Guilford Reservoir


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1888 – Eastern High Service Reservoir at Guilford: On June 5th, 12 acres, 3 roods and 29 perches of land was purchased on Cold Spring Lane, west of York Road, for an Eastern High Service Reservoir at Guilford. The Guilford estate was purchased from the heirs of the late A. S. Abell. A contract was awarded on July 30th to Messrs. Jones & Thorne for the construction of the Guilford Reservoir. The reservoir will have an elevation of 350 feet and a capacity of 40 million gallons of water. The water will be supplied to this reservoir from Lake Clifton via the Eastern Pumping Station. All the area between Huntingdon Avenue and Cold Spring Lane will be supplied with water from this reservoir. The 36-inch pipes temporarily used to supply Gunpowder water to Roland’s Run will be re-laid under York Road, forming a line through which water will be forced from Lake Clifton to Guilford Reservoir. The construction of the Guilford Reservoir commenced on August 1, 1888.

Property purchased by the City.

An earlier drawing without the date on top stone of vault.

A later drawing for construction purposes, showing the date. The connection of this reservoir to the water system is documented in the Early Water History: 1889 – Eastern High Service Pumping Station: A contract was awarded to Henry R. Worthington Company for the erection of the Eastern High Service Pumping Station at the corner of Oliver and Ann streets. The pumping station will have a heavy duty pump with a capacity of 5 million gallons per day for the Guilford Reservoir and ultimately for increasing the water supply in Druid Lake. Supplying Druid Lake is a result of decreasing flows of the tributaries supplying Lake Roland; and of the increase in water demand to the higher elevations. The pipeline installation connecting the Eastern Pumping Station to the Guilford Reservoir was nearly completed during the year. The construction of the Guilford Reservoir was proceeding at a good pace. The excavation was completed, the vault chamber was constructed, the puddle trenches in the embankment surrounding the reservoir were sunk to the requisite depths, and the mains to the reservoir were installed.

Another drawing by years end. Interestingly the date on the vault house is 1889, but a recent search shows the date as 1893:

Hard to see the date on the top stone in this street view. From the history: 1893 – The Guilford Reservoir was completed on June 29, 1893 and placed into service supplying finished water to the public. By 1895, the water consumption from the Guilford Reservoir averaged 400,000 gallons per day.

This drawing is from 1894. I did not know there even was a fountain in here. The two times I went to the reservoir for work was a few years ago for a CL2 leak and just recently to see the work going on there.

In this 1938 aerial view, from the Baltimore Sun, Dark Room series, you can see the fountain in the center of the reservoir and the valve vault on the right hillside.

Here is an overhead shot a couple years ago.

And here is another, showing the construction to cover the reservoir (actually installing new tanks).


Druid Lake a.k.a Lake Chapman


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From the Water Engineer’s office – drawings and history of Druid Lake. A Google search will give various histories of the lake. This history comes from the actual Water Engineer’s reports to the Mayor at that time:

1863 Druid Lake (Lake Chapman): City authorized construction of lake and reservoirs in Druid Hill Park and the land adjoining. Also authorized to lay pipe from Hampden Reservoir or from the conduit to a reservoir or reservoirs within the park. Heavy rains had caused the Jones Falls water to be muddy, hence the need to construct Druid Lake. Work started on March 7, 1864

Although the writing on this drawing is hard to read, from what I could read it states: 1869, Cross section through [pipes?]. Effluent and Influent [?] Lake Chapman ^ Druid Lake December 2[?] 1869[?] What I like about this is that it is the first drawing that I have seen where Druid Lake was called Lake Chapman.

1867 Druid Lake (Lake Chapman): Completed Lake Chapman, 429,000,000 gallons, capable of holding a supply of water equal to 40 days of consumption. Lake has nominally the same elevation as Hampden Reservoir, but is usually about 5 feet lower.

1868 Druid Lake (Lake Chapman): March 30, Res. No. 111, changed name of Lake Chapman to Druid Lake.

Another hard to decipher drawing: W. Bollman(?). Balto. Jule(?) 1870. Grating, Gate Stands, Stems and Screen for screen well at Druid Lake Reservoir.

