Bellows Falls looks to restore landmark pump house

Update, June 3, 2021: There is no fishing at Minard’s Pond.

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Bellows Falls Village Trustees recently announced a project to restore the original “pump house” and “gatehouse” located at Minard’s Pond in Rockingham. The pump house originally sat on a foundation in the pond, but was moved to a new location on the side of the pond nearly a decade ago when the village of Bellows Falls upgraded their water system, which made the old pump house obsolete.

After being neglected for years and needing thousands of dollars in repairs, it was originally promised by the Village Trustees – when the structure was moved – that the pump house would eventually be restored. However, because the structure was moved from its original foundation, it is not eligible to receive any state or federal historical grants.

Funded by a grant from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, a restoration evaluation was done three years ago by the Keefe and Wesner architectural firm based in North Bennington and specializing in historical structures. The evaluation revealed that the priorities to restore the structure included a new roof and other repairs.

The small, square building measures 14-by-13 feet, is a braced timber-framed structure with a pyramid-style roof. Originally, the pump and gatehouse were positioned at an estimated 20-foot deck leading out into the pond. However, the pump house became obsolete when, in 2012, the water system was revamped and began using an electronic system.

Although the pump house building is currently not open to the public, it has the potential to be an interesting landmark for the public because of its historical significance to the town. Minard’s Pond is a popular and scenic destination for the local community, as many people like to engage in activities in the area.

The history of the town’s water system began when the Bellows Falls Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1821 for the purpose of supplying the town of Bellows Falls with water and the following year, built a water system using freestone pipe. Eventually the freestone piping was replaced with lead pipe. Subsequently, the Bellows Falls Water Company was established in 1834, then incorporated in 1849 for the purposes of supplying the village of Bellows Falls with pure water for domestic use. The village of Bellows Falls ultimately purchased the water company in 1872.

Years later, Minard’s Pond, which is located one-and-a-half miles outside of Bellows Falls, was established as the town’s water source in the late-1940s, and a dam was built in the mid-1960s as to expand the pond’s capacity, which spans some 40-plus acres.

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