Ice House Dam, Shirley, Mass.
That's the Ice House in the background. Well actually its just the building which used to house the hydroelectric power generation equipment. See its portrait for more historical information. The dam stretches across the Nashua River. Ayer is on the other side. This view is from Walker Road.
According to Fred Gray, a member of the Historical Society, the dam was built in 1905 to provide electric power so trolleys could continue from Shirley into Ayer. Then around 1940, when the trolleys stopped, a fellow named Horgan bought the electric plant to use the energy for producing ice. He used regular electricity when there wasn't enough water for hydroelectric.
The dam and generating facility are now (Fall 1999) being restored by Ice House Partners to power a medical X-ray research facility which will be located at the site. Their engineer told me the 1906 dam is located on another earlier dam which was built in the 1790's to supply power for a sawmill.
The water was unusually high and loud this day and concealed a lot of the dam. There was flooding further downstream in Pepperell.
I got several visitors. Anne Gagnon, the conservation administrator, dropped by to check on the condition of the embankment and said my drawing was cool. One man said he drew earlier in life and now his son seemed to be taking an interest.
Another woman seemed to be more on a survey of flooding up and down the river. The unusual height of the river I think was what brought a lot of people to my vicinity. Anyway she said she limited her artistic efforts to painting through stencils she purchased to give her walls an antique look.
I got a really enthusiastic endorsement from a girl hanging out her car window as it drove by. Yet another woman commented how relaxing I must find drawing.
Click here for a historical view of this area with the Fitchburg train passing by.
October 23, 1996