City Document. — No. 23.
CITY OF BOSTON
FOR THE YEARS
. ITY OF BOSTON.
Office of the City Engineer, City Hall,
Boston, Jan 20, 1873.
To the Honorable City Council : —
The following rnport is submitted in compliance with the
requirements of the ordinance relating to City Engineer's De-
The information required to be given by the sixth section
of the ordinance will be found in the accompanying report
o" Mr. Wightmau, Assistant City Engineer.
Having but recently assumed the duties of this office, I am
not familiar with the operations of the department during the
past year, and not having had the time to examine the various
structures reported upon, with sufficient care to be able to
now give a statement of the condition of all of them, I have
thought it best to transmit Mr. Wightman's report as re-
Attention is called to the condition of the Broadway
bridge. There appears to be a want of lateral stiffness in the
supporting trusses to the spans over .streets and railways,
and a ratio of strength to strain less than is usually provided
in the suspension rods of the draw. Also the tow^ers are out
of plumb, owing in part, at least, to settlement of their sup-
ports. Measures have been taken to ascertain exactly what
movements have taken place, and those, if any, that are now
4 City Document. — No. 23.
The hot-air eiio;iues used for turniuo; the draw need
thorough overhaulmg and. repair, and as they are not of
sufficient power to handle the draw properly, and are
costly in maintenance, owing in part to the high speed at
which they are necessarily run, it is recommended that they
be replaced by machines of greater power and of different
It now requires nearly three minutes to turn the draw on
or off. This operation should be performed in, at the most,
one half this time, and provided sufficient lateral strength
can be given to the draw by ties and braces to resist acciden-
tal shocks, there seems to be no good reason why it should
not be performed in one minute. Steam engines of from two
to three times the power of the hot-air engines are recom-
mended for this place. .
The supporting piles of the Chelsea-street bridge are in bad
condition and past repair. The bridge, with the exception of
its draw, must be rebuilt, and work upon it should commence
as early in the spring as the weather Avill permit.
The abutments of the Huntington-avenue bridge over the
B. & A. R. R. have been badly injured and one of the wing-
walls destroyed b}^ the pressure of the mud against the pile
foundations, combined with the pressure of the earth backing
against the masonry.
It seems difficult, if not impossible (except at an enormous
cost), to build abutments or retaining walls that will not
move and crack, on such ground as was found at this place,
unless entire control can be had of the earth-filling behind,
and for considerable distance around them* Long piles are
required to reach through the soft mud, and even if driven
well into a firm stratum beneath, they do not possess sufficient
stiffness to resist effectually the movement of the mud sur-
rounding their upper ends. No weight that it is practicable
to put upon them will keep them in place. The most tha!:
can be done is to tie the piles well together, and give the
Report of City Engineer. 5
mud as much aud as straight passage-way between them as
j)ossihle. Even then movements will occur unless the earth-
liiling is carefully made; though fortunately they ordinarily
cease before the abutment is ruined or rendered unservice-
Observations are being made from time to time at the
Huntington-avenue abutments, to determine what changes
are now occurring, and if possible their exact cause. It is
not thouo:ht best to rebuild the W'inor wall until the observa-
tions are completed and a plan to secure and strengthen the
whole structure has been devised.
In the report for 1870, the City Engineer recommends
rebuilding' the Neponset bridge over Neponset river at the
earliest moment. Its condition has not improved since that
time, and a new structure should be built the coming season,
the old one being too far gone to admit of effective repair.
The Longwood-aveuue bridge is not in o;ood condition.
The supporting trestle-work is somewhat decayed and the
abutment on the Brookline side has moved and seriously
cracked, owing probably to a bad foundation.
The track to the Meridian-street draw-bridge requires some
repairs, the draAv-piers should be replanked, and the asphalt
The following bridges need to be repainted : —
Albany street bridge over B. & A. E. R.
Berkeley " " " B. & P. R. R.
Columbus avenue " " B. & A. R. R.
Ferdinand street " *' B. & A. R. R.
The iron work under the bridge floors, which is apt to be
neglected on account of difficulty of access, should be kept
well painted and in good state of presevation, as well as those
parts that are above and in sight.
City Document. — No. 23.
On the first of January of last year (1872) the water in
Lake Cochituate had been drawn down to four feet three and
a half inches, above the bottom of the conduit, or to abou^
nine feet below high water level, and it continued to, lower
until March 29th, when it stood at the lowest point which it
has been known to reach, or only nine and a half inches above
the conduit bottom. Yevy little snow fell during the winter,
and as the under-ground water-table throughout the surround-
ing country had been very much lowered by the drought of
the precluding season, great apprehension was felt that the
Cochituate district alone would prove insufficient to maintain
the supply to the city during the following summer.
Application to the Legislature was therefore made for an
act authorizing the city to take water from a new source,
and to build works foi- immediate relief
An act was passed, early in April, granting the right to take
water from the Sudbury river, and to turn it into Lake Co-
chituate, and the work required for this purpose was at once
In a report to the Water Board made last May, a full de-
scription of this work (then in progress) was given. Its
chief features are a wooden dam across the river, and a ditch
from Farm pond to Beaver Dam brook, passing through
swamp and meadow lands of a nature that requires the sides
of the ditch to be sustained by planking and bracing. With
the exception of a bridge over the outlet of Farm pond, it is
now fi.nished. It is of a temporary character, intended, with
proper attention and repairs, to last four or five years, or un-
til a new conduit may be built connecting the river with
Chestnut Hill reservoir.
Water was first let into the ditch, June 19, and was run
each night till June 25, to draw down the level of the pond
and permit the deepening of the mouth of the ditch. On
Report of City Engineer.
June 25, water from the river was turned into the pond,
and from thence let into the Lake, and the flow was continued
uninterruptedly until August 7, when it was stopped to finish
the side planking of the ditch. August 16 the commuuica-
tion was again opened, and was kept open till September 17,
when it was closed for the season.
The quantity of water received from the river during the
seventy-five days of flow has not yet been accurately com-
puted, but it cannot have been far from fifteen hundred mil-
lions of gallons, or equal to the supply to the city, taken at
the average for the year, for about one hundred days.
On June 25, the water in the Lake stood at five feet eleven
and one half inches above the bottom of the conduit ; on Au-
gust 7, at six feet eight and one half inches ; on August 16,
at six feet four inches ; and on September 17, at ten feet one
inch. The rise above shown, was chiefly due to the large
rainfall of the summer months, the supply from the river
having been but about thirty per cent, in excess of the con-
sumption in the city.
The Lake is now as nearly full as it is deemed prudent to
keep it at this season of the year.
The average daily consumption in 1871 was 13,945,500
gallons; that in 1872 has been 15,063,432 gallons; an in-
crease of eight per cent.
The average daily consumption for each mouth during the
past year has been as follows : —
January 12,203,911 gallons.
8 City Document. — No. 23.
October 15,544,788 gallons.
November . . . . -. 17,591,442 "
Deceml)er . . . , . 17,263,671
The above quantities are approximate only. There are no
means provided at any part of the works for obtaining accu-
rate data by which the quantities of water drawn from the
Lake, or supplied to the city, can be computed.
An examination of the interior of the conduit from the
Lake to Chestnut Hill reservoir was made October 12th and
13th. It was found in a better condition than had been antic-
ipated, but a number of new cracks were discovered and
many of the old ones had widened (as was shown by the
breaking away of the cement pointing), indicating that move-
ments of a dangerous character are still taking place. A
length of several thousand feet at the upper end was found
covered with a thick vegetable growth resembling sponge,
and a deposit of sand of several inches in thickness was
found on the bottom, probably thrown in by the pumps used
in the early part of the season.
The various reservoirs and the distributing pipes are in good
condition. Probably some changes will be made during the
coming season in the street-pipe system and in the hydrants,
that a more abundant supply of water may be provided in
case of extensive tires.
Owing to additions that have been made to the area sup-
plied by the high service, and to the necessity of furnishing
a large supply of water in case of fire within that area,
changes shonld be made in the high-service works that will
practically increase their capacity.
This can be done either by increasing the pumping power,
or by building a reservoir connected with the stand-pipe.
