Water intake tower, Middlesex Fells

While we were hiking in the Middlesex Fells, we came upon this 133-year-old intake tower in a reservoir.

It’s made of hand-finished granite, brick, and a slate roof. The final courses of brick flare out artfully where the walls meet the roof, giving the simple building a remarkable bit of flair.

Today these materials and techniques would be considered super high end luxury stuff, inaccessible to most. Even the wealthiest homebuilders won’t shell out for hand-laid brickwork that breaks the plane or a slate roof that can last a century. But this simple building exists to house some valves and screens for a town water pipe.

Why did they build it like this? To showcase their pride in their infrastructure? Or just as a gift to future visitors, to whom it looks just as nice as the day it went up?

Let’s always try to build things a little nicer than necessary.