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

https://vimeo.com/527564286 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

The Underwater Rail Trail of the CMRR

The Underwater Rail Trail of the Central Massachusetts Rail Road The Central Massachusetts Rail Road (CMRR), built primarily as a commuter rail from Cambridge to western Massachusetts, reached the Nashua River Valley in the 1880s. Sidings were extended into each of the many busy factories along the route for the loaded freight cars.  The junction… Continue reading The Underwater Rail Trail of the CMRR

The Viaduct (Updated 6/20/22)

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir ©beforetherewasadam.com This Viaduct of the Central Massachusetts Railroad, long since demolished, was a key component to maintaining continuous commuter rail traffic to through the area Cambridge. Constructed on a very close schedule it ultimately became a signature image of the Dam & Reservoir setting. This is another story of the engineering… Continue reading The Viaduct (Updated 6/20/22)

Clinton Catholic Cemetery

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir beforetherewasadam.com Clinton Catholic Cemetery Entrance to St. John’s Catholic Cemetery near Sandy Pond, looking west. In Clinton, Mass. abundant water power in the southern part facilitated the development of large textile mills. In the 1850s a large influx of (Roman Catholic) Irish newcomers settled there to pursue their fortunes working these… Continue reading Clinton Catholic Cemetery

Scar Bridge

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Scar Bridge Sonar Image, AUSS, Ltd; Provided by J Gregoire The Bridge Over Scar Hill Road This bridge is one of several in the Wachusett Reservoir abandoned in place when it was filled with water. It once provided a river crossing for traffic on the the main road between Boylston and… Continue reading Scar Bridge

Assabet Bridge

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir   The Assabet Bridge & Aqueduct This bridge is a little outside my usual field of study, but I found its details quite interesting. Located in Northborough, it is basically a straight span of seven stone arches, crossing over Hudson Street near Allen Street and the Assabet River. Built to carry… Continue reading Assabet Bridge

One Man…One Shovel

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir One Man…One Shovel How They Moved Over 7 Million Cubic Yards of Soil with Just a Shovel     “The Largest Hand-Dug Dam in the World” So it’s been said. In those days America was undergoing the Industrial Revolution and very large projects were everywhere. Development of diesel-powered earthmoving equipment was… Continue reading One Man…One Shovel

Get a Horse!

Wachusett Dam & Reservoir Get a Horse! Hard to imagine what life would be like without automobiles, trucks or diesel machines. Yet, the people were the same. They made do with what they had, just as they have always done. At the time this project was built, available power systems included electricity, steam, compressed air,… Continue reading Get a Horse!