Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States Massachusetts Weymouth

Weymouth, Massachusetts

Weymouth was founded in 1622 as “Wessagusset” and was renamed Weymouth in 1635.

Local resident Micah Richmond built an aqueduct around 1821 using lead pipes, and in 1825 he, Abraham Thayer, and Ezra Leach obtained a charter for the Weymouth Aqueduct Company, "for the purpose of maintaining and extending an aqueduct they have already constructed."  This system operated until about 1855.

The town of Weymouth was authorized to construct water works in 1881, which were built and operating by the end of 1885.

The Town of Weymouth currently owns the water system.

1825 An Act to establish the Weymouth Aqueduct Corporation, February 24, 1825.

1881 An act to supply the town of Weymouth with pure water. April 6, 1881.  Accepted by the town, November 26, 1883.

1883 An act to incorporate the East Weymouth Water Company.  May 3, 1883.

1884 Historical sketch of the town of Weymouth, Massachusetts, from 1622-1884, by Gilbert Nash
Page 91:  "Water Question. — The last important business found upon the town records is upon the question of supplying the town with water from Great Pond. Many and urgent had been the calls demanding this or some other means by which the inhabitants and the rapidly growing necessities of the town should be furnished with an ample supply of water. Efforts were put forward to that end, and a charter was obtained from the Legislature of 1882-3, of sufficient powers to cover the undertaking. On the 18th of September, 1883, a town meeting was called, at which it was voted, by a large majority, to accept the Water Act, and on the 25th of the same month a board of water commissioners was chosen, and instructed to cause to be made thorough surveys and estimates of all work and costs proposed by the Act, and to make a report of the same at a special meeting to be called for the purpose. This, one of the most important enterprises ever undertaken by the town, has not reached its present stage without violent opposition. The unfortunate situation of the town in respect to its various villages, with their often conflicting interests, and the jealousies occasioned thereby, has shown itself in this matter, as in nearly every important movement that has ever been proposed, and its success, however much it may be desired, is notyet assured. (The final action assuring it has since been taken, and the work is in progress.)

1885 An act to ratify and confirm the proceedings of the town of Weymouth in relation to procuring a supply of water for said town. May 12, 1885.

1885 Engineering News 14:286 (October 31, 1885)
The Weymouth. Mass.. water-works are completed and ready for service. The water is obtained from the Great Pond. The pumping-station is supplied with a Blake Compound Duplex Engine. The standpipe is of boiler plate, and stands on a masonry foundation: it is 40 feet diameter. 76 feet high. with acapacity of 750,000 gallons. There is a high and a low service which can be connected in cases of emergency. This will give a head of 250 feet in the lower villages. There are over 33 miles of pipe, varying from 6 inches to 20 inches diameter. Mr. M. M. Tidd. Boston. was the engineer: Mr. W. C. McClallan. Chicopee. the contractor. The pipes were supplied by A. H. McNeal, Burlington. N. Y.: the gates and hydrants by the Chapman Valve Co.. Indian Orchard. Mass. and the standpipe by the Cunningham Iron Works. Boston.

1888 "Weymouth," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Weymouth," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Weymouth," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "Weymouth," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1907 Weymouth Ways and Weymouth People: Reminiscences, by Edmund Soper Hunt
Page 92:  Mr. Ezra Leach did all the plumbing for the village. At this time pumps were replacing the well-sweep and the windlass in the wells, and the lead pipe used came in short lengths of twelve feet, which had to be soldered together. Mr. Leach did this, and as I remember, seldom made a tight joint, from the crude methods he used. He also leathered the boxes, and when the pump at home was out of order I was always sent for Mr. Leach. He then lived on the "turnpike" (Washington street), just above the old Academy.

1918 History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 1622-1918, Volume 1, by Louis Atwood Cook
Page 295-296:  WATERWORKS
For several years prior to 1880, the question of utilizing the waters of Great Pond as a supply for the town had been discussed in private conversations and in town meetings, but nothing was accomplished until April 6, 1881, when the Legislature passed an act authorizing the town to use the waters of the pond for extinguishing fires, domestic purposes, lay mains, set hydrants, etc., when the act was accepted by a two-thirds vote of the town.
Two years passed and the act had not been accepted by the voters. On May 3, 1883, Peter W. French, Leavitt Bates, Zachariah L. Bicknell, John P. Lovell, Nathan D. Canterbury, Marshall C. Dizer, Joseph Totman and their associates and successors were incorporated as the East Weymouth Water Company, "for the purpose of furnishing the inhabitants of the Town of Weymouth with water from Weymouth Great Pond and the waters which flow into it," and to connect with the pipes of the Hingham Water Company at the boundary line. The Town of Weymouth was given the power to purchase the franchise and property of the company at any time during the life of its charter.
The passage of this act served as a stimulus to the people of Weymouth to accept the provisions of the act of 1881, which was done at a special town meeting called for the purpose on September 18, 1883. The vote in favor of acceptance was 356 to 114. At an adjourned meeting on the 25th Josiah Reed, Augustus J. Richards and Henry A. Nash were elected water commissioners. In the meantime the waters of Great Pond had been subjected to an analysis and the meeting voted an appropriation of $1,000 to employ an engineer to make survey and submit plans for a system of waterworks. Oran White and Thomas H. Humphrey were added to the board of water commissioners.
The board employed M. M. Tidd to examine the waters of Great Pond and make plans for the waterworks. He reported a plan including thirty-seven miles of mains, with the Great Pond as the source of supply, and estimated the cost of such a plant as contemplated at $296,000. At the annual meeting on March 3, 1884, it was voted to issue bonds to the amount of $300,000, the vote on the question being 529 to 231.
On May 12, 1885, the act incorporating the East Weymouth Water Company was repealed, because it came in conflict with the act of April 6, 1881, which granted to the town the right to use the waters of Great Pond to supply the inhabitants of the town.
In the construction of the works a pumping station was built at South Weymouth to lift the water from Great Pond to a reservoir, also at South Weymouth, whence it is supplied to the town by gravity. The pumping machinery was installed by the George F. Blake Manufacturing Company and the Deane Steam Pump Works, each having a daily capacity of 1,500,000 gallons. The reservoir has a capacity of 700,000 gallons. At the close of the year 1916 the system embraced 76.55 miles of mains, 453 hydrants, with 1,940 meters in use. The total number of gallons pumped during the year was 141,126,790. According to the statement of the town accountant, the cost of the plant to December 31, 1916, was $600,339.35.

1923 "History of the Weymouth Water Works," by Fred O. Stevens, from History of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Volume I.

© 2016 Morris A. Pierce