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Cornell University Library

F 74.W9P4 The physical geography
of Worcester,


3 1924 014 020 840



WORCESTEE, MASSACHUSETTS. . There are no known copyright restrictions in text. the United States on the use of the http://www.I J Cornell University Library The tine original of tiiis book is in Cornell University Library.

THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY or WORCESTER. Mass. . CHAUNCEY LYFORD. Published by the Wobcester Natural Histoey Society. PERKY. JOSEPH H. MASSACHUSETTS. 1898. #ITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY J. Fellow of Geological Society of Amebica. Wobcesteb.



n' V ::iM:V/l ' ' ill''*' .

Standing at the summit of Vernon Street hill and looking westward and northwestward. the highlands of Leicester and Paxton. these ponds and lakes mean. let us begin near the northeast corner. everything has its meaning. Geological Survey or from the Commissioners of the Topographic Map of Massachusetts.. we overlook the valley beneath followed by the Boston & Maine and Fitchburg Railroads. confusing though it may seem. we overlook the deep valley bordered on one side by Millbury Street and on the other by Southbridge Street. and. along the crest of which is Main Street from May Street to New Worcester hill. a rolling. these plains. again. 11 Mt. and there transfixed . and finally we see. along the of which we trace the horizon with its summit upward curve show- ing us the outline of Asnebumskit. and see beyond the higher land.. varied landscape. What is the story they tell us ? For in nature there is no chaos. in the distant background. we may justly ask what these highlands. billowy area looking as if the surface of the earth had been raised into great dome-like waves. Mass. still more distant. rising from this. these streams. at five cents a sheet. if only we have eyes to see. Or. these meadows. Yernou St. and see beyond the same billowy landscape with the Paxton and Leicester highlands As we look at this beautiful and for their background. these domelike hills. Boston. . S.PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF WORCESTER. if we stand on an open spot on Belmont Street hill and look westward. these valleys. These may be obtained from the U. and the perception to understand the revelation In studying the physical geography of Worcester. Standing at the crossing 1 The reader should have before him while reading this the Worcester and Webster sheets of the topographic map of Massachusetts.

Adams Square. Standing on . is increased by the waters of North Pond. the open ground. Looking to the left where the view is unobstructed. upper course of Mill Brook. and those falling on the western slope go to swell the waters We are on the divide between these two of Mill Brook. We are now 760 feet above the sea. ascending a hill at We somewhat steep and then more gentle in its rise. in spite of the various inequalities in the earth's surface noticed as we walk or ride from Worcester to the is neighboring towns. we to the south. following first then pass are nearly 640 feet above the sea-level. Burncoat Street. though the horizon constantly this regular lino. its way down a quite steep slope of 60 feet the to the mile. then follows the Boston & Maine Railroad. at an altitude of 800 feet above the sea. or going to the eastern edge of the hill. and forms the succession of ponds of which Salisbury is the The rains falling on the eastern slope of this hill that last. until its waters become a part of Lake Quinis On the right. we are traversing finally flow into Lake Quinsigamond. The eye. the land of Central Massachusetts an . except where a few heights like Asnebumskit and sett produce a convexity in the hill. we descend about 120 feet we then follow Lincoln Street to the east for about half a mile and turn . until we are more than 700 feet above the sea. we look around. though generally hidden. In other it is still words. it flows for about a mile to the southeast. Rising in the southern part of Holdcn. its line. And if Wachuwe descend on any side of the changes position. There is one surface that will only always give the circumference of a circle for the horizon. we may trace the course of Poor Farm Brook. winding sigamond. into the fields hill again ascending we mount to the top of the on the eastern slope of which is the State Lunatic Hospital. and that is a plain. near the Summit station. following the horizon. sees almost the perfect circumference of a circle.of the Boston & Maine Railroad. Continuing south along Burncoat Street to water-courses.

and thence cross to Providence Street hill about 100 feet lower. or peneplain as Prof. the slope at times 280 feet into the narrow gorge. and on the west and southwest sloping quite abruptly to the valley of Mill Brook and the Blackstone. Here is Bell Pond. William M. on the east to Lake Quinsigamond and flow to the east and southeast because of the longer But the most noticeable fact about this region slopes. have question : — " Why you ever asked yourself the is there this sudden break between Millstone Hill and the highland south of the Boston & is Albany Railroad?" tinuing to the south. cona steep slope. there being a fall of fully 160 feet from the crest of Vernon Street to the level of the Blackstone at Quinsigamond Village. formerly called Bladder Pond. and descend in the Boston all We con- tinue directly south from Bell Pond. which north of the Boston & Albany Railroad is a ridge about half a mile wide at the top and two miles wide stone Hill. This broad area has many rounded hills and is a rolling upland drained by many brooks.approximate plain. which we follow. becomes broad and triangular. we immediately ascend and at the highest points sea. On on crossing the railroad. As you have to many times passed through this on your way and from the beautiful lake beyond. being almost precipitous. this hill find ourselves 700 feet above the about 60 feet below the highest part of Mill- Over the crest of this hill passes Plantation Street. Thus the very landscape about us teeming with questions. But again the land rises on the other side of the river 260 feet to the summit of . one of the three natural ponds of Worcester. Davis calls it. is the steep slope on the west. gradually sloping Quinsigamond River. But here the elevated land. But no sooner do we reach the summit of Millstone Hill than we begin to descend the southern slope to Belmont Street. through which Shrewsbury Street and & Albany Eailroad enter the city. the longer and larger of which at its base.

In like manner we may trace rocky highlands along the western border of Worcester. and so finally with Pakachoag Hill. This high land extends east to the Blackstone Valley and this high land constitutes a broad plateau. in detail. the ledge outcrops directly back of Holy Cross College. and to the south large areas of ledge entirely destitute of covering. at the summit of the are hill. end here. that this ridge suffice it to and the plateau into which it broadens to the south. hills ledges frequently appear . Pakachoag Hill. the deep cut of the Boston along Burncoat Maine Railroad exposes the ledge . rising 200 feet and more above the valley of Mill Brook and 300 feet and more above Lake Quinsigamond. Oxford and Webster. is a ridge of rock having but a thin covering of loose earth over the rock. It is continued in the high land east of the Norwich & Worcester Kailroad and Lake Chaubunagungamaug through Auburn. outlined a marked ridge of land crossing Worcester from north to south approximately. Street. Provi- dence and Vernon Streets pass have frequently but a thin is ineffectual in concealing the firm ledges beneath. we follow the crest of Pakachoag Hill. are throughout composed of ledge with a thin coating of loose material spread over the rock-surface. Starting with Asnebumskit. outcrops of ledge show us that this ridge traversing the eastern part of Worcester. But it . and a noticeable characteristic in it is that frequently we find the ledges appearing through the loose material that generally covers them. We have thus. 700 feet above the sea Nor does level. across the Worcester line into Auburn.6 There seems to have been left here in this high land. & At the Summit. Millstone Hill shows the underlying ledge everywhere. especially as we approach Adams Square. . a gateway through which the Blackstone might pass to the south. which over which Plantation. But continuing to the south. the coating of earth. In other words. will not be necessary to follow this farther to the south say.


