The Granite Railway Company of Quincy was the first commercial railway in the United States. Incorporated in 1826 and designed by Gridley Bryant, the railway relied on horses, rather than steam locomotives, to draw the cars along the tracks. Its primary purpose was to transport granite from Quincy to build the Bunker Hill Monument.
Hardy fishermen and their families have long inhabited Bailey Island, which was settled in the 1720s. Ordinarily, they did not mind crossing to the mainland in their fishing boats. But before the Bailey Island Bridge was built, during certain seasons of the year when violent storms battered the coast, it was impossible to leave the island.
Ithamar A. Beard, an engineer of some prominence in New England, surveyed the mill brook and selected the best site for a storage dam. Contractor Simeon Cobb, knowledgeable of contemporary civil engineering practices, made major changes to the dam's original design, converting the linear dam into a gentle arch.