The reservoir would permit the pumps to be run at a uniform
speed throughout the day, thereby very much increasing their
effective capacity, and would hold in reserve a large supply
Keport of City Engineer. 9
of water to be at once drawn upon for the extinguishment of
By request of the Water Board, surveys and estimates
have been made by this department, to determine what
changes and extensions can be made, and a report will soon
be presented for their consideration.
JOS. P. DAVIS,
City Document. — No. 23.
REPOET OF ASSISTANT CITY ENGINEER.
Office of City Engineer,
Boston, Jan. 15, 1873.
Joseph P. Davis, Esq., City Engineer : —
Dear Sir, — In accordauce with your request, I submit the
following report of the expenses and operations of this de-
partment during the year 1872.
Statement of expenses as paid from the department ap-
propriation : —
Amount of appropriation for 1871-72, ex-
pended from January to May, 1872 . . $4,940 53
Amount of appropriation for 1872-73 . . 20,000 00
Salaries of City Engineer, assistants
draughtsmen and rodmen . $
Instruments and repairs of same
Drawing paper and materials . .
Stationer}^, note books, etc.
Reference books, photographs and
Printing and advertising .
Travelling expenses, horse-keeping,
Expenses of committee .
Unexpended balance Jan. 1, 1873 . . $6,535 52
The following statement shows the amounts paid for en-
gineering from special appropriations since Jan. 1, 1872 : —
Report of City Engineer. 11
New water supply : pay-rolls and
incidentals .... $793 96
Water works (Wards 13 and 16) :
pay-rolls and incidentals . . 866 50
Total, $1,660 46
Atlantic avenue : pay-rolls and inci-
dentals $9 50
Back bay bridges : pay-rolls and
incidentals .... 1,334 07
Total, 1,343 57
Pay-rolls and incidentals . . . 856 13
Pay-rolls and incidentals . . . 1,425 74
WEST BOSTON AND CANAL BRIDGES.
Pay-rolls and incidentals (one-half of this
amount was paid by city of Cambridge). 434 59
Pay-rolls and incidentals (one-half of this
amount was paid by city of Charles-
town) 1,254 25
Total from special appropriations . . 6,974 74
Add amount paid from the department
appropriation ...... 18,405 01
12 City Document. — No. 23.
The number of persons' employed and paid from the de-
partment appropriation was, on the first of January, 1873,
(including the City Engineer), 16.
One of the assistants was discharged in June, by vote of
the committee on this department, necessitating a remodelling
of the working" force of the office. A new party was made
up by promoting one of the rodmen and dividing the em-
ployees into three parties, each with a separate head.
The following statement exhibits the operations of the
department for the past year, together with such informa-
tion pertaining to various works and structures, finished or in
progress, as I have thought would be of interest. As no
report was made by the City Engineer for 1871, I have
briefly alluded to such works of importance as were con-
structed or completed in that year.
Pumping at Lake Cochituate. — The use of the pumping
machinery at Lake Cochituate, by means of which the city
was supplied with water for a period of four months and
a portion of a fifth, was discontinued on the 13th of April,
By direction of the Water Board, I took entiie charge of
the erection and running of this machinery, a full description
of which is contained in the Report of the Cochituate Water
Board for the year 1872.
Deer Island Water Pipe. — The laying of this pipe was
completed in 1871, and it was thoroughly tested previous to
the Annual Eeport of the Cochituate Water Board for that
year. In the City Engineer's report to the Water Board will
be found a statement of the sizes and lengths of pipe laid,
Some difficulty was experienced last winter, from the freez-
ing of the water in its passage through the pipe across Win-
throp Bridge. To prevent a recurreuce of this obstruction,
which in case of fire at the institutions on Deer Island would
Keport of City Engineer. 13
result in disaster, a double box of white pine plank, tongued
and o:rooved and supported by suitable pile work, has been
constructed during the latter part of the pa.'<t year. The
inner l)ox contains the ten-inch water pipe, and is itself en-
closed in a box of sufficient size to allow an air-space of five
inches all around, the covers being made in such a manner
as to be readily removed for repairs of the pipe. It was not
deemed advisable by the City Engineer, or Superintendent
of the Eastern Division, to remove the other pipe across the
bridge, and, although not in use, it is to be kept as a reserve
iu case of accident.
The length of the box is about 520 feet, and the contract
for building it was awarded to W. A. Kenrick, for the sum
Assistant Dexter Brackett was detailed to superintend the
Additional Supply of Water. — Assistant Wilbur F.
Learned and party were detailed in January to make surveys,
under your direction as Engineer of the Water Board in
charge of additional supply, for the temporary connection of
Sudbury River with Lake Cochitiiate. The party was em-
ployed on this work during portions of the months of January,
February, March, April, May, and June, but was recalled
during the latter month, as changes in the office force rendered
its services here indispensable.
Water Pipe Plans, etc. — Sectional plans of Boston proper,
Roxbury and Dorchester, showing the water pipes as laid,
with the location of gates and hydrants, are in preparation.
The plans of Boston proper, thirteen in number, made on a
scale of one hundred feet to an inch, are now practically com-
pleted. The plans of Roxbury, twenty-two in number, are
nearly completed ; they will show all buildings within
twenty-five feet of the street to facilitate the location of gates
and hydrants. These plans, through the courtesy of Thomas
W. Davis, Esq., City Surveyor, have been reduced from sec_
14 City Document. — No. 23.
tional plans made under his direction and from recent sur-
The usual measurements and location of pipes, gates and
hydrants, laid or established in Roxbury and Dorchester,
have been made and transferred to plans in this office, and in
the offices of the Cochituate Water Board and Superintendent
of the Eastern Division of the Water Works.
Tables showing the consumption of water have been cal-
culated, and the yearly tables of heights in reservoirs, rain-
fall and depths of water run in the conduit,- have been pre-
pared for the City Engineer's report to the Water Board.
High-Service Pumping Works. — The extension of the
pipes supplied by these works, during the past year, has
largely increased the amount of water required to be pumped
by the engines. The high portion of South Boston, com-
prising Telegraph Hill and adjacent territory, which was
formerly inadequately supplied by the low-service pipes, is
now connected with the high-service main in Dorchester, by
an independent pipe twelve inches in diameter.
The South Boston reservoir, which has been for several
years of little use, owing to the inability of the low-service
pipes, from loss of head caused by the increased consumption
of water, to keep it full, can now be maintained at high-
water mark, furnishing an important safeguard in case of a
large fire or any accident to the mains snpplying either the
high or low service of this section of the city.
In Dorchester, Ward 16, the high-service pipes are being
rapidly extended to meet the demand for water on the ele-
vated land comprising the larger porticni of this ward.
The supply of the Beacon Hill, South Boston and Dor-
chester high districts was not contemplated when the pumping
works were established, and their capacity will undoubtedly
have to be increased within a short time to provide for these
additions and extensions.
The laying of a 16-inch pipe from these works direct to
Eeport of City Engineer. 15
the Beacon Hill district has been recomnieudecl by the City
Engineer diu'ing the past year. The 30-inch, wliich is now
used for supplying this district, could then be connected with
the low-service in the city proper, furnishing additional se-
curity, in case of accident to the 36 or to the 40-inch main.
Connections have been made with the 20-inch main leading
to Charlestown, in such a manner as to ensure a supply for
the Beacon Hill District from the Charlestown works, should
nny accident happen to the 30-inch main or to the pumping
engines. A plan with estimate of cost of these connections,
was submitted to the Water Board Jan. 6th, 1872. The esti-
mated cost of the connections was $3,216.00, and for the ex-
tension of the 16-inch pipe from the 40-inch main in Beacon
street, through Charles to Cambridge street, there connecting
with the 12-inch pipe in the latter street, $6,490.00.
jVew Main Pipe from Chestnut Hill Reservoir. — Plans,
profiles and estimates of cost have been made for a new line
of 48-inch pipe from Chestnut Hill Reservoir to the city.
Two routes were suggested ; one through Beacon street
over the Mill Dam to the Common, the other through Beacon
street to Coolidge's- Corner in Brookline, thence through
Longwood Avenue, and other streets to the Tremont-street
crossing of the Boston & Providence Railroad, there to con-
nect with the present mains.