X H .

the valley followed by the Norwich & Worcester Railroad through Auburn. to the south. these two plateaus would be continuous. These hills are Let us carefully examine these hills. on to now and then. Oxford. Their surfaces are smooth and regular vary as if laid out in height from 50 feet by the landscape gardener.rising 1400 feet above the sea. They to more than 200 feet above . we may follow a border of high land elevated 1000 feet above the sea. But these hills do not constitute a Growl and Prospect Hill in ridge. and Northern Webster. They constitute the rolling. Charlton and Dudley and these high- lands constitute a broad plateau. Leicester. Between the Millstone-Pakachoag rock-ridge on the east and the high rockv land of the Paxton highlands on the west. or in rows. Oxford and Webster are a mile or a little more distant from each other. Sutton and Douglas to the east. as in the region northvyest of Barber's Crossing. through Cherry Val- Hills in Auburn and Rocky Oxford and other hills in Webster and Dudley to the Connecticut line. let us now return in our thoughts to Worcester. some rivalling in height the loftiest points of the eastern ridge. frequently grouped in clusters. and constitute one and the same plateau. Were it not for the valley separating these two plateaus. Paxton. border of the eastern plateau and the eastern border of the western plateau are approximately parallel and through Auburn. Of these hills Newton Hill is the type. They appear very abundantly in the western part of Worcester. ledges appear- ing every ley. billowy surface seen as we look to the west from Vernon Street hill. The western . as did the highlands of Millbury. having the shape of a dome or of an elongated dome. as in the region north and northeast of Peat Meadow. They are the eastern border of the highlands of . there are within Worcester many elevations. They are uniform in appearance. The real relation of these two plateaus will be made clear before we — — are through with this study .

Ararat near North Worcester is the southernmost. about type it it belong with these. Into one of these hills east of Plantation Street the workmen many feet for material out of which to make and they there show us exactly what we should find if we dissected Newton Hill. however. — we say of Newton Hill of Worcester. not outcroppings of the solid ledge. — masses. We are as sure of this as if the drill had penetrated from the foot of the flag-staff to the base. of what are they composed ? As these hills are dissected by various cuttings for streets. Its base is nearlj'^ circular .8 the planes of their bases . These are not. which the untrained eye miwht mistake for ledge. and hills their circular or elliptical little bases vary from one fourth of a mile to a mile or a more in diameter. we were digging into sides. Those of the lighter shades are generall sizes from an inch or feet masses many . and from Highland Street to Pleasant Street. Also as we go up on the sides of the hill. As we walked around its base while the domeworkmen projecting. and the like. railroads. is true of these many dome-like But if they are not composed of ledge. us study it Green Hill and the dome-like hills clustered But as Newton Hill is the in detail. limited to the western part of Worcester. regular sides and the almost perfect shape. of which Mt. no ledge from top to bottom. The hills in a row. at As the trench was dug observe many rock another. some lying in one position. there are found rock fragments of various kinds and of hills less in diameter to the great through. some little in another. . — careful observation convinces us that these are only rock fragments. ledge was found only at a considerable depth. some of one kind of rock. no point did we see ledge for the sewer through Pleasant Street. let rises 160 feet above the surrounding lowlands its it has the smooth. nor from side to side. are such. They also occur on the top of the eastern rock ridge. What have cut brick. some of without any regularity or uniformity and a .





not granular. 9 ally of granite. that you will see. the color varying from a reddish gray to a faded-brownish gray. little but coarser in grain. — we shall see that the two are identical. will A third variety. very rusty on the outside. This. when struck by the hammer. they .— . breaking into scaly masses presenting shining surfaces. All of these and many more rock fragments will be found imbedded in a somewhat is fine clay-like substance. often containing needles or crystals of black tourmaline. With this ground rock Out of such a mixture have Newton Hill and these other dome-like hills been built. Next you may notice a rock resembling the second quite closely. and will break into layers fine. in These rook fragments are generally rounded form and some are very large. This. but as if a large number of minute is flakes had been pressed together. These will be quite generally angular in shape. be of a drab to black color. trench of Pleasant Street at the very base of the in fact the rock on which the hill rests. proves on closer examination to be ground rock. presenting many glistening surfaces. This rock is called quartzite if we compare it with the rock exposed in the sewer hill. is thin slabs or sheets. the scales large enough to be seen. granular structure They have a very and the material of which they are and composed is very hard. Besides these you may rounded fragments of trap-rock. which is also much sand. This rock called argillite. But the kind of material fact to in these hills is not the only is be noticed. however. decayed rock. Or you may find masses of a light drab mica schist crowded with garnets. not clay. breaking in a rock. of a scaly structure. and of a fine to coarse crystalline structure. from an inch to several inches thick. of some dark shade of gray within. This material not arranged in any lie order or regularity —the coarse and fine together. because of the use sometimes called a find made of such whetstone mica schist. You will also observe some of a reddish drab color. . not of large size.

and incipient cleavage — —indicate that this material has been subjected to great pressure. This is best observed and granite upon it as the foundation. or watch the Should we try workman as he is broken from it as does. but not so smoothly and perfectly as are the pebbles in the brook bed or along the pebbly beach and we shall see that these . notice the remarkable hardness of that the steam-shovel that the blast shoots . firmness. and so the firmer. Another fact will not escape our notice if we study the dissected dome-like hill on the east side of Plantation Street. we should quickly So hard is it . parallel to each other rock. more resisting parts project . rounded fragments are quite generally scratched. beyond the general surface. As we examine the masses of rock we shall observe that many of them are rounded. which has welded together these loose particles and masses of rock. to dig into one of these hills. and to the longest diameter of the is just what would have been produced if the rock had been held in a somewhat yieldino' medium and then rubbed in one direction over rock surAnd there is something that exactly matches this. is it it against so tough from the mouth of the cannon and so firm is it that the builder does not hesitate to rear the nine stories of marble But if we examine which cuttings have been made we shall observe in some of them a rudimentary cleavage that has commenced to be developed. These facts the hardness. especially on what we should call the upper and lower surfaces and these scratches and grooves are . the material. even grooved.10 do not constitute layers as do the sands and clays deposited There may be the great rounded fragment of granite several feet in diameter and all around by currents of water. This appearance . many of these hills into where the bank exposed by a cutting has been acted on by the softer parts are worn away more rain and wind rapidly. it only the fine particles of powdered rock. faces.




our study and walks about Worcester, we observe

carefully the surfaces of the ledges,


shall tind that they

too are rounded, scratched and grooved;





projection in the rock surface the northern edge


more rounded than
generally, as






grooves and

scratches are parallel to each other and have a direction

we look along them


the north, of a few


— 10









scratches and grooves

may be

well studied on the northeast

of the


over which Pla,ntation

This rock

and has not decayed where covered and as the ledges are exposed in digging cellars, laying out of streets and the like, what we refer to may be seen in perfection. But not alone on the surfaces of the softer ledges do we find these. The hard, resisting granite of Millstone Hill and the gneiss at the Ballard quarries at Quinsigamond present exactly the same appearances. These scratches and grooves may best be seen on these surfaces when the sun is low and casts slight shadows. These marks are not, then, confined to any particular kind of rock, nor are they confined to any particular locality. They may be found in any part of the city where there is a fresh, clean ledge surface, and in the valley as well as on the hills. These then are the facts we wish to associate in our study of the dome-like hills so abundant here in Worcester. They contain rock fragments, only a part of which at the most could possibly have come from the underlying ledges and the others, many in number, must have come from
a soft rock,

some other ledges. The fine material of their composition This coai'se and rock, not decayed rock. is ground fine material is distributed without any order, and is very firm and compact, and frequently shows incipient cleavage

indicating that the whole has been subjected to

enormous pressure.





fragments are
parallelly with

rounded, polished, scratched, and grooved










rounded, polished, scratched, and grooved as by some agent moving over them from a direction 10-15° east of north, and rubbing their surfaces with coarse and fine rock


these facts in


assert in

mind there are some things that we regard to these hills. They are not domes

of decayed rock, as

the underlying ledge had been the the ledges have decayed and crum-



rock had simply decayed and crumbled into

this loose material, as

bled in more southern latitudes.