1870 Druid Lake: The inside portion of the Druid Lake dam was completed in 1868 except for the remaining top 30 feet of the required elevation, and had remained unfinished during the year 1869. Work on Druid Lake resumed on May 2, 1870. The Druid Lake Park Reservoir is completed and water is first let. Druid Lake has a storage capacity of 493 million gallons, but only 429 million gallons to be available for City use. This equates to 40 days of water consumption which would allow ample time for Lake Roland to settle after the heaviest rains. The extreme water depth at the foot of the dam is to be 65 feet. The extreme water depth at the upper end of the dam is to be 20 feet.

Druid, Mt. royal and Hampden Reservoir were all connected through various series of pipes. In 1898 (for year ending 1897) it is reported that the water conduit from Lake Roland to Hampden Reservoir is a brick conduit, and the water is then delivered from Hampden Reservoir to Druid Lake by means of four 30-inch cast-iron pipes.

Photo of valve vault at embankment.

From the Water Engineer’s report to the Mayor – Hoen lithograph.

Another drawing of the lake. Looking close to the upper left I believe that was the keeper’s cottage. To the right is the High Service Reservoir Pump Station.

The cottage at Druid. 1873. Philip Walsh, contractor.

The stable for the cottage.

Not sure of this drawing from 1902. It is saying that the lake is 118′ deep?? An earlier report puts it at 65′.

Another 1902 drawing.

Looking across Druid Lake in 1925.

A Walk In The Woods


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That was actually a pretty good movie, with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. But for us, it wasn’t the misadventures while walking the Appalachian Trail. It was just a peaceful, late afternoon stroll along the Big Gunpowder Falls. 

I always like checking out the bridges. Quite a few bandaids on it and should be rebuilt. This is where Harford Rd. crosses the Falls.

Here we have Molly not wanting to get her feet wet. This is crossing over Jenifer’s Branch. We did that hike once before so we stuck with the Gunpowder on this trip. 

Can’t blame Molly for not wanting to get wet – the water was cold.

Ice in early November.

Even though it was cold, this little guy was reaching for the sun, trying to stay alive.

I don’t think this stuff ever dies.

Daily black and white. Some b/w make the day dreary looking. Our days hiking are always fun. We stay positive. And Kathy has shown me how to be aware of the goodness of the hike (as opposed to my just trudging through, seeing how many cool photos I can take, to post on FaceBook!!)

I now take the time to reflect on what I am seeing – to look across and up in the trees.

Sitting pretty.

Just need to focus on what is around me, on that which is in front of me, on what is important. To be in the moment. Mindful Walking.

Kathy’s gift to the tree. Art in the park.

Our map of the trip. The one thing about AllTrails is, it shows how long you are out there while recording (over 2 hours) but when you save it, it only shows how long you were actually moving. Guess I better check the settings or will probably have to upgrade.

High Service Reservoir


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I know this is not a very good drawing but I appreciate it nonetheless. I love the detail that went into this.

This is the pump house for the High Service Reservoir (HSR) in Druid Park. A lot of times when talking to people, when I mention the HSR, they assume I am talking about Lake Ashburton. Because the City was constantly growing the HSR steadily moved north.


Here is another cut away view.


This early photograph shows the pump room.


Here we have a photo of the exterior of the building. This photo was used by A. Hoen and Company to create the drawing used by the Water Engineer in his Annual Report for 1875. As shown below.


This particular report had many Hoen drawings. (Lithographs).


Some things don’t change – today the deer were hanging out at the Dewatering Pumping Station at Montebello.

Druid Park

This is a drawing of Druid Hill Park in 1871. The HSR is lower left. In 1861 the Hampden Reservoir supplied the High Service Zones in the City. In 1873 the HSR above, was called the Pimlico Reservoir and it held 26 million gallons. In 1874 the City used water from the HSR to supply the fountain in Druid Lake (They are supposed to fix the fountain under the new contract going on now). In 1891 the Guilford Reservoir supplied the High Service and then in 1909 Lake Ashburton was the HSR.

