Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Connecticut Waterbury

Waterbury, Connecticut

Waterbury was first settled in 1674.   

The earliest water works in Waterbury was constructed about 1801 and provided water from a spring near Grove and Willow strrets, which was "conveyed to the premises of Bennet Bronson, John
Kingsbury, Elijah Hotchkiss and others, on Willow and West Main streets."

The 1896 history referenced below notes several other small water systems that were constructed in the next decades.  "In 1847, A. S. Blake laid pipes from a spring on Cooke street to his house on Grand, and furnished water for several other residences. In 1849, J. C. Booth and D. F. Maltby opened a spring at the upper end of Prospect street, which is now owned and used by F. J. Kingsbury. The same year J. M. L. and W. H. Scovill built the Long Hill aqueduct, a line of pipe conveying water from a spring in the northeastern part of the borough, near what is now Farm street, to the centre, by which the Scovill house and families in its vicinity were supplied. ... In 1852, the Scovill Manufacturing company conveyed water in pipes from a spring on Long hill, near Walnut street, to their factory on Mill street. ... In 1854, larger projects for family use were undertaken by individuals. J. C. Booth and S. W. Hall purchased a spring in the northern part of the city, and built reservoirs from which they conveyed water to residences on Church street. Later a spring was opened further south, in a lovely bit of woodland bordering on Pine street, by H. W. Hayden. Both are still in use. This section of the town abounds in cool, sweet springs, which are utilized for household purposes by residents of Hillside avenue and vicinity."  The town appointed a committee in 1849 that recommended obtaining a charter for a water company, but if applied for it was not granted.

The Waterbury Water Company was incorporated in 1859 by Nelson J. Welton, Franklin L. Welton, and John Osborn "for the purpose of supplying the city of Waterbury with a supply of pure water for public and domestic use."  This system was built by John Osborn of Mt. Carmel, Connecticut, who obtained a patent (#29,906) in September, 1860 for "improvements in aqueducts" that allowed reservoirs at different levels to be used to raise the water pressure in the distribution system in case of fire, etc..  The company was sold to Brown & Brothers, a local brass manufactory, who developed a large reservoir for the system in the northern section of the city.

The City of Waterbury was authorized to build a water system on May 23, 1867 and voters approved it at an election on May 27, 1867.  Works were constructed works the following year based on the design of Nelson J. Welton and McRee Swift. The city also bought the Brown & Brothers water system for $9,600.  The contract for furnishing the cement-lined wrought-iron pipes and constructing the distribution system was awarded to George H. Norman of Newport, Rhode Island.

Water is provided by the City of Waterbury.

1859 Incorporating the Waterbury Water Company, June 16, 1859. 
SEC. 15. Nothing in this act contained shall hereafter be construed to hinder or obstruct the procurement of any other charter for the like or similar company in said city of Waterbury; or in any way obstruct, hinder or prevent the flow of water in any aqueduct in said city or town, or hinder or prevent the extension of the same; or prevent any other company or individual from bringing waterinto said city by aqueduct or otherwise; and nothing in this act contained shall be construed to authorize this corporation to take, for the purposes of this corporation,
any stream or springs of water, or other water course, which takes its rise or empties into the Naugatuck River, upon the easterly side of said river; nor any water from said Naugatuck River, nor from any stream or springs of water or other water course which flows to or through Riverside cemetery, unless said corporation shall acquire the same by negotiation and purchase from the owners thereof, or other parties having the right to grant the same.

1867 An Act to Provide for a Supply of Pure and Wholesome Water in the City of Waterbury, May 23, 1867.

1881 Waterbury, from Engineering News 8:332 (August 20, 1881)

1882 Waterbury, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1888 "Waterbury," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Waterbury," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Waterbury," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1894 "New Water Works at Waterbury," by R.A. Cairns, City Engineer from Engineering News  31:48 (January 18, 1894)

1895 "An instance in the value of state topographical surveys," by R.A. Cairns, from Engineering News 33:299-300 (May 9, 1895)

1896 "The Water Works and the Sewers" by Nelson J. Welton from The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut, Volume 2 edited by Joseph Anderson, Sarah Johnson Prichard, and Anna Lydia Ward

1897 "Waterbury," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1900 New Haven Register, November 1, 1900, Page 5
Waterbury Water Famine
The Supply is Almost Exhausted and There is Trouble Coming.
Waterbury, Nov. 1 -- The threatened water famine here is becoming more serious each day and at the prsent rate that the water is being used the officials say that the present supply in all the reservoirs will be not last more than a week.  As a precautionary measure notices were issued by the water department that commencing Thursday night the water in certain sections of the city would be shut off at 10 p.m. until 3 a. m.

1911 "The Morris Dam of the Waterbury Water-Works," by Henry G. Pavrow, Engineering Record 64(22):614-617 (November 25, 1911)

1918 The Growth of the Water System from History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut, Volume 1 by William Jamieson Pape

2015 Morris A. Pierce