A large

part of this rock

must have been transported, because the rock fragments do not match the underlying ledges, and therefore could not possibly have come from them. But if we^ compare these rock fragments with the ledges in Holden and other towns to the north and northeast, we find the ledges that they are like. These must then have been transported by some agent from those ledges in Holden, West Boylston, Stei'ling and other towns to the north and northeast and deposited here in Worcester, thus building up these hills. Such are the facts that stand out with special prominence as we attempt to read the story of these
these must be explained



we hope

to read the story aright.



various agents that transport rock material


currents of air, the currents of water upon the land and in
the sea, the floating icebergs, and the great rivers of ice,

the glaciers draining the region of eternal

snow and

1 Or if you wish to have this transportation of roclf material from the north demonstrated within a smaller area, go to the south of Millstone Hill and note the abundance of granite fragments from that hill. This granite is unique, and none of the granite from other granite areas is to be mistaken for it. The

stone walls are composed of it; the bowlders of the fields are largely of it; and if all these were returned to the hill it would be quite an interesting problem to work out how much its altitude would be increased. Then walk through Plantation Street around to a corresponding distance to the north of




may be

and note how rare are the Millstone Hill granite bowlders, and even seen to have been artificially transported.

it is believed that this ice was not less than a few thousand feet thick. In fact. Thus. These. all these facts "is makes round. called drumlins from the Gaelic " druim. These dome-like hills. There were dumped into the many streams within and beneath the melting ice great loads of powdered rock. which material in turn is ground. scratched and grooved until it finds a resting place within and beneath the ice. but we shall be led to other and more ancient stories. compresses and hardens it. were . if we would have a perfect picture in our minds We shall. the streams being powerless to remove. it scratches and grooves the rock surface on the hills and mountains as well as those in the valley over which moves. or is swept away by the stream promis- flowing from the melting ice. sand and gravel. proofs that the ice sheet has left of its occupancy of this land. It here moved from the north.13 the only one that explains or accounts for the lust. this. sand and powdered rock imbedded in foot. the work done by glaciers exactly agrees with the tracks left by the agent which brought and deposited these domelike hills of Worcester. enclosing and overlapping perhaps even the highest mountains in New England. or a few degrees east of Within and beneath such a thickness of ice were north. by means of the rock its fragments. or at the glacier's end. and then. But these drumlins are not the only signs and cuously at its . we must remove them. deprive Worcester of much of her beauty and variety of landscape. It deposits material end and beneath itself. are then foreigners or strangers here. and. polished. by this evidence here in Worcester are we brought to the startling conclusion that Worcester was once beneath a thickness of ice suflScient to do all this work. these hills accumulated and by such a pressure was their material compacted. if we consider the rock surface the real surface of Worcester and. overriding it or resting upon it. step by step. as we do of this surface. from study in other parts of New England. It polishes." a ridge.

filled by drumlins and like material.14 deposited in the valleys followed by these streams. But this valley is not simple . and on the west by Tatnuck Brook valley. wearin"during the subsequent time. sand and where or clay. gradually rises up to the highlands. we must remove in thought as we seek to picture the rock surface. rapid. and 500 feet below the western border. including Millstone and Pakaon the west would be the high border of choag hills already then . in Pleasant street just west of the junction with Highland. and its crest is this. 200 feet below the eastern ridge. hence their stratified structure We find. In fact. these valleys to a greater or less extent filling where they were not These. marked by Woodland and Queen streets. the rocky highlands of Paxton and Leicester. away and carrying off and these brooks. gradually sloping from the highlands of Holden to the south. But which may be called a ridge. . it is divided into two. Rarely if ever do these . deposited by currents of water. but traced by the outcropping ledges beneath Antiquarian Hall. where the current is where slower. these are some of the sands and gravels from the glacier. and is in Pratt street near Chad wick Square. Let us examine carefully the beds of these streams. too. And if we dig down into these sands and gravels we find them stratified or in layers. Commencing with New Worcester Hill. have . which unite in the southern part of Worcester. of Holden. in Chandler street just east of its junction with as it May. and 40 feet or more above the surface of Goes' pond. there is a rock ridge rising 80 feet or more above the valley to the southeast. broadens to the north into a triangular area not marked by noticeable elevations north of Oread Hill. . gravel and pebbles very slow. This triangular area bordered on the east by Mill Brook valley. between would be a broad valley with slight inequalities about 500 feet above sea-level. only mud brooks rest directly on the underlying ledge. There would then remain on the east the rock ridge already described.

it we prob- ably shall not far exceed the truth. as there is in the thickness . if it is not acquainted with geologito the folding cal facts. the ridges being the crests. These two valleys join at a point south of New Worcester hill. A rock ridge on the east. conditions remaining as they now are. forming only one in the east Brook valley has 250 to 300 feet extreme southern part. to the west into the valley of the ancient Tatnuck Brook. and surprising if would not be Clearing out our estimates were too small. and we are able now to form a clear picture of the rock surface of Worcester. of the unstratified glacial deposits upon the hills but. as the brooks will in time. a much lower triangular area in the middle having a steep slope of 75 to 150 feet to the east into 'the ancient Mill Brook valley. is really situated in a broad rock valley with these two smaller valleys on either side. Worcester then. beneath . Exactly the depth of these sands and gravels we are not able to state. We may now ask ourselves. and a more gentle and longer slope a steep slope . variation in their thickness. in spite of her many hills. The mind may answer. The ancient Mill up the rock ridge on the and the ancient Tatnuck Brook valley has also a steep slope on the west up to the PaxtonLeicester highlands of 550 to 600 feet. these gravels then. that these ridges and valleys are due folds. high rocky border on the west. of the rock strata. and undoubtedly there is considerable neath. if we estimate their thickness at from 25 to 50 feet. and we find that Mill and Tatnuck brooks would be following much wider and deeper valleys than they now occupy. whence these minor valleys and this broader valley. which join.15 not been able to lay bare to any extent the ledge under- Let us then in imagination remove these gravels and sands. we cannot find any such folding of the rocks we cannot find any crests for the ridges. or hoi- . and the valleys the hollows of the But as we examine the ledges or rock strata from the eastern side of Worcester to the western.

and tipped up from a 40° 60°. thus converting the smooth street into Yet I am conwhat took place. that these valleys are . gravel. the rain fell in the waters w^t all its rushing and tearing down is .16 lows for the valleys north. do you doubt whence the gulch with its steep sides. pebbles. . and the downsinking of the valleys. leading little unpaved from the middle to the gutter. and even 75°. sometimes parallel to the strata and sometimes across them at a small angle. nor did I stand out in the rain to watch each little brook as it swept along particle after particle. How then have they been formed? . or so. or so. As you watch the madly roaring mountain torrent. of the roaring torrent of the night before intervals along the but I notice at quite regular street. but the rocks consist of layer after layer. even bowlders. the through the gutters. now in the harder rock and neither now in the softer. due to the folding of the rock strata is there any evidence to show that the valleys have resulted from the breaking of the earth's surface and the uplifting of the ridges and highlands. every particle of which is cutting into the rock surface beneath as the water pushes . fident that this is just stream rushes ? Neither has the geologist as he studies the canyon of the West. pushing and rolling and tumbling along with it sand. to As you walk across Worcester from east west. with the slant horizontal position by 30°. and sees at its bottom the rapid river laden with sand and gravel. you are really stepping on the edges of these strata. extending 30°. and pebble after pebble. — toward the west. swollen by the waters from the melting snows. a large number of valleys. east of west of south. stratum after stratum. down which this a series of valleys with the ridges between. These are dry now. In such strata standing on edges are these valleys sunk. Last night there was a heavy shower torrents hill . . This morning the sky cloudthere less isn't the sun rose in magnificence and glory tell the tiniest brooklet in the gutter to . then. We cannot believe.