The estimated cost of laying the main on the first route is
sufficient to cover the cost of a 16-inch pipe to Beacon Hill,
as proposed by the City Engineer and referred to under the
head of High-Service Pumping Works, and also the 48-inch
main on the second route, as this latter is much the shorter
of the two.
The city proper is now well supplied by the mains leading
to it, and no further additions to its population are to be ex-
pected, except upon the State and Water Power Company's
lands, for which the present mains with slight alterations will
provide. Roxbury and Dorchester, on the contrary, are rap-
16 City Docuivient. — No. 23.
idly increasing in population, and the future growth of the
city will be mainly in this direction; for this reason it would
seem to be wise to supplement the supply of these districts
by laying the new 48-inch miiin on the second route proposed.
Even if the supply to the city proper were not ample, the lay-
ing of the 16-inch pipe, as proposed by the former City Engi-
neer, and the release of the 30-inch for duty on the low ser-
vice, would obviate the necessity for a new 48-inch main to
The final estimate of earth removed from this district was
made August 1st, 1872, and the duties of this department in
connection with it ceased at that date.
The following statement has been prepared exhibiting the
amounts of all contracts and agreements for removing earth
from Fort Hill, with the contractors' names, and the prices
paid per square or per cubic yard, and also the places to
which the earth was carried or contracted to be delivered,
from the commencement of the work, October 15th, 1866, to
its completion, July 31st, 1872.
Detailed statement of separate contracts and agreements for re-
moving earth from Fort Hill, with amounts removed, and prices
paid for the same : —
CONTRACT — TIMOTHY HANNON.
From Oct. 15, 1866, to March 8, 1867.
895 squares, $6 00, $5,370 00, Union Park st.
126 " 5 50, 693 00, Sixth st.
24 *' 4 00, 96 00, Cellars, Broad st.
48 " 4 50, 216 00, Wharves, Federal st.
1,820 " 5 50, 10,010 00, Albanv St. Flats.
2,913 '♦ $16,385 00
Report of City Engineee.
AGREEMENT — LAWRENCE HUGHES.
Nov. 19 and 20, 1866.
5 squares, $6 00, $30 00, Union Park st.
CONTRACT — BONNER & SUTHERLAND.
From April 10, 1867, to Jan. 16, 1868.
889.5 squares, $7 50, $6,671 25, Albany st. Extension.
3472.5 " 7 50, 26,043 75, " Flats.
1150.0 " 7 50, 8,625 00, Dover st. Widening.
AGREEMENT — TIMOTHY HANNON.
From May 4, 1868, to Feb. 12, 1869.
ires, $8 00,
Dover st. Flats
skio «14 00
AGREEMENT — MARTIN HAYES.
From Aug. 11, 1868, to Aug. 23, 1869.
11,672 00, Dover st. Flats.
305 00, Devonshire st.
1,896 00, Harrison av.
546 00, Federal st.
240 00, Tremont st.
944 00, Berkeley st.
City Document. — No. 23.
56 squares, 8 00, 448 00, Chapman st.
35 00, Mathews st.
92 50, Ballast.
768 00, Blair's Lot.
38 25, Wareham st.
280 00, Avon Pkce.
294 00, First st.
768 00, Dover st. Widening,
520 00, Beacon st.
AGREEMENT — PAVIXG DEPARTMENT.
From Feb. 2, 1869, to March 19, 1869.
43 squares, say $8 00, $344 00, Dover st. Flats.
11 " *' 5 00, 55 00, Avon place.
54 " $399 00
AGREEMENT — DRURY & FLYNN,
From May 4, 1869, to June 2, 1869.
95 squares, $5 00, $475 00, Boston Common.
95 *' $475 00
CONTRACT — B. N. FARREN.
• From Nov. 10, 1869, to Oct. 12, 1870.
82,850 cu. yds., $0 75, $62,137 50, Atlantic av.
82,850 " $62,137 50
CONTRACT — TIMOTHY HANNON.
From March i, 1870, to May 10, 1870.
8,122 CLi. yds., $0 60, $4,873 20, Atlantic av. Docks.
8,122 " $4,873 20
Eeport of City Engineer. 19
CONTRACT — JOHN SOUTHER.
From July 1, 1870, to Dec. 31, 1870.
4H,800 cu. yds., $0 55, $25,740 00, Atlantic av. Docks.
46,800 " $25,740 00
CONTRACT — B. N. FARREN.
From Oct. 14, 1870, to April 19, 1871.
45,881 cu. yds., $0 75, $34,410 75, Atlantic av. Docks.
45,881 " $34,410 75
CONTRACT — MARTIN HAYES.
From Oct. 17, 1870, to May 1, 1871.
82,900 cu. yds., $0 75, $62,175 00, Atlantic av. Docks.
82,900 " $62,175 00
CONTRACT — JOHN SOUTHER.
From Nov. 21, 1870, to Nov. 18, 1871.
5,933 squares, $9 60, $56,956 80, Suffolk st. District.
5,933 " $56,956 80
CONTRACT — JOHN SOUTHER.
From June 15, 1871, to July 81, 1872.
58,483 cu. yds., $1 00, $58,483 00, So. Boston Flats.
85,408 " 75, 64,056 00, at disposal of con-
143,891 " $122,539 00
Summary of Amounts of all the Contracts and Agreements for the
removal of earth from Fort Hill, Oct. 15, 1866, to July 31,
2,913 squares $16,385 00
City Document. — No. 23.
Bonner & Sutherland.
Drury & Flynn.
B. N. Farren.
82,850 cu. yds.
8,122 cu. yds.
46,800 cu. yds.
B. N. Farren.
45,881 cu. yds.
82,900 cu. yds.
. 41,340 00
. 10,814 00
. 62,137 50
. 4,873 20
. 25,740 00
. 34,410 75
. 62,175 00
. 56,956 80
Report of City Engineer. 21
143,891 cu. yds. . 122,539 00
410,444 " $447,122 00
17,148 squares, equal 137,184
Makinsj a total of 547,628 cubic vards removed from Fort
Hill, at a cost of $447,122.00.
The final estimate of filling on this district was made July
30th, 1872. The filling was done under two contracts, one
Avith John Souther, for earth from Fort Hill, and the other
with Manuel & Haynes, who purchased a gravel bank at Cot-
tage Farm Station on the Boston and Albany Eailroad. The
final estimate under Mr. Souther's contract was made Dec.
11, 1871, the total amount delivered being 5,933 squares, at
$9.60, amounting to $56,956.80. Of this amount, $12,459.30
were paid from the Fort Hill appropriation. Messrs. Manuel
& Haynes assigned their contract to Phineas E. Gay, who
completed the work.
A portion of the filling furnished under this contract was
obtained from the gravel banks of the Boston and Albany
Railroad in Needham, and was paid for by the car-load, the
cars, by mutual agreement, being estimated to contain a spec-
ified number of cubic yards. After the purchase by the con-
tractors of the gravel bank at Cottage Farm, it was levelled
over, and monthly estimates made hy this department of the
The contract specified that the gravel should be measured
in the bank by the City Engineer, and until December, 1871 , it
was estimated in this way. In December, the committee, not
being able to furnish dumping ground for the contractor as
22 City Document. — No. 23.
fast as he desired it, allowed him to furnish gravel from
the same bank to other parties.
The committee had been erroneously informed that this
department could make separate instrumental estimates of the
amounts delivered on the district and to other parties.
As the cars were run during the day to one place, and at
night to another, it was a manifest impossibility to measure
the amounts removed in this way. The total amount removed
from the bank could be ascertained each month, or oftener if
desired, but the quantity delivered on the district or
sold to other parties could only be determined by divid-
ing the amounts, as estimated by the Engineer, by the
number of car loads that left the bank, and assuming this
quantity as the contents of one car, or by measuring the cars
separately; the number of car loads delivered on the district
being then known, an estimate closely approximating the
true amount could be made.
I have given the above explanation, as the action of the
committee gave rise to a misunderstanding between some
members of it and this department, and estimates were de-
la^^ed by the Superintendent declining to furnish the number
of car-loads, without which no estimate could be made b}^ the
City Engineer, no account of the car-loads being kept by him.
