Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Wilbraham, Massachusetts

Wilbraham was first settled in 1730.

The Aqueduct in Wilbraham was chartered on February 20, 1797 by Samuel Fisk Merrick, Gideon Persons Burt, Jonathan Merrick, Solomon Warriner, Jason Chapin, Joel Lyman, James Hammon, Moses Warriner Junr., Moses Burt, William Brewer, Nathan Ainsworth, John Adams, and Augustus Sisson, all of Wilbraham in the County of Hampshire  No evidence has been found that they built a system.

The Wilbraham Aqueduct Company was organized in 1854 or 1855 and built a water system using wood logs.

A 1926 law allowed the Town of Wilbraham to purchase water from the City of Springfield.

The Town of Wilbraham currently owns the system and supplies water to the community, which is supplied by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.


1914 The History of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, by Chauncey E. Peck
Somewhere about 1854 or 1855, a stock company was formed here for the purpose of supplying our center village with water.  A reservoir was made on the west side of, and about half way up the mountain, and an aqueduct of pine logs was laid to the Main Street and for about half a mile in the street. I well remember, when a boy, of seeing the long auger, run by steam power, eating its way lengthwise through those logs and the bushels of chips which rolled out of the end of the log where the auger entered. The boring was done in a lot on the east side of the Main Street, directly in front of the south end of the present boarding house of Wilbraham Academy. The specifications required that the logs should be eight inches in diameter at the small end. They bored a hole four inches in diameter through each log, leaving at the best only two inches of sappy V green wood around the hole, and as I have been told, when the water was turned on the logs began to burst before the water got down into the village. The broken places were patched up, and the water was kept running after a fashion for a few years, but at such an expense for repairs that after a short time the system was abandoned, and the reservoir sold later to Wilbraham Academy, and about thirty-five years ago an iron pipe was pushed through the hole in the old logs for part of the way, and now serves to convey water to their boarding house from what is called the "Upper Reservoir."

The following is a copy of an assessment made upon the stockholders, found among the papers left by William W. Merrick.
"Wilbraham June 16th, 1856.
"To William W. Merrick Esq. Treasurer of the Wilbraham Aqueduct Company.
"The Board of Directors of the Company have directed that an instalment of six dollars on each share of the capital stock of said Company be required to be paid into the hands of the Treasurer at the expiration of ten days from the 28th day of May last past. In accordance with this resolution I have placed in the hands of Hiram M. Brewer Collector of the Company the Subjoined bills. It is the wish of the directors that you use all due dilligence to cause the same to be collected and paid into your hands and made subject to the drafts of the Secretary and Auditor.

2015 Morris A. Pierce