Time Passes On

Hill Pump Works

The pump which was made by the Hill Pump Works, Anderson, Indiana.

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30 School Street Wayland, Massachusetts 01778

I would guess the time was back in the year 1928 or 29 when I was a ramblin' kid that I made the discovery. Roaming around in the woods near where the now Massachusetts Turnpike cuts through the Framingham reservoirs, a small inlet of water was found. The shallow waters in this area were always good fishing in those days. At the far end of the inlet I noticed some bubbles on the water surface. A closer look showed a 2' pipe sticking out of the banking just below the water level with an elbow on it dropping the pipe down two or three feet into deeper water. Following the line of the pipe back along the edge of a wooded area some 150-200 feet, I discovered it went into a concrete bunker sunk into the ground six or eight feet. A set of field-stone steps built between two concrete walls led down to a large wooden door below the ground level. Checking further by opening the door I saw a large double acting horizontal piston high pressure water pump mounted on a concrete pedestal operated by a belt from a large single cylinder vertical gas engine five or six feet away. I have long forgotten the name on the engine. The inside of this bunker was about eight by ten feet. The top of the flat roof was about one foot above the ground with a steel grating three feet long on one side opposite the door. An exhaust pipe stuck through the brick wall near the top. The wall on the far end had a six foot diameter steel tank in it with about one foot of tank inside the bunker. The discharge from the pump was piped into this tank which had a sight glass mounted on it near the top. Back outside the bunker the tank extended out 15 or 20 feet covered with dirt to about one foot from the top. The far end of the tank had a concrete sump hole with three pipes and shutoffs running in various directions toward some outbuildings and a couple of young orchards some distance away. So much for this adventure that day.

Over the span of 50 or so years I never thought of this past adventure until my company moved from Boston out to Southboro in 1984. Driving to work on the Massachusetts Turnpike every day I noticed some activity with bulldozers and backhoes in a large tract of wooded and open area. It then came back to me that this was the area where I made the discovery a long time ago. The next day I drove into the location where the machinery was working. It was mostly woods now with some trees 10-12' in size and lots of undergrowth. After an hour of searching around I found the mound where the bunker was. Sure enough, the steps leading down were still there but all grown up with trees and brush. Making my way down, I found traces of the wooden door on the ground and the rusted hinges still hanging from the concrete wall. The top of the bunker was completely covered now. A step inside showed me the pump still sitting on the pedestal, rusty but still complete as the day I last saw it. the belt was rotted away in a heap on the floor, paper thin and turned to dust at a touch. A glance in the direction of the engine spoiled my day. There was just the concrete base and no engine. The remains of the hold down bolts and some rusty exhaust pipe, a couple of five-gallon cans were all that remained. The engine had been removed many years ago. The storage tank in the end of the bunker was rusted and could be pierced with a screw driver blade. The brass sight glass bracket was gone. Outside a depression in the ground showed that the tank had rusted through many years ago. Disappointed that the engine was not found, my son and I removed the pump that afternoon. It may be restorable but nevertheless, it accounted for two memorable days in my life many years apart.