East Boston

Greenwood Nursing and Rehab is proud to serve East Boston. In 1801, William H. Sumner had proposed to the Federal government of the United States to create a turnpike to connect Salem to Boston via the undeveloped Noddle's Island. He argued that the route over it would be more direct making it easier for the neighborhood to develop.

 

Sumner began to make his move for the acquisition of all of Noddle’s Island upon the death of Colonel David Stoddard Greenough. In 1836, Sumner coincidentally married Greenough’s widow, Maria Foster Doane. With the assistance of his new business partners, Steven White and Francis J. Oliver, he purchased the land for $100 per acre or $32,500. This purchase gave Sumner control of one half of the Island.

 

Subsequently in February 1832, the partners formed the East Boston Company. They stated that their part of the Island was to be divided into 666 shares and that it would be managed by a board of directors, who would be able to sell the Company’s interest in the island. Establishing transportation to the area was imperative and they were dedicated to pushing for a railroad connection from Boston to Salem over the Island. They also wanted to establish a ferry system from Boston.

 

In the 1830s, East Boston's largest problem from thriving was transportation. The East Boston Company believed the neighborhood could not become a valuable asset until people had a way to reach the area from the Boston mainland. As a temporary solution, they set up a paddle steamer to carry fifteen people at a time from Boston Proper to the neighborhood. It was used primarily for occasional visits from public officials and laborers. Though they did not have the ridership to support additional boats, the company purchased the Tom Thumb steamboat.

 

The steam railroad system was still in its infancy at this point, and the East Boston Company was approached by an inventor of a new type of rail system, the suspension railway. This system was one of the earliest suspended railroads to be built. The railroad cars were propelled by a steam engine hanging from a suspended track. Henry Sargent, the inventor, stated "that his invention would make the Island a center of attraction to many people." The Company allowed it to be built on its land and it was in use for nine days in 1834, then closed citing lack of ridership.

 

In the mid-1830s, the Company made several investments to further East Boston's desirability. They continued attempts to get the Eastern Railroad to come to East Boston. The Maverick and East Boston ferries began service from Lewis Wharf on the mainland to East Boston. A bridge to Chelsea was built, roads were laid out, and houses were built. Much of this activity was spurred by the formation of the East Boston Lumber Company. During this period, the Boston Sugar Refinery was also founded, which was the first manufacturing establishment in East Boston. They are credited for the creation of white granulated sugar.