Charles River Dam

Charles River Dam

Charles River Dam. Pump building is on the left, locks are in the middle. Note colored chimes on railing.
Charles River Dam is located in Massachusetts
Location of Charles River Dam
Coordinates 42°22′07″N 71°03′40″W / 42.3685°N 71.061°W / 42.3685; -71.061Coordinates: 42°22′07″N 71°03′40″W / 42.3685°N 71.061°W / 42.3685; -71.061

The Charles River Dam is a flood control structure on the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, located just downstream of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, near Lovejoy Wharf, on the former location of the Warren Bridge[1].


Also known as "The Gridley Dam", named after General Washington's first army engineer Col. Richard Gridley. Built and operational in 1978, the three locks can be crossed by pedestrians as well as bicyclists. It is part of the popular Boston Harborwalk. The dam contains three individual locks, with one wider than the other two to accommodate the occasional passing of a larger vessel. The structure also contains a fish ladder and a pump hydro-station, used when it becomes necessary to expel any accumulation of excess water from the river basin when the harbor tide level rises too high for a natural outflow to the harbor. Six diesel-powered, 2700 horsepower turbo-charged engines drive six pumps with a combined capacity of about 3.7 million US gallons (14,000 m3) per minute.[2]

The purpose of the dam is to control the surface level of the river basin as well its tributary surfaces upstream, such as The Back Bay Fens and Muddy River and to prevent sea water from entering the Charles River freshwater basin during high tides. It replaced the Charles River Dam Bridge (older dam of 1912) upstream where the Boston Museum of Science is now located. The 1912 dam's one lock is now kept open for navigation. The older dam could not keep sea water out and a layer of salt water accumulated at the bottom of the fresh water basin, contributing to pollution and fish migration problems.

A lock on the Charles River Dam.

The dam's walkway is the site of the "Charlestown Bells", an interactive art installation by Paul Matisse, consisting of a set of multicolored chimes mounted on the railing that passers-by can strike.[3]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Charles River Dam Bridge — Not to be confused with the 1786 Charles River Bridge at the site of the current Charlestown Bridge, nor the current Charles River Dam built in 1978 at the site of the 1828 Warren Bridge. Charles River Dam Bridge Carries six lanes of traffic… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River Reservation — Charles River Basin Historic District U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River — La Charles River est un cours d eau d une longueur peu importante, qui sépare les communes de Boston (rive droite) et Cambridge (rive gauche). Sa source se trouve à 129 kilomètres de son estuaire à Echo Lake (Hopkinton. Elle traverse 58 villes de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Charles River Bike Path — Charles River at night, with the Cambridge bike path on the left side of roadway. Length 23 miles (37 km) Location Boston, Massachusetts to Auburndale …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River Reservation Parkways — U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River — This article is about the Massachusetts river. For other meanings, see Charles River (disambiguation). Coordinates: 42°22′14″N 71°3′13″W / 42.37056°N 71.05361°W …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area — The Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area comprises over 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of protected land in the middle and upper watershed of the Charles River in eastern Massachusetts in the United States. The lands were acquired by the United …   Wikipedia

  • Charles River Peninsula — The Charles River Peninsula is a 30 acre (12 ha) nature preserve in Needham, Massachusetts owned and managed by the Trustees of Reservations. The Charles River turns nearly 180 degrees, creating the peninsula. A 20 acre (8 ha)… …   Wikipedia

  • Link River Dam — The Link River Dam is a concrete dam on the Link River in the U.S. state of Oregon It was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The dam was built to contain the waters of Klamath Lake as part of the Klamath Reclamation Project …   Wikipedia

  • List of crossings of the Charles River — Charles River Bridge redirects here; see below for the historic structures or Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge for the lawsuit. Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge This is a list of the crossings of the Charles River from its mouth at Boston …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.