CITY OF BOSTON
FOR THE TEAR
18 7 3.
CITY OF BOSTO:^r.
Office of City Engineer, Citt Hall,
Boston, Jan. 26tli, 1874.
To THE Honorable City Council : —
The following report of the expenses and operations of this
department, during the year 1873, is submitted in compliance
with the sixth section of the ordinance relating to the City
Statement of expenses paid from the department appro-
priation : —
Amount of appropriation for 1872-73,
expended from January to May, 1873 . |6,068 86
Amount of appropriation for 1873-74 . . 24,000 00
Salaries of City Engineer, assistants,
draughtsmen and rodmen .
Instruments and repairs of same .
Drawing paper and materials
Stationery, printing stock, etc.
Reference, books and map frames .
Printing and advertising
Travelling expenses, horse-keeping.
etc. . . .
Incidental expenses . . .
Unexpended balance Jan. 1, 1874
4 City Document. — No. 20.
The followiDg statement shows the amounts paid for en-
gineering from special appropriations since Jan. 1, 1873: —
New water supply, pay-rolls and
incidentals .... $169 57
Water works (Wards 13-16). . 85 75 '
Parker-hill reservoir . . . 1,741 15
Eastern-avenue bridge : incidental expenses . 31 15
Pay-rolls and incidentals . . . . . 414 50
Pay-rolls and incidentals ..... 105 50
WEST BOSTON AND CANAL BRIDGES.
Pay-rolls and incidentals (one-half of this
amount was paid by the city of Cambridge) . 226 25
Total from special appropriations . . 2,773 87
Add amount paid from the department appro-
priation 23,058 13
Total engineering expense for 1873 . . $25,832 00
The number of persons employed and paid from the de-
partment appropriation was, on the first of January, 1873(in-
cluding the City Engineer), 16. The present number is 19.
The engineering force engaged upon the work pertaining
to "additional supply" is paid by the Water Board, and
Eeport of City Engineer. 5
althouoh under the immediate direction of the City Engineer,
is distinct from tlie force of this department.
The large amount of worii: required by the great number
and magnitude of projected improvements, and the largely
increased territory to be covered, due to annexation, will
undoubtedly necessitate the forming of new parties, and a
consequent addition to the number of employes during the
The following statement gives the operations of the de-
partment for the past year, together with such description of
works, finished or in progress, as is thought to be of general
Sudbury River and Lake OocJiituate. — No water has been
drawn from the Sudbury river during the past year. On
Jan. 1st, 1873, the water in Lake Cochituate stood at twelve
feet one inch above the bottom of the conduit. At the
beginnhig of the previous year there was no water in store,
the conduit being then supplied by pumping from a level
below its flow line.
To maintain the supply, about 1,676,600,000 gallons were
turned into the lake from Sudbury river ; this, combined
with the copious rains of the latter part of the year, brought
the water level within about 15 inches of high-water mark at
the beginning of 1873. From this date it rose gradually till
Jan. 17th, when waste over the dam commenced and con-
tinued till April 23d, the water then standing at 12 feet
On May 4th the stop planks were again removed and the
water allowed to waste till May 20th. From this time till
Aug. 14th the water gradually fell, and at the latter date
stood at 8 feet 7 inches ; on Aug. 27th it stood at 8 feet 9j
inches; Sept. 4th, 6 feet 8^ inches; Oct. 10th, 7 feet 6
inches; Oct. 19th, 7 feet 3 inches; and on Dec. 31st, 9 feet
6 City Document. — No. 20.
To secure a flow that will supply the city with the rate of
consumption of the past year, there are required from 6 to
7^ feet of water above the bottom of the conduit, and, as in
September there were less than 7 feet, fears were entertained
that a resort to pumping would again be required, but fortu-
nately heav}^ rains furnished the needed relief.
The total waste over the dam for the year has been
2,917,977,000 gallons, equal to an average daily supply of
7,994,460 gallons. Had there been no aid from the Sudbury
river the previous year, the waste in 1873 would have been
equal to an average daily supply of about 3,400,000 gallons.
This waste is due to the want of storage room, yet that
afforded by the Cochituate lake is much greater in proportion
to its drainage area than it is usually possible to secure for
the water sources of this portion of the country, and in fact is
more than sufBcient to make available all the water that can
be collected iu a season of extreme drought.
Conduit. — On Nov. 19th and 20th a thorough examina-
tion of the interior of the conduit was made by Mr. Wiggiu,
clerk of the Water Board, and others, who passed through
its entire length from the lake to Chestnut Hill reservcnr.
A number of new and dangerous cracks were discovered ;
those on the embankment to the west of Charles river were
of such alarming character that it was considered imperative
they should be repaired at once ; accordingly the water was
kept shut ofl" and a force of masons kept at work night and
day until temporary security was ensured.
At this point there was found a crack in the bottom vary-
ing in width from J to 1^ inch and 200 feet long, through
which an iron rod readily passed and penetrated the gravel
filling below. The leakage here must have I)een considerable,
but it did not make its appearance at the surface of the bank,
owing to the very porous nature of the material forming it.
The repairs made in no way add to the strength of the
conduit ; the best that could be done was to stop the leakage
Keport of City Engineer.
and thus remove for a while the
Consumption. — The average
daily consumptiou for
month of 1873 has been as folio
ws : —
The average for the year is 17,842,700 gallons, — an in-
crease of 2,779,300 gallons, or 181^ per cent, above that for
On July 20 observations were made at the Beacon Hill
reservoir, to determine the rate of night consumption, or
more properly speaking, the rate of -waste, iu a certain dis-
trict of the city.
This district comprises what is called the west end, north
end and burnt district, and contains not far from 80,000 in-
habitants. In it are located many of the manufacturing
houses, principal hotels, newspaper offices, printing-houses,
etc., of the city, but at the time selected for the experiment,
between twelve and three o'clock, Sunday morning, the legiti-
mate use of water must have been very small.
