Malden Massachusetts, 1890

MALDEN is a prosperous manufacturing and residential city in the southeastern part of Middlesex County, 4 miles north of Boston, with which it is connected by street railroads, and by the main line of the Boston and Maine Railroad in the western section, and by the Saugus Branch, which passes through the midst of the town east and west.

It is bounded on the north by Melrose, on the east by Revere, south by Everett and Medford, and west by the latter. The assessed area is 2,650 acres. Its greatest length from east to west is about three miles, and its average width about one and a half miles. The soil is loamy and fertile; and there is much clay. Slate and felspar porphyry are the principal rocks. There are frequent small tracts of forest; and at the northern and northwestern verge lies that extensive tract of wild, rocky woodland known as "Middlesex Fells." Pine, oak and maple are the most numerous trees. The southeasterly part is somewhat low and marshy, but the land rises in the northern and northwestern parts, presenting several eminences, the highest of which, Prospect Hill, has an elevation of 219 feet. Oak Grove, at its northwest, and Malden Highlands, on the western border, are attractive places. The post-offices are Malden (village) in the western section, and Linden at the east. Between these is Maplewood—named from its handsome trees; and south of Malden (village) is Edgeworth. Other localities are Faulkner and Glendale,— all having railroads conveniently near. Large numbers of the residents have Boston for their place of business.

A very pretty stream from Spot Pond in Stoneham flows in from the north, furnishing some motive power; then, broadening into Malden River, becomes navigable for boats up to the chief village. By means of an aqueduct this pond also supplies the buildings in Malden village with water. Near the centre is a beautiful pond of about 10 acres, which also has an outlet into Malden River. A chief article of manufacture in this town is boots and shoes, for which there were (according to the last State census) four establishments, making goods to the value of $2,577,146 in 1883. Textiles were made to the value of $272,150. The rubber factory employs at times as many as 2,500 persons. A tannery (at Edgeworth) making fine and fancy leathers, employs some 200 men. The "Malden Dye-House" has long been known. Other manufactures of less extent are shoe-lasts, machinery, brass work, tinware, wire, carriages, furniture, emery cloth, bleachery goods, cordage and twine, food preparations, etc. The aggregate value of goods made was $4,239,020, The 18 farms yielded the sum of $52,388,— $29,540 of which was from greenhouse products. The Malden National Bank has a capital of $100,000; and the savings bank, at the beginning of 1889, had deposits to the amount of $1,066,376. There were 3,668 dwelling-houses, and a population of 16,407,— 3,934 being legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $15,420,324, with a tax-rate of $14.60 on $1,000.

The city hall, which cost some $30,000, has an audience-room which seats 800 persons. A fine structure is the Converse Memorial Building, which contains the public library and an art gallery. There are primary, intermediate and grammar and high schools, provided for in 11 buildings valued at over $200,000. Besides these are Malden Heights, Waverly Terrace and West End private schools. The public library was founded by Mr. John Gardner, a native, by the presentation of $5,000 for the purpose. It now contains about 12,000 volumes. The Christian Association has some 1,200; the public schools have upwards of 1,400; and there are three circulating libraries having in the aggregate nearly 3,000 volumes. The "Daily Evening Mail" serves local interests more fully than the metropolitan dailies; and the weeklies, the "City Press" and the "Malden Mirror" are standards of their class. The churches are the Congregationalists (4), Episcopalians (2), Methodists (3), Baptists (2), Universalists (1), Unitarians (1), and Roman Catholics (1), and most of them are handsome buildings. The civil and social organizations are very numerous.

In 1629 a party newly arrived from England traversed the easterly side of the Mystic River, reporting it an " uncouth wilderness and full of stately timber." In 1633 this region was granted to Charlestown, and an allotment of land made to settlers. The boundaries were regulated in 1636, and the settlement became known as "Mystick-Side.["] Settlers rapidly increased, and in 1640 a ferry was established over the Mystic. On May 2, 1649, the General Court record says "the 'Mystick side men' granted to be a town to be called ' Mauldon.'" This name was adopted by the inhabitants in honor of Joseph Hills, a leading citizen, formerly an inhabitant of Maldon, in Essex, England. The advanced and independent position of the Rev. Mr. Matthews, minister of the town, brought the censure of the civil authority upon Malden; and though the town upheld him to the best of its ability, it had finally to yield to the superior strength of the colony, and dismiss him. In 1633 William Godden left a bequest in aid of the schools of Malden and Charlestown; and in 1671 a school was maintained at the expense of the town. The first "Malden Bridge " was completed in 1787. The original territory of the town has suffered several reductions. A considerable tract was annexed to Medford in 1817; a large area was taken to form Melrose in 1850; and another part was, in 1870, established as Everett. Malden was incorporated as a city, March 31, 1881.

Malden's history in the Indian and the Revolutionary wars is creditable; and during the war of the Rebellion she contributed 600 men to the Union forces.

Hon. Elisha S. Converse, a citizen of this town, a large owner in the rubber factory, is eminent for the establishment of both business and benevolent enterprises; and Malden especially has enjoyed his beneficence. The eccentric Timothy Dexter (1747-1806)— "Lord Timothy," was a native of Malden; so also were Peter 0. Thacher (1776-1843), a celebrated jurist; Adoniram Judson, D.D. (1788-1850), first missionary to Burmah; and John Bigelow (1817), author of several works, and editor of the " New York Times " for several years.

pp. 434-436 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890