Today, what we know as the Columbia Point peninsula is over three hundred acres, and is home to the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Massachusetts Archives, the Harbor Point community... and the remains of an abandoned pumping station. Before the Puritans arrived, using the Calf Pasture area as a landing point, the vicinity was referred to as “Mattaponnock” by local Native American tribes. Then, the area was a mere fourteen acres. Just like the city of Boston itself, this coastal area gradually grew in size over time via landfill.
This blog is dedicated to the Calf Pasture Pumping Station Complex on Columbia Point in Dorchester, Massachusetts. This building is a registered historic site and located on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus. It was purchased by the University in 2012, though preservation and/or future uses are not yet known. Posts of this blog will not only discuss the history of the building and its construction, but will also explore various related topics including, but certainly not limited to: Boston sewer/sewage history; Columbia Point history and development; other related sewage disposal and treatment facilities; and future plans for the building.
The Calf Pasture Pumping Station, no longer in use, sits as though frozen in time around all of this modern development. The pumping station became outdated and was replaced as Boston’s population grew and new facilities were needed to treat and dispose of the ever growing population’s sewage. For now, the building sits nearly forgotten amid University parking lots and new construction of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The University of Massachusetts Boston acquired recently the property, but the future of the building is, for now, uncertain.
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Calf Pasture Pumping Station, May 7, 2013
This blog is the result of a practicum project by UMass Boston graduate students Andrew Donovan, Catherine Shaw and Eleanor Martinez-Proctor. We are students in the history department, focusing on public history and archives. Under the direction of Dr. Jane Becker, we have worked together since January to research and complete this blog Read full article »
Since its closure as an active pumping station in the late 1960s, little care has been put into the upkeep of the building. Currently, most windows are boarded up and a high fence surrounds the property. The beauty of the building and the mystery of the inaccessible have led many people to wonder what the interior looks like. Associate Provost Peter Langer has graciously Read full article »
Prior to the development of sophisticated sewage systems like the one that Boston created in the 1870s, urban water supplies posed a significant health risk to residents. Cholera, dysentery and typhoid were all water-borne illnesses that thrived in the unsanitary conditions that came with dense urban living before modern sanitation. Between 1846 and 1863, a massive cholera outbreak struck India, Read full article »
University Archives & Special Collections
University Archives & Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials that reflect the University’s urban mission and strong support of community service. Learn more about University Archives & Special Collections: http://blogs.umb.edu/archives/.
Interactive map of Columbia Point
This interactive map provides an overview of the location of the Calf Pasture Pumping Station in relation to the city of Boston and other connected sewage facilities.
Making the Calf Pasture Historical Blog
This blog is the result of a practicum project by UMass Boston graduate students Andrew Donovan, Catherine Shaw and Eleanor Martinez-Proctor. We are students in the history department, focusing on public history and archives.