This section was shut off from all communication with the
Brookliue and Chestnut Hill reservoirs, by gates on Bed-
ford, Washington, Tremont, Charles and other streets, and
fed exclusively from the Beacon Hill reservoir. The leak-
age through the gates, if any, must have been inappreciable,
8 City Document. — No. 20.
as the pressures on opposite sides could have differed but
Observations were commenced at midnight, and readings
of the gauge taken every fifteen minutes. At the first of the
experiment the consumption was found to be somewhat ir-
regular, but ])etvveen one and three o'clock it was remarkably
imiform , showing that the draft was not due to irregular open-
ing and shutting of cocks, but to a continuous flow at almost
There were drawn from the reservoir during these two
hours, 386,857 gallons, equal to a rate of 4,042,284 gallons
in 24 hours. This enormous rate of night consumption in-
dictated either a heavy leakage or great waste. A party of
inspectors was at once organized, under the direction of Mr.
Joseph Whitney, of Cambridge, who from experience gained
in searching for leaks on the Cambridge works, was particu-
larly qualified for this work, and a careful inspection of all the
fittings in the district Avas made, and the street mains were
tested for leaks in various "ways. No leaks were discovered
in the mains, but many hundreds of defective fittings were
found and repaired, and some leaks in the house service-
pipes detected and stopped. Before the examination was
concluded, however, it became manifest that much the greater
portion of the night consumption was caused by waste, that
is, by flow through fittings left open either carelessly or wil-
fully. All the leaks that could be discovered having been
stopjied, a second observation was made on Sunday morning,
October 5, between the hours of twelve and three, as before.
The water in the reservoir at the commencement of the trial
stood at the same height as on the morning of July 20.
There was a slight wind blowing at the time of the latter
trial, which caused an oscillation in the gauge-tube, and the
readings were not so satisfactory as those of July. During
the three hours of observation the water fell 2 feet 4| inches,
showing a consumption of 506,182 gallons, which is at the
Repoet of City Engineer. 9
rate of 4,049,456 gallons in 24 hours. The consumption
between one and three o'clock was 336,294 gallons, or at the
rate of 4,035,528 gallons in 24 hours, showing a small sav-
ing, about 13 per cent., caused by the repairs made.
The greater portion of the remainder of the consumption
must have been caused by waste.
Although durinof the summer the conduit was used under
a pressure greater than was deemed safe, yet it was found im-
possible to maintain the level of the reservoirs at a greater
height than within four or five feet of high-water mark.
The Beacou Hill, South Boston and East Boston reser-
voirs, though kept partially filled with water, to be used in
case of necessity, have been kept shut oif from the distribut-
ing system of pipes for the past year.
Parker Hill Reservoir. — On March 4, a report upon
various methods of increasing the etl'ective capacity of the
high-service system of supply was made to the Water
Board, and the building of a reservoir, with a capacity of
about 7,000,000 gallons, upon Parker Hill, in the Highland
District, was recommended.
An act of the Lesfislature si^^ntino; the rif^ht to take lands
for the purpose of building this reservoir was obtained May
14, 1873, and an appropriation of $161,000 was passed by
the City Council, June 6, 1873.
Contract and specifications were drawn up and proposals
for doing the work, to l)e received till July 29, were adver-
tised tor. Three bids were received, of which that of
Stephen H. Tarbell and Martin Hayes, both of Boston, was
the successful one, being the lowest. The contract was
awarded July 30, and the work on the ground commenced
10 City Document. — No. 20.
August 11, and contiiuiecl till frost interfered. About 20,000
cubic 3^ards of earth have been excavated, and 600 cubic
yards of stone collected.
The pajmients nnder this contract have been as follows : —
Estimate to September 20 . . $4,613 32
Less 15 per cent. ... 692 00
Amount paid $3,92132
Estimate to October 20 . . $8,818 90
Less 15 per cent. . . . 1,322 83
Less previous payment . . 3,921 32
Amount paid $3,574 75
Estimate to November 20 . . $11,650 46
Less 15 per cent. . . . 1,747 57
Less previous payments . . 7,496 07
Amount paid $2,406 82
Total amount paid to date . . . . $9,902 89
The preliminary surveys and estimates of quantities for this
work were made by Ass't W. F. Learned and party, and
the Avork of construction is done under his direction. It is
expected that the reservoir will be ready for service early
next fall. Its purpose will be found fully stated in the report
of the Water Board, May, 1873.
The hifjh-service eni^ines have continued to work well
during the year, and though in the morning hours they have
been run at a high speed no failure has occurred. The
Eeport of City Engineer.
average daily amounts p
year have been as follows
mped during each month of the
Considerable work has been done during the past year in
extending the street pipes, more particularly in the Highland
and Dorchester Districts, and important changes have been
made in the old system of distribution, especially in the city
proper. Many of these changes were recommended in the
last annual report of the City Engineer to the Water Board,
others have been marked out in special reports made in
response to orders of the City Coimcil or of the Water
Boai'd, and others still have been suggested by the experience
of an inadequate supply at certain points, either for fire or
Although much has been done already in this direction,
P'ore remains to be done. There has lately bp'^n let, under
duth(n-ity from the City Council, a contract 1 about 3,500
tons of pipes, to be used in replacing old pipes by now ones of
much larger calibre. These will be chiefly used as sub-mains
and I'eeders, and all the hydrants removed in laying them
will be replaced by those of the Lowry pattern. Lowry
hydrants have been in use from the first in the Highland and
12 City Document. — No. 20.
Dorchester Districts, and lately have been set in the "burnt
district " and at other points in the city proper, and it is
probable that in the future they will be almost exclusively
used, since they meet the approval of the Fire Department.
Early in the season plans and estimates were made for re-
piping the "burnt district," and an appropriation of $85,000
for this purpose was made by the City Council. This work
is now nearly finished. A large number of the streets in
this district were re-piped with 12 and 8-inch pipes in place
of 6-inch, and the plan requires all the old tuberculated pipes
to be taken up, to make room for new pipes coated with
The new system has a capacity of delivery several times
greater than the old, even if, for the latter, no deduction for
tuberculation be made, and is provided with Lowry hydrants
placed at distances apart never exceeding 260 feet, and gen-
erally falling much below this. In place of 80 of the old
3-inch hydrants, 113 Lowry hydrants with 9-incli barrels
have been or will be substituted. The former accommo-
dated but one steamer, the latter will accommodate four ;
hence it will be seen the facilities for extinguishing tires have
been very largely increased. The changes made have given
an improved head or pressure throughout the district.
The following are some of the more important improve-
ments that have been made in the system of other parts of
the city : —
A 16-inch pipe has been laid from the 30-iuch main on the
Common, through Joy street to Mt. Vernon, there connect-
ing with the Beacon Hill high-service system.
This change releases the 30-inch main over the hill for use
on the low-service, and this main now forms an important
connection of the large mains from the Brookline reservoir
with the sub-mains and feeders of the northern part of the
city, and very greatly increases the pressure and supply for
fire purposes in the northern wards.
Report of City Engineer. 13
On Central wharf 2,800 feet of 8-inch pipe have been hiid
in phice of 4-iuch, and 11 Lowiy hydrants set.
On Lewis wliarf 6 and 8-inch pipes have been laid in place
of 4-inch, and 4 Lowry hydrants set.
In Washington street, between Bedford and Essex streets,
800 feet of 12-inch pipe have been laid in place of 6-iuch,
and 5 Lowry hydrants set.
In Essex street, between Washington and Oxford streets,
500 feet of 8-inch pipe have been laid in place of 6-inch, and
2 Lowry hydrants set.
In Norfolk place 8-inch pipe has been substituted for
4-inch, and 1 Lowry hydrant set.
For the protection of City Hall and property in the vicin-
ity, a Lowry hydrant has been set on School street and
an 8-inch pipe laid from the 12-inch sub-main of School
street to the rear portion of Court square, where two new
Lowry hydrants are located.
For the special protection of the Registry of Deeds and
Probate building, two Lowry hydjauts have been set on Tre-
In New Devonshire street an 8-inch pipe has been laid
and three Lowry hydrants set.
In Charles street, between Pinckney and Cambridge, and
between Leverett and Poplar, 16-inch pipe has been laid in
place of 6-inch (in all 1,430 feet), and seven Lowry hy-
In Columbus avenue 764 feet of 12-inch pipe have been
laid, and two Lowry hydrants set.
In Berkeley street 600 feet of 8-inch pipe have been laid,
and two Lowry hydrants set.
In Clarendon street 690 feet of 12-inch pipe have been
substituted for 6-inch.
Lowry hydrants have been set at other points in different
parts of the city proper, making sixty in all, exclusive of
those in the burnt district.
14 City Document. — No. 20.
A report was also made, by order of the Cit}^ Government,
upon the cost and expediency of building street reservoirs,
and the Water Board was subsequently authorized to build
these reservoirs at such points as should be selected l)y it and
the Fire Department.
In July, plans were prepared for a syphon at the Dover-
street draw, for the South Boston high-service main. The
pipes for this work were not received till late in the fall.
The syphon was successfully lowered into its place Dec. 24.
It consists of a strong box made of 12 by 14-inch hard-pine
timber, well bolted together and held by iron straps, and knee
timbers at the angles (where the horizontal portion joius the
vertical arms), in which is laid a 16-inch water-pipe, the
space between the box and pipe being filled solid with con-
crete. The syphon box is 48 feet in length, with vertical
arms of 28i- and 251 feet in heio-ht, and the o'rade of the bot-
torn of the box is 17 feet below mean low water.
PIPE PLANS, ETC.
A large amount of work has been done during the. past
year in the preparation of plans showing the sizes, location,
etc., of pipes, hydrants, and other appurtenances to the
street system of distribution, as is shown hy the following
extracts from the report of Assistant Dexter Brackett : '" A
large portion of my time has been spent in preparing plans
to show more fully the pipe distribution of the city, and un-
der this head the following has been accomplished." "The
sectional plans of Boston and the Highland District, spoken
of in my last report, have been finished, together with a du-
plicate set of those of the Highland District, for the use of
the Cochituate Water Board."
" Earl}' in the year, sectional plans of Dorchester, thirty-
fcnu- in munber, similar to those of the Highland District,
showing, on a scale of 100 feet to an inch, the location of the
water-pipes, gates and hydrants were commenced, and these
Report of City Engineer. 1 5
with duplicates of the same for the Water Board are practi-
''A -p]an is now in progress which will show, on one sheet,
sixty by seventy-two inches, the entire pipe system of the
City proper, Sonth Boston, and Roxbiiry Highlands, with a
portion of Dorchester.
" When the system is extended through the recently an-
nexed territory, a simihir plan will be required for AVest
Roxbury and the remaining portion of Dorchester.
"During the year plans of the City proper. South and East
Boston have been made, showing the changes proposed, with
estimates of the lengths of pipe required to make the system
more efiective ; otheis, showing the pipes as re-laid in the
burnt district, and the plans belonging to the Water Board
and the Superintendent of the Eastern Division, which, to-
gether with our own, number 160, have been corrected as
the sj'stem has been extended.
"Sectional plans in duplicate, showing the property owned
by the city on the line of the Cochituate Aqueduct and the
lots which have from time to time been sold therefrom, are
in preparation, and will be completed early in the year."
A set of finished drawings, showing the gate-houses and
other structures at the Chestnut-Hill reservoir, as they were
actually built, has been commenced, and is in a forward state
A report bearing date Jan. 27, 1873, together with plans
and estimates relating to the various sources within fifty miles
of the city, available for the supply of Boston, and giving in
detail the proposed scheme of works for a supply from the
Sudbury river, Avas presented to the Water Board in that
This report, together with one from Mr. Chesbrongh, City
Engineer of Chicago, and another from the Water Board
16 City Document. — No. 20.
upon the same subject, was presented to the City Council
early in the year.
The plan proposed received the approval of the City Gov-
ernment, and an appropriation of $500,000 was made to
cover the estimated expenses of the past year.
A number of engineering assistants were engaged early in
May, and placed under the direction of Mr. A. Fteley,
who was appointed Resident Engineer in charge of the
whole work, and the final location of the conduit line,
dams, etc., and plans of structures, and forms of contracts
and specifications were commenced.
The line is now located, and cross sections of the ground
have been taken, and a large number of plans, profiles, etc.,
have been jirepared.
A contract, amounting to about $340,000, for excavating a
tunnel and building a portion of the conduit, was let early
in August, and considerable work has been done under it.
