Time Passes On

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

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.

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