Documentary History of American Water-works

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South Atlantic States
Georgia Augusta

Augusta, Georgia

Augusta was founded in 1735.

Augusta newspaper articles from May 1800 mention an aqueduct built to "carry water from Broad Street," but this appears to have been a sewer rather than a water pipe. 

In June 1822 the City Council granted local civil engineer George M. Towers "the exclusive privilege of furnishing the citizens of Augusta with water to be brought from some spring into the neighborhood of the city," but he gave up this right six months later.

The first waterworks were built in 1828 by Thomas McGran, who built the Turknett Springs Water-Works.  These works operated until 1882.

The city of Augusta built water works in 1861 that included an elevated water tank:

The waterworks are currently owned by the City of Augusta.

1822 Augusta Chronicle, August 8, 1822, Page 3.
Report of a Committee of Council on the Proposition of Mr. Towers to supply this city with water.  The Resolution has been adopted; and we understand that he has signified his willingness to act under the conditions.  In Council, July 13, 1822.

1823 "Water works," Augusta Chronicle, May 14, 1823, Page 2.  Editorial about water works.

1823 "Water works meeting," Augusta Chronicle, May 31, 1823, Page 3.  References reports by Mr. Eve and Mr. Towers, which are published on a separate sheet of the paper, no copy of which has been found.

1823 Augusta Chronicle, June 14, 1823, Page 3.
The Subscribers propose to bring Water from the Turknett or Indian Springs, to Augusta.  The plan proposed will deliver water in any part of the city as cool as at the spring. The plan should be as follows-viz. the Tubes to be of good heart Pine, with a four inch bore sunk in the ground to a depth of from five to thirty feet, so as to have the spring water of the earth found the pipes for the purpose of retaining the Temperature of the water, and preserve the Tubes from ever decaying, and the water to be raised at convenient distances on the main street, by means of hydrants with cocks.  It this plan should be thought expedient, the Honorable City Council may rely on the work being done on the most reasonable terms, and it would be commenced in one month and completed in six months-and the work warranted. Tho's. S. Reid. John Houghton.

1823 "Water Works," Augusta Chronicle, June 18, 1823, Page 3.  Letter from "C" about water works.

1823 "Water Works," Augusta Chronicle, July 12, 1823, Page 3.  Proposed agreement with Mr. Towers for him to carry on the work alone.

1823 "Water Works Resolution," Augusta Chronicle, July 12, 1823, Page 3.  Letter received from George M. Towers.

1825 "Sealed Proposals for Water Works," Augusta Chronicle, September 17, 1825, Page 3.  For conveying water from Turknett's Spring to the Market House in pine logs.

1830 Augusta Chronicle, June 19, 1830, Page 4.
This indenture, made and executed this nineteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty-eight, between the City Council of Augusta & Thomas McGran and his associates ... for the purpose of furnishing Water to the city of Augusta fro springs, or stream, or other sources in the neighborhood of said city.

1830 The Columbian Star, 2(26):409 (June 26, 1830)
Page 409: Aqueducts. The project of bringing water into the city, is on the eve of accomplishment.  Already the pipes have reached Broad-street; they are advancing towards the market house, and the waters of Turknett's Spring may not be had without a two miles ride to procure them.  Augusta Constitutionalist.

1840 Augusta Chronicle, February 27, 1840, Page 2
Resolved.  That a committee of four be appointed by his Honor the Mayor, to complete the purchase of the Water Works, and issue scrip for the same, in conformity to the resolution of the City Council on the 20th day of April last, reserving $1500 for W. H. Turbine, Esq, and to hand over the balance of said scrip to said Samuel Hale, on his making to the City Council of Augusta, good and sufficient title to said Waterworks.

1840 Augusta Chronicle, April 10, Page 2
A deed from Samuel Hale  to the City Council of Augusta, dated the 26th of March last, for the Waterworks and their appurtenances.

1844 Charleston Courier, September 12, 1844, Page 2.
City of Augusta.  The city is supplied with water from a noble spring, three miles distant, by means of water works, for which she is indebted to the enterprize of the late Samuel Hale.

1858 Thomas McGann (1789-1858) grave

1858 "Death of an Old Citizen of Mobile," The Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), August 16, 1858, Page 1.
Col. Thomas McGran in his 69th year, a native of Ireland.

1859 "Sealed Proposals for Water Works," Augusta Chronicle, June 19, 1859, Page 3.

1860 "A Vegetable Curiousity," The Times-Picayune, August 10, 1860, Page 2.  Swamp maple roots fill up Turkett Springs wooden conduit.

1860 "Report on the Kaolin Pipes and Turknett Spring Water," First Report to the Cotton Planters' Convention of Georgia, on the Agricultural Resources of Georgia, by Joseph Jones, M. D.

1860 "Home Industry - Southern Porcelain Company," Georgia Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1860, Page 6. 
The company are also manufacturing porcelain water pipes, and have now contracts on hand for $50,000 worth of those, a large portion of which is for the water-works of the city of Augusta.

1881 Augusta, Engineering News, 8:468 (November 19, 1881)

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

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

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

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

1895 Memoirs of Georgia: Containing Historical Accounts of the State's Civil, Military, Industrial and Professional Interests, and Personal Sketches of Many of Its People, Volume 2
Page 488:  Hiram Knowlton.  Born in New York state in 1807, and came to Georgia and settled in August in 1828.  He was a skilled and experienced mechanic, and constructed the first water works which conveyed the water from Turknett Spring to Augusta.

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

1949 "Augusta Waterworks Play Important Part in Daily Lives of all Augustans," Augusta Chronicle, November 29, 1940, Page C-1
Marion B. Cooper, superintendent of Augusta's waterworks department, has compiled a historical sketch tracing the history of the city's water supply since the early 1800s.

1964 "Augusta, Ga. Water Hazards Apply Only To Golf Here," The Mueller Record, 10:14-16 (June 1964)

1977 "Notes on the Development of the Augusta Water Works, 1822-1901," by Thomas Heard Robinson, The Georgia Operator 14:8-9, 34, 38 (Spring 1977)

1977 Augusta Water Works, HAER GA-16 Historic American Engineering Record, by Alan J. Steiner, August 1977

1981 Mechanics and Manufacturers in the Early Industrial Revolution: Lynn, Massachusetts 1780-1860, by Paul Gustaf Faler
Page 19:  There is also John Houghton, a former Lynn resident, who became a shoe dealer in Augusta, Georgia, acting as an agent for Lynn manufacturers.

1981 Archaeological Report on the Early Water Systems of the City of Augusta, Georgia, by Emory L. Kemp

2011 History of Augusta Water Works, by Drew Goins, Interim Director, Augusta Utilities | Also here |

2017 Morris A. Pierce