Other portions of the work were made ready for contract,
and advertisements for proposals would have been made last
fall, had not the action of the City Council rendered such
In October surveys and plans of certain lands in the val-
ley of the Sudbury were made, for the purpose of prepar-
ing^ papers for the taking of such lands. It was, however,
decided by the City Solicitor that the City Council had not
authorized the Water Board to take lands or water-rights ;
and accordingl}^ the Board made application, October 20, for
the needful authority.
Charlestown, with its water suppl}^ had recently been an-
nexed l)y vote of the people, and the strong argument urged
in favor of annexation had been the use of the Mystic water
for the partial supply of Boston, and the consequent post-
ponement for a immber of years of the large expenditure re-
quired for the building of the Sudbury river works, as pro-
jected. Under the circumstances, it was thought best by the
Report or City Engineer. 17
City Council, before granting the power asked for, to have
made a more thorough investigation of the capacity and
purity of the water of the Mystic valley, and accordingly an
order was passed requiring the Water Board to enter into
further examination on these points. For this purpose the
Board engaged the services of Mr. J. P. Kirkwood, of Brook-
lyn, Mr. J. B. Francis, of Lowell, and Professor E. N.
Horsford, of Cambridge. The studies have been completed,
the reports made, and the results will soon be laid before the
During the month of February, Mr. Brackett, of this of-
fice, made a survey, with soundings, of Farm Pond, in
Framingham, and prepared a plan, on a scale of 100 feet to
an inch, showing the soundings and nature of the bottom,
and giving contour lines for each foot in depth.
The 5lh section of the ordinance relating to City Engineer's
department, reads as follows : —
"Said Engineer shall make annually, or oftener, if re-
quired, a careful examination of all the bridges within the
city limits, and make such reports respecting their condition
as to safety, need of renewal, or repairs, as the exigency of
the case may require."
This, I have assumed, directs that an examination of all
bridges within the city limits, that are open to street travel,
(whether supported by the city or other corporation), and the
foot-bridges in public grounds, shall be made annually, or
oftener, under the direction of the City Engineer ; according-
ly I have caused as complete a survey of such bridges as this
18 City Document. — No. 20.
department has the means and authority to make, to be made
from time to time by Mr. Mauley, the assistant in charge of
bridges, and in addition Mr. ^\'ightman, Assistant City En-
gineer, and myself, have given them such attention as om*
other duties would permit.
During the year several written reports upou the condition
of various bridges, and a number of estimates of cost of re-
pairs, etc., have been made by Mr. Manle}^, and copies, with
sucii remarks and recommendations as each case required,
have been transmitted to the Committee on Bridges, or to
the Superintendent of Streets.
These reports will be found in the Appendix.
The following is a list of the bridges which, by the fore-
going interpretation of the ordinance, come under the inspec-
tion of this depaitment.
Those marked with an asterisk are over navigable waters,
and are each furnished with a draw. Those in italics have
been heretofore in part, but hereafter will be entirely, sup-
ported by the city; those in small capitals have come under
the control of the city through the annexations of this year.
1st. — Bridges wholly supported by the City.
* Albany street, over Roxbury canal.
Ashland street, Ward 17, over Boston and Providence
Berkele}^ street, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
Berkeley street, over Boston and Providence Railroad.
* Broadway, over Fort Point Channel.
Brookline avenue, over Muddy river, Ward 15.
* Charles River, from Boston to Charlestown.
* Chelsea street, from East Boston to Chelsea.
Columbus avenue, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
* Commercial point, or Teneau, Ward 16.
Dartmouth street, over Boston and Albany and Boston and
Dorchester street, over Old Colony Railroad.
Keport of City Engineer. 19
* Dover street, over Fort Point Channel.
* Federal street, over Fort Point Channel.
Ferdinand street, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
Huntington avenue, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
* Meridian street, from East Boston to Chelsea.
Milldam, over Back Bay sluices.
* Mt. Washington avenue, over Fort Point Channel.
Newton street, over Boston and Providence Railroad.
Public Garden foot bridge.
Shawmut avenue, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
* Warren bridge, from Boston to Charlestown.
Winthrop bridge, from Breed's island t3 Winthrop,
2d. — Bridges of which Boston supports the Part
WITHIN its Limits.
* Cambridge street, from Brighton (Ward 19), to Cam-
* Chelsea bridge, from Charlestown to Chelsea.
* Granite bridge, trom Dorchester (Ward 16) to Milton.
Longwood avenue, from Ward 15 to Brookline.
Mattapan, from Ward 16 to Milton.
Milton " " " *' "
* Neponset, from Ward 16 to Quincy.
* North Beacon street, from Ward 19 to Watertown.
* North Harvard street " ♦' " " Cambridge.
Spring street, from West Roxbury (Ward 17) to
* Western avenue, from Ward 19 to Cambridge.
* Western avenue " '♦ *' " Watertown.
3d. — Bridges of which Boston pays a part of the
Cost of Maintenance.
Albany street, over Boston and Albany Railroad.
* Canal bridge, from Boston to Cambridge.
20 City Document. — No. 20.
* Malden beidge, from Charlestown to Everett.
* Prison point, from Charlestown to Cambridge.
* West Boston bridge, from Boston to Cambridge.
4th. — Bridges supported by Railway Corporations.
1st. — Boston and Albany Railroad.
Market street. Ward 19.
2d. — Boston and Providence Railroad.
Beech street, Ward 17.
Bellevue avenue, Ward 17.
Bellevue street " '*
Canterbury street, Ward 17.
Centre street or Hog bridge. Ward 15.
Centre and Mt. Vernon streets. Ward 17.
Park avenue, Ward 17.
3d. — JSfeiu York and New England Railroad.
Harvard street, Ward 16.
Madison *' " '«
Norfolk " «' "
Washington street. Ward 16.
Eeport of City Engineee. 21
4(h, — Old Colony Railroad.
Ashmont street and Dorchester avenue.
I. Number wholly supported by Boston . . 24
n. Number of which Boston supports the part
within its limits . . . . . .12
III. Number of which Boston pays a part of the
cost of maintenance ..... 5
lY. Number supported by Railway Corporations : —
1. Boston and Albany .... 4
2. Boston and Providence ... 7
3. New York and New England . . 13
4. Old Colony 4
Total number ....... 69
I. — Bridges wholly supported by Boston.
* Albany-street Bridge, (over Roxbury Canal).
