Analysis & Comparison of the Echo Lake Chamber
Last summer I stumbled onto a unique stone ruins structure by Echo Lake area of Hopkinton/ Milford MA. This structure is known about by some people already, although I'm not sure if NEARA has this on their list of "Chamber" sites, although it is known to them. Curt Hoffman referred to this as a "unique structure" on his inventory list of sites.
In my opinion, this structure is the skeletal remains of a Chamber. There was heavy quarrying going on in this direct area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. and in fact there still is to a lesser degree. This is ingrained in the modern heritage of the area with street names such as "Granite St." However in pre-colonial times there was no Echo Lake, for the Lake we see today is a result of damming the water-ways. Around where the lake is today, however, was in fact the headwaters of 3 major water-ways in the region- the Charles, Blackstone and Sudbury Rivers (the Sudbury hooks up w/ the Assabet & Concord Rivers, merging w/ the Merrimack river, which goes past "America's Stonehenge" and other sites, and dumps into the Atlantic ocean). This whole area by Echo Lake- the Milford, Hopkinton and Holliston town lines area, was an ancient ceremonial spot, no doubt a place where many people from far and wide gathered over many generations- perhaps going back further into antiquity, these sites may have been more permanent village sites, when the climate was different (thousands of years ago), as evidenced by erratic stone walls running through ledges- land that no colonial farmer ever used ("wasteland.").
The Nipmuc, for instance, still have tales of how in pre-colonial times they would gather with their neighbors the Narragansett, and the Narragansett would be "insulted" at the Nipmuc's freshwater fish, compared to the Narragansett's colorful ocean fish. This was told by a Nipmuc councilman who was being interviewed in the documentary "Nanepashemat." There is no doubt in my mind that the general Echo Lake area was such a gathering spot, such as the Turner's Falls area, as another example. However, due to modern industry the Echo Lake area isn't anything like what it used to be.
So let's compare the skeletal remains of the Echo Lake Chamber. After studying the site, I believe that there may have been quarrying involved going right up to the remains of the Chamber today. There is evidence that this structure may have been more elaborate, but was stripped of material, and only the roof slabs of the structure and some of the back of the structure remains today. What is curious is that this Chamber is an "l" shape. Alot of chambers such as the Webster Chamber have an "l" shape and then an extra space, forming a "p" shape. The Upton Chamber has a long "l" passageway, and then opens up into an "o" shape. Let's compare the Echo Lake structure to some other works:
Note how this Chamber's skeletal remains are worked into a split boulder, which seems to have also been modified by human hands:
Compare that to this Chamber in Thompson, Ct. Notice how the Chamber is worked into a boulder, with smaller stones dressed all around it:
One interesting feature of the Echo Lake Chamber is that the roof slabs were put up and centered- one of the slabs acts as a center-weight:
The roof-slab of the Webster Chamber and the passageway look very structurally similar to the Echo Lake Chamber, the only difference is that the Webster Chamber is dressed up with smaller stone-work:
A side view of the boulder the Echo Lake Chamber was built into. In the foreground is a ceremonial stone circle:
A back view of the structure. I wish somebody could do something about those trees. Note how the ground has built up since the making of the structure to even allow these trees to grow. This was built a long, long time ago:
Close-up of the stone circle:
Close-up of the roof-slab entry-way of Echo Lake Chamber:
Compared to a close-up of the Webster Chamber roof slab and entry-way. Almost an identical match:
The roof slabs from inside the Echo Lake structure: