|Introduction||Historical Background||Chronology||Geography||Biography||Technology||Ownership and Financing||General Bibliography|
|New England States||Massachusetts||Great Barrington|
Great Barrington was incorporated as a town in 1761.
The Great Barrington Fire District was authorized to build water works in 1865, but the town could not agree that it should do so.
The Great Barrington Water Company was incorporated in 1868 and built a gravity system.
The Mansfield Lake Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1884 and built another gravity system.
The Berkshire Lakes Water Company was incorporated in 1886 and built yet another gravity system.
The Great Barrington Fire District bought the existing systems in 1890 and 1894.
Water is provided by the Great Barrington Fire District Water Department, which has a history page.
1865 An act for supplying the town of Great Barrington with pure water. May 5, 1865.
1868 An act to incorporate the Great Barrington Water Company. June 4, 1868.
1881 Great Barrington, from Engineering News 8:434 (October 29, 1881)
of Great Barrington: (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts, by
Charles James Taylor
Pages 436-438: The Fire District
The Great Barrington Fire District was organized August 12, 1854, embracing the village and sufficient outside territory to include 1,500 inhabitants. At a little earlier date February 21, 1854 nineteen men in uniform, escorted by the Falls Village Brass Band, paraded the streets drawing a small Garden Engine. To that date the village never had either a fire engine or fire company, and this band of young men formed the nucleus of the Hope Fire Company, organized at about that time. The demonstration then made resulted in the purchase of a Fire Engine by subscription, towards which the sum of $1,600 was raised within a week. The Engine, a fine Button machine, was received by the Fire Company then numbering eighty men, in uniform on the 13th of June, 1854.
The Engine House since removed to Bridge street was erected by the Fire District, on Castle street, in the fall and winter of 1854, the town contributing $500 towards the building. Reservoirs were built by the District, in various parts of the village, the supply of water, to a considerable extent, being furnished by the roofs of adjoining buildings.
For many years 1850-65 the subject of supplying the village with water for domestic uses, as well as for the extinguishment of fires, was discussed ; but no decisive steps were taken imtil 1865, when the Legislature passed an Act for supplying the town of Great Barrington with pure water. This act authorized the Fire District to conduct the water of East Mountain Brook to the village, and also gave authority to the town to issue Water Scrip, bearing interest and payable within thirty years, for the expense of the proposed outlay. Under the Act, the town had authority to assess and collect taxes upon the polls and estates of the Fire District, for the payment of the scrip and interest, though it was expected that the revenue to be derived from the water works, when completed, would render such taxes unnecessary.
The town, on its part, at first accepted, but afterwards rejected the provisions of this act. In 1866, in a very dry season August to October measurements of the water in the brook were made by a committee of the Fire District, and the result of nine measurements, on as many different days, showed the minimum capacity of the brook to be but two barrels per minute. Many were of the opinion that this brook could not furnish an adequate supply of water for the village; but others were more sanguine. The agitation of the water question, with the refusal of the town to cooperate in the matter, resulted in the formation of
The Great Barrington Water Company, organized in August, 1868, with a capital of $20,000 in shares of $100 each. This company, in the fall of 1868, built the reservoir, and brought the water of East Mountain Brook to the village. Hydrants, for use in case of fires, were also put in; and the supply of water, from that time, has proved abundant, with the exception that, in very dry seasons, it has been necessary to enforce economy in its use.
1884 An act to incorporate the Mansfield Lake Aqueduct Company. March 27, 1884.
1886 An act to incorporate the Berkshire Heights Water Company of Great Barrington. June 22, 1886.
1887 An act to authorize the Great Barrington Fire District to take or purchase the franchise and property of the Great Barrington Water Company. June 11, 1887.
1888 "Great Barrington," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
of the water supplies and inland waters of Massachusetts. 1887-1890,
Pages 140-141: Water Supply of Great Barrington. Great Barrington Water Company.
Description of Works.Population in 1885, 4,471. The works are owned by the Great Barrington Water Company. Water was introduced in 1867. The source of supply is a small mountain brook, on which a very small storage reservoir is built. The area of the reservoir is estimated to be about one acre. Maximum depth, 12 feet; average depth, about 6 feet ; bottom, clay; capacity, about 1,700,000 gallons. The natural drainage area, estimated from the new topographical map of Massachusetts, is about 134 acres. The slopes are very steep and heavily wooded. There is very little cleared land and no population on the drainage area. In the vicinity of the reservoir there is a dense growth of evergreen trees extending to the water's edge. Water is distributed by gravity. Distributing mains are of cast iron and service pipes of wrought iron.
In addition to the Great Barrington Water Company, there are three other water companies in this town. The Mansfield Lake Aqueduct Company furnishes water from Mansfield Lake to a very few persons, and at times supplies water to the Great Barrington "Water Company. The Berkshire Heights Water Company constructed works in 1887 for pumping water from Green River in Great Barrington to a distributing reservoir to supply a portion of the town. These works are not yet in operation. The Housatonic Water Company was chartered to supply the village of Housatonic, which is in the northern part of Great Barrington very near the line between Great Barrington and Stockbridge. Water ivas introduced in December, 1888. The source of supply is Long Lake in Great Barrington. Water is distributed by gravity. Distributing mains are of cast iron; service pipes are of galvanized iron.
1890 An ct to amend chapter three hundred and eighty-one of the acts of the year eighteen hundred and eight-seven, amending the act to incorporate the Berkshire Heights Water Company of Great Barrington, and to ratify and confirm the organization and certain acts and doings of said company. June 21, 1890.
1890 "Great Barrington," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
1891 "Great Barrington," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.
1897 "Great Barrington," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.
1902 An act to authorize the Great Barrington Fire District to increase its water supply and to issue bonds for that purpose. April 1, 1902.
© 2018 Morris A. Pierce