This bridge was built in 1868 and 1869, at a cost of
$7,965.58, and was opened to travel early in the latter year.
In 1872 it was thoroughly repaired, at a cost of $1,692.80.
It is only 30 feet wide, and as the amount of travel over
it is great, and since the wharf accommodation above it is
insignificant, it should make way for solid filling of a width
equal to that of the street. It is now in poor condition, but
may be made to do service for a while longer by frequent
22 City Document. — No. 20.
Berkeley-street Bridge (over B. & A. E. R.).
Although of light proportions this structure appears to do
its work without signs of dangerous yielding. The iron
work beneath the flooring has been repainted and the bridge
is now in good order.
Berkeley-street Bridge (over B. & P. R. R.).
No change except that due to wear is noticeable in this
bridge. The southerly abutment shows no signs of further
The city will probably soon be required by the Boston and
Providence Raih'oad corporation to build retaining walls on
each side of Berkeley street, from the bridge to Stanhope
street and Columbus avenue.
Plans and specifications were made for the retaining wall
from the bridge to Stanhope street during the past j^ear,
and provision was made in the specifications for rebuilding
the westerly corner of the abutment.
When these walls are built no trouble is anticipated from
further movement of the abutment.
The remarks made in the last annual report about painting
the iron work of this bridge will apply with equal force at
the present time,
The remarks ui)on the fixed portions of this bridge, made
in the last annual report, are still applicable.
The Phoenix coUunns should be at once protected, as they
are made of i-inch iron, which affords but a small margin for
rust. The arch trusses over Lehigh and Foundry streets are
badly disttirted, but have been stayed by braces, and no change
has been noticeable in the past year.
Early in the year the 'hot-air engines were removed, to
make place for steam-engines of much greater power.
These have worked very satisfactorily. They have sufficient
Report of City Engineer. 23
power to operate a capstan for pulling the vessels through
the draw-way, and the gearing is so arranged that the cap-
stan can be easily applied; before deciding upon its use,
however, it was thought best to wait until experience with
the one at Warren bridge had been obtained, and its value
In the meanwhile careful surveys of the draw, made from
time to time, showed it to be in such a condition that either
very cosily repairs must be made, both to the foundation
pier and superstructure, or a new pier and draw must be
built; accordingly a report to that effect (given in the Appen-
dix), with a number of preliminary plans, was sent to the
Committee on Bridges, and by them submitted to the Cily
Council, with the recommendation that an entirely new struc-
ture be built, at an estimated cost of $114,000.
An appropriation of that amount has been granted, and the
work will be begun early in the spring*
The rest of the bridge requires repainting.
The amount expended under the direction of this depart-
ment for alterations and repairs during the past year has
been as follows : —
Engines, water-pipe, water-tank, etc. . . $5,020 68
Amount expended under other direction . . 2,264 17
Total $7,284 85
BrOOKLINE-A VENUE BuiDGE (OVER MuDDY RiVER,
This is a bridge of only 21 feet span, built by Joseph Ross,
in 1871, at a cost of $970. It replaced one built with round
logs laid side by side and covered with gravel. It consists
of 12 by 14-inch hard-pine stringers, placed three feet apart
on centres, covered with 4-inch spriace and 2-inch oak planks,
and restino^ on stone abutments. It is now in good condi-
24 City Document. — No. 20.
Charles-river Bridge (from Boston to Charlestown) .
This bridge is in charge of Commissioners who represent
both cities, and for whom Mr. Wightman has acted as en-
gineer. His report upon this and other bridges in the hands
of commissioners will be found in the Appendix.
* Chelsea-street Bridge (from East Boston to Chelsea) .
In February and March, pLuis, specitications and estimates
were made for rebuilding the Chelsea-street bridge with ex-
ception of the draw and its pier. Bids were advertised for,
and a contract (dated June 2d) was made with Mr. Wm. A.
Kenrick, of East Boston, who was the lowest bidder.
This work and some slight repairs on the draw and draw-
pier were finished and the bridge opened to travel on Au-
The first structure at this place was built by the East Bos-
ton Co. in 1834, though the act of incorporation was granted
to Benj. T. Reed and others as proprietors of Chelsea Free
It cost $8,277.76, and was opened to public travel in Oct.,
1834. It was rebuilt by the company, in 1848, at a cost of
The act was so drawn that the proprietors of the bridge
could close it to travel, which Avas accordingly done, and on
May 6, 1850, the Mayor and Aldermen, by virtue of an act
of the Legislature, laid out that portion of it which was
within the limits of the city as a public highway. The di-
viding line J>etween Boston and Chelsea is the harbor line on
the Chelsea side.
The Chelsea side was laid out as a public highway 35 feet
wide, by Comrqissioners appointed by the Court of Common
Pleas, and in 1855, by order of the City Council, there were
paid to the town of Chelsea $8,473.00, on condition that said
town would give a bond in the penal sum of $10,000, to keep
Report of City Engineer. 25
that portion of the bridge and road in the limits of the town
in good repair.
The bond was given Jnly 12, 1855.
The Chelsea part of the bridge is built as a solid causeway,
the abutment on that side being supposed to be on the harbor
line. The iirst abutment that was built sunk, and another,
founded on piles, was built around it. In 1868 the draw was
rebuilt, and a new flooring to the bridge laid down by Mr.
Joseph Ross, at a total cost of $9,146.35.
The draw of the present structure is 22 feet wide, the
fixed portion is 30 feet wide and 344 feet long, and is sup-
ported on 18 pile piers, each formed of 8 oak piles, well
braced with oak braces. The piles are girder-capped with
hard-pine sticks 7 by 14 inches, and support 12 by 14-inch
hard-pine bolsters, on which rest the floor- stringers, 12 by
14, also of hard pine.