These streams with their tributaries. Charlton and Dudley from that of Millbury. washed away the decayed rock. and more rounded but the ridses were also cut down and rounded at the same time. This broad valley in which Worcester lies. Oxford and Webster. The meaning of this valley is that in former times the land was continuous and of approxi. before ever the glaciers this region. which Mill and Tatnuck brooks mark out for us. which is marked by the Norwich & Worcester E. These valleys are then somewhat deeper. rounded them out and deepened them. And so as he studies the land surface and solid rock. they tell us of ancient streams. R. broader. already traced through Auburn. not now just as they were left But these valleys are by these ancient rivers. and Lake Chaubunagungamaug. During the Glacial Period the great ice currents that filled and buried them under a few thousand feet of ice and in whose foot were imbedded sand and rock-fragments. even to the rain-drops. and cut down their channels by means of the sands and gravels that they carried. over this plateau flowed a river . Sutton and Douglas. until they had carved out this broad moved over valley from the border of the Paxton-Leicester highlands to the Millstone-Pakachoag ridge. And so now. any doubt whence still that canyon. is simply the result of the erosion and removal of material by rivers and This valley is but the upper part of the valley we have ice. which rose in the highlands of Paxton and Holden and joined their waters in the southern part of Worcester.17 it over or dashes it against the ledge. as we see in imagination these rock valleys so largely filled by sand and gravel. and which separates the plateau of Leicester. so that the most noticeable effect of the ice invasion is the rounding and smoothing of the valley floors. he sees but the handiwork of some river. this river had its headwaters in the . finds these valleys cut in the sometimes occupied by rivers and sometimes not. mately one level from one plateau to the other .

hut that it a slope of less than fifty sloped to the east indicated by the fact that the highlands of Shrewsbury on beyond are not so high as are those of Paxton. of this valley is also true of the valley in which Lake Quinsigamond river. gravel. was carved out by an ancient Let us then in our thoughts restore what has been in the forming of these valleys. too. the plain that we would not have as great a slant to the east as the plain joining these as they now are would have. ice of the gla- In like manner floor. But what is true thus dividing the one into two plateaus. as these north. removed rial like that its beneath . It. is That ancient plain probably had feet to the mile. and as each rock stratum stands on edge. and flowed to the south. are reconstructing This being so. just as before we cleared out the sands. but was probably not equal in places. carved this valley in this plateau. This plain would have a gentle slope to the east and a gentle slope from the highlands of Holden to the south. clay and bowlders that the But now we must fill in with rock mateice left in them.18 highlands of Holden. let us think of the valley of Lake Quinsigamond the strata of as being filled its by the upward projection of so that the land is continuous and of Millstone-Pakachoag ridge to the one level across from highlands of Shrewsbury. we must think of were before they were planed down by the ciers. and ridges were is lowered by the erosion of the This all an unknown quantity. Paxton and Leicester. slanting to the west and extending 30° east of these rock-strata extended upward constitute upper edges a plain on a level with until their the Paxton-Leicester highlands on one side and with the top of Millstone-Pakachoag ridge on the other. lies. . and as it flowed. This plain would be higher than the present plain joining these areas by as much as these highlands ice. Proba- bly such a narrow ridge as the Millstone-Pakachoag ridge was lowered considerably more than were the broader areas of Paxton and Leicester.


P a <! .-"I hi h a Q 15 P o a CO [» S H > O » I?.

be almost the perfect circumference of a out of circle. farther north. it would Shrewsbiiry. This rock-mass. Millbury. for the old river valleys run iThe Physical Geography of Southern New England.^ These eminences rising above the plain he calls Monadnocks from the typical one in southern New Hampshire. Sutton and to the west it plain. Wm.19 Let us then take our position upon standing 400 feet above the this broad plain. This plain is the ancient peneplain of Southern New England that Prof. Oxford. all save Asnebumskit. and. rising at its highest point a thousand feet above this plain. and of would include the highlands of Leicester and Paxton. but locally this plain sloped much more decidedly to the south. Common. As we follow this plain to the north. M. look around. This was true in a general sense. it includes all the highlands of Holden. Wachusett. as we have those of Worcester. which would rise fully 400 feet above our newly constructed Charlton and Dudley . We thus see that we should be standing in the midst of an ancient plain sloping to the east and the south that was before these river valleys were cut. . and The highlands of Paxton and Leicester are but a little above us. To the south this plain would include the plateaus already pointed Douglas. except the rock-mass of Wachusett and Little Wachusett. Rutland and Princeton. is by such a gradual and in like manner filling in the old river valleys to the north and south. Davis so clearly and graphically points out to us. is certainly not a part of it. Looking at the horizon around us while standing on that plain. .but again the difference slope that we may call it a plain . Watatic and Monadnock. and to the east and west. and the slope is so gentle that we should call the surface a plain we should be a little higher than the highlands of . and above and out of which rises now and still then an eminence like Asnebumskit. there would be a broad plain with but slight inequalities. We have spoken of this ancient peneplain as sloping above Worcester towards the east and the south.

We also notice that the rock It is perfectly has no layer or foliated structure. These sheets are or were included in the massive rock first . if we may so speak. These rocks around the base and reaching up on the sides of Millstone Hill we recognize as very difi"erent from the rock at the top. and the strata lean towards the on the various sides except the southern. to flow over or down this surface. This maj' possibly indicate a slight change in the relative posia lowering of that tion of the land immediately about us — to the east or an elevation of that to the west. third. does not generally extend even to the bottom of the but other rocks of grajs drab or black color appear in the outcropping ledges. blue. we see a few sheets or thin masses. for the time being.20 approximately north and south. These last minerals we immediately recognize tial constituents of the rock. closely resembling the dark drab or black rock examine the quarries around the base. may prove this. . for the rivers and followed the slope of the land of an earlier time. but appearing as if they had been heated. crystalline texture is composed first and largely of nearly white feldspar. sometimes . of small black foliated masses of If we search carefully through the quarries we may nite. Also. hill . massive and homogeneous. of little rounded masses of smoky. of interest. this old peneplain with its Monadnocks rising above it. if we carefully at the top. and that to the quarries may have a Let us go on Millstone The rock is of a somewhat coarse. their substance is arranged in hill layers or strata. let us examine some facts about us that bearing upon Hill. But we cannot speak of the were much older rivers as beginning then. They have a layer structure. showing the direction these old rivers took as they began. If we trace this rock in any direction we find that it is local. Leaving now. quartz biotite mica. some molybdeas not essen- and especially on surfaces of fissures. and. laid bare by the removal of the rock by the quarryman. also find a small fluorite amount of the beryl. second.

