Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States Connecticut Colebrook Center

Colebrook Center, Connecticut

Colebrook Center is an unincorporated village in the Town of Colebrook, which was settled in 1762 and incorporated in 1779. 

Samuel Rockwell came to Colebrook in 1767 and built an aqueduct in 1785 or 1786 using bored wooden logs.  This was replaced in 1823 by one-inch lead pipes, which delivered water until the 1950s when wells were installed by individual building owners.

Rockwell was an incorporator of the Sharon Aqueduct Company in 1802.

There is no public water supply in Colebrook.

1991 Colebrook Center Historic District, National Register of Historic Places.
Section 8, Page 2: Rockwell. The family also built an aqueduct and a store, along with several houses in the center district.

[2008] "The Rockwell Spring," by Bob Grigg, Colebrook Historical Society
Its first owner was Samuel Rockwell, who came to Colebrook in 1767.  He had an aqueduct constructed (a buried wooden pipe) in 1785 or 1786.  This consisted of three-foot long segments that were bored out by means of a two-inch auger.  They  were tapered at one end so that a tight fit could be made merely by tapping one section into the next. This system was in place until 1823, when it was replaced.  Three or four segments of this pipe survive today in the Colebrook Historical Society’s rooms.
The Rockwells replaced the wood with the most up-to-date technology of the day.  They brought in an expert who specialized in making this new product.  Mr. Ward was his name, and he was set up in the basement of the Parsonage where he formed large sheets of lead into pipes.  These were one inch in diameter and laid from the spring down the hill and into each and every house in the village as well as the stores, the inn and the Center School.  There they remained in use for the next 125 years or so.  Not until the 1950s was this water supply replaced by deep driven wells.

© 2016 Morris A. Pierce