Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA - In 1803, Governor Caleb Strong chartered the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation, a profit-making venture that proposed building a toll road straight from Newburyport through Topsfield to Boston.
Proponents of the turnpike claimed it would be a far more efficient way between the two endpoints, cutting travel time from six to four hours. Work on the Turnpike began in August 1803 and involved immense amounts of manual and animal labor. When the Newburyport Turnpike opened for business on February 11, 1805, its builders claimed it was the best in the nation. The turnpike had tollhouses located in Newbury, Topsfield and Chelsea, each with a large gate that swung open and closed across the way. Stagecoaches ran regularly carrying passengers, mail and freight, though not without difficulty over Topsfield's steep hills. Accidents were common. The Newburyport Turnpike Corporation was never particularly profitable and became less so with the advent of the railroad. The corporation ceased operations around 1847 and sold the turnpike to Essex County in the early 1850s.
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