If you have been on Rocky Neck over the last 10 days, you may have seen a lot of big trucks heading up and down Horton Street. As part of an EPA funded restoration and remediation project at the Paint Manufactory, we have been digging a clean utility corridor (to carry our utilities – sewer, electricity, water, cable and gas).
A lot of the utilities for the Paint Factory were laid down in the 1920’s or earlier – so with the help of McConnell Enterprises, Nobis and National Grid, we are slowly switching out our utilities. Until just a couple of months ago the power here was Delta and we just changed it to Wye – prior to the change from Delta, everything here from the lights to our robotics lab had to run though a small transformer. We did have to have National Grid on site as some of the site records were incomplete and there were concerns as to whether or not the gas line was still live. Luckily, it was not.
When you dig around an old industrial site like the Paint Factory, you know that you are going to find some surprises. The first surprise was finding a very large, barrel ceiling, double wall brick cistern – this cistern was 16 feet wide, 8 feet long and about 4 feet high. Our guess at this time is that it was a water cistern that was used to feed the steam engine that used to not only run all of the equipment but also heat the buildings. I did crawl into the cistern to take a couple of photos.
The most interesting thing we found were two stone walls that were about 1 foot under the surface that lead more than 100 feet from one of the brick buildings down the road towards Rocky Neck. These walls were at least 4 feet high (we did not dig to the very bottom of them) about 8 inches thick and just over 3 feet apart. If we were in England, I would say they we had found an old Roman aqueduct, but the Romans never made it this far! At the very bottom of this trench we did find the water main. We do not know if the walls were there to protect the water main, or if they served some function before the water main was installed. Please have a look at the photographs and tell us what you think!
– Iain Kerr, CEO