The Compressors

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir The Compressors The main contract for the construction of the Wachusett Dam was made on October 1, 1900 with the McArthur Brothers Company of Chicago, IL. This work would require that large quantities of rock blasted from a remote quarry be placed by derricks into position at the dam. Twin… Continue reading The Compressors

The Bastion

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir The Bastion If you have driven past the Wachusett Dam lately you may have noticed substantial construction work in progress across the valley from the entrance gate on Boylston Street. The Owner of the property, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), has found it necessary to effect repairs to the… Continue reading The Bastion

UFOs (??) Over the Dam

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir UFOs (??) Spotted Over The Dam I happened to be visiting the Wachusett Dam one sunny day and saw this mysterious object flying overhead. That’s my dog, Max, doing the barking. See the video below to unravel the mystery. Thanks, Paul Marquee… Menu…

John F. Philbin’s “mutilated” building

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir John F. Philbin’s “mutilated” Building In anticipation of the new Wachusett Dam & Reservoir project, Boylston Street would replace the soon to be discontinued River Street as the main road to Boylston. The road, which passed between John F. Philbin’s house and barn, was to be upgraded and widened to… Continue reading John F. Philbin’s “mutilated” building

Houses Under the Dam

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Houses Under the Dam One of the many little mysteries and unanswered questions that keep turning up in the study the archives is this one. Why, right in the middle of a vast construction project, should there have been two largely undisturbed houses left in place…on the upstream side of… Continue reading Houses Under the Dam

The Biggest Boulder

Wachusett Dam &Reservoir The Biggest Boulder The site chosen for the location of the Wachusett Dam was across a narrow gorge lying between two hills, with the Nashua River running between them in Clinton. It was required that the millpond there be drained and the riverbed soils be excavated to bedrock all the way… Continue reading The Biggest Boulder


Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Coal at the Dam Before the introduction of gasoline and the internal combustion engine (and proper roads) the movement of goods and people was implemented by steam. All that was required was the fusion of two basic elements…fire and water. Steam engines use the force produced by steam pressure to… Continue reading Coal

Oakdale Station: Anatomy of a Rail Yard

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Oakdale Station: Anatomy of a Rail Yard Oakdale Station   1897 Road Engine Freight Transfer House Warehouses May Street Freight House Water Tower Engine House Coal Storage Bin Yard Engine Oakdale I decided to write this article when I came across this remarkable collection of images of the Oakdale Station situated on… Continue reading Oakdale Station: Anatomy of a Rail Yard

Diversity at the Dam

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Diversity at the Dam Many of you will appreciate the hours of close scrutiny of the archival photographs it takes to gain a thorough understanding of the activities that unfolded at the construction sites. It was during my studies with these that I began to notice the wide range of workers… Continue reading Diversity at the Dam

The Central Massachusetts Railroad Since the enactment in 1895 by the Legislature of the Metropolitan Water Act, it was understood that the portion of the Central Massachusetts Rail Road (CMRR) passing through and under the future Great Reservoir would have to be relocated, without interruption to regular service, to a safe route  on higher ground. The elimination and replacement… Continue reading The Central Massachusetts Railroad