Stoneham Massachusetts, 1890

Stoneham is a brisk and thriving town situated on high land in the eastern part of Middlesex County, about nine miles from Boston, with which it is connected by the Stoneham Branch of the Boston and Lowell Railroad. A street railroad also connects it with Woburn, and on the other side with Boston, through Melrose. Stoneham and Haywardville are the villages; the first being the post-office. Reading lies on the north, Wakefield and Melrose on the east, Medford on the south, and Winchester and Woburn on the west.

The territory is about four miles north and south and two east and west, and has a bend eastward to an angle at the middle line. The assessed area is 3,441 acres, of which 572 are forest. There is much variety in elevation, and rocks and ledges are numerous, and near Spot Pond is a quarry of statuary marble. Farm Hill in the north, Bear Hill southwest of the centre, and Taylor Mountain in the southwest, are the chief elevations, and afford very pleasing views. In the southern part, under the shadow of western hills, is Spot Pond, a charming lake of about 220 acres, containing several pretty islands, and surrounded by wooded and rocky shores. It is 143 feet above sea-level, and sends a rapid streamlet into Malden River. It is fed chiefly by springs, and is the source of the water-supply of Melrose. Black bass and other fish are found in its depths; and it is a pleasant resort for pleasure parties both in summer and winter. Near it, on the north, is a smaller body of water called Doleful Pond.

The recent State census shows that the number of farms in this town is 27; whose aggregate product, in 1885, was valued at $47,361. The 34 shoe factories employed about 1,300 persons, and made goods in that year to the amount of $2,209,125; and the five tanneries and currying shops employed nearly 200 men, and turned out leather to the value of $707,326. Other manufactures were furniture, food preparations, machinery, artisans' tools, tennis and base balls, drugs and pills, pencil sharpeners, rubber goods, and various articles of clothing. The value of all goods made was $3,114,259. The savings bank at the close of last year carried deposits to the amount of $523,280. The population was 5,659; of whom 1,547 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $3,259,831, with a tax-rate of $17 on $1,000. There were 1,138 dwelling-houses. Stoneham has a commodious town-hall, containing offices, a public hall and a free public library of about 7,000 volumes. There are two weekly papers published here, the " Independent" and the "News." There are a high school, and primary, grammar and mixed schools; which are provided for by six buildings valued at some $35,000. There are also two or more private schools of primary character. The Baptists, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Methodists and Roman Catholics have each a church edifice here.

Stoneham was formerly included in Charlestown, from which it was set apart and incorporated December 17, 1725. Part of its original territory was, in 1853, annexed to Melrose, and another part, in 1856, to South Reading, now Wakefield. Four hundred and four soldiers were furnished by this town for the Union armies in the late war; of whom 11 were killed in battle, 7 died of wounds, 4 in prison, and 27 of disease. A beautiful monument has been erected to their memory.

pp. 619-620 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer