County of Norfolk, Mass.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Plan of a new location of the Boston and Albany Railroad in the town of Natick and County of Middlesex
1887
4p.
Vol. 9
Western Railroad, Route from Worcester to Springfield
1839-1842
72p.
Vol. 10

Includes maps of Worcester, Brookfield, Palmer, Warren, Chicopee, Springfield. Includes Hartford and Springfield RR (1849); Northampton and Springfield RR; 1842 plan between Chestnut and Main Streets.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Springfield to Albany Scrapbook no. 1
1882-1908
35p.
Vol. 11

Plans for Pittsfield, North Adams, West Springfield.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Springfield to Albany Scrapbook no. 3
1903-1910
58p.
Vol. 12
Boston and Albany Railroad, Plan of a new location of the Boston and Albany Railroad in the County of Hampden West of the Connecticut River
1881
63p.
Vol. 13
Boston and Albany Railroad, Route from Westfield to Chester
ca.1900
34p.
Vol. 14

Includes maps of Westfield, Russell, Montgomery, and Chester. Maps numbered 30-63.

Boston and Albany Railroad, Plan of the location of the Chester and Becket Railroad in the towns of Chester, Hampden County, and Becket, Berkshire County, Mass.
1896
15p.
Vol. 15
Boston and Albany Railroad, Notice plans
1895-1910
23p.
Vol. 16

Includes maps of Becket, Cambridge, Chester, Framingham, Hinsdale, Ludlow, Natick, Newton, West Springfield, Worcester.

Ware River Railroad, Land plan of the Ware River Railroad of Massachusetts
1874
51p.
Vol. 17
Ware River Railroad, Land taken for railroad purposes in the County of Hampshire
1912
6p.
Vol. 18

"These plans were traced from the book of original land plans of the Ware River R.R. The original plans were in such poor condition that they were unfit for use. Jan 1, 1919." Show line from Palmer to Winchendon.

Ware River Railroad, Land taken for railroad purposes in the County of Hampshire
1912
6p.
Vol. 19
Administrative information
Provenance

Provenance unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, December 2012.

Related Material

The records of the Boston and Albany Railroad are housed at the Baker Library of the Harvard Business School (Mss:724 1831-1898 B747).

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Boston and Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection (MS 130). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Becket (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Boston (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Chester (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Framingham (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Natick (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Newton (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Railroads--Massachusetts.
  • Railroads--New York.
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Ware (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Wellesley (Mass.)--Maps.
  • Worcester (Mass.)--Maps.
Names
  • Boston and Albany Railroad Co.
  • Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation.
  • Chester and Becket Railroad Corporation.
  • Grand Junction Railway Co.
  • Ware River Railroad Co.
  • Western Railroad Corporation.
Genre terms
  • Maps.