Tel-Electric Dam removal means cleaner Housatonic River

(Emily Thurlow) Peabody-based SumCo Eco-Contracting began removing polluted sediment from above the Tel-Electric Dam in September.

PITTSFIELD — Fish and other aquatic species will soon have the ability to move more freely in the watershed as a dam on the West Branch of the Housatonic River is slated to be down by springtime.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other federal, state and local city partners as well as conservation and stewardship organizations have collaborated to remove the Tel-Electric Dam since 2006.
Named after the company that produced mechanical piano players in the adjacent mill building, known commonly as the “Mill Street Dam,” has served as a community landmark for more than a century, said James McGrath, park, open space, and natural resource program manager for the City of Pittsfield, to a crowd gathered at the site on Wednesday morning to discuss ongoing restorative activities.
The Tele-Electric Piano Player Company was in business between 1907 and 1918, and enjoyed great success offering play pianos and organs throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, the Tel-Electric’s companies demise occurred because of a brass shortage associated with World War I.
Prior to that, the mill was the site of textile and other manufacturing dating back to 1814 and which occurred right through the modern industrial era.

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