In this case, an excavation project in 1900 uncovered an old fire reservoir in Maverick Square.
How many of these were there around the city?
Fire Reservoirs have a few mentions in The Boston Sparks Association's book, The History of the Boston Fire Department and Boston Fire Alarm System 1859-1973.
- Around 1826, the first reservoirs were put in place as a part of a reorganization of the fire department.
- In 1861, the Cochituate Water System began supplying water for 24 of the then existing reservoirs.
- After the great fire of 1872, the mayor ordered the Water Board to estimate the cost of more fire reservoirs.
- By 1888, there were 238 fire reservoirs.
I wonder if any of them are still in use or how many are great hollows below the streets of the city.
San Francisco Still Has Some of Their Fire Reservoirs
In San Francisco, they still have, "...175 independent underground cisterns (a circle of bricks at an intersection with a manhole in the middle usually gives them away), most of them holding 75,000 gallons in case of last resort/worst case scenarios," according to "In Case of Fire, Look to Twin Peaks" by Greg Pabst.
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photo: Fire Reservoir photo from the Boston City Archives is used under this creative commons license.