21 described. all are crystalline. the inclusion of frag- ments of the neighboring rock. within the granite tells us that crystallize at the surface of the earth . These bands have a direction of about 30° east of north and where they rise into the walls of the . and only partially crystallized. the massive crystalline structure. . these from one end of the quarry to the other. glassy. its coarse crystalline texture. . but at a great depth beneath the surface. some are hard and firm some soft and easily crumbled. Taking all these facts into consideration —the dislocation of the neighboring rock. But in all of this variation there is one characteristic in common. are light gray and of fine crystalline texture some are greenish gray and also fine some are of a darker gray and present a streaked appearance. There is also the rock quarried at the Ballard quarry near Quinsigamond. These characteristics the granite does not possess. and have a medium coarse crystalline texture.— . by its entire or com- plete crystallization. us. forming wavy bands of various tints. and came into place after the neighboring rocks were already in place. is a granite. By it. as it were. Hence it is that the neighboring strata lean against the granite mass. and the dislocation of the neighboring rock accompanied the welling up of molten rock. and the composition we conclude that the rock — of the quarries here. This rock quarried on MillBut granite has a story to tell stone Hill is then a granite. quarry. It welled up from beneath as molten rock through some opening or fissure. Examining this. Here all of and we may trace the rock substance is arranged in layers . by the liquefied gases held in cavities it did not solidify and where it now is. Rocks solidifying at the surface take on the form of the various lavas are likely to be spongy or porous. we find nothing resembling the rock found at Millstone Hill quarry. Some some are almost white and of coarse crystalline texture . its It is a foreigner. are seen to be but the edges of strata tilted from . but others pointing to a slow cooling in some buried depth.

were all the rock material here that once was here. What at Simply that these rocks now the surface of the earth were once buried beneath some does all this mean ? thousands of feet of rock. we have asked you But where Above this peneplain you looked to the north. of a time when they were deposited in the waters towards the west. It means. the present where everything is crystalline and the former where everything was fragmental.. but at considerable depths within the earth. has all this the long ages of geological time after this land was raised . impure layers of clay. tributed through them the beach. the rocks were extended fully is all of this rock material ? Whither rock material gone ? It has gone just as the sand and clay are swept along by the brooklet. from the particles of magnetite dis. and waters saturated with mineral substance because they were hot and under pressure. south. east and west. or possibly layers of pebbles along some beach some of these layers were colored red or yellow by iron rust. But these are changes that do not take place at the surface of the earth. We would tell the same story of a transformation that could not at the surface have taken place of the earth. They tell us of a time when they were not crystallized. or possibly black. of an ancient sea as impure layers of sand. might also consider the other rocks found about us from Millstone-Pakachoag ridge to and including the highlands of Leicester and Paxton all . And that this is true not only of this immediate region but also to observe as of Southern New England in general. there has been a Subjected to the action of hot waters under pressure. these fragmental strata have been solidified and recrystallized into their present condition. others were white as the sand of But between these two stages of these rock strata. 22 a horizontal position to an angle of about 75° slanting These strata were not always as they now are. wonderful change. During a mile. the land here would be not less than 5000 feet above the sea-level instead of 500.

the rills into brooklets. the agents of the atmosphere. surely. Wathis new chusett. It is composed of granite with a small amount of mica schist appearing at various altitudes even to the top. The mica schist is soft and Then. until whole mass was carried off and cast into the sea to form lands beneath the sea. But is it possible that all of this great rock mass has been removed and not a vestige of it anywhere remains ? Look yonder at Asnebumskit. is no more resisting than is that of broad areas around that have been reduced to the general level of the The granite base. Let us picture in mind a land area for the first time exposed to the action of running water. falls in As by the rain the spring shower. peneplain around easily its worn away. gather into rills. And if we look to Asnebumskit. such an answer is less valid. to say that it stands there because of its greater resisting power is but a poor answer to give. were softening and loosening and removing particle after particle. rock to They are what remain of this great thickness of tell us the story. that the gardener has prepared for the seed. and is the brooks cut out their valleys in the soft ground. the rivers and the rivulets. it as they reduced the surrounding coun- Let us examine the rocks of Wachusett with this in view. a lawn. guided the liltle inequalities. the drops.23 above the sea. are two brooks approximately parallel . the brooks and the brooklets. if you will. There a between them . The rocks around them have been removed while they have escaped But why did these points escape? was Wachusett left while the broad surrounding country was reduced fully a thousand feet beneath it? The first thought that comes is that it must be composed of so much harder and more resisting material that the elements wer^ this great erosion. Why not able to reduce try. much softer and less enduring than much of the rock in the valleys beneath. It is composed of a soft mica schist. Monadnock. Watatic. There must be some other principle that explains these remnants of this old land mass.

these points will be points of less and less erosion until up at the very sources will be the superlative. Watatic. therefore that line the highest line between the brooks. the streams are the minutest possible they can do but the feeblest work. is again a line of less-erosion with reference to the channels of these tributaries. Monadnock. in As we have Worcester a former part attempted to picture the past condition about us lies. Each of these is cutting its valley. even the large pebbles are pushed along. These two lines of the second order of less-erosion meet the line of less-erosion of the main ridge at approximately the same point. the The let crest of the ridge is a line is of less-erosion. 24 ridge. If we examine the water as begins to move from this divide. and the crest of the ridge is the divide between these it streams. skit. hand stream also has two tributaries hand slope of the main ridge. by let filling in the valley in all which at so now us bring back of this rock material that has been removed so that these rocks now . and these tributaries are approximately opposite the right hand tributaries. Between these is also a line of less-erosion. But again side us think of two tributaries flowing side by down the right hand slope of this ridge into the right hand brook. in the direction of upstream. but when the many drops have swollen into the rushing brook beneath. There will be many of these points of less-erosion along the ridge and as we follow the ridge left The flowing down the left . In other words. are the points of least-erosion in the degradation of Southern to this New England broad peneplain. AsnebumWachusett. and there The crest of this ridge.. the point of least erosion in the degradation of that country up where the great divides between the main streams of the country cross. though it may down towards the main stream. That ridge stands bein tween the two brooks because of the inequality erosion. Where these lines of less-erosion cross is a point of less-erosion. sloping is a divide between these.

" Was the region. before the great denu? dation was accomplished. . where layer lies on sible layer in almost undisturbed horizontal position. where the deformed rocks can be admirably studied. or a rugged mountain range Look again at the attitude of New England rocks. a rocky. the rock assuming the character of a gneiss. disorderly and steeply inclined rock masses may be seen at a hundred points on hilltops and valley sides. and Deerfield rivers Extensive all expose deep sections in the western upland. while typical Mexico. have horizontal mountain ranges like the Alps and Himalayas are regions of deformed structure. Housatonic. 279.25 the surface are a mile or more beneath. Among the Berkshire tain there is Hills ancient slates are gnarled and crinkled into 278. They all teach the lesson of severe disturbance. and quarries. The headlands of the coast frequently expose clean-swept ledges. Ancient The certainly belonged to the latter class. and Arizona. in stream The valleys of the beds. an old pudding-stone or conglomerate whose once round pebbles are now drawn out into strips. even-topped plateau. What sort of a country shall we ^ picture in our minds after this has been done? Professor William M. pp. New structure. railroad cuts. schists. remembering that typical plateaus like those of Utah. are well worth visiting for the plain views that they afford of rock structure and attitude. Farmington. "The New England mass : rocks are not only deformed in they exhibit also at many places the minute internal that deformities so characteristic of regions have been crushed under a great overlying load. New England quarries. Westfield. such as those of Monson in the upland east of Springfield. and so prevalent in On Hoosac Mounregions that are mountainous today. as different as pos- from the placidity that prevails among the ancient sedimentary strata of the Ohio Valley. iThe Physical Geography of Southern New England. Davis has answered this question for us.

is the merest pigmy. the lost glory of New England. commencing with the most easterly. " The crushing was produced. Lake Quinsiga- . It too was in the foundation of these As we then as it ancient mountains. has a mountainous structure. New England is a worn-out mountain range. first pictured the surface of Worcester as it is. the pride of Worcester County. Very slowly were remains. the forces that caused ^the greater and smaller deformities cannot have been exerted after the peneplain for in that event they would have deformed The deformation of New England During mtist have taken place before the great denudation. for the rocks at its summit tell but the same story of having been buried far within the earth. and fills their valleys with glaciers and all these features should be . restored in the pictures that the attentive observer mentally sketches in his effort to represent the ancestry of the upland. New England must have had as thoroughly a mountainous form as it still upland surface. but let us consider in detail each. Considerable has already been said in regard to the water-courses of Worcester. much more now only their base . Compared with these Wachusett. then. the period of most energetic deformation.26 At many points cleavage is more or less perfectly developed in the finer grained rocks. raises its peaks to truly Alpine heights. of what the granite of Millstone Hill and the upturned layers of gneiss at the quarries and the crystalline schists east ter tell us is Quinsigamond and west of Worces- that once in distant ages of geologic time they were the foundations of lofty mountains." The full meaning. clothes their upper slopes with snow-fields. . the ancient mountains raised until slowly were they worn down. then as a part of the broad peneplain of Southern New England. Indeed. so now we must bring back and build up these majestic mountains. the most probable conclusion that can be reached regarding the ancient topog- raphy of the region. was before it was modified by the glaciers.



