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Calf Pasture Pumping Station & Columbia Point Timeline

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Calf Pasture Pumping Station Timeline


  • A study initiated in Boston to research pollution and water contamination causing health issues including cholera, typhoid and dysentery — This study leads to the construction of the Boston Main Drainage System (BMDS)


  • Construction of the BMDS –included 25 miles of intercepting sewers, Calf Pasture pumping station in Dorchester, Dorchester Bay Tunnel, and outfall pipe at Moon Island in Boston Harbor


  • Landfilling and construction for pumping station begin on the Calf Pasture peninsula – overseen by George Albert Clough
  • Facilities built for coal ships to dock at the end of the original Calf Pasture peninsula; dock dredged, stone seawalls constructed, wharf built in front of one seawall; long pier built out to protect sewer running out from pumping station
  • Tornado causes $1,000 worth of damage to construction site (1)


  • Calf Pasture Pumping Station built


  • Calf Pasture Pumping Station officially begins pumping on New Years Day


  • Metropolitan Sewerage System (MSS) formed – to address parts of Boston lying outside of the service area of BMDS


  • Filling in area of Calf Pasture peninsula – created the land which is now home to: Columbus Park; Day Boulevard; Morrissey Boulevard


  • Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) created to oversee the MSS (now Department of Conservation and Recreation); the Boston Main Drainage System still owned by the city


  • Leavitt and Worthington pumps in Calf Pasture Pumping Station dismantled and removed (due to a crack in one of them) — system changed from steam to electric power


  • Coal room roof collapses, section is demolished because it is no longer needed (no coal was being stored anymore due to the switch to electricity).


  • Columbia Point housing project built as one of nation’s first public housing projects — first tenants move in in 1954


  • Nut Island Wastewater Treatment Plant opened in Quincy, MA


  • Deer Island Treatment Plant opens in Boston Harbor
  • Calf Pasture Pumping Station closes with the opening of the Deer Island facility – CPPS is maintained as a backup for the Deer Island Plant during wet weather



  • “The Pumphouse: A Proposal to Recycle the Calf Pasture Pumping Station at Columbia Point as a Community/University Center” is published


  • Ownership and operating responsibility for sewer system transferred from the City of Boston to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC)



  • possession, control and operation of MDC Water and Sewage Divisions granted to Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)


  • Massachusetts Archive building constructed on Columbia Point
  • Construction of the new Harbor Point Complex, to replace the dilapidated Columbia Point housing projects, begins — Harbor Point Complex will be a mixed-income community; is now the home of many UMass Boston students


  • Calf Pasture Pumping Station building receives National Register designation


  • Dorchester residents create a tourism brochure to educate visitors of interesting local spots, includes the Calf Pasture Pumping Station


  • Historic Boston Inc. tells the Boston Globe that they are preparing a “reuse feasibility study” on the building


  • UMass Boston “officially” acquires Calf Pasture pumping station – in exchange for $2.1 million in scholarships for Boston Public School students
  • Obsolete electrical transformers were removed from the building, new fencing installed, and debris, trees, and shrubs taken out
Sources Consulted:

1. Clark, Eliot C. Main Drainage Works of the City of Boston. Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1885.

2.  Kennison, Karl R. “Sewage Works Development in the Massachusetts Metropolitan District.” Sewage and Industrial Wastes 22.4 (1950): 477-89. JSTOR. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.

3.  Marwell, Stuart. Calf Pasture Pumping Station. N.p.: n.p.

4.  National Register of Historic Places, Calf Pasture Pumping Station Complex.

5.  Roessner, Jane. A Decent Place to Live: From Columbia Point to Harbor Point: A Community History. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2000.

6.  Taylor, Earl. “Calf Pasture Pumping Station.” Dorchester Atheneum.


1. “Sudden Destruction: A Terrible Tornado Along the Whole Atlantic Coast.” The Washington Post, 08/20/1879.