Greetings! Easton withstood tropical storm Elsa, suffering some heavy downpours and some local flooding, but little to no wind at all. With all the rain we've had over the past two weeks, the ponds are full and the streams are running quick! It is hard to believe that record-setting heat was only a short while ago.
I was scanning some photos for another project when I came across this one, which I hope you find interesting. The days of traveling by steam engine may be romanticized at times, but there was a practical side to running a steam engine. One needs a steady supply of coal from the coal car, attached just behind the engine, to provide the means to heat water for steam. One also needs a good water supply to make steam. Letting the boiler run dry could be catastrophic. Unfortunately, tanker cars were not in use in those early days, so steam engines had to refill their boilers when the train stopped at a station. This was true in North Easton, and today's photo clearly shows the old water tank that once stood along Mechanic Street. This photo, taken in the late 1920's, looks north along Mechanic Street towards Oliver Street. The water tank is the focus of the photo. The wood tank was supported by a massive concrete column in the center. There is some type of support around the outside of the bottom of the tank, which appears to be made from steel beams. A ladder to the roof must have allowed for inspections and repairs. Immediately behind the tank is the Old Colony Railroad Station (at the time of this photo it was the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad), and if you look closely, there are a few cars parked in the lot. At the end of the road are 26-28 and 30-32 Oliver Street, twin duplexes that still stand. The old stone retaining wall is easily seen along the left side of the road. The man walking on the sidewalk is unidentified. The tank was probably taken down by the 1940's.
This water tank, which was filled with water from the North Easton Village District water supply on Lincoln Street (now the Town Pool) was the second one on our site. The original railroad water tank stood in what would now be the center of our parking lot, close to the tracks where a water pipe could feed the boilers when needed. I do not know where the original water supply would have come from for that first tank. Perhaps a steam pump at the Ames Shovel Shop location pumped water from the Queset River that flowed nearby. Once the water district was established in 1873, water could be obtained from the above-named source.
That's enough about water for now! Stay well, and until next week,
Curator: Frank Meninno