The final estimate of gravel deposited in this district, un-
der the Manuel & Haynes contract, was made July 30th,
1872, the total quantity being 25,823 squares of 8 cu. yds.
each, at $7.50 per square, amounting to $193,672.50.
The Shawmut-avenue Bridge over the Boston <& Albany
R. R. and Orange street. — A contract dated November
26th, 1870, was made with Charles W. Parker, for building
the north abutment and a pier for this bridge. The work
was begun about the first of March, 1871, and completed
July 24th, 1871, at a cost of $11,638.43.
In March, 1871, a contract was made with Colby & Trum-
bull for building the south abutment for this bridge ; the
Report of City Engineer. 23
committee on the Suffolk-street district not being able to
negotiate with the Boston & Albany R. R. Corporation for
the raising of Orange street. Work was commenced under
this contract about the first of May, 1871, and completed in
September, 1871, at a cost of $7,011.80, making the total
cost of the masonry for the two abutments and central pier
Dec. 30, 1870, a contract was made with G. W. & F.
Smith for the construction of the iron superstructure of the
bridge to span the space between the north abutment and
the central pier, which would have been of an average length
of 55 feet. As previonsly stated, negotiations for the raising
of Orange street failed, and a new contract was made with
the Messrs. Smith, dated March 7th, 1871, for the extension
of the bridge over Orange street, in accordance with the plan
first proposed to the committee, the details of which are
fully stated in the City Engineer's Report for 1870.
The bridge was completed September 29, 1871, and has
been well tested by the passage of gravel trains, drawn by a
twenty-ton locomotive, without showing any signs of weak-
ness. It is considered by competent judges the strongest as
well as the most ornamental bridge yet built in the city.
The cost of the superstructure was $33,636.50, making the
total cost of the bridge, abutments and central pier,
Indiana-place Retaining Wall. — March 22, 1871, a con-
tract was made with Colby & Trumbull for rebuilding the re-
taining wall on the northerly side of the Boston & Albany
railroad from the Shawmut avenue bridge to the brick block
opposite to Porter street, in accordance with plans and speci-
fications drawn in this office.
The work was begun in March, 1871, and completed Oc-
tober 20, 1871, at a cost of $30,395.71.
It was supposed, when the plans were drawn, that a pile
foundation would be required for a portion of the wall,
24 City Document. — No. 23.
but MS the excavation proved the natural foundation to
be sufficiently firm, no piles were driven.
Castle-street Retaiimig Wall. — A contract was made in
October, 1871, with Clapp & Ballon for building this wall,
the plans and specifications being furnished by this depart-
It was intended to be similar in construction to the Indi-
ana-place wall, with a brick parapet five feet in height, on a cut
granite coping, but as the Boston & Albany R. R. corpora-
tion desired the wall built in such a manner as to render it
available for the front foundations of any buildings which it
might erect fronting on Castle street, and was willing to pay
an equitable proportion of its cost if so constructed, a wooden
fence with iron standards was substituted for the parapet
w^all, and the retaining wall projected at the top about six-
teen inches beyond the street line, upon land of the corpor-
ation, for its entire length.
The portion of the wall adjoining Tremont street is built
upon piles, the ground at this end being unsuitable for the
The contractors were obliged • by the terras of their con-
tract to leave a gap in the wall,' for the passage of gravel
trains, and were unable to finish the work until the filling of
the district was completed.
They commenced building the wall in Octo}>er, 1871, and
the work was completed and a final estimate made August
28, 1872, the total cost being $43,215.98, of which amount
the railroad corporation is to pay one-half.
Assistant W. F. McConuell was in charge of all the engi-
neerino- field-work done in the Fort Hill and Suffolk-street
districts, including the construction of the Shawmut-avenue
bridge and Indiana-place and Castle-street retaining walls.
Milton Bridge over the JSfeponset River at Milton Lower
Mills. — This bridge has been widened about twenty feet on
the easterly side, and a new retaining wall has been built
Report of City Engineer. 25
about one hundred and forty feet in length on the Boston
side of the river, to support the filling caused by widening
the approach to the bridge, and rai;5ing the grade of the
The bridge structure for the portion widened is built of
iron resting upon stoue abutments or retaining walls on each
side of the river, and upon seven intermediate stone piers,
each five feet in diameter, firmly bedded in Portland cement
on the rock bottom of the river. These piers are placed
about thirty feet apart, and sustain a continuous longitudinal
phite iron girder, three feet deep and two hundred and fort}^-
seven feet in length, which supports the outer ends of a sys-
tem of cross girders formed of twelve-inch I beams, placed
a1)out six feet apart, the other ends of which are supported
in part by a twenty-inch I beam, placed longitudinally along
the present easterly face of the old bridge, and secured
thereto, and in part by the new retaining wall.
A contract for doing all the masonry and iron work was
made Avith the National Bridge and Iron Works, in July,
1871. The contractors had the twelve-inch I beams rolled
in England, and were delayed in completing their work by
the non-recei[)t of them at the time agreed upon. The Avork
was finally completed early in spring of 1872, and was done
in a very substantial and thorough manner.
It is to be reg-retted that the old si'anite arched bridge,
which is in a somewhat dilapidated condition, could not have
been removed without giving rise to complicated suits for
damage to water rights, and replaced by a suitable iron struc-
ture. The nngle of crossing could have been greatly im-
proved, and the cost would have been but little in excess of
that of the present addition to the old bridge, which was
$22,797.69. The town of Milton paid $5,000 of this amount.
Assistant Wilbur F. Learned had charge of work under
this contract, and to his fidelity in the discharge of his duty
the suljstantial character of the masonry is largely due.
26 City Document. — No. 23.
Back Bay Bridges.
Plans and specifications for stone abutments with wing
walls, and iron bridges at the liuntington-avenue crossing of
the Boston and Albany Railroad, and at the Newton-street
crossing of the Boston and Providence Railroad, were prepared
in the latter part of Feln'uary, 1872 ; propositions were in-
vited and received, and contracts awarded before the tirst of
March. The time taken by this department to prepare the
plans, specifications and estimates of cost being but three
working days after receiving the order from the committee on
The entire masonry for the two bridges was contracted to
Jonas H.French, Charles W. Parker, J.'s. Colby and C. A.
Trumbull. The contract price, w^th subsequent additions to
the amount of work required, was $96,905.00, the work to be
completed in readiness for the iron work by the filfth day of
May. The additions made to the amount of work Avere the
extension of the abutments for the Huntington-avenue bridge,
to provide for its widening from 80 to 100 feet, the returning
of the wing walls instead of their extension on the line of the
abutments, the driving of additional piles owing to the soft
character of the foundation, and the application of concrete
around the tops of the piles.
The abutments are of granite masonry in regular courses,
the wing walls of rubble granite ; all the masonry rests
upon piles cutotf at grade of four feet above mean low watei-,
the number of piles required being 1,780. Tiie masonry is
thirteen feet thick at the l)ottom, four and one-half feet thick
at the top, and twenty-four feet in height from tlie top of
piles to the top of tlie bridge seat, and is in character and
style similar to the masonry in the abutments of the Shaw-
The bridges are of the same st3'le as the Shawmut avenue,
but of different dimensions, the spans and widths being
different. The Huntington avenue is eighty feet wide, and
Eeport of City Engineer. 27
the length of girders, including the bearings on the bridge
seats, is eighty-six and one-half feet. There are fourteen of
these girders, four and one-half feet deep at the centre and
two feet eight inches at the end, each weighing about eight
and one-half tons. The Newton-street bridge is fifty feet
wide, and the length of girders sixty-nine and one-half feet.
There are nine girders, three feet deep at the centre and two
feet at the ends, each weighing about six and one-quarter
tons. The girders in both bridges are strongly X braced,
and tied together at the top and bottom with L iron ties and
braces. They are proportioned to carry one hundred and fifty
pounds per square foot, including their own weight, without
straining the iron to more than one-fifth of its ultimate
The Huntington-avenue bridge has becH thoronghl}^ tested
by the passage of gravel trains without giving any indications
of want of strength.
