This is the second of two photographs I’ve been able to secure from the Millyard stack (the other I featured last month).
As was the case in the first creation, the contemporary photo was made by Andy Bower of International Chimney, who hoisted one of my cameras up a very, very long rope and used it to peek out over roughly the northern part of the city – if you can use that word to describe that area in the early 1900s.
Off in the distance is the Amherst Street School. Holman Stadium hasn’t been built yet, a product of Works Projects Administration in 1937. As notable as what’s not there then is what’s developing in the photo now – another river crossing over the Nashua River.
Dave Dube is with O.E. Dube & Son drilling in Merrimack. He described for me the process of getting the holes drilled into bedrock to provide a solid footing for the 6-foot in diameter concrete and rebar supports for the bridge.
There will be 16 of them, he said. He also told me the work is progressing but at a bit slower rate, because of what they’re running into underground. Loose material has kept the crew from getting a solid footing into the bedrock. It’s not a case of the conditions making for easy drilling. It’s actually harder to get things in straight.
The road on the riverbank in the photo provides access to the worksite. Digging has revealed decades-old trash in that loose material. A coworker is now the proud owner of a chunky green glass bottle that once contained “Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.”
The concoction was marketed for many years as a cure-all for various afflictions. This is from Vanderbilt University’s Eskind Biomedical Library: “A sure cure for PROLAPSUS UTERI, or falling of the womb and all FEMALE WEAKNESSES including leucorrhoea, irregular and painful menstruation, inflammation and ulceration of the womb, flooding … for all weaknesses of the generative organs of either sex, it is second to no remedy that has ever been before the public, and for all diseases of the kidneys it is the GREATEST REMEDY IN THE WORLD.”
Changes in the law at the time meant that what was in the bottle – about 20 percent alcohol – had to be revealed to users. However, there was no discounting its creator, Lydia Estes Pinkham, was a successful 19th century woman entrepreneur, despite her “medicine” containing booze while she was also involved in the Temperance movement. And apparently phrenology, all according to the Harvard Library. Hmmm.
You never know what you’ll dig up out there.
Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or DHimsel@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).