19th Century

Cary Improvement Company

September 1, 1851, an Act was approved by the Massachusetts General Court granting authority to John H. Wilkins, James Sturgis, John Gardner and their associates, to form a corporation by the name of the Cary Improvement Co. “The corporation may purchase and hold the whole or any part of certain real estate in Chelsea, described in the deed of Charles S. Cary.” On March 27, 1852, the Cary Improvement Co. purchased the Cary farm from Charles Cary, former treasurer for the Town of Chelsea, for the sum of $150,000. The Cary family retained ownership of the Cary House and the surrounding acre of land.

The land that was purchased by the Cary Improvement Co. represented the largest and productive of the farmland owned by Gov. Richard Bellingham and which had been later inherited by the Cary family in 1765. Some of the heirs had an undivided 240th part of the farmland and thirty signatures were listed on the deed transferring ownership.

The farm contained 414 acres or more than one-third of the Town of Chelsea. According to the surveys the farm contained 202 acres of prime upland, 159 acres of marsh and 53 acres of flats. The Cary Improvement Co. now had a waterfront of approximately a mile along the Chelsea River. Large tonnage vessels, drawing from 18 to 20 feet of water could maneuver three-fifths of this river. This would provide huge potential for use of shipbuilding, wharf and manufacturing purposes.

Most of the streets were to be laid out fifty feet wide. Squares and parks and numerous shade trees were added. As the streets and avenues were laid out, fine lots of 6,000 to 10,000 sq. feet were created on each side. The estate contained everything necessary for development. The upland would not require any change but to bring the marsh and flats to proper grade, the estate contained sufficient earth and gravel. The continued growth of Boston and the surrounding community created a burgeoning market for both business and residential needs.