The Huntino-ton-avcnuebridfje contract was awarded to the
Boston Machine Company, for the sum of $40,800, the bridge
to be completed in thirty days from the time when the abut-
ments should be ready. The Newton-street bridge contract
Avas awarded to the Atlantic Works, for the sum of $14,500,
the time given being the same as for the other bridge. The con-
tractors for the masonry completed their work on the 11th
of May ; the bridges were finished and ready for travel the
4th of June.
The anxiety of the committee to have these bridges com-
pleted in readiness for the "Peace Jubilee" prevented any
accurate examinatioi^s of the character of the foundations for
the abutments and wing walls, and it was not until the work
ot driving the piles was commenced thiit its soft nature was
discovered. Additional rows of piles were driven for the foun-
dation of the abutments, and a bed of concrete placed around
the top of the piles, but notwithstanding these precautions
the weight of the gravel fiUins: back of them, which was of
28 City Document. — No. 23.
necessity hnstily applied, acting upon the soft mud and forcing
it against the foundation piles, Avhich were so closely driven
as to prevent its pas^^age between them, has moved the abut-
ments and cracked them in several places.
The westerly wing wall of the northerly abutment was
ruined by the pressure of the mud suddenly applied against
its pile foundation ; this pressure Avas caused by the breaking
through of the crust, which was overloaded by the gravel fill-
ing. The application of an iron band to the southerly abut-
ment seemed for a time to prevent a further movement, but
an examination recently made shows the abutment to be
cracked in several new places by the pressure of the back-fill-
ing and settling of the pile foundation. These abutments are
not yet in a dangerous condition, in fact they are not as badly
cracked as the Albany-street-bridge abutments at the crossing
of the same railroad, but as the movement still continues it
is impossible at present to determine whether it will be nec-
essary to rebuild them.
The northerly abutment of the Newton-street bridge is
cracked, but has not settled, while the southerly abutment,
owing to the street having been filled some years previous to
its construction, stands as it was built, without the slightest
sign of weakness.
The pile-driving and construction of masonry was super-
intended by inspectors appointed by the committee. Assist-
ant W. F. McConnell had charge fi)r this department of the
engineering field work.
Foot Bridges over the Boston and Providence Railroad. —
In addition to the plans for the Huntington-avenue and New-
ton-street bridges, plans were made for two wooden bridges
to span the Boston and Providence railroad at West Canton
street and Berwick park, for the accommodation of foot
travel to the Coliseum ; and plans were also made for a flight
of steps, supported by light trestle-work, from the Dartmouth-
street bridge for the same purpose.
Eeport or City Engineer. 29
The bridges give 18 feet headway between the tracks and
bottom chords of the trusses, and consist of two Warren
trussed girders, 51 feet 8 inches "in length, and 9 feet in
depth, placed 20 feel apart, and resting upon heavy trestle-
work abutments with pile foundations. The approaches are
carried on trestle-work at a grade of one in five, and for the
temporary purpose for which they were designed, the bridges
are strong and well-built structures. They will probably be
taken down in a short time, as the abutments are upon land
of the railroad corporation, and remain there only by suffer-
The work of building the two bridges was contracted to
Robert Crosbie for $7,000, and completed by him in thirteen
The trestle-work and stairs from Dartmouth-street bridge
were built by F, A. Richardson, at a cost of about $700.
Assistant Henry Manley was in charge of the construction
of the bridges, etc.
West Boston and Cragie's Bridges.
West Boston Bridge. — Under the direction of the com-
missioners on the West Boston and Cragie's bridges, a
thorough examination was m;ide of this bridge, and plans
and specifications prepared for repairing it.
Ross & Lord were the successful bidders for the work, and
commenced it in September, 1871, and completed it in Decem-
ber, 1871, at the cost of $45,624.32 for the contract work,
and for extra work and materials, $3,826.27, a total of $49,-
450.59, in addition to which cesspools and drain pipes were
put in at a cost of $1,000.
A detailed description of the repairs and improvements on
this bridge is contained in the report of the Commissioner on
bridges between Boston and Cnmlu'idge (City Doc. 19, 1872).
Cragie's Bridge. — Examinations, surveys, and estimates
30 City Docibient. — No. 23.
were made in November and December, 1871, for widening
and repairing this bridge.
The estimates were based upon a width of 75 feet, the pres-
ent width being 50 feet. In December, 1872, additional plans
and estimates were made, the commissioners deciding to widen
the bridge to 64 feet, and construct a new draw in the posi-
tion fixed by the Harbor Commission. The estimated cost of
the proposed improvements is $160,000, and the work will be
commenced as early in the spring as possible.
At the request of the Commissioners on the Warren and
Charles River Bridges, surveys and phms Avere made for a
new draw, and for widening the draw-way and repairing the
The plans first made were for a new slide draw, but as these
were objected to by the Harbor Commission, on account of
the required encroachment on the space between this bridge
and the bridge of the Fitchburg Railroad Corporation, plans
were made for a counter-balanced centre-pivot and turn-table
The change in plans compelled the raising of the draw about
2 feet, to prevent interference with the water-pipe. This neces-
sitated a corresponding increase in height of the bridge at the
draw, and rendered unavoidable the raising of grade for a dis-
tance of 227 feet on the Charlestown, and 150 feet on the Bos-
ton side of the draw\
All the buildings on the draw pier had to be removed, and
the pier extended 64 feet.
A contract was made with Rt)ss & Lord for building the
new draw and removing the old one, for the sum of $14,375,
and an additional contract was made with them for building
new bulkheads with air spaces. The new draw is 114 feet
iDug, and 50 feet wide, and consists of two Pratt trusses,
with Sampson posts and suspending rods, and wooden chords
Eeport of City Engineer. 31
and struts. These trusses are 9 feet in height, and are placed
on each side of the roadway, the trussed floor beams are placed
on the top of the bottom chord, and every alternate floor beam
projects 8 feet beyond the sides of the trusses, to support the
A system of trussed beams extending across the roadway,
beneath the Sampson posts, is arranged to convey a portion
of the weight to the centre pivot.
The draw can be easily and rapidly moved by hand-power,
but steam power is to be applied to open and close it and aid
vessels in passing through the draw-way.
The commissioners desired me to take charge of all the
engineering work on the bridge, and by detailing Assistant
Wilbur F. Learned to superintend the field work and con-
struction, I was enabled to do so ; the City Engineer assenting
to this arrangement.
Deer Island Wharves.
In 1871, surveys and plans were made for repairing the
steamboat wharf, and extending the ferry wharf at Shirley
Gut, Deer Island.
The contract for doing this work was awarded to Amos
In June, 1872, specifications were prepared for the con-
struction of a new wharf, according to plans made by this
department in 1870. A contract Avas made with Salma E.
Gould, and the work commenced at once.
Repairs on Steamboat Wharf. — This wharf was strength-
ened by driving 23 new oak piles and by the addition of
cross braces, new stringers substituted for the old ones, and
the whole surface of the wharf leplanked.
The cost of the work was $2,195.
Ferry Wharf, Shirley Gut. — An addition, 100 feet in
length, was made to this wharf, the addition being built with
spruce pile foundations. From the making out of the island
32 City Document. — No. 23.
into the gut, which is constantly g<jing on at tliis point, it is
probable that this addition will be useless in a few years, and
it was not deemed expedient to incur the expense of oak pile
foundations. The piles were well braced, and the Avharf
stood through the severe storm of Nov. 15, 1871, with slight
injuries, while 50 ft. of the old wharf in the rear was torn up.
The cost of the structure was $910.
New Wlicirf. — The new wharf is 300 ft. in length, and
25 ft. in width, built in front of the sea-wall constructed in
1870. It has oak pile foundations, with white-pine caps, and
floor stringers covered with 4-inch spruce plank, and is sub-
stantial and well built. Mr. Geoi-ge Barrus was employed
as inspector, and a record was kept of all piles driven.
The cost of the wharf was $8,870, and the cost of putting
in a foundation for a boat-house, and driving 22 oak fender
piles, was $1,215.87.
Gallop's Island Wharf, Coal-Shed, and Waiting-Eoom.
In September, 1872, surveys, plans, and specifications
were made for a new wharf to replace the old one, which was
in an unstable condition, and also for a coal-shed and wait-
ing-room located on the wharf. This Avharf is a very sub-
stantial structure, with oak pile foundations, pine caps and
stringers, and spruce covering. It is somewhat peculiar in
shape, being flared at the end like the smoke-stack of a loco-
motive, and gives from its form three berths for vessels, one
on each side and one at the end.