the sea over an irregular surface. its At the head of the lake and along shores. they are bringing in their loads of sand and clay. They are. the water soaks into the surrounding earth. wherever there are rivulets. and adding beauty and refreshment These ponds or lakes occupy natural and are very important in the natural economy. Thus it is that. is gradually drained. however muddy and dirty the water that enters these lakes. and sweep these along. till it reaches the lowest point and then at this point the waters flow out. that leaving will be clear . than does the swift current begin to pick up particles of the rock or clay. and depositing them in the quiet waters of the lake. or even brooklets living but during the continuance of the rain-storms or showers. cooling the atmosphere and relieving its dryness and as the water in these basins is lowered during the dry months. refreshing and enlivening the vegetation from them also moisture passes into the air. . But no sooner does the water begin to flow over the rim. and in this . thus wearing away and cutting down. the coarser at the immediate mouth of the stream and the finer out in the deeper waters over the whole lake-bed. . brooks. be the material beneath of solid rock or of loose material like bowlder clay. year by year. they catch and hold back the floods of fall and spring so that the lowlands of the river valleys are much less devastated and to the landscape. overflowed. nestle This is a type of the beautiful sheets of water that here and there among the hills of New England relieving the monotony. lower and lower. basins. But there is another side to this story.27 mond. Thus the lake Here is a lake. the outlet. During the dry months of the year. in fact. basin the water accumulates in the rim. but the local broadening and enlarging of the channels of the various brooks and As the stream seeks rivers in whose courses they occur. it meets with obstructions around which it cannot flow because of the surrounding elevations or the river flows into a basin.

the lake is contracted and made shallow. Thus the work goes on until the meadow is beyond the reach of the highest flood. how it is flowing over gravels and sands deposited in an old river So quite generally the streams about us are following old river valleys that had been cut in the old New England before the glacial but during the glacial period enormous quantities of sand and gravel together with unstratified drift were peneplain of southern period . the outlet is not cut down so as to drain the lake. marsh. and the basin is filled and free . and old age of streams. following these courses but a short time. completely oblit- . Thus are we able to speak of the age of brooks and rivers by the work accomplished we may know the youth. first becoming a marsh and meadow with the stream winding through it in a history serpentine channel. shall have removed these many jewels of New England scenery The very fact that so many of these natural ponds and lakes remain. the lake-bed is raised little by little. is And sim- during these flood periods the work of former times ply continued. it the meadow tells overflowed by the floods of simply us of what was once there. We valley. vegetation springs up and adds its substance to so that even if the filling material. tells us of the shortness of the time in which these streams have been cutting away obstructions and filling basins within their courses tells us that these streams have been which settle ! . still the lake is then a the doomed to obliteration. meadow are the stages one of these sheets of water. the middle-age. partially filling some. And so as the years go by the brooks and rivers build out their deltas. for these waters are laden with silt mud and and build up the meadow a trifle each year. or is drained dry by the cutting down of the outlet.28 from sediment. pointed out in the case of Mill Brook. deposited in these. . following immutable law. Long hence may the time be when the rivers. are in fact in their youth. is When now spring. in of every Lake.

It fills a small part of a great rock valley lying between Millstone Hill ridge and the high rock ridge extending through the southwestern.29 crating others. and the beauty of youth. will its to fix the site of our prosperous and beauti- disappear from the face of the earth. the freshness. in about five and one-half miles long. This western. and in place will be a long. Through a large part of its it might be taken for a feet wide. Thus it is that waters of subsequent In either in time have sometimes followed the old valleys irregularly filled. This landscape about us has the vigor. but on sands and gravels twenty-five. will narrow meadow. just 'as surely as the rain falls were attracted ful city. on whose shores the Indian built his wigwam. the waters accumulated. and northwestern parts of Shrewsbury. and in depth. Lake Quinsigamond and. or perhaps fifty. point on Millstone highest altitude from the lake to the Hill is greater than the elevation of the lake above sea-level. 400 feet. and behind which. to the upper part. forming the Thus we see that the glacial period made out of lakes. case basins and obstructions were encountered which. This great rock valley is then probably . feet thick. and by which the early settlers come. when this beautiful sheet of water. The time will and the brooks flow. measuring from crest to crest of these two ridges. In fact the measurins: to the surface of the lake. or have sought out entirely new courses. slowly moving river. lazily flow. through which winding along in its serpentine course. these laws are being executed in this lake as in others. valley is in width. this region a new land surface. one-eighth course It is one-quarter of a mile wide. and in the lower part about one mile wide. But the lake does not rest directly on the floor of the rock valley. two miles and more in places. Eeturning now to Lake Quinsigamond. It was a re-creation in New England landscape. is an insignificant river. 360 above sea-level and 120 feet below the Common.

already described simply reveal to us the level of this lake the cavities are deep enough to reach down below the level of this invisible lake. like those already described is west of Millstone Hill ridge. which ice was rounded out and deepened by the of the glacial The floor of this valley is covered by a layer or These and were left there during the latter part of that period. and extend some distance from it. These wells have been sunk into the invisible lake. In places there are great cavities sunk in these sands and gravels. In other words there is another Lake Quinsigamond broader and deeper than the one we know. The one that we see and call Lake Quinsigamond is by far the smaller. as broad and deep as are the sands and coating of varying thickness of sands and gravels. And so by boring into the sands and gravels bordering Lake Quinsigamond. The little lakes in the cavities . from which water is pumped with which to supply the town. also belong to the glacial period. at . 30 500 feet deep. . water filling the spaces among the grains. and some of these hold little lakes. Lake Chaubunagungamaug. whose waters permeate the sand and gravel occupying that rock valley. an old river valley. gravels of this valley. and hence the waters appear in them and the rising and falling of these little lakes are but the rising and falling of the great invisible lake within the sands and gravels. which rise and fall with the water in Lake QuinsigaThere are really what we may call' two lakes mond. and then think of the sands and gravels beneath and on either side as perfectly dry how long would Lake Quinsigamond remain in view ? Evidently in a very short time its waters would disappear in these sands. period. This valley. Let us think of this body of water. Then these sands must be permeated or soaked with water. in this valley.. there have been sunk wells in the sands and gravels. These sands and gravels are seen on either side of the lake. On the shores of a similar lake in Webster. The pumps are simply drawing water from the greater lake.

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approximately. as the valley of an ancient river. see that the shores are everywhere composed of gravel gravels is the surface of these not a regular plain. and comin posed of gravels like those the shores. Also we see distributed here and there in the midst of the lake rising a few feet itself. at the foot of the lake. If it is such. filling the valley so that the valley is almost obliterated. hard. This material is so compact that the waters cannot leach through it to any extent. we may rightly ask why the waters accumulate to Simply because at North Grafton. but rises in knolls or mounds resembling inverted cups. compact glacial material was left. as we look at would be reached. and descends in saucerlike depressions among these knolls. while in the midst the depression of the lake. We have spoken of this old rock-valley as being partially filled with sand and gravel. Whatever . is only the We have spoken of this great rock valley in which Lake Quinsigamond is. We Lake Quinsigamond. and so the waters accumulate back of it till they rise high enough to overflow this barrier as they do in Quinsigamond river.' But while we can easily see where the barrier is that holds back the waters and of what it is composed. a large mass of firm. with the is surface of those on the opposite side. islands above the surface of the lake. there is something else not so easily explained. one side of the lake is on a level. The surface of the gravels on such an extent here. thus completely filling the depression now occupied by Lake Quinsigamond ? Why was not the central part of the valley filled up to the level of the gravel on either side ? Standing at the middle of the causeway that crosses the lake and looking north or south. — The question which we desire we . may hereafter. as the glacier retreated. to : answer is this Why are not the gravels that appear on either side of the lake continuous across the valley.31 approximately the level of the water the waters of the invisible lake in the visible lake. rememit ber that deeper and broader lake of which visible part.

