Worcester, MA Flood, Mar 1876
When the dam first broke, the gap was about 20 feet in width. This continued to increase until the entire section, which was eighty feet wide, had been destroyed. The water continued to run for three hours and a half before the reservoir was exhausted, and the worst of the danger at Cherry Valley was over. A small cottage which stood opposite Mr. Olney's [ineligible] whirled like a top on the surface for a time, and then settled down into the water. Three or four other small houses were taken and borne along until they crushed together and sunk out of sight.
The waters from the reservoir now reached Kettlebrook, and a vast amount of water swept across the pond, struck a line beyond, and was turned down towards Cherry Valley, Jamesville, Leesville, Stoneville and New Worcester. J. A. Smith & Co.'s woolen mill stood at the head of the pond. In front of it was a dam which gave way and the waters of the pond added to the already uncontrollable mass. The mill, a substantial brick structure, was next struck, and crumbled until three-fourths of the building was in ruins. A short distance below was the Bottomly mill, a wooden structure about fifty feet square, and stood below the dam which held the waters of the pond above. When the water struck this, it gave way, and the mill was lifted bodily to the top of the rushing waters, and on it was swept at a terrific rate until it struck Ashworth & Jones' mill, a substantial brick structure, four stories high, with an ell for a boiler house. The Bottomly mill struck the ell with terrific force, completely demolishing both structures. The boiler house of Ashworth & Jones' mill was ruined in an instant, and one end of the main building was swept away. The boiler was taken up and carried along like a shingle into the stream. Soon an explosion was heard above the roar of the flood, and a stream of water was thrown seven feet above the surface of the current. Another explosion followed and another, until five occurred, and the boiler was blown to pieces. Mr. Jones also lost a large barn, which was crushed like a [ineligible]. At Stoneville the dam gave away and the course of the flood was through a narrow valley, and the roar of the rushing water was distinctly heard for a mile. The flood next passed over a small dam and the Boston & Albany railroad, just above the Jamesville depot. Spectators who were standing near the depot say the water was thirty feet high when it approached the track. With one tremendous crash the railroad embankment gave away, opening a gap four or five hundred feel long and twenty feet deep. The [ineligible] sheds were carried away, but the passenger and freight depots were left standing.
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