The coal-shed is a ver}^ strong l)uilding, designed to hold
250 tons of coal.
The entire work was performed by Wbitcomb & Potter,
under contract, for the sum of $10,950.
The contractors were subjected to extra expense, and were
delayed in the prosecution of their work, by the closing of
the small -pox hospital at the south end of the cit}^ and the
transfer of patients suffering with the disease to the island.
Eeport of City Engineer. 33
It was almost impossible for them to hire men Avho were will-
ing to work on the structures, and two of their force died
with the disease.
The Avork Avas finally completed by the contractors on the
4th of jS^ovember.
Until October 4th, Mr. Barrus was Inspector of the work,
nnder the direction of Ass't Manly of this department, who
had charofe of the wharves at Deer Island.
East Boston Ferries.
In June surveys and plans Avere made for tAvo new drops,
with new slips and guard-piers, at the north ferry. Specifi-
cations for doing the AA^ork were draAvn up, and proposals
With the exception of giving lines and grades, as they
AA'ere required by the progress of the Avork, this department
has exercised no supervision over the construction under the
contracts, the Board of Directors having appointed a super-
intendent, Avho AA'as responsible to them. This department
has been frequently consulted by the committee of the Board
in charge of the work, and also by the superintendent ; and
such examinations as I have incidentally made of the various
constructions under contract haA^e impressed me Avith the
exceptionall}' thorough and substantial character of the work-
This wall was built several years ago by private parties,
and came into the possession of the city by its acceptance of
the street as extended from Charles street. It Avas insuffi-
cient to sustain the pressure of the filling behind it, and has
always been considered an insecure sea-wall. In 1870-71
measurements were made at different times to ascertain the
amount and rate of its motion. It moved five inches from
34 City Document. — No. 23.
Nov. 1870, to Nov. 1871, and has moved since it was built,
about three feet.
A plan and specifications were made in July, 1872, for re-
building the wall, and it was advertised for proposals the
29th of the same month, but none that were satisfactory to
the Committee on Paving were received. It was advertised
a second time, Septeml)er 2d. Clapp & Ballon were the
lowest bidders, and a contract was drawn, the conditions of
which were not satisfactory to them, and they declined sign-
The City Engineer was then consulted by the committee
with regard to modifying the plan of construction. By the
plan first proposed the old wall was to be taken up, the piles
under it either pulled up or cut oif six feet below mean low
water, new piles driven and cut otf at the level required for
the old ones, and a new wall of larger section built on the
new pile-work. There was danger of damaging the house
belouffiuo' to Doctor Hasket Derby, it beinof situated withm
20 feet of the face of the wall, and contractors in bidding f )r
the work made a large allowance for this contingency. In
the absence of the City Engineer I modified to a slight ex-
tent the section of the wall, and substituted for a portion of
the ballast behind it, a pile bulkhead, anchored by iron rods
to piles driven in the street at a sufiicient distance tvoin the
bulkhead to be beyond the slope of the filling, the pressure
of which had caused the movement of the wall. The work
was a third time advertised f )r proposals October 25th, but
as the City Engineer and myself had stated to the committee
that the cost of rebuilding the wall should not exceed $7,000,
and as no proposition came within that amount, all the pro-
posals were again rejected. A proposition was subsequently
made by J. J. Leighton to do all the work for the sum of
$6,850, and the contract was awarded to him.
The pile bulkhead with its anchor piles (in driving which
there was the most danger of injury to the house) has been
Report of City Engineer. 35
completed without the slightest sign of damage, the old wall
has been removed, but the building of the new one has been
delayed by the severity of the weather. Submarine divers
will have to be employed to do a large portion of the work,
and it Avill not probably be completed before spring.
Miscellaneous Constructions and Estimates in 1872.
Under this head may be classed the
Condor-stveet Sea-Wall. — It was built by Messrs. Clapp
& Ballon in accordance with plans furnished by this depart-
ment, and is situated at the foot of Glendon street, E. Boston.
The wall is 100 feet in length, and cost $2,340.
E. Boston Cemetery Wall. — This wall is about 141 feet
long, and was built by contract by Daniel Cram. The con-
tract price was $1,250, but as the wall was not built in
accordance with the specifications, the committee deducted
Harrison-avenue Wall. — Plans were made for this wall in
April, 1872. It is front of a block of tenement houses
owned by W. Elliot Woodward, Esq., and is built of Rox-
bur}^ stone laid in cement, upon an oyster shell foundation.
It cost $6.40 per lineal foot, amounting to $1,907.20, of
which sum Mr. Woodward paid one-half. The contractor
w^as Thomas Dolan.
Beacon-street and BrooMine-avenue Bridges, over the Bos-
ion and Albany R. R. — Estimates involving much labor
have been made of the cost of these bridges and their abut-
ments, and profiles showing the grades, and elevations and
cross sections of the abutment have been drawn, but no de-
signs have yet been made for the proposed bridges.
The first estimates were for a headway of 18 feet between
the tracks and under side of the bridge ; other estimates were
afterwards made for a 15-feet headway. The railroad com-
missioners have consented to their construction with the 15-
36 City DocuaiENT. — No. 23.
Estimates of the amount of filling required and approxi-
mate estimates of grade damages have been submitted to the
Committee on Paving.
Swett-street Extension, etc. — Estimates were furnished to
the Street Commissioners for bridge structures on the pro-
posed extension of this street across the South Bay to Wash-
ington Village, and also estimates for the bridges required on
the extension of West Chester Park.
Eastern avenue and Northern avenue. — At the request of
the Harbor Commission, estimates of the cost of bridges,
abutments, sea-walls and tilling, with the estimated amount
of land damages for the construction of these avenues across
Fort Point Channel, were made and submitted.
Extension of First and Q streets, South Boston. — Plans
for a sea-wall and also plans for a pile bulkhead on the ex-
tensions of these streets, were made in 1871.
Specifications were prepared for building the pile bulkhead
and filling the streets, in 1872 ; the work was advertised for
proposals, but no contract has been executed.
The following is a list of bridges which the city has to
maintain in whole or in part. Several additions have been
made to this list by the construction of new bridges since it
was last published in the report of 1870 : —
1st. — Bridges over Tide-water, Rivers and Creeks.
* Albany-street bridge over the Roxbury Canal.
* Broadway bridge over Fort Point Channel.
* Chelsea-street bridge over Chelsea Creek.
* Commercial-st. bridge over Creek at Com'l st. , Dorchester.
* Dover-street bridge across entrance to South Bay.
Report of City Engineer. 37
* Federal-street bridge over Fort Point Channel.
* Granite bridge over Neponset river to Milton.
Longwood-avenue bridge overLongwood Creek and Brook-
line Branch Railroad.
* jNIt. Washington-avenue bridge over Fort Pcjint Channel.
* jMeridian-street bridge over Chelsea Creek.
Milton bridge over Neponset River at Lower Mills.
Mattnpan bridge over Neponset- river at Upper Mills.
Milldara bridge over slnices connecting the ''Full Basin"
with Charles River.
* Neponset bridge over Neponset river to Quincy.
Winthrop bridge from Breed's Ishxnd to Winthrop.
2d. — Bl^IDGES OVER RAILROADS AND HIGHWAYS.
Albany-street bridge over Boston and Albany Raih'oad.
Berkeley -street bridge over " " " "
Berkeley-street bridge over Boston and Providence Railroad.
Broadway bridge over Lehigh and Foundry streets.
Colunibus-av. bridge over Boston and Albany Railroad.
Dartmouth-street bridge over " " " "
Dorchester-street bridge over Old Colony and Newport R.R.
Ferdinand-street bridge over Boston and Albany Railroad.
Huntington-av. bridge over " " " "
Newton-street bridge over Boston and Providence Railroad.
Shawmut-av. bridge over Boston and Albany Railroad.
Tremont-st. (water pipes) over Boston and Albany Railroad.
All the bridges marked with an asterisk in the first list,
and the Winthrop bridge, are in charge of superintendents,
under the direction of the Committee on Bridges.