The floor-planks are 5 inches thick, of burnetized spruce,
and are covered with a sheathing or roadway of 2-inch spruce
planks, laid lengthwise of the bridge. On the north side of
the bridge is a sidewalk 5 feet 6 inches wide, and on each
side is a substantial railing of white pine, planed and
About 140 feet in length of the old bridge, on the East
Boston side, has been replaced by solid tilling, held in place
on the west side by a. heavy dry rubble retaining-wall, and
on the south end, which is 36 feet back from the Harbor
iiiiniissioners' line, by a stone abutment of like construc-
tion. The width at the top of this part is 31 feet, one foot
in width of the wall and its batter (which is one inch in a
foot) and projection of its footing courses being on the land
of the East Boston Company. This company has given a
propel release for the land occupied, conditioned on its being
allowed to make use of so much of the wall as is on its land,
for building upon.
The wall is capped with a line of granite stones, 18 by 18
26 CiTr Document. — No. 20.
inches, laid in cement, and supporting iron standards for a
wooden railing. The total cost of the bridge, including
engineering expenses, was $17,260.27.
Columbus-avenue Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.).
This bridge is in good condition. The grade has been
raised in the centre to drain the roadway, the roadway re-
planked, and the iron- work below the flooring repainted
during the past year. The cost of these improvements, not
including the painting, was $1,663.94.
Commercial Point or Tenean Bridge, Ward 16.
In 1871 about 130 feet of the pile Avork at the southerly
end of this bridge was replaced by a solid causeway, and now
the bridge, properly so-called, consists of little else than a
draw. This is not in condition to require any ver}^ expensive
repairs, still it will, unquestionably, require to be replaced
by a new one in a short time.
Dartmouth Street (over B. & A. and B. & P. R. R.'s).
This bridge was built in 1869. It consists of wooden
trusses (built in the style known as the Pratt truss), in three
spans and continuous over the piers. The piers and abut-
ments are formed of heavy trestle-work, supported on oak
piles. Great care was taken in its construction to secure
good material and workmanship.
During the past season the superstructure began to show
signs of weakness.
The vibration caused by a passing team, especially if mov-
ing at a brisk trot, Avas unusually great. This defect was
attributed to the unequal settling of the piers and abutments,
which caused strains within the continuous upper chords they
were not proportioned to resist, and which changed the char-
acter and amount of strain in some of the ties and counters.
Eeport of City Engineer. 27
The upper road planking requiring to be repaired, it was
decided by the Committee on Paving to have the bridge
thoroughly overhauled, and accordingly this work was begun ;
but, upon removing the ornamental casing and sheathing of
the trusses, it was found the lower chords were in a dangerous
state of decay, the lower portions of the posts in an even
worse condition, and the upper chords also somewhat rotten.
The ends of the floor timbers, where they rested upon the
trusses, were badly decayed, and the three thicknesses of
floor planks were in a condition to require the removal of all
but about one-half of the lower course, which had been creo-
soted by the Robbins process.
Considering that the bridge had been erected but four
years, this state of things was quite surprising.
This being reported to the committee, orders were given
to stop repairs, and to make estimates for a new bridge in
one span, with iron superstructure and stone abutments.
Such an estimate, amounting to $155,000, was made, and by
the committee presented to the City Council, with the recom-
mendation that an appropriation for this amount should be
The appropriation was not passed, however, but instead
repairs were ordered, at an estimated expense of $3,000.
The bridge was at once closed to travel and the repairs
beiian, and are now (January 26, 1874) completed.
The floor planking, of which there were three thicknesses,
nine inches thick in all, has been (all but about one-half the
lower course) replaced by two courses of new lumber, giv-
ing a total thickness of fiv^e inches. Some four or five new
posts have been inserted and others strengthened by side
pieces nailed on, and the trusses on each side of the two
longer spans have been reinforced with new trusses of the
bowstring form, with a wooden how and iron tie. The new
trusses are proportioned to bear the entire moving load, and
are connected with the old ones by iron suspending-rods
28 City Doctoient. — No. 20.
attached to stirrups on which rest the lower chords, — there
being a bowstring on either side of each of the old trusses.
The bills for this work have not yet been presented. The
bridge can be kept in service probably a year or two longer,
but will require careful watching.
Dorchester-street Bridge (over O. C. E. K.).
This structure is in a serviceable condition, and will require
only ordinary repairs.
*Dover-street Bridge (over Fort Point Channel).
This bridge has been examined and repaired from time to
time during the season, and in November last was thoroughly
surveyed by Mr. Manley , who then reported upon its condition.
(See Appendix for report.) It being too late in the season
to make the thorough renewals there marked out, it was
recommended that repairs be made, at a cost not exceeding
$1,800. The repairs indicated in the latter part of Mr.
Manley's report have been made, and the bridge is now safe,
but is in a condition where further repairs of the upper
"works will soon* become more costly than reconstruction.
The bridge should be widened, and a draw that can be
handled much more quickly should be substituted for the ex-
isting one, that the great travel which daily passes over may
be properly accommodated.
The amount expended under the direction of this department
for repairs has been $2,741 73
Amount expended under other direction . 467 42
Total, $3,209 15
Keport of City Engineer. 29
*Federal-street Bridge (over Fort Point Channel).
The work of widening and rebuilding this structure, as
described in the last annual report, Avas finished early in the
The draw is a slide draw, in two parts, ^^hich are drawn
off in opposite directions. Each part weighs about seventy-
tive tons, and moves about forty-four feet to leave a clear
channel, yet runs so easily that the movement can be made
by a horse in less than thirty seconds.
The total cost of the work, including extras and engineer-
ing expenses, was $90,032.24.
The bridge is now in good condition and will require no
repairs this season, other than those due to wear and acci-
The amount expended under the direction of this department
for repairs for the past year, including the cost of a new
buoy, has been $1,400 95
Ferdinand-street Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.).
This is an iron bridge, of light construction. The floor beams
have not sufficient depth to give proper stiff'uess, and are not
properly coiniected with the trusses. It has, however, done
its work without showing signs of failure, and now needs no
special repairs. The iron work of the trusses should be re-
The cost of repairs for the past year, made under the
direction of the Paving Department, has been $94.15.
Huntington- avenue Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.).
Nothing has been done to this structure since the date of
the last report, nor indeed since it was built. Since the
time of the Peace Jubilee it has not been used as a bridije for
common travel, but, with the consent of the Committee on
30 City Document. — No. 20.
Streets, has served to carry the raih'oad track of the con-
tractor for tillhig Back Bay lauds. It is now in very much
the same state as described a year ago, and it is still questiou-
able as to what should be done to place it in proper condition.
