Boston Post Road

From Academic Kids

The Boston Post Road was a system of roads from New York, New York to Boston, Massachusetts, containing some of the first major highways in the United States. It began as a path to deliver the post (the first ride to lay out the Upper Post Road starting January 22, 1673), and developed into a wagon, or stage road in later colonial times. During the 19th century, pieces of the road were taken over and improved by turnpike companies. In the 1910s and 1920s, the Lower Post Road alignment (and realignments made to the route) was a National Auto Trail known as the Boston Post Road. Large sections of the various routes are still given the name Boston Post Road.

Mileposts were measured from the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street in New York (one block west of Federal Hall) and from the old Boston border on Washington Street near the Masspike.

The three major alignments were the Lower Post Road (now US 1 along the shore and through Providence, Rhode Island), the Upper Post Road (now US 5 and US 20 from New Haven, Connecticut via Springfield, Massachusetts), and the Middle Post Road (which split from the Upper Road in Hartford, Connecticut and ran diagonally to Boston).

In some towns, the area near the Boston Post Road has been placed on the National Register of Historic Districts, since it was often the first road in the area, and buildings sprung up along it.

Missing image
Upper_Post_Road_MP_8.jpg
Milestone 8 on the Upper Post Road in Harvard Square

The Post Road is also famous for its milestones from the 18th century, many of which remain to this day.

Contents

New York

Missing image
BPR_NY_map.png
The Post Road in New York

Manhattan

Much of the route in Manhattan was abandoned between 1839 and 1844, when the current street grid was laid out.[1] (http://www.forgotten-ny.com/streetnecrology/AveA/declassified.html) The following sections of the road still exist:

These milestones were once present in Manhattan:

The Bronx

In The Bronx, the Boston Post Road came off the Kings Bridge and quickly turned east, with the Albany Post Road continuing north to Albany, New York. It passed over the Bronx River on the Williams Bridge, and left The Bronx on Bussing Avenue, becoming Kingsbridge Road in Westchester County. In more detail, it used the following roads:

  • Kingsbridge Avenue-230th Street-Broadway-231st Street
  • Albany Crescent-Kingsbridge Terrace-Heath Avenue
  • gap across Jerome Park Reservoir
  • Van Cortlandt Avenue
  • gap at Williamsbridge Reservoir
  • Reservoir Place-Gun Hill Road-White Plains Road (southbound lanes)
  • gap from near 217th Street to near 231st Street
  • Bussing Avenue
  • gap from Grace Avenue to De Reimer Avenue
  • Bussing Place-Bussing Avenue

Westchester County

The Boston Post Road entered Westchester County on Kingsbridge Road, and turned north on Third Avenue-Columbus Avenue (Route 22), forking off onto Colonial Place. It continued across Sandford Boulevard where there is no longer a road, and curved east and southeast around the hill, hitting Sandford Boulevard-Colonial Avenue at the Hutchinson River Parkway interchange. It then continued east on Colonial Avenue-Kings Highway, merging with US 1. From there to the Connecticut border, the Post Road used US 1, except for several places, where Post Road used the following roads:

  • The southbound side of US 1 through New Rochelle
  • Old Boston Post Road north of downtown New Rochelle
  • Old Post Road-Orienta Avenue south of downtown Mamaroneck
  • Mamaroneck Avenue-Prospect Avenue-Tompkins Avenue north of downtown Mamaroneck
  • Old Post Road at Playland Parkway

Upper Post Road

The Upper Post Road was the most traveled of the three routes, being the furthest from the shore and thus having the fewest and shortest river crossings. It was also considered to have the best taverns, which helped it remain the most popular.

Connecticut

Massachusetts

Agawam
West Springfield
Springfield
North Wilbraham
Palmer
West Brimfield
Warren
West Brookfield
Brookfield
East Brookfield
Spencer
Leicester
Worcester
Shrewsbury
Northborough
Marlborough
South Sudbury
Wayland
Weston
Waltham
Watertown
Cambridge
Brookline
Roxbury
Boston

Lower Post Road

The Lower Post Road stayed near Long Island Sound into Rhode Island, and then turned north through Providence to Boston. This is now the best-known of the routes, though newer turnpike alignments are often known as the Boston Post Road.

Connecticut

Rhode Island

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike was established in 1803 to build a straighter route between Pawtucket and Roxbury, mostly west of the Post Road. Due to its avoidance of built-up areas, the southern half of this road was little-used. In addition, another well-used route passed west of this turnpike along current Route 1A.

South Attleboro

The Post Road entered Massachusetts into the town of Attleboro along Newport Avenue (Route 1A) through the settlement of South Attleboro. It continued northeast on Newport Avenue along Route 123, splitting to the north (staying with Newport Avenue) to cross into North Attleborough.

North Attleborough

South of North Attleborough center, the old road is known as Old Post Road. The old road crossed the turnpike (now US 1) just south of the intersection with Route 120, forming a small curve before merging with the turnpike north of the intersection. This curved alignment is now gone, so traffic must use US 1. Additionally, US 1 leaves the turnpike at the Route 120 intersection to bypass North Attleborough center on East Washington Street.

The Lower Post Road passed through North Attleborough Center on Washington Street, later used as part of the turnpike. Another short curved alignment still exists to the west of Washington Street north of the center. Just north of this, the route crosses the Ten Mile River and then enters a complicated five-way intersection with US 1 and Route 1A. US 1 straight ahead is the old turnpike, and US 1 to the right was built in the 1930s. The Post Road went to the right onto Elmwood Street. The fork to the left onto Route 1A through Plainville center was an alternate route to Boston.

Elmwood Street enters the town of Plainville, where it becomes Messenger Street. The road merges with Route 106 before crossing Route 152 at Wilkins Four Corners and entering Foxborough.

Foxborough
East Walpole (part of Walpole)
Norwood
Islington (part of Westwood)
Dedham
West Roxbury
Jamaica Plain
Roxbury
Boston

Middle Post Road

The Middle Post Road was the shortest and fastest route, but was less populated and thus less traveled.

Connecticut

Hartford
East Hartford
Manchester
Bolton


Pomfret

Massachusetts

Douglas


Mendon

milestone 37 [2] (http://www.preserveamerica.gov/6-25-04PAcommunity-mendonMA.html)

South Milford
North Bellingham
Medway
Millis
Medfield
Westwood
Dedham

See also

External links

Template:Commons

References

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