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CHAPTER XI.

THE COMMON, BROAD STREET, THE MEETING HOUSE.

    The proprietors’ committee, in their efforts to determine the center of the town for the purpose of laying out the town plot mentioned in the charter, examined the land, struck. out their lines and found the westem.shore of Hart’s Pond to be near the center of the grant. But this land was already laid out to certain rights, nevertheless, the committee had an eye for the picturesque and they decided that this beautiful sheet of water should be one of the attractions of their new village. But how should they ever be able to make such a swamp passable and habitable! They traveled through it by the aid of rotten logs, fallen trees, ridges of moss, and then after much hard labor they laid out “Broad Street” in 1788, eight rods wide, and nearly one mile in length.

    In the year 1800 the traveler across our Broad Street, which at that time was famous for its great two-porched meeting-house and for the great frames of unfinished buildings along its way, saw. standing upon the fields on either side and upon the shores of Hart’s Pond a continuous forest of huge pine trees, dead to the top, leafless and the earth strewn with fallen branches. These great trees had been girdled years before by the early settlers and left to die, that being the manner of death allotted to those monarchs of the forest. When dead and dry they were more easily burned standing than if cut down.

    Part of the land along “The Street” was divided into acre lots; but those who settled there bought of the first owner.

    “Broad Street” passed through Robert Barber’s farm, through fifty acres of the first hundred of Allen Whitman, which William Douglass bought for twelve shillings and two pence at tax sale for the taxes assessed in 1782, through. the first hundred of Phineas Sabine, and through Daniel Colby’s fifty acres of the first division of Samuel Dodge, 3d. The first owners sold these lots running to “Broad Street.” The road was not granted; it was and always has been the property of the adjoining owners.