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Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, Inc.

Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, Inc.

Opened in 2011, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum uses its architecturally magnificent building, mammoth steam pumping engines, and the adjacent historic Chestnut Hill Reservoir to interpret unique stories of one of the country’s earliest metropolitan water systems. Through educational programs and exhibits focused on engineering, architecture, urbanism, public health, and social history, the Museum connects these stories to current issues and future challenges.

Dubbed “The Cathedral of Steam Technology,” the facility served originally as the high service pumping station that delivered clean, safe drinking water into the heart of 19th century Boston. Built in response to the Great Fire of 1872, the Waterworks was the nexus of a complex supply and delivery system that included reservoirs, aqueducts, water towers, and other facilities that eventually became part of the Metropolitan Water Resources Authority.

Today, the museum preserves the three original, coal-fired, steam engines that pumped millions of gallons of water each day into Boston. The historic building, designed in the Romanesque style of H.H. Richardson, was built by Boston City Architects Arthur H. Vinal in 1888, and enlarged by Edmund March Wheelwright in 1897. The structure was constructed near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, part of the pastoral park and carriageway influenced by the Olmstead brothers’ landscape style. Turn of the century engineer and microbiologist George C. Whipple, later co-founder of

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  • Architect Umberto Guarracino, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, describes the Waterworks Museum.

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