Measurements have been taken at various times durino^ the
year to ascertain the amount and direction of the movements
occurring- in the abutments. These movements, although
diminishing in rate, still continue. Between Jan. 17th and
Oct. 3d, the northerly abutment had moved one-tenth of a
foot and the southerly abutment nineteen-hundredths of a
foot, or over 2^ inches.
The total movement since the completion of the bridge has
been, for the northerly abutment 9 inches, and for the
southerly abutment 13| inches. Before the bridge comes
into much use as a public highway it should receive extensive
*Meridian-street Bridge (from East Bostox to Chelsea) .
In May last, the draw, with its running gear and pier,
received very thorough repairs. In Jul}', Mr. Manley made
a detailed examinalion of the draw, and submitted a special
report upon its condition (see Appendix), which was trans-
mitted, with recommendations, to the Committee on Bridges.
The bridge is in good condition, with the exception of the
concrete sidewalk (which should be relaid) and the planking
of the draw. Orders have been given for replanking, but
the work is not yet done.
The cost of repairs done under the direction of this de-
partment during the past year was . . $1,525 21
Of those done under other direction . . 154 23
Total 11,679 44
MiLLDAM Bridge (over Back Bay Sluices).
This structure is in good condition, and will require nothing
J3Ut ordinary repairs during the coming year.
Report or City Engineer. 31
*Mt. Washington- avenue Bridge (over Fort Point
This bridge is now in good condition. During the year it
has been repaired by rephinking the draw, and improved by
changing the lines of the sidewalks near the draw, putting
up new gates with iron posts, painting the draw and patching
The cost of repairs made under the direction of this de-
partment has been for the year . . . $1,496 72
The cost of other repairs has been . . 1,341 59
Total $2,838 31
Newton-street Bridge (over B. & P. R. R.)
This bridge is not much used, and although it has received
no repairs is in good condition, with, of course, the exception
of the northerly abutment, which is badly cracked by the
movement of its foundation.
Public Garden Foot Bridge.
This structure is in o^oocl condition.
Shawmut- AVENUE Brjdge (over B. & A. R. R.).
This bridge is in good order with the exception of the
paint. It should be repainted the coming year.
* Warren Bridge (from Boston to Charlestown).
This bridsfe is in the charge of Commissioners. A state-
ment of its present condition, and the renewals required for
the coming year, will be found in Mr. Wightman's report in
32 City Document. — No. 20.
WiNTHROP Bridge (from Breed's Island to Winthrop) .
Portions of the floor planking of this bridge have decayed
and will reqnire to be replaced soon. Otherwise it is in fair
II. Bridges of which Boston supports the Part within
The maintenance of most of the bridges classed under this
head has been lately thrown upon the city, through the annex-
ation of Charlestowu, West Roxbury and Brighton, and they
have not yet received from this department th:it careful
examination which is required for a full and positive state-
ment of their condition.
*Cambridge-street Bridge (from Brighton to Cam-
bridge ) .
This is a pile bridge, with a leaf draw, the centre of which
is on the division line between Brighton and Cambridge.
The part within the limits of Boston has been repaired lately
and is in good condition.
*Chelsea Bridge (from Charlestown to Chelsea.)
This bridge is 3,633 feet long and 32 feet wide, and is pro-
vided with two draws, one in Charlestown, the other in
Of this length Charlestown has supported 2,333 feet, the
Lynn and Boston horse-railway corporation, however, plank-
ing one-half the width and furnishing the two lines of stringers
which (iarry its track.
It is very old and in a dangerous state. It probably will
have to be rebuilt at an early day. When rebuilding, from
1,200 to 1,500 feet of it can be replaced by solid filling with-
out the expense of retaining walls, and can be widened to
Keport or City Engineer. 33
about 64 feet without purchase of more land, as the bridge
corporation which built the original structure owned a strip
of land of that width, the centre line of the bridge being ou
the centre line of the land.
*Granite Bridge (from Dorchester to Milton) .
This bridge is in fair condition, and will require only
LONGWOOD-AVE. BrIDGE (FROM WaRD 15 TO Brooivline) .
This bridge has been examined lately and found to be in
very bad condition. The report of Mr. Mauley in the Ap-
pendix will give the detail of repairs required, with an
estiaiate of their cost.
A permanent structure should be built to replace the
present bridge, but as Brookline and Boston are jointly inter-
ested, it will probably take considerable time to devise a
plan which will be mutually satisfactory. I should, there-
fore, recommend the repairs mentioned in Mr. Mauley's
report to be made.
Mattapan Bridge (from Ward 16 to Quincy).
Milton Bridge " " " " "
These bridgps are in good condition.
*Neponset Bridge (from Ward 16 to Quincy).
The Committee on Bridges, at the beginning of the year,
decided to recommend the rebuilding of that portion of this
structure supported by Boston, and requested plans and
estimates prepared for the consideration of the City Council.
Surveys were made in February, and the plans were
partially completed by Mr. Learned, when it became neces-
sary to withdraw him from this work to commence upon other
more urgent, and his duties since have prevented his again
34 CiTr Document. — No. 20.
taking hold of the plans until near the close of the year.
They will soon be finished, and, with estimates, presented to
The bridge was repaired at an expense of $980.64.
*NoRTH Beacon -STREET Bridge (from Ward 19 to
This bridge has been recently renewed above the pile caps
and is in good order.
*North Harvard-street Bridge (from Ward 19 to Cam-
This bridge is in good order, though the draw (which is
new) needs more counter-balance. The draw pier should be
replanked, and the dolphin, used by vessels in passing
through, which has been carried away, should be replaced as
soon as navigation beo^ins.
Spring-street Bridge (from Ward 17 to Dedham).
This is a five-arch stone bridge over Charles river, con-
necting Ward 17 with Dedham. It is in good condition, and
with the exception of the fence, which will soon have to be
renew^ed, requires no repairs. One half of the bridge will in
future be supported by Boston.
* Western- avenue Bridge (from Ward 19 to Cambridge).
