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 stonework on that far end, known as the Bastion.

As with any project, place names often have simple origins. I suspect that to keep people oriented as to which end of the Dam was being discussed, they were called just “A” and “B”, later evolving into “the Abutment” and “the Bastion”.

This squarish pile of stone at the far end of the dam is more than a mere decoration. It housed the wooden flash boards that were used to control excessive wave action all across the adjacent weir (spillway). In the photo windows and a door to the room in the Bastion and iron stanchions to hold the flash boards.

The way the water used to flow


Interior of the storage room

Replacement flash board (hydraulic)

Carefully numbered and stored original blocks from 1904

Replacement samples from the original quarry

Found this short (6 minutes) video I made about the Bastion. Might help explain it a little.

What’s really going on there.

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