Waterworks Museum Tour

  • Metropolitan Waterworks Museum 2450 Beacon Street Boston MA 02467 United States
Waterworks Museum, image by msandman

Waterworks Museum, image by msandman

Ever wonder where your water comes from? Before you say “from the tap,” think again. It had to get to the tap from somewhere. But where? And how?

That’s where The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum comes in.

The Waterworks Museum is located on the site of the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station. By the 1880’s, Boston’s water system couldn’t keep up with the rapid growth of the city and its water needs. Chestnut Hill was identified as the location for a new reservoir and main pumping station. The original station was built in 1887, but by the 1890’s, it was clear that demand had quickly outstripped the ability to transport sufficient water. The need for more water resulted in the installation of increasingly powerful (and enormous!) pumping engines, which operated every day until the 1970’s, when the site was taken offline, and Boston’s water supply shifted to the Quabbin Reservoir. The Chestnut Hill Reservoir, however, is still used as a back-up source of water in case of emergencies.

As part of this tour you'll explore the remarkable machinery, wonder at the massive wrenches that kept the pumps running, and marvel at the beautiful architecture. Great fun for people of all ages.