All the others, except the water-pipe bridge at Tremont
street, are in charge of the Superintendent of Streets, under
the direction of the Committee on Pavins:.
* Bridges provided with draws or openings for the passage of vessels.
38 City Document. — No. 23.
Albany-street Bridge (over Roxbury Canal).
\/ This drawbridge was put in thorough repair-early in the
spring of 1872. The lower track frame, which had settled
badly from the decay of the timbers, was renewed, the Samp-
son posts braced, several new pieces of track put in, and the
entire draw re[)lanked and repainted. In rebuilding the
lower track frame it was raised eight inches, and the bridge
approaches were raised to correspond with the increased
height of the draw.
The amount expended for these repairs was, $1,692.80.
I regret that the duty you have assigned me of writing
this report compels me to give you an unfavorable statement
of the condition of several divisions of this structure.
The heavy travel to which the bridge has been sul)jected
by the closing of the Federal-street bridge for repairs, has
strained every portion of it, and developed its weak points.
The arched girders of the spans over Lehigh and Foundry
streets are inclined towards the easterly side of the bridge
and have been stayed up by tie and brace rods temporarily
About two months ago I was informed by the Superinten-
dent, Mr. Poole, that he had been obliged to place a weight
of 1,130 pounds on the southerly end of the girder, on the
westerly side spanning the opening on the South Boston end
of the draw. The object of this weight was to raise the
northerly end of the girder, spanning the channel on the
same side of the draw, and prevent it from striking the cam
on the abutment ; he had endeavored to lift it by means of
the nuts on the ends of the suspending rods, but did not
think it safe to turn them any more than he had done, for fear
of straining the rods beyond their strength. By shortening
the rods, he had not been able to lift this comer of the draw,
Eeport of City Engineer. 39
the only effect being to raise the corner at the opposite end
higher, and he had therefore applied the weight. This
seemed for a time to remedy the difficulty, hut after a few
weeks he was obliged to put on an additional weight of 780
pounds to keep the end of the girder from striking. I could
account for this action of the drawbridge in but two ways ;
one was by an unequal settling of the centre pier, and the
other by the yielding of the tower. It is probable that there
has been a settlement of the centre pier, as the tower to which
the rods are attached on this side of the draw is considerably
out of plumb ; and one of the braces, which is of small sec-
tion, extending from the tower to the lower chord, shows
evident signs of crippling. The method of sustaining the
two spans of the drawbridge by suspending rods from the
tops of the towers, although very connnon and safe for small
drawbridoes, is dangerous on account of the accidental
strains to which they are liable in one of this size and im-
mense weight, unless there is a large surplus of strength in
the rods. Upon your assuming the duties of City Engineer,
I informed you of my apprehensions with regard to the con-
dition of this drawbridge, and from examinations since made
under your direction, I feel confident these rods are strained
bej'ond safe limits.
The hot-air engines in use for moving the drawbridge
have been a constant source of expense and anxiety for the
past year. The}' are said to be of a nominal power of four
horses, and were intended to be used separately, each one
being supposed to be powerful enf)Ugh to open and close the
draw. Such is not, however, the case, as it requires all the
power of both running at their highest speed to move the
draw off and on, and even then it is at times insufficient to
move it as rapidh" as would be desirable. It is exceedingly
important that a different and increased motive-power should
be applied to this drawbridge, and from a consideration of
various methods I am of opinion that steam would be the
40 City Document. — No. 23.
most efficient and economical. I recommended the substi-
tution of steam for the present hot-air engines to the Com-
mittee on Biidges of hist year, when consulted by them in
regai-d to the matter.
The power of engines which would r)e necessary could be
most conveniently determined by trial, as the present en-
gines have no appliances l)y which an indicator diagram can
be obtained, and if it could be obtained, it would be of doubt-
Considerable difficulty has been experienced from the ex-
pansion and contraction of the material of the bridge during
the extremes of hot and colpl weather ; the draw being
bound so tightly in hot weather as to necessitate the cutting
off of portions of the ends of the lower chords abutting the
spans over the Old Colony Railroad. The contraction in cold
Aveathcr does not retract the bridge to its position before ex-
pansion, and the effect of the successive expansions and con-
tractions is a gradual creeping towards the draw of the parts
of the bridge at each end of it. When the bridge was built,
pile foundations were driven for brick or stone abutments,
which it was thought, by the superintending Engineer, would
have eventually to be constructed to resist the movement
towards the draw caused by this expansion ; and it is evident
that it must be prevented by the construction of these abut-
ments, or in some other way, as it cannot much longer con-
tinue without serious injury to the drawbridge.
During the summer three of the cast-iron floor plates, near
the Foundiy-street span, dropped out. I attributed this to
the lateral expansion of the bi'idge, as the new plates which
replaced the old ones had to be cast one and one half inches
wider, to give them a suitable bearing on the longitudinal
The Phoe'uix columns, upon which a large portion of the
bridge is supported, are being rapidly deteriorated by the
rusting of the lower portion at the surface of the ground.
Report of City Engineer. 41
They are enclosed iu cement concrete from this point to the
pile foundation four feet below it, but should be coated with
coal tar or asphalt for a height of four feet from the cement
concrete, and the concrete itself should also bo coated.
The cost of repairs on the engines and machinery con-
nected with the draw, combined with the cost of other repairs,
was $2,181.45 for the past year.
At the request of the chairman of the Committee on
Bridofes, this brido'e w^as examined in December, and found
to be in a dangerous condition.
A report was made, with a statement of the repairs which
it would be necessary to make to render it safe for the winter.
The temporary repairs recommended have been completed,
but the bridge will require i-ebuilding as early in the spring
Of the portion on the East Boston side, about one hundred
and forty feet in length, extending from the shore to low-
water mark, should be made a solid causeway and enclosed
by a sea-wall.
The remainder of the bridge, with the exception of the
draw and its foundations and abutments, requires an entire
renewal of the pile piers supporting the superstructure.
The drawbridge was built in 18(i8, and it and its foundations
and abutment piers are in good order.
The amount expended on this bridge for repairs during
the past year, not including those made iu December, was
Commercial-street Bridge (over Creek at Commercial
Plans, specifications and estimates were made in 1871 for
repairing this bridge, the southerl}^ end of which was in a
very bad condition.
42 City Docibient. — No. 23.
The plans first prepared were for a renewal of the pile
structure, but they were afterwards changed to provide for
building a sea-wall for a distance of 130 feet from the
southerly abutment, connecting at the channel with a new
The work was advertised and the contract awarded to
Messrs. Clapp & Phillips, who completed it July 12, 1872,
for the sum of $7,532.00.
The draw was thoroughly reconstructed in 1871, at a cost
of about $8,300. The bulkheads at each end of the draw
will need renewal the coming season, as they are badly de-
cayed ; the rehiaining portion of the biidge is apparently in
fair condition, but as it is now fitteen or sixteen years since
it was rebuilt, a critical examination would probably show a
deterioration of other parts of the superstructure.
The bridge is too narrow to properly accommodate the
travel over it, and when it becomes necessary to reconstruct
the superstructure it should be widened to correspond with
the width of Dover street.
The draw was considerably damaged a few months ago by
the collision of a vessel, and the cost of repairing it, together
with other repairs on the bridge and reshingliug the buildings
on the draw pier, was $2,745.88.
/ Federal-street Bridge.
V Numerous plans have been made since the passage of the
Act of the Legislature, approved April 24, 18G9, authorizing
the widening of this bridge to 70 feet, the width of Federal
These plans have been for a variety of structures, either of
wood or iron, and nearly all of them contemplated the re-
moval of the old bridge. The expense of building a new
Eeport of City Enghsteer. 43
structure, in accordance Avith any of the plans based ou a
removal of the old one, deterred committees from recom-
mending it to the City Council. From the designs sal)mitted
by this department the Committee on Bridges for 1872 se-
lected the one involving the least expense, and presented this
to the Harbor Commission for their approval. The delay in
proceeding with the widening and reconstruction of the
bridge in accordance with this plan was caused by a mis-
understanding between the committee and the commission,
which was finally satisfactorily adjusted, and the plans re-
ceived the approval of the latter.
