19th-century turnpikes in Massachusetts
In the late 18th century and early 19th century, turnpikes, as opposed to ordinary roads of the same time, were roads where gates barred travelers from continuing and at which payments were demanded for the use of the road. The word "turnpike" itself comes from the fact that these gates, called "pikes," were "turned" once the toll was paid. The privilege of building and operating turnpikes was conferred by the state legislature to "turnpike corporations". Turnpikes were constructed using private capital, were privately owned, and were operated for revenue from toll collection. The turnpike era in Massachusetts began in 1796, when the first act of incorporation for a turnpike was passed. By 1850, most turnpike corporations had either been dissolved or had stopped collecting tolls. In all, 118 acts of incorporation were passed (ten of these were in the territory that later became the state of Maine). Typical toll rates were twenty-five cents for every coach with additional charges of four cents for every man and horse.
List of turnpikes
|Turnpike name||General routing||Dates of operation||Modern designation|
|First Massachusetts Turnpike||North Wilbraham–Palmer–Warren||1796–1819||US 20–Old Warren Road–Route 67|
|Second Massachusetts Turnpike||North Adams–Drury–Charlemont||1797–1833||Route 2|
|Third Massachusetts Turnpike||Pittsfield line–Worthington–Northampton||1797–1829||Grange Hall Road/Robinson Road–Route 143–East Street/Chesterfield Road|
|Williamstown Turnpike||New York state line–Williamstown–North Adams||Route 2|
|Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike||Greenfield–Athol–Leominster–Concord
(with branch from Athol to Northfield)
|Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike||Amherst–Greenwich–Oakham–Shrewsbury||1799–1829||Local roads west of Rutland and east of Holden; Route 122A (Rutland-Holden).
Pelham-Greenwich is now under the Quabbin Reservoir.
|Eighth Massachusetts Turnpike||Becket–Chester–Russell||1800–1844||US 20|
|Ninth Massachusetts Turnpike||Douglas–Mendon–Bellingham||1800–1833||Southwest Main Street–Hartford Avenue
(old Middle Post Road)
|Tenth Massachusetts Turnpike||New York line–Lenox–Becket–Sandisfield–Connecticut line||1800–1855||Route 8 / US 20–local streets north of Lenox|
|Third New Hampshire Turnpike||New Hampshire line–Townsend||1801–1826||Old Turnpike Road (connects to NH 124)|
|Twelfth Massachusetts Turnpike||Egremont–Sheffield—Connecticut line||1801–1857||US 7–Egremont Road–Route 23|
|Salem Turnpike||Boston–Lynn–Salem||1802–1868||Broadway–Route 107|
|Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike||Dedham||Washington Street– US 1 / Route 1A|
||This article duplicates, in whole or part, the scope of other article(s) or section(s).|
- Frederic J. Wood (1997, orig. 1919). The Turnpikes of New England [abridged]. Branch Line Press. ISBN 0-942147-05-7.