Water History Drawings


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I love it when engineers, from the real world outside of Montebello, send me historic drawings. Not only did he send me some really nice ones, he gave me a link to thousands of others. I’m glad someone else in the Water Department, besides me, is saving our history. Here is one that threw me off at first glance.

I know where the drain tunnel is off of Lake Montebello, but looking close at this drawing and at a recent photo I had taken of the drain where it enters Herring Run, something just didn’t look right.

Here is the photo from my inspection down there. Looks about right, but, the drawing says it is of the West Portal? West? This is east of the lake as shown in the 1894 topography below.

To the right of this kidney bean shaped lake is a small arrow pointing to the drain. Then looking close to the left, near Hillen Road is another portal. This is west. Also, the top elevation of 146′ matches the drawing. The east portal top elevation is about 120′. I wish I had photos of when this structure existed. It is all built over now. Under Hillen Road is a large storm drain – 9-12′ that goes into the gate house (Structure with unknown quarter moon shaped object next to it).

Here is another drawing, unknown location because all the shafts were filled in. (Unknown, even though it gives the station as 22+50. Without the overall view, I’m not sure where the engineer started his stations? 2,250 feet from where?

It shows how they built these tunnels, by hand, through solid rock. Bottom legend shows cost and materials. Thanks Engineering!

N.Y. Trip


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Another day trip to New York. Always a lot of fun and a lot of walking. You cannot beat the Groupon $33 round trip price. Our driver just flies up the highway. Went thru the Holland Tunnel and got off at 8th and 45th. Went to the City Kitchen then headed over to the subway. 

It was a lot cleaner than I thought it would be. Lots of people in N.Y. for some reason.

Looking down at one of the trains.

Our first stop was at the 9/11 memorial. This is some sort of mall?

Inside view.

Bright sunny day with lots of reflections.

More reflections.

Reflecting pool. Hard to believe there once was a building here – full of people.

Kathy left her cellphone at work, so I’m not sure who she is talking to – on a cloaked phone.

The Survivor Tree. Discovered amidst the wreckage of 9/11 – transplanted and cared for, then brought back to be planted here.

An art sculpture from the wreckage at WTC Plaza. 1971 “The Sphere”

Back on the subway and headed to Staten Island Ferry. The subway card did not work after Kathy went thru – a woman held the gate open for me! Niceness in NY!

From outside the ferry terminal you can see the Brooklyn Bridge.

Leaving the terminal and watching a million people standing in line for the ferry, we walked over to Battery Park. Besides being able to see Lady Liberty from there, they have many statues around.

My B&W post of the day.

This was a strange one – called The Immigrants. 

Castle Clinton. Had some nice dioramas inside.

Another statue. This was blocked off and we couldn’t read what it was about.

Korean War Memorial – Got his camos on.

The Seaglass Carousel. 

Leaves are slow to turn up here.

After Battery Park we caught another subway to Chelsea Market. Building on the way.

This place was packed. Halloween stuff going on.

Halloween stuff!Left the market and headed to the High Line.

Another view. This is at 14th Street.

And here is an old time view. Interesting history about this. Plenty of articles on Google.

The High Line was old train tracks above the City, turned into a garden.

Finally some fall colors.

From 14th street we headed south to the end. Kathy got a kick out of me wanting to keep walking. This is at Gansevoort St. From here on, the rails were destroyed.

Besides being a nice hike, you get to see so much on the High Line.

I saw an old time photo of this. Didn’t think one still existed!

Lots of art work around and to be seen from an eye level view.

On the way heading north.

We are almost at the end and we come across this, just before 34th St.

Lots of new construction going on. This is Hudson Yard.

Leave the High Line and head back to the Theater District. Sights on the way.

Ha! Ralph Kramden!

Times Square is always a treat. Guy flipping over tourist.

Nice day and lots of people. We ate at Shake Shack, went to Muji and just hung out until it was time to head home.