These streams were abundantly supplied with sands and gravels which had been held within the ice. some upon the ice.32 explanation makes clear the origin of the gravels in one must make pied by clear that of the other. the river followed a channel in this valley below the floor of valley on either side. is think of this depression within the gravel that may we now occuLet Lake Quihsigamond as having been formed? us think of the great valley between the Millstone I'idge and the Shrewsbury highlands as being filled with the ice of the glacial period from rock surface on the east to the rock surface on the west and from the rock-floor to the top of the enclosing ridges and beyond. But as the ice became thinner and thinner and its motion became less and less in the closinostages. in river current. Where the ancient river was just before the glacial period must have been the deepest part of the this valley. probably had. This valley was a river valley before that and not of uniform depth. How. as river quite well established. This channel would under these conditions have steep sides and would be a canyon within this valley. In other words. the streams on the surface must have become more and more persistent. As the ice melted there were abundant streams. was moving with . The depth of this channel below the valley-floor would depend on the velocity of the If the land of this vicinity. a rapid current. when the ice was melting away and disappearing from the land about us. then this and may have. was greatly elevated before the coming of is the glacial period. Let us now think of the last stages of the glacial period. then. and so distributed . Then the ice filling this valley must have been of varying thickness. lowered its channel considerably below the general floor* of the valley. all common with New England. some following tunnels within the ice and those upon the ice must have passed down into the ice whenever a fissure crossed the course of the stream. being thicker where the valley was deeper. disappearing less and less frequently. The streams were not able to remove these entirely.

and so rise above them. melted. This coating came to be many feet in thickness as layer after layer was spread over the surface. and appear even above the waters of the present lake. Let us remove in mind the sands. But even the ice within the sands and gravels on either side of this great depression was not of uniform thickness. In this valley flowed a river. It was a broad. two miles or so in width.33 these sands and gravels over the surface of the ice. the gravels and sands sank until at last they rested on the rock-floor beneath. deep. thus giving a greater thickness of gravel and a smaller thickness of ice beneath. gravels. burying the ice under a thick covering of sand and gravel. with a steep slope from their surface down into the depression. bordered on either side by sands and gravels. narrow channel-like depression. so that as the ice melted these filled depressions were low- ered less than the surrounding gravels. and so as this ice melted was. and with sides less rounded than now. and lake. But let our thoughts now return to the rock valley in which this lake lies. being thickest above the river channel in the old valley . Where the old river channel and thus left a long. that we may think of the region as it was before it was modified by the glacial agents. Thus may we interpret the facts presented to our view as we look to the north and south over that beautiful Lake Quinsigamond. deep valley. Also it continuous across the area over which its this coating was was spread. and a 3 much more powerful river than those . these sands and gravels were left with an irregular surface broken by hillocks and saucer-like depressions. there the sands sank lowest. and surface constituted a plain without noticeable depres- sions or elevations like those in these sands and gravels at the present time. The islands distributed here and there through the lake may have been caused by sand and gravel accumulating in small local depressions in the ice. But the ice buried beneath these gravels so that as this ice and sands was of varying thickness. and 500 feet river-like lake.

from the south to the peculiar arrangement of these is Auburn into Kettle . thence to Curtis Pond.34 already spoken of west of Millstone Hill ridge. and then to South Worcester. Another fact that must arouse interest. it is the winding course of Kettle Brook as Jamesvilie to Stoneville. especially when we compare this drainage arrangement with the French River just west and the Blackstone just east. Whether this be was a powerful river and of considerable volume. as that from Ramshorn Pond and others from the foot of ProsThese two sets of streams finally join and constitute the head-waters of the Blackstone. This river and followed. if we pect Hill in southern Auburn. To the north we are not as yet sufficiently well it acquainted with the country to trace this valley. as Kettle. If we examine the region including New Worcester. Let us fix this fact in our minds. The French River flows from the north sigamond valley. flowed to the south. but stop to think. finally reaching the gateway of the Blackstone. approximately. In describing the Milistone-Pakachoag ridge it was intended to make specially prominent the breaks or cuts in it. then those flowing from the south. approximately parallel to these. for from this has resulted a very important fact in regard to the valley of the ancient it the drainage of Worcester. from the north to the south . Tatnuck. especially that through which flows the Blackstone. if this will valley is traced and found to join Nashua Eiver. The meaning of this Brook. including Lake Quin. but not be surprising so or not. Jamesvilie and Stoneville. or original Blackstone. These its follows circuitous route from facts demand our attention and some explanation. we find first streams flowing from the north. but the drainage from Millbury and north. South Worcester. is to the south the real Blackstone. and Mill brooks. for it cut its channel a hundred feet or more below that of the ancient Mill Brook. the course of the Blackstone in fact was the ancient Black- — stone. and that too in harder and more resisting rock.

waters of the ancient Auburn River. Oxford. possibly at Stoneville. cutting out the valley now partly filled by Lake Chaubunagungamaug. east of Prospect Hill. But the continuation of this valley in Connecticut we are not yet able to trace from lack of knowledge of the country. One of these tributaries flowed from the eastern side of Pakachoag Hill through what is now Millbury. and joined the main stream at approximately Farnumsville. the highland borders of which we have already traced. Sutton and Douglas on the east. thence into Webster. and it This stream was in itself quite a cut its channel lower and lower into . did the head. through Oxford Plains. The head-waters of this ancient river were separated from the waters of the ancient Lake Quinsigamond Eiver by the Millstone-Pakachoag ridge. from those of Leicester. little south of New Worcester. Of these two ancient streams the Lake Quinsigamond River was by far the more powerful. both large and small. This is the valley that was pointed out in the early part of this paper as separating the highlands of Millbury. powerful river. which received the waters of the ancient Kettle. Mill and Tatnuck brooks. was not then any deep cut through the MillstonePakachoag ridge as there now is but this ancient river flowed down through Auburn.35 streams entering Kettle Brook glacial period there is this : Long before the was an ancient river. Charlton and Dudley on the west. so also did they cut down theirs. while Kettle Brook joined them flow through for there at a point a little This river did not Quinsigamond Village and thence to Millbury. and wore away and lowered its channel much more rapidly than . which we have called the Auburn River. The two hitter brooks flowed together at a point a farther south. this valley. and as the main river cut down its channel. The Lake Quinsigamond River had tributaries. which was then continuous without the cuts through which now pass the Boston and Albany Raih'oad and the Blackstone River. was cut out by this ancient river in the old peneplain of southern New England. In fact.

