Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Massachusetts Holland

Holland, Massachusetts

Holland was settled in 1730.

The town considered installation of a piped water system as early as 1834, but nothing was done.  In 1904 a vote in favor of a public water supply was successful and a system was installed taking water from a nearby spring.  This system does not appear in any other records other than the book noted below.

The Town of Holland currently has no public water supply and relies on private water wells. 

1915 History of the Town of Holland, Massachusetts, by Rev. Martin Lovering
Page 136:  After the stage line was abandoned, trouble was experienced in having regular and efficient mail service. This is seen in various votes of the town, and appropriations therefor. It was brought for years from Brimfield by Mr. Wm. Lilley who has recently died, aged 80. He was a veteran of the Civil War, public spirited, giving to the town, under nominal restrictions, the right to pipe water down onto the common for public use, from a fine spring on his homestead.
Pages 173-175:  Water On To The Plain. The matter of securing a supply of water on the plain occupied the attention of the people of Holland soon after the church was moved there in 1793. When the parsonage was built in 1821, a well was begun. In 1822 it was voted that Capt. Leonard M. Morris and Lt. John Wallis be a committee to circulate a subscription paper to complete the parsonage well. To this committee Luther Brown was added. Digging this well must have been expensive and laborious. Mr. Dwight E. Webber declares that after digging down nearly one hundred feet they came upon a bed of quicksand which rendered futile all the expense and labor, for when they tried to stone it up the stone work kept sinking, and they were compelled to abandon the plan. In 1834, an article was in the town warrant to see if the town would appropriate money for piping water on to the plain, but nothing was done. In 1839, Sept. 30, it was voted to take the avails from the sale of the old meeting house materials to build a cistern to accommodate the parsonage. Ezra Allen, Adolphus Webber, John Wallis, Harris Cutler, and Grosvenor May were chosen committee to build the cistern. This was sure to be unsatisfactory for the cistern would leak. It must have been very inconvenient for the pastor to get water in those days. Hauling water from Stevens' Brook for washing, and fetching it for cooking and drinking from the well where Mrs. Henry Brown now lives, must have been a task of such serious proportions as would make the question come up again. The cistern served for a while, but was sure to fail and be a source of vexation in time. In 1896 it was voted to choose an agent to ascertain the cost to drive a well, or bring running water to the common. Mr. Wm. L. Webber was chosen agent. Nothing was done. In 1897, it was voted to leave the question of water on the common in the hands of the selectmen, to report at an adjourned meeting. They evidently reported in favor of cleaning out the well at the foot of Sand Hill in Francis Wight's pasture, and put in a chain pump. An agreement was made, under conditions recorded, whereby the town was permitted to use the well. But the water was found or believed to be unwholesome for the scholars to drink. Finally the dissatisfaction led to an article being inserted in the town warrant, April 4, 1904, containing this question, "Shall running water be put into our town hall, into such part known as the school department," the expense of same to be paid from unappropriated money in the treasury? The vote was by ballot, yes or no, and when taken it was found that the vote stood, Yes, 18; No, 16. A. F. Blodgett, Wallace P. Moore, and Wm. L. Webber were chosen committee to put the water into a tub, piping it down from a spring in Mr. William Lilley's field, he giving the town right to do so, in perpetuo, a very public-spirited gift and one that will prove a blessing as long as the need exists. The water was put into the school entry by piping as well as to a trough on the common.
Thus the old question (agitated for 100 years, says Mr. A. P. Blodgett) of water on the common that came up not long after the church was moved on to the plain in 1793, was finally settled. It must have been a grievous burden to the pastors of the church to get an adequate water supply, and it is little wonder that the pastor, Rev. Josiah G. Willis, felt it a duty to cast his ballot in favor of the plan, in order that his successors might be relieved of the burden, it being the only vote he ever cast in Holland on a local question and needed to avoid a tie. The parsonage is now supplied with the best of spring water; a comfort to the occupants.
Page 204:  But in 1834, previous to the finishing of the cistern, an article had been in the town warrant to see if the town would vote to pipe water on to the plain from a hill west, but no action was taken. Later a proposition was considered to drive a well on the common but that was abandoned also.
When the parsonage was built the main part was built with a small ell on the north side. It was the plan to have the well just outside near door of the ell. The well failed as already stated and a cistern was built. When Rev. Alden Southworth came (1864) the ell was enlarged forming the extension as it now is and bringing the kitchen over the cistern. The water being brought by pipe as it now is, has led to the cistern being discarded (1911), a great improvement both as regards health and convenience.

2017 Morris A. Pierce