Eastern Pumping Station aka Food Hub


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Went to check on the status of the work being done at the old EPS down on Wolf St. (Not to be confused with the Eastern Avenue Pumping Station). The first thing I see is a new roof on the old Gay St. Yard, which later became City S/R 06 then part of the Transit and Traffic storage yard. 

Below is what the building looked like when it was first built.

This was about 1902. 

Sign on the gate showing what is going on. The gate was opened so I invited myself in. Something I’m not sure of, because I thought the Pumping Station was a Historic Place, why does this banner show it as a flat roof (green)?

The building to the right is what it originally looked like. 

This building was just recently put up. It is called the Food Incubator (Best to go to the Foodhub website for more info on this) I went inside here to find the general contractor to ask permission to roam around. Granted. He told me the City no longer owns these 3-1/2 acres. They were bought. And soon to be rented out. The new roof, as shown in the first photo is only to help protect the property. It will be up to others to fix the buildings.

The pumping station ready to be rented out. Someone actually went thru and cleaned the inside of these buildings. I was here in 2014 and it was a mess.

Hallway up to the 2nd floor.

A room with a view.

Heading towards the next building…

Last time I was here, I was able to go up and down this spiral staircase.

Last night’s rain splattering on the floor.

These shots are all of the old maintenance shop. They made valves and hydrants here.

The maintenance shop, in middle, and the storage yard. P.S. to left. 

I think this sign should have been at the front gate?!

I believe this was the workmen’s bath house. It is completely gutted now.

This is the rear of the first building with the new roof. Steps inside are shot, so I took the scaffold up.

Nice new roof. 

Headed across the yard to one of the shops/carriage houses. The blacksmith shop had burnt down a few times.

Here is what the above building use to look like.

Hard hat area.

Looking from stables back towards main buildings.

Random engineering craziness!

This was from the Food Hub’s brochure. When I was in front of the building, this was all grown over. Although the date says 1890 my notes tell me that this Pumping Station was completed in 1891.

If you send me your email, I will send you a brief word document covering the history of these buildings.

200th Blog


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My WordPress Dashboard tells me that this is my 200th blog post. So, since my blog is called Water and Me, maybe I should write something about water? Trying to think of something profound or water history worthy! I know – Don’t Drink The Water!!!

In 2006 I started writing about water history, doing research and then eventually writing a small book, mostly on one of the water tunnels that supplies water to the Montebello Filters. Here is the Lantern Slide I saved from the dumpster, that started it all:

This is what I had to say about it in my book: “While working with one of the lantern slides, I noticed something odd, that in a tunnel, where workers were excavating, there were train tracks that came to a dead end under what looked like a giant boulder. This particular slide came from a box from around 1938, so I asked Richard if he had any information on an event of that year that was of interest. Sure enough, he showed me the Annual Report covering the year 1938 where it was reported that an explosion had occurred in the building of the Gunpowder Falls Montebello Tunnel. This notation in the report was only about a half a paragraph long, nothing more than a blurb, so I decided to investigate it further.” And I have been investigating water history ever since. Ten men were killed in this explosion and it was just a blurb in a report!

After years of refining my skills at research, I came across so much more information on this explosion. It is amazing what you can find these days on the internet. I found this photo and purchased it from the Baltimore Sun.

It shows the ten dead African American miners being hauled out. My research has taken me to draw the conclusion that this was no accident. That because of the Union troubles going on back then (Fighting between Unions for membership), this was a case of murder.

Sometimes historical research is not pleasant. Just as much as present day research can be unsettling. Like my comment above to not drink the water. I don’t drink it because of the research I have done concerning the fluoridation of the water system. But, I will save that for another post…

Speaking of Loch Raven – Update


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These aerial photographs were just sent to me from Corey at

Makes me want to go out and buy a drone! As far as I know, the busted ten foot conduit has not been fixed, but these guys are doing an exceptional job on building the new Loch Raven Maintenance Yard and Admin buildings. 

This is a great shot, including the dam in the background.

Another view of the same area.

Up the road a piece is the new admin building. The abandoned Zebra Mussel Station is in the background.

Thanks Corey.