North Central Pathway, near Heywood St.
Gardner, MA, 01440
In the late 1800’s, the town was looking for a better supply of water to assist in extinguish fires in the town, as the number of wooden factories had increased. In 1880, a public meeting was held where the president of Wiley Construction Company of Greenfield, being familiar with the construction of public water works, presented a proposal for the construction of a reservoir on Glazier Hill (now known as Reservoir Hill), a pump station on the easterly shore of Crystal Lake, and a series of water pipes and about 60 hydrants. The project was built in 1881 and the winter of 1882.
On April 10th, 1882, the Gardner Water Company was incorporated by act of the Massachusetts Legislature, and given the privilege of taking water from Crystal Lake. By the end of the 1880’s, more that 16 miles of water pipes were installed in the streets, with 74 hydrants and 6 public watering troughs. At the time, about 1/3 of of the houses in town were serviced by public water.
As part of the act of incorporation, the Town of Gardner was given the right to purchase the company after a period of 20 years. In 1902, the city voted to do so, although the purchase was not without some conflict regarding the valuation of the corporation, including the value in the right of taking water from Crystal Lake. In 1903/1904, the mater went to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, where it was found that the state had the right to grant the taking of water from a Great Pond, and that right was allowed as part of the financial valuation of the company.
With the increase of public health and safety regulations, in 1999, the design of a new water treatment facility took place with it’s construction shortly thereafter. With the completion of this new facility, the old brick pumphouse was no longer needed and demolished (about 2005/2006).
Research Contributed by Chris P.,
of the South Gardner Historical Society and the Gardner Historical Commission