Baird and McClair [McGuire] - Metal Drums - Holbrook, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 08.923 W 071° 01.725
19T E 332371 N 4668280
Quick Description: The song, Metal Drums, composed by local folk singer, Patty Larkin, is about the Baird and McGuire Superfund site, which is currently the 14th worst on the EPA list.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 6/28/2012 7:38:27 PM
Waymark Code: WMEQTZ
In Holbrook, along South Street and near the Randolph town border, is a water treatment facility that is part of the Baird and McGuire Superfund Site. This site was the inspiration of a song by local singing artist, Patty Larkin, called Metal Drums.
Patty Larkin has been a known folk music artist for the past 25-30 years. She has several albums and is still actively performing. Her album, Tango, released in 1991, contains the song, Metal Drums. Though the entire song is about the site, I'll put phrases that contain references to the location, and provide a link to Patty Larkin's site that has the entire lyrics.
The center of the song has the following:
"In the town of Holbrook, Mass.
You're lucky if you got the chance
Working a good job, making a few bucks
And it's Baird & McClair
They run that chemical plant down there
By the pasture"
"They were playing the Metal Drums
Banging on the Metal Drums
Beat that Metal Drum a little faster"
"As for Baird & McClair
All the soil from the ground to the bedrock down there
Was ruined by the bastards
Thanks to the corporate mind
They protected their assets
They're doing fine
Too bad about the Holbrook disaster"
Baird and McClair is unquestionably Baird and McGuire. She probably changed the name less to disquise that this was about them than taking poetic license so that she could find words to rhyme with it.
The location of the waymark is at the entrance to the water treatment facility, the most visible part of the site, today. Supposedly all but one of the buildings have been removed (don't know where the one building is, perhaps the square one down the street). There is no access to the grounds - the entrance is gated and the property has fencing with stern warning signs posted at places. There isn't much else to see. You can park in the housing subdivision on the south side of the road and walk to the entrance (careful- South Street is busy and there are no sidewalks). A prettier place is to drive to Beach Street, take a left, then another left onto Shore Drive. There are several views of Lake Holbrook. The superfund site is behind the trees on the left.
A short history of the superfund is as follows. This site was a chemical mixing and batching facility from 1912 to 1982. Products produced here included pesticides, floor waxes, and soaps. Chemicals were stored in various ways on site, and waste was often dumped into the ground. By 1982, the state moved to stop the operations, and after the assessment, it became an EPA superfund site that has cost over $130 million and the water treatment will go on for a long time. One site stated that it was the 14th worst superfund site on EPA's record. They hope to save the water supply. One well field has already been closed down.
Songs like this remind us of some of the uglier sides of locations, and to remind us so that similar Baird and McGuires don't happen again.
Patty Larkin's official site (Metal Drums):