Documentary History of American Water-works

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Northwestern States
Iowa Anamosa

Anamosa, Iowa

Anamosa was chartered as a city in 1877.

The Anamosa Water Works Company was incorporated in February 1875 and contracted with William C. Weir to design a water works system, which was completed in August 1875.

The city bought the system in 1910 for $20,000.

Water is provided by the city of Anamosa.

1875 "An Extension," Anamosa Eureka, October 28, 1875, Page 3.
Last Tuesday the Water-Works Co. closed a contract with the Dubuque Southwestern R.R. Co. to supply their engines with water for a term of five years at the rste of $400 per year.

1875 "Anamosa," Anamosa Eureka, November 4, 1875, Page 1.
The Shire Town of Jones County --- Her New Water Works.

1876 "Shall We Have a Paper Mill," Anamosa Eureka, May 4, 1876, Page 2.
Availability of forty horse-power steam engine at the Anamosa Water Works Company.

1878 Contract between the Anamosa Water works Company and the Additional Penitentiary of Iowa at Anamosa, December 12, 1878.

1879 The History of Jones County, Iowa: Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, &c.
Pages 453-454:  Water-Works
At the time Anamosa was equipped with a system of water-works (1875), it is said to have been the smallest city in the United States thus furnished. Previous to the year mentioned, the city had no satisfactory protection against fires. Insurance rates were high in consequence, and a feeling of insecurity pervaded he ranks of the property-holders. It was the opinion of various enterprising spirits that it would be cheaper in the long run to have ample protection at once. The Anamosa Water-Works Company was re incorporated February 20, 1875, by J. C. Dietz, C. H. Lull, N. S. Noble, B. F. Shaw, M. Heisey, T. W. Shapley, J. G. McGuire, T. R. Ercanbrack, E. B. Alderman, H. C. Metcalf, J. H. Williams, Geo. Watters, E. Blakeslee and John Watters.
The capital stock of the Company was fixed at $10,000, with the privilege of increasing to $20,000. April 26, 1875, was passed an ordinance by the City Council of Anamosa which was in substance a contract with the Water-Works Company granting to the latter the "exclusive privilege for twenty years, and an equal right with all others thereafter, of supplying the city of Anamosa with water to be taken from the Wapsipinicon River. The company was to put in three hydrants on Main street, at the corner of Garnavillo, Booth and Ford, and at any other points deemed advisable by the Company—there were to be five hydrants for theexclusive use of thecity. In consideration thereof thecity agreed, during the life of the franchise granted the Water-Works Company, to levy a tax of one-half of one per cent per annum upon all property located within 800 feet of the public hydrants of said company, and also to supply sufficient hose to throw water 800 feet. The contract also specifies that the minimum amount of water which shall be in the reservoir is 20,000 gallons. The paid-up capital stock of the Company is $6,500. The Company has an indebtedness of $8,500, of which $6,000 is in ten-year bonds, drawing 10 per cent interest, and due in 1885. The Company have preferred to incur this indebtedness rather than increase the capital stock, confident in their ability to pay off the indebtedness, and then have stock that is really valuable. The officers are: M. Heisey, President; E. Blakeslee, Vice President; J. C. Dietz, Secretary, and G. W. Russell, Treasurer. Directors—E. Blakeslee, H. C. Metcalf, E. C. Holt, M. Heisey, B. Huggins, J. C. Dietz and D. A. Peet.
The works are built upon the Holly system with reservoir. The pumping engine is a thirty-six horse-power engine, and has a pumping capacity of 720 gallons per minute. The engine room is located upon the Wapsipinicon. The reservoir is upon the hill between the main part of town and the river. It is built of brick, and has a capacity of 100,000 gallons. The engine is ordinarily in use about three times per week, and is not kept in motion more than three or four hours at a time. The reservoir being seventy-five feet above Main street, the pressure is sufficient in case of fire to throw a stream of water over the highest building. The most inflammable fuel is kept at the engine-house, and the engine can be put in operation in eighteen minutes after an alarm of fire occurs. The pressure is then increased, and may be carried to 210 pounds to the square inch.
The Company have laid one and three-fourth miles of street mains, and have seven fire-plugs or hydrants. In addition to those on Main street already mentioned, others are located on the corners of Ford and First streets, Maryl and Carroll, and at Doan's Mills. The Company supply water to the State Penitentiary, one of the railroads, and to some forty-five private consumers.

1881 Anamosa, from Engineering News 8:469 (November 19,  1881)

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

1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. January 1886

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

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

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

1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. December 1893

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

1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. May 1899

1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. August 1905

1909 An act to legalize a special election of the city of Anamosa, Iowa, held October 28, 1907, for purchase of water works system, and voting bonds therefor, and the ordinances, resolutions and acts of the council relating to such water works.  February 10, 1909.

1917 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. August 1917

1988 Anamosa- A Reminiscence edited by Bertha Finn, Pat Worden Sutton, JoAnn McRoberts Walters, Mildred Barker Brown

1910 History of Jones County, Iowa, past and present, by Robert McClain Corbit
Page 305:  Anamosa Water Works
It also has a good water works system which is now owned by the city. The  Anamosa water works was incorporated February 20, 1875, by J. C. Dietz, C. H. Lull, N. S. Noble, B. F. Shaw, M. Heisy, T. W. Shapley, J. G. McGuire, T. R.  Ercanbrack, E. B. Alderman, H. C. Metcalf , J. H. Williams, George Watters, John Watters and E. Blakeslee. The corporation stock of the company was fixed at ten thousand dollars, with the privilege of increasing to twenty thousand dollars.  On April 20, 1875, the city of Anamosa gave the water works company a twenty-five year franchise. The pump station of the water works company is situated near the bridge on the Wapsipinicon River. The reservoir is on the hill between South Ford and Booth street and has a capacity of one hundred thousand gallons. The majority stock of the company was purchased by John G. Griffith who had control of the company for many years. In 1909 the water works company was purchased by the city of Anamosa for the sum of twenty thousand dollars. The city has already made arrangements to put in new machinery at the pump house, which shall be operated by electricity obtained from the electric light company, and is already extending the water mains so as to accommodate all citizens.

2009 The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, edited by David Hudson, Marvin Bergman and Loren Horton | also here |
Pages 159-160:   Fisher, William (September 2, 1838–November 29, 1906)
Recognized for his engineering skill, Fisher supervised the successful construction and operation of municipal waterworks in Clinton (1874), Anamosa (1875), and Muscatine (1876). His reputation as a waterworks designer and engineer led to employment by the Marshalltown City Council in 1876 to supervise completion of that city's waterworks.
William and Martha Fisher and their two daughters, Lizzie Jane and Lillie May (a third child, Jasper H., was born on September 6, 1878), moved to Marshalltown in September 1876. William Fisher not only managed the completion of the city's waterworks but also began employment as chief engineer of the pumping house, earning $75 per month. Not long after assuming his duties, Fisher was roused from his bed early one morning and summoned to the waterworks. Local volunteer fire companies were battling a blaze that threatened the entire city. Fisher took charge of hand-throttling the steam engines and manually adjusting the steam valves. He worked for 24 consecutive hours to maintain constant water pressure through the mains, thus enabling the hose companies to extinguish the fire.

© 2020 Morris A. Pierce