Documentary History of American Water-works

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Northwestern States
Iowa Oskaloosa

Oskaloosa, Iowa

Oskaloosa was chartered as a city in 1875.

The city awarded a 20-year water works franchise to Robert T. Coverdale and Truman Cowell in 1879.  The Oskaloosa Water Company was formed to own works and they contracted for a Holly water system which was demonstrated on August 30, 1880.  The system also had a standpipe.

The People's Water Company was incorporated on January 2, 1911 as successor to the Oskaloosa Water Company.

The city bought the water system in 1922.

Water is supplied by the city of Oskaloosa.

1879 "Council Proceedings," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, August 21, 1879, Page 3.
Water works ordinance passed.

1879 Muscatine Weekly Journal, August 22, 1879, Page 3.
Oskaloosa has acted wisely.  Monday evening the Council adopted an ordinance making a contract with Coverdale & Cowell, of this city, for the construction of water works on the Holly system.  Water is to be brought from the Skunk river, four miles from the city.  The works are to cost $60,000 and are to be completed by the 1st of January, 1881.

1879 "Oskaloosa Water Works," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, August 28, 1879, Page 3.

1879 "Council Proceedings," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, August 28, 1879, Page 3.
Coverdale & Cowell refuse to accept ordinance, new ordinance passed.

1879 Muscaline Weekly Journal, October 31, 1879, Page 4.
Coverdale & Cowell, of this city, have finally closed a contract with the city council of Oskaloosa to build water works for that city.  The entire structure will cost $85,000.  Work will commence as soonas possible.

1879 "The Water Works," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, November 6, 1879, Page 2.

1879 "Articles of Incorporation of the Oskaloosa Water Company," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, November 6, 1879, Page 3.

1879 "An Ordinance to provide a supply of water to the inhabitants of Oskaloosa for fire protection and domestic use, and granting certain rights and privileges to Coverdale & Cowell, their successors and assigns in relation thereto," The Oskaloosa Weekly Herald, November 6, 1879, Page 3.

1880 "Oskaloosa Water Works," Muscatine Weekly Journal, October 1, 1880, Page 4.

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

1887 Portrait and Biographical Album of Mahaska County, Iowa
Page 534:  Water Works.
The credit for the present system of water works is probably due more to D. W. Hunt than to any other person. For some years he had agitated the subject and corresponded with different persons and firms interested in water works and systems of water works. In the fall of 1879 the Holly Company, on the request of Mr. Hunt, sent a gentleman here to investigate the feasibility of putting in their system of works in this city. On his making a favorable report, a company was organized with the following-named incorporators: M. T. Williams, C. P. Searle, E. H. Gibbs, G. W. Hale, William Loughridge, W. A. Lindley, E. Bach, Mitchel Wilson, T. K. Smith, II. L. Spencer and Samuel Baldauf. Shares were placed at $20 each, and the capital stock was placed at $150,000. The following-named officers were then chosen: William Loughridge, President: John Siebel, Vice President; I. Frankel, Treasurer; D. W. Hunt, Secretary. A franchise was granted, and on the 25th of October, 1879, a contract was made with the Holly Company for putting in operation the works. Eight miles of main were at once laid, to which one mile has since been added. The works were completed and final test made Aug. 10, 1880, at which time a two-inch stream of water was thrown eighty feet high. The water supply is obtained from the Skunk River, about four miles from the city. One of Holly's complex compound engines is used, and also a duplex pumping engine. The capacity of the works is 2,500,000 gallons per day, and at present there are used about 500,000. D. W. Hunt was appointed by the company superintendent of construction, and on the completion of the works was made Superintendent, acting in that capacity for about three and a half years, when he resigned, and William Bowen was appointed and is now serving in an acceptable manner. There are now about 300 consumers of the water supplied by this company.

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

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

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

1892 Oskaloosa Water Company, Appellee, v. Board of Equalization of City of Oskaloosa, Appellant, 84 Iowa 407, January 29, 1892, Iowa Supreme Court
The plaintiff was the owner of a system of waterworks, consisting of permanent buildings and machinery, situated upon leased land located about three and a quarter miles from the defendant city, and of water mains extending from the works to and through the city, where it maintained a filter and standpipe, and kept an office where its business was transacted. Held, that the mains, filter and standpipe in the city were appurtenant to the main works, and that the entire system of waterworks of the plaintiff should be treated as real estate for the purposes of taxation, and were assessable only in the township where the main works were situated.

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

1899 Ordinance granting a franchise to the Oskaloosa Water Company.  November 12, 1899.

1900 "No Waterworks Ordinance," The Daily Nonpariel, March 3, 1900, Page 2.
Oskaloosa, March 2. - This city is left in a rather embarrassing position by the failure of the people to pass the ordinance granting a water franchise to the Oskaloosa Water company at the special election  The city is now without a water ordinance and none of the provisions of the former ordinance can be enforced.

1910 "Sale of the Oskaloosa Water Works," The New York Times, May 31, 1910, Page 18.

1922 "Oskaloosa Votes 13 to 1 to Buy Its Water Works," The Des Moines Register, June 4, 1922, Page 4.

1923 An act to legalize the transfer of funds by the city council of the city of Oskaloosa. April 17, 1923.

2020 Morris A. Pierce