The construction of the reservoir in the 1890s and early 1900s took a toll on West Boylston and, to a lesser extent, our neighboring communities. Mills and homes were torn down or else bought and moved to other parts of the state. Some of these displaced houses sold for anywhere from $5 to a whopping $15 (these prices are equal to hundreds of dollars in today’s money, still a relatively low cost for purchasing and moving a home).
To make up for the loss of industry and residences, the State of Massachusetts decided to reimburse West Boylston and Boylston for the land taken away; $2,000 per year (later $3,000) for Boylston and $12,000 per year for West Boylston “as long as each of said towns remains a municipality.” $12,000 per year is surely a fitting repayment for the destruction of an entire town’s industrial hub.
Below is Section 16 of the 1897 Annual Report of the Metropolitan Water Board published on Jan. 1, 1898. It details, with some revisions, the decision to repay the Boylstons and also to protect Boston from paying for potential reservoir construction.