One of the piles of this bridge is badly shattered at the top,
and must be replaced in the spring. (It has been tempo-
rarily strengthened within a few days.) The draw pier needs
to be replanked, and very likely new floor timbers will be
Keport of City Engineer. 35
*Western-avenue Bridge (from Ward 19 to Water-
This bridge is apparently in fair condition ; the draw pier,
however, will reqnire thorough repairs.
A petition was sent to the Harbor Commissioners, a short
time since, requesting an alteration of the position of the
draw, which is badly located for the passage of vessels going
above the bridge. No action was taken by the commission,
but when the draw is rebuilt, in view of the location of the
Brighton abattoir, and the business which will ultimately
concentrate above the bridge, it would be good policy to
alter its position.
III. Bridges of which Boston pays a Part of the
Cost or Maintenance.
Albany-street Bridge (over B. & A. R. R.).
The existing structure is soon to be removed, to make place
for one of longer span, and, as the chauge is for the accom-
modation of the Boston & Albany Railroad, that corporation
will make the improvement at its own expense.
The abutments haVe moved, and are badly cracked. They
may be said to be in very poor condition, and when the
bridge is rebuilt they should be taken down and built anew.
*Canal Bridge (from Boston to Cambridge).
This bridge is in the charge of commissioners. Mr.
Wightman's report will give the requisite information rela-
tive to its condition and the proposed improvements.
*Malden Bridge (from Charlestown to Everett).
This bridge has not been closely examined, but will receive
careftd inspection as soon as the weather will ])ermit. It is
quite old, and undoubtedly is in an unsafe condition.
36 City Document. — No. 20.
It has a counter-balanced turn-table draw, which is nearly
new, and in good order.
Although entirely within the limits of Charlestown, it is
supported by the several towns, corporations, etc., benefited
by it, as provided in chapter 266 of the Acts of 1869.
By this act the County Commissioners of Middlesex county
are required to assess annually the various corporations
interested in the maintenance of the bridge, for the estimated
cost of maintaining it for the 3'ear, and the_y are also requested
to designate who shall receive and disburse the money.
It is directed that the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of
Charlestown shall have the care and superintendence of the
bridge, and that said city shall be liable for any loss or in-
jury that any person may sustain by reason of carelessness
or misconduct of its agents in the manaofemeut of the bridge.
*Prison Point Bridge (from Charlestown to Cam-
This is an old and poor structure, too narrow for conven-
ient use, consisting of little else than a draw.
Chapter 300 of the Acts of 1870 requires the cities of
Charlestown and Cambridge to forthwith construct a new
draw, and directs each city to choose a commissioner to
have the care and management of the bridge, the expense to
be borne equally by the two cities. No commissioners have
been chosen under this act, but since its date, the draw has
been rebuilt ; in fact, all the draws between this and the har-
bor have been rebuilt or changed in conformity to a general
plan of the Harbor Commissioners, regulating their position,
and the direction and width of draw oj)enings.
It would seem proper that this bridge should now be placed
under the charge of the commissioners on West Boston and
Eeport or City Engineer. 37
*West Boston Bridge (from Boston to Cambridge).
This bridge is under the charge of commissioners appointed,
one from each city. Mr. Wightman's report will give full
information in regard to it.
IV. Bridges supported by Railway Corporations.
With the exception of certain bridges described in the
report of Mr. Manley, on the Hartford & Erie (New York
and New England) bridges (see Appendix), all the struc-
tures that are classed under this head are either in good or
fair condition, and will require no special mention at this
Miscellaneous Constructions and Estimates in 1872.
Under this head may be classed : —
JBerkeley-street Retaining Wall. — Plans and specifications
have been made for a retaining wall on Berkeley street,
from the bridge over the Boston & Providence Railroad, to
Stanhope street, on the westerly side. The specifications
were printed, but the work has not yet been advertised for
proposals, the Superintendent of Streets preferring to wait
until the coming season.
Chester Parh Extension Bridges. — Plans for the bridges,
with their abutments, which will be required for crossing the
Boston and Providence and Boston and Albany Railroads, on
the extension of West Chester Park, have been prepared.
If the filling of the avenue is completed, in accordance
with the contract with Mr. Munson, the city will probably
be called upon to build them during the coming year.
Eastern-avenue Extension. — Considerable work has been
done, by this department, in locating lines, making plans, and
taking soundings and borino;s for this extension.
38 City Document. — No. 20.
The construction of the bridge will have to be commenced
in the spring, the terms of the contract between the State
and the city requiring its completion during the year 1874.
An appropriation has been made b}^ the City Council which
will partially cover the cost of this improvement, and the
plans of the bridge and sea-walls are now in progress.
Lovejoy's Wliarf. — The retaining wall on the easterly
side of Beverly street, adjoining Lovejoy's Wharf, having
moved to such an extent as to narrow the dock, the Superin-
tendent of Streets requested this department to prepare plans
for remedying the difficulty.
Plans for cross-bracing the piers of the wharf were made,
and the work was satisfactorily completed by Messrs. Whit-
comb and Potter, for the sum of $450.
Pinckney-street Sea Wall. — The rebuilding of this wall,
which was commenced in the fall of 1872, was not completed
until June, 1873. The work has been thoroughly done, and
DO signs of movement have been observed. The contract
price was $6,850.
Pynchon-street Retaining Wall. — In May plans and spe-
cifications were made for a rettdning wall on the northerly
side of Pynchon, at its junction with Washington street.
The wall was about 431 feet long, of an average height of 17
feet, and to be built of Roxbury stone, with granite capping.
Proposals were advertised for July 2, and the contract
awarded to Thomas Dolan, for $9,548. The wall has been
substantially built, under the supervision of an inspector
(Mr. J. W. Coburn), and was completed on the 3d of De-
cember. A continuation of the wall, not required by the
contiact, was built by the same contractor for $489.09.
Sumner-street, East Boston Bridges. — Plans and esti-
mates for a bridge for team and foot travel, over the Eastern
Eeport of City Engineer. 39
Eailroad, on Sumner street, were made in March, and in
December plans and estimates for a foot-bridge on the same
location were made, but neither have as yet been adopted.
JOS. P. DAVIS,
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
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