The work Avas advertised for proposals on the 11th of June,
bids to be received until the 24th, the time being afterw^ards
extended to the 29th.
The lowest two bidders were not able to o:ive the bonds re- '
quired by the committee, and after w^iiting several weeks to
give them every opportunity to procure suitable bondsmen,
the contract was awarded to the next higher bidder, F. A.
Eichardson, for $79,500.
The bridge is 508 feet long, and has been widened 20 feet
on the easterly side, and when completed will have two slide
draws, each 30 feet in width, over the same channel, but
moving ofl' in opposite directions. The draw-way has been
widened 4 feet, and is now 36 feet in 'width; the grade has
been raised 19 inches at the draws, descending each way to
the old grade at the abutments ; new sidewalks and fences
have been built, and stone block paving is to replace the
cobble-stone paA^emeut. Two horse houses and a new build-
ing for an office for the bridge superintendent have been con-
structed, and the new roadway gates are in position. One
draw has been finished and is now in use, and the foundation
and track timbers are ready for the other. Each of these
draW' -bridges has two Pratt trusses, one 67 feet and the other
107^ feet long, both 10 feet high in the centre, and the shorter
one is provided with a Sampson post and suspension rods.
44 City Document. — No. 23.
The paving on one-half of the bridge and the second draw
are not yet completed ; the paving cannot be finished until
the frost is out of the earth filling, but the draw will be ready
for travel in a short time.
The horse-car and foot travel have not been interrupted
during the progress of the work, and one-half of the bridge
has been for some weeks open for the passage of teams.
The fourth approximate estimate, dated December 6, 1872,
shows the amount due for work done and materials furnished
to be $69,329.00 ; amount paid $55,463.20.
The amount expended for repairs on this bridge, previous
to the commencement of work under the contract, was
Granite Bridge (over Neponset Kiver)
Is in good condition, and will not require any repairs, with
the exception, perhaps, of replauking.
The amount expended for repairs the past year has been
Temporary repairs were made on this bridge in 1870. It
will probably have to be replaced by a new structure within
a year or two ; the repairs not being intended to make the
bridge safe for more than four or five years.
Mt. Washington-avenue Bridge.
The draw of this bridge is the only one ever constructed by
the city, the entire weight of which can be carried on the
centre pivot. It works very easily, and there is but one
dravv'back to its satisfactory operation, and that is the inabil-
ity to turn it end for end, owing to one of the corners being
lower than the others. It is a difficulty which could be ob-
viated at a small expense, and if obviated, would in many
Report of City Engineer. 45
cases reduce the time of keeping the draw open for the pas-
sage of vessels.
The bridge superintendent needs a ncAv ofSce building, the
old one being too small and somewhat dilapidated.
No repairs except the ordinarj^ ones, such as replanking he
draw, replacing broken fences, etc., have been made during the
past year. The amount expended for repairs was $1,246.62.
Some improvements are needed on the tracks and running
gear of the draw on this biidge, and the draw piers require
replanking on top, and new oak ribbons on the sides. The
asphalt sidewalk is in a bad condition, and should either be
patched or taken lip and relaid. The bridge is otherwise in
a good condition.
The cost of repairs for the year was $480.18.
Milton Bridge (at Milton Lower Mills.)
A full account of the wideniuo: of this structure will be foimd
on page 24.
Mill Dam Bridge (over sluices).
The outer stringer, with the fence attached on the northerly
side of this bridge, has been thrown out of its vertical posi-
tion by the expansion of the wood pavement, and should be
replaced and bolted to the other stringers to avoid a recur-
rence of this difficulty.
Neponset Bridge (over Neponset Eiver)
Will not be safe for public travel another season, and
should be attended to without delay in the spring. Only
a small amount has been expended for repairs the past two
years, and the structure which was reported in bad ctnidi-
46 City Doctoient. — No. 23.
tioD by the City Engineer in 1870, has not been improved
or strengthened except temporarily since that time.
In the City Engineers report for that year several phms
and estimates for repairs and renewals are given, and I fully
endorse the following opinion quoted from that report : —
" The structure as a whole is in such condition that it
would be poor economy to spend anything on repairs, and I
should recommend rebuilding the whole structure, abutments,
bridge and piers, at the earliest moment, as a measure of
safety and economy."
The amount expended for repairs the past year was
WiNTHROP Bridge (Breed's Island to Winthrop).
As the old stringers of this bridge were frequently dis-
placed by high tides, they were bolted to the caps last spring
to prevent any further trouble from this cause. The abut-
ment on the Winthrop end of the bridge should be repaired
the coming se^ison as several of the stones have been displaced
and drawn out by the ice.
The fences need repainting, but no repairs will be required
on the superstructure or pile work.
The cost of bolting the stringers to the caps and repairs
for the past year was $166.92.
Albaxy-street Bridge (over B. & A. E. E.).
The bridije abutments and the retainino- walls connected
with the abutments are badly cracked, and have been so for
several years. The cracks have not increased to any great
extent during the past year, and they are not sufficiently
large to cause apprehension for the safety of the masonry.
The iron work of the bridge requires repainting, the paint
being entirely gone in many places, and the iron badly
Eeport of City Engineer. 47
Beekeley-street Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.)
Has been repainted and is in good order. An improve-
ment has been made by the Superintendent of Streets on
this and on several of the other bridges over raih-oads in
buiklins: a close board fence six feet in heioht on the outside
lines. It prevents horses from seeing the trains and being
frightened by them, and is an effectual guard against acci-
dents which were liable to happen to children in climbing
over or sitting upon the former low fences.
Berkeley-street Bridge (over B. & P. R. R.).
The southerly abutment of this bridge is badly cracked,
and has been examined several times during the past year at
the request of the Superintendent of Streets, but is not con-
sidered in a dangerous condition. The outside sidewalk gir-
ders resting npon this abutment do not have a proper bear-
ing, and the stone blocks on the bridge seat under the ends
of these girders should be reset in cement mortar.
All the iron work of the bridge needs scraping and repaint-
ing, and if the present fence is to be retained it should also
be repainted. A higher fence would be an improvement to
this bridge, as it has been to the other bridge on the same
COLIBIBUS-AVENUE BrIDGE (oVER B. & A. R. R.)
Has been repainted and fenced similarly to the Berkeley-
street bridge over the same railroad. The iron work below
the bridge flooring has not been repainted, although it is badly
rusted and needs it as much if not more than the upper por-
tion of the bridge. Owing to the constant passage of
trains the painting can be safely done onl}' on Sundays, but
should not be neo-lected on this account.
48 City Document. — No. 23.
Dartmouth-street Bridge (over B. & A. and B. & P.
This bridge was not built for a permanent structure, being
of wood with Pratt trussed girders and trestle-work abut-
ments and piers resting upon pile foundations. The rapid
advance of Iniilding operations on Dartmouth street will ne-
cessitate the construction of stone abutments in a short time ;
but the bridge, although not such a structure as is needed,
being too narrow to properly accommodate the travel over it,
will probably be retained until it becomes necessary as a
measure of safety to remove it. It is strong and well built,
and is now in good condition, except that it needs painting.
A portion of the upper chord of the sidewalk truss on the
westerly side was cut away, to allow a passage to the "Coli-
seum" to be constructed, but it was done in such a manner
as not to impair the stability of the truss.
Dorchester-st. Bridge (over O. C. & N. E,. R.).
This bridge is in good order. The approaches have been
fenced on each side of the street with matched boards six
Ferdinand-street Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.).
This bridge is an iron bridge of the "Bolles patent" con-
struction, and although it is probably of sufficient strength,
it lacks stiffness under a travelling load.
The iron work requires painting, but the bridge is other-
wise in good condition.
Shawmut-av. Bridge (over B. & A. R. R., and Orange
Owing to the location of the Highland Street Railway over
this bridge, it has received an additional flooring of two-inch
Repokt of City Engineer. 49
This is an advantage to the strength of the bridge, but de-
tracts from its appearance by decreasing the heiglit of the
curb above the flooring.
The asphalt on the sidewalks, which was omitted when the
bridge was constructed, has been applied during the past
year, and with the exception of the abrasion of the paint in
some places the bridge is in excellent order.
HENRY M. WIGHTMAN,
Assistant City Engineer.
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