Worcester, MA Flood, Mar 1876


Later reports from the Blackstone Valley show the no additional was done by the waters of the Lynde brook reservoir. The cause for the failure of the dam may never be certainly known, as nothing is left to show in the least the action of the water upon the section which gave way. The break in the dam is a large one. At the top it about 125 feet wide, and slopes gradually, being about 50 feet wide at the bottom. All the stone and earth work is gone. The distance from the top of the dam to the bottom of the break is about 40 feet. At the bottom of the break is hard [ineligible], over which the waters rushed without any effect. The break extends back about 400 feet, and below the earth is gullied in a terrible manner.

Two theories are advanced for the break in the dam. In constructing the [ineligible] the walls were built of cemented masonry two feet in thickness, the bottom being with cobbies. The water worked under this, and, following the law of nature to rise to its own level. worked up through it carrying the earth upon which it rested with it. When a sufficient amount of earth had been washed out the paving stones of course fell in, and gradually the earth gave way until it had undermined the spilling wall, which left without support, soon gave way and dropped into the pit. The earth between the spilling wall and the face of the dam was not long in holding together, and the water worked through until it bubbled out near the lower gate house.

Another theory is that water running through the old leak was at work under mining the dam long before the danger made itself manifest, and that the earth of the embankment was gradually filling with water. The earth at the top of the dam being frozen prevented the water from working through the surface, and when the flow through the leak increased the earth was thoroughly saturated. The water found but little obstruction in its course through the spongy earth, and but little time would have been occupied in destroying the dam had it not been for the obstructions placed in the gap at the face of the dam. These controlled the flow of water for a time and delayed the final break for several hours, the dam meanwhile growing weaker every hour until it finally went with a rush.

Continued on page 5