even to the tiniest brook. joining with the waters of Kettle Brook. was brought about in another way. at a time \Nrhen the ancient Mill Brook was swollen by floods. At nearer to the ancient Mill Brook on the other side. its waters began to flow into this tributary. While some rivers. and these two hills. its head-waters.36 the highlands of which Pakachoag and Vernon Street Hills As it did so. and thus the waters in the valley north of this were forced to flow to the north. The sands and gravels and other glacial material were deposited so thickly in this valley between North Oxford and Auburn as to form a low water-shed. into the Blackstone. after the departure of the ice. or at least the last. ceased to be apart of the the deep cut' between these'. Thus it was that Vernon Street and Pakachoag Hills was made.. and Auburn River. Some valleys with the waters from Ramshorn sufiiered in this respect more than others. This was true of the Auburn River. in the case of others the rivers ceased entirely to flow as they had formerly. There came the time when the land was covered by the great ice sheet. were cutting into these highThere appeared first the merest depression between This was made deeper and deeper.* Thus it was that Mill Brook began to flow down through Millbury. the head-waters of this tributary approached nearer and lands. and. Brook . while Tatnuck and Kettle brooks continued to flow down through Auburn. and But the turning of then Kettle Brook in the same way. last. together Pond in Millbury and the of from the northern slope Prospect Hill in Auburn waters and Oxford. the valleys were to a greater or less extent filled with sands and gravels and unstratified glacial material. are now the western border. continued to flow over the sands and gravels in some of these valleys. Because of this. after the departure of the ice.^ But the same action going on would have in time diverted first Tatnuck. finally found an 1 It is hoped that the good people of Millbury will not now apply for an injunction to force tUe City of Worcester to change the course of Mill into its ancient channel.

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flowed. And so these basins were transformed into marshes and meadows. As we thus read back step by we find one fact after another explained. Beaver Brook. step. This brook has also re- large quantities of sand and gravel. is the This rises among the drumlins of the southern part of Holden. This brook had its beginning with the withdrawal or retreat of the ice of the glacial period from this region. which was once a shallow pond.37 outlet into the Blackstone. Along the western side of this cut there remains a beautiful ter- moved . thus forming ponds. The depressions the waters filled. with drumlins on either side of it through nearly the whole of its course. But the valley formed by these many drumlins on either side was quite irregular . which is for the most part in the form of drumlins. the obstructions the waters overflowed. and flows approximately south. Vegetation sprang up and grew luxuriantly in the moist rich soil spread over the bottom of these ponds. and has made a deep cut between Pleasant and Chandler Streets. Peat Meadow is such a marsh. and we now understand the circuitous path that Kettle Brook follows in getting out of this enclosed basin on its journey to the sea. till it adds its tion that this brook follows an old river or There is no indicabrook valley. bearing their loads of clay and sand. and waters to those of Tatnuck Brook. and thus the shallow basins were rapidly filled. and since then the waters that have fallen upon the sides of these have been sufl5cient to keep water flowing in this channel even during the dry months of the year. Into these ponds the hillsides. there were depressions in it and obstructions across it. rills and brooks from the neighboring swollen by heavy rains and spring floods. which we find through a large part of the course of this stream. in either case pro- ducing an accumulation of waters. It was originally a brook or river carrying off the water from the melting ice that enveloped these drumlins. Going to the west the next considerable stream brook flowing through Peat Meadow. but its course has been entirely determined by the deposition of the glacial drift.

to New Worcester and the south. as you walk or ride along the shores of that reservoir. converted into ponds. go to the summit of Pakachoag looking to the northwest you will see the horizon resting upon Asnebumskit. recall what that deep gorge tells of the past. ancient river valley. it would in time have cut into Peat race Meadow and drained it. And It is the valley of an ancient river. But to return to the present a succession of artificial which man itself. and of a stream in its middle life where these have been filled and almost drained. then rising by an almost vertical line to the sum- mit of Stone House Hill. feet. On the early maps of Worcester this is but a simple stream flowing through this valley. been interfered with. though on a smaller scale . In the extreme western part of Worcester is the succession of artificial ponds from Tatnuck. illustration you desire to see a perfect of an Hill . the wall on the one side rising over 300 ervoir. carrying off the abundance of water from the meltice. leaving it high and dry. and on the other side 600 feet above the resthen. This notch in the horizon is not unlike the notches produced by the canyons of the West. or better. Left to — this stream would go on clearing the sands and . then sinking abruptly to the level of Holden Reservoir. Thus there its are within Worcester illustrations of a stream in youth where the lakes and natural ponds have not yet been filled up because of their depth and size. there down through If this valley. as it was cutting away here. illustrates the manner in has interfered with natural processes.38 showing the former height of the land across this valley. valleys. Had not the brook. as was a river flowing we have already pointed out. from the Holden Eeservoir. The present stream built across the valley at various places to hold the had ing its beginning when the glacier withdrew from this region. enveloping both But before ever hills and glacier covered this land surface. or to be stored up for use during the dryer months of the year. but at later times dams were water back to be used for power. this stream.

geologically. taking up and . because of the greater volume of water and the increased velocity of its current. through these ponds the current of the stream is very slow. to be a torrent. For a river is able to do only a certain quantity of work. river is In flowing along in its natural state the is pushing and rolling along pebbles. erosion of the stream is limited to the parts of the channel between these ponds. the cunning devices of men to take from that stream its stored up energy and make it do work other than that whereunto nature set it. and thence the motion goes into machines of every description. diminished. For oftentimes in the flood period. as fast as they are above the sea. the stream does more work than during the remainder of the year. each of which moves scores of feet of shafting. or energy. especially when it is transformed into a rushing torrent by the melting snows and heavy rains but by these artificial basins its waters are stored up in times of flood it ceases. carrying along bodily grains of sand and particles of clay and so closely does the river attend to its task that when it reaches sea-level it has barely energy enough left to crawl through its winding course at base-level and lose itself in is mother ocean. It is But even here the stream its fall is allowed to expend but a small part of energy without interferit caused to over a precipice on hard and resisting rock placed there to receive the blow. tumbling must waste its down a series of These rocks are renewed by worn away. It is a falling body. ence. so that the . and becomes a more gentle and uniform stream throughout the But its ability to do geological work is thus greatly year. and possesses a fixed amount of energy because of the position of its waters steps also of enduring rock. and its ability to carry material and cut down is reduced to zero. in turning Then so much of this energy as used up its myriads of wheels cannot be used in doing . Moreover.39 gravels out of this old river valley. . By far the larger part is forced to move wheel after wheel. But this only applies man to the part of the stream that is allowed to go over the dam.

as it was before the glacial period. So in the end the river triumphs. than his equal. will fill that basin. which work is may result in the downfall of the whole obstruction. and as it was when the mountains of central Massachusetts together with those of southern New England. and are reserved for the future.40 geological work. noting the facts which they demonstrate and the thoughts which they bring to mind. still suppose man makes no mistakes. written in vain. What then will hold back the floods of spring? Of what use will the dam be when the mill-pond is a marsh ? Study the mill-ponds seen as you follow the French and the Blackstone Rivers on your way is Norwich or Providence. for when the mill-pond is a marsh no one will repair the dam at an unlucky time it will be swept away. and shall lead us to think. But man does not have it all his own way in this matter. aided by all the brooks flowing and by vegetation along its shores and in the into that pond. that river is But more The river. But if this paper shall give a meaning to the landscape about us. is all the greater. the waters will find it and commence their work of enlarging and weakening. aright the power of that stream when the water is high. and the devastation below. 'or if he leaves a crack or crevice in the obstruction. . his He who swept away. a little behind where it would have been in the accomplishment of its task. seeks to thwart the course of nature must make no For if he fiiils to calculate mistakes in his calculations. But the subject is not exhausted the writing of this has brought out many points that need further study. as we walk or ride out among these hills and over these brooks and around these ponds. and you will sec that this taking place. then it has not been it is . the clearing out of this old river valley. and the river will go on doing its work. We have studied the water-courses. shallow waters. We as have thus considered the land surface of W^orcester now. to what is . had been worn down almost to sea-level. excepting now and then a single peak. the geological work.