The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 19, 2001


According to Ben....

See letter from Art Millikan

Ed. note: The following are excerpts from articles written by Benfield in 1986.

One reason why Carlisle's population density remains relatively low is because the town contains so much ledge and swamp. Thanks in part to these physiographical features, particularly the ledge, we have no municipal water supply and no town sewerage. Almost every house in Carlisle has its own well and its own septic system. This means that people cannot live too close together without affecting each other's ground water, as residents of Carlisle's center know only too well. Carlisle's abundant ledge would make the installation of a municipal water supply, and especially town sewerage, fabulously costly.

Carlisle's swampland has also helped retard its growth in population, partly for reasons of sanitation and partly because of the abundance of mosquitoes. When these insects bite newcomers it sometimes encourages them to go back to where they came from, which has a favorable effect on our tax rate, by delaying the need to build expensive new schools and expand other municipal services. Black flies, despite the shortness of their season, help a bit too.

We were lucky to succeed. Not long before the Town Meeting of 28 November 1972 when the town voted 243 yes to 21 no in favor of the acquisition, conditional on the town receiving 75 percent reimbursement, I organized a public foot tour of the land including a walk along the riverside frontage. This was to show how it connected with the property of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and, further south, the town's recently acquired Foss Farm acreage. Unfortunately I did not realize how much the Concord River's level had recently risen. As a result, members of the public who were kind enough to turn out for this expedition, waded up to their knees in water until we decided we had better retreat to Maple Street, trespassing across the late Francis T. O'Rourke's pig farm, whose existence, abutting the Greenough land, was something we did not plan to publicize!

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito