City of Taunton Pumping Station, Lakeville, MA,
photograph by George D. Dorr, c. 1902
The Lakeville Town Offices occupy what was formerly the City of Taunton’s pumping station at Lake Assawompsett.
It was not until the last quarter of the nineteenth century that Taunton began investigating proposals for a municipal waterworks system, spurred on by the need for an adequate water supply for the city’s fire department. The Taunton Daily Gazette of January 11, 1875, urged the adoption of such a system and suggested the ponds at Middleborough and Lakeville as a possible source. These proposals received further impetus following the Taunton Board of Health’s 1875 recognition of the importance of periodic drain flushing amidst mounting complaints about the filthy condition of Taunton’s streets. By March 16, 1875, according to the Daily Gazette, “the city is thoroughly waked up on the water supply question, and everywhere it is the topic of conversation.”
Ultimately, the Massachusetts legislature approved a special act authorizing the City of Taunton to utilize Lake Assawompsett as a municipal water supply source. Water drawn from Lake Assawompsett was pumped to nearby Elder’s Pond, then on to Taunton. The large-scale pumping machinery necessary to perform this task was fueled by coal and housed in a decorative Victorian-style brick and granite structure constructed on the southern shore of Lake Assawompsett in Lakeville. Following the installation of smaller electric pumps in 1952, the City of Taunton’s pumping station was no longer needed and it was acquired at that time by the Town of Lakeville for use as municipal offices.
Lakeville Town Offices, Lakeville, MA,
details, photographs by Mike Maddigan,
May 27, 2009