The Neponset River: A History
1619: Fur trading was begun by English on Thompson's Island. Native
Americans used the Neponset River to bring skins down to island for sale.
before 1633: Richard Collicott built a small wharf on Guiliver's Creek to
carry furs to Thompson's Island and Boston.:
1633: Massachuset Sachem Kutchamakin moved his tribe to the high
ground above the falls of the Neponset along present-day Medway Street.
1635: Israel Stoughton's grist mill begun on falls of Neponset.
It was the first of three mills for flour, gun powder and paper making.
1640: Shipbuilding was begun at Gulliver's Creek Wharf. Small ships
called shallops were built.
1658: Native Americans were moved to Ponkapoag, on the banks of
Ponkapoag Pond in present-day Canton by John Eliot.
1658: The first Milton Town Landing was built on Gulliver's Creek
downstream from Collicott's Wharf.
1673: John Trescott built a lumber mill on the Neponset River
upstream on the present-day Mattapan-Hyde Park line.
1765: A chocolate mill was begun at Neponset River.
1770: Daniel Vose's Wholesale Shipping Warehouses at the second Milton
Town Landing at Lower Mills were at the peak of their operation. Ship
building and commercial shipping were the major river industries at the
1773: George Clark built a paper mill on remnants of Trescott's Lumber
Mill. This became the Tileston and Hollingsworth Paper Mill in 1836.
1826 The first railroad in America began operation moving granite from
Quincy quarries to Gulliver's Landing in the Neponset River. The landing
was at the mouth of Gulliver's Creek at the Neponset River.
1837: The Granite Avenue Bridge was built and opened for travel.
1844: The Old Colony Railroad was established by the State Legislature.
1846: The 3-1/4-mile-long Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad was built
between Port Norfolk and present-day Mattapan Square.
After it opened for travel December of 1847, river traffic and shipbuilding.
1854: Henry L. Pierce, nephew of Walter Baker, assumed control
of Baker Chocolate Mills. Over 40 years Pierce expanded chocolate
manufacturing to include 7 mills over 14 acres.
1893: The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) was established.
The Neponset River Reservation was proposed to preserve the Neponset
Marshes between Lower Mills and Granite Avenue.
1899: 43 parcels of land totaling 232 acres were acquired by the MDC
as the Neponset River Marshes Reservation.
1959: The Old Colony Line ceased operations.
1964: The Walter Baker Co. relocated to Dover, Delaware.
1978: Consolidated Railways (Conrail) acquired the Dorchester and Milton
1985: The MDC acquired the former Neponset Drive-In and Hallet Street
Dump as riverfront parkland.
July 1990: Rails removed from Dorchester and Milton Branch Railway
July 1992: The MDC acquired the Dorchester and Milton Branch Railway
right-of-way for $530,000 to link the drive-in and dump site parkland
with the Neponset Marshes.
December 6-7 1997: The MDC and volunteers from the
community resurfaced the Lower Mills bridge over the Neponset, making it
possible to walk or bike the entire right-of-way.
December 18 1997: The Milton Selectmen vote to approve the mixed use
path from Dorchester Lower Mills/Milton Village to Central Ave.
September 1999: Cleanup of hazardous waste on Neponset Trail begins
June 2000: Hazardous waste cleanup complete
June 16 2000: Pope John Paul II Park dedication
April 2001: Neponset Trail construction went out to bid
May 1 2001: Pope John Paul II Park opened to the public
May 2 2001: Neponset Trail construction bids due
September 2001: Neponset Trail construction starts
January 2002: Neponset Trail paved except for a stretch along the salt marsh
October 2002: Neponset Trail salt marsh segment paved with a permeable pavement resembling crushed stone
June 2006: Construction plans for Neponset Trail Phase II, south from Mattapan Square to Readville completed.
Fall 2006: Granite Ave. traffic light installed on Neponset Trail (yes, it took 4 years)
Earth Day 2008: Governor Patrick announced that construction would soon begin on the "Neponset River Esplanade," from Mattapan Square to Paul's Bridge
Fall 2009: Construction of Phase II begun
2010: Neponset Trail segment along Tenean Beach opened.
July 2012: Phase II opened to Martini Shell
June 2015: Permeable pavement through marsh replaced by asphalt
June 2015: Neponset Trail from Martini Shell to Neponset Valley Parkway opened
August 2015: Phase II dedication ceremony at Martini Shell
August 2016: Port Norfolk Park, containing a segment of the Neponset Trail, opened.
Fall 2015: Construction begun on Neponset Trail connection from Mattapan Square to Central Ave.
June 2016: Harvest River Bridge installed over Neponset River
Last updated by Jessica Mink on December 12, 2016