Worcester, MA Flood, Mar 1876


Giving Way of the Dam at Worcester, Mass.


Impeachment of Belknap.

Death of "Little Enoch Moore."

WORCESTER, March 30.---Later advices from the broken dam are of a more assuring character. Large tree trunks, bales of hay and loads of dirt are being thrown into the gap and the rush of water is lessened. Channels to connect the reservoir with a stream to the eastward are being dug with haste. Water in the reservoir is rapidly lowering, and though the gap in the dam is widening, it is thought the main structure will stand. There is less of a panic along the expected path of the flood, but efforts to lessen or avert the danger are still in progress throughout the entire Kettlebrook and Blackstone river. There is an immense crowd at the scene of trouble, which is growing constantly, and a large police is keeping order in the crowd and protecting goods on the hills removed from houses and manufactories.

2 P. M.----It is now decided that the only means of safety is in cutting through the east part of the dam and diverting the water from the break.---- This will carry the stream down Parsons brook to the valley falls and thence to New Worcester by the highway. Parties on the line have been warned, yet there is great danger or loss of life and property. The city engineer thinks he can control the flow.

CHICAGO, March 30.----General Anson Stager, superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph company, has a later dispatch from the manager at the Worcester office, dated 11:50 a. m.; which gives the following information touching the threatening flood:

WORCESTER, March 30.-----The latest advices from the dam are now favorable. The most active efforts are being made to save the dam, with prospects of success.

2:00 p. m. ---- It is decided that a way must be cut through the east part of the dam, thus diverting the water from the break. This will carry the stream down Parson's brook, to Valley Falls, and thence to New Worcester by highway. There is danger this way, but the parties have been warned.

At 6:30 this afternoon the reservoir dam gave way with a great crash, letting off 760,000 000 gallons of water, which rushed down the ravine with a terrible roar, in a solid mass 20 feet high. First in the line of the sweeping flood was a stone waste gate house. When the flood struck this it tottered, when the keystone of the arch dropped out, a corner of the building next gave way, followed by the wooden roof, which was swept onward until drawn into the whirlpool, when it was crushed and thrown into the air. The gate house was tipped over bodily, and not even a stone remained. Down through a narrow ravine, one hundred feet wide and one mile long the flood swept, and the sides were fairly dug out clean in an instant, for 50 feet until the edge of the embankment was almost perpendicular. Through the pine woods on one side of the ravine, the water tore, and the largest trees were twisted around like so many straws. The flood tore out everything in the ravine and rushed onward towards the highway. The next was G. W. Olney's dwelling, the finest in the village. The rushing mass struck the broadside, completely tearing out the rear and front walls. The ends stood, and strange to say supported the roof, under which the waters poured a solid stream 20 feet high and 30 feet wide.

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