Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Northwestern States
Iowa Ottumwa

Ottumwa, Iowa

Ottumwa was chartered as a city in 1857.

After an 1871 attempt to build water works, the city awarded a 25-year exclusive water works franchise to S. L. Wiley & Co. on September 25, 1877.  Wiley had built several other water works systems, and he assigned the franchise to the Ottumwa Water Works Company.  The company built a system powered by water that was operating by March, 1879.  The company was reorganized in 1887 as the Iowa Water Company,  This company defaulted on its bonds in 1894, was foreclosed, and sold to the bondholders who formed the City Water Supply Company in September, 1897.

The city tried to built its own system when the ordinance expired, but the water company secured an injunction on the grounds that it would exceed the city's debt limit.  The City Water Supply Company was in turn sold at a receiver's sale in 1903 to its former owners and bondholders, William H. Slingluff of Morristown, New Jersey and William A. Underwood of New York City.  They received a new 25-year franchise on December 3, 1903 and formed the Public Water Company.  They were, however, unable to complete the improvements stipulated in the ordinance and offered to sell the system to the company.

The city bought the system on December 1, 1910 for $280,000,

Water is provided by Ottumwa Water and Hydro.

1871 Anamosa Eureka, November 30, 1870, Page 3.
Ottumwa has voted to issue $75,000 in bonds for the Holly water works.

1877 An Ordinance lo authorize the establishment of Water Works in the City of Ottumwa, Iowa, to provide for a supply of water for domestic use and fire protection and to regulate the same.  September 25, 1877.

1877 An Ordinance Providing for the Payment of Rental which shall become Due the Ottumwa Water Works under Ordinance Number 115.  November 22, 1877.

1877 Ordinances Granting Extension of Time to Ottcmwa Water Works to fulfill contract.  December 31, 1877, etc.

1878 The History of Wapello County, Iowa
Pages 511-512:  The Ottumwa Water Works. | pdf |

1879 Sioux City Journal, March 1, 1879, Page 1.
Ottumwa's water works on the 25th undoubtedly saved the business portion of the city from destruction by fire.

1880 The Revised Ordinances of the City of Ottumwa of 1880, August 2, 1880

1882 Ottumwa, from Engineering News 9:107 (April 1, 1882)

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

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

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

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

1896 "The Jewell Mechanical Water Filter in 19 Cities," Engineering News 35:354-359 (May 18, 1896)
Page 358: Ottumwa, Ia.

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

1901 "It Objects," The Ottumwa Courier, February 12, 1901, Page 1.
City Water Supply Company enters protest to the proposed waterworks.

1901 History of Wapello County, Iowa: And Representative Citizens, by Samuel B. Evans
Pages 88-: Ottumwa Water Works and Water Power.| pdf |

1902 City of Ottumwa, Iowa, v. City Water Supply Co., 119 Fed. 315, November 26, 1902, Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

1903 "Offers $100,000," The Ottumwa Courier, January 3, 1903, Page 2.
City Council tenders that amount for water plant.

1903 City Water Supply Co. v City of Ottumwa, 120 Fed. 309, January 27, 1903, Circuit South Southern District of Iowa.

1903 Cowell v. City Water Supply Co., 121 Fed. 53, 57 C.A.A. 393, February 16, 1903, Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

1903 "Offer Withdrawn," Ottumwa Daily Courier, February 20, 1903, Page 2.
City Water Supply Co. will try to sell plant.  Directors want no franchise.

1903 "Offer is Rejected," Ottumwa Daily Courier, March 17, 1903, Page 6.
Water Company will not accept $200,000 for plant.  The company will not accept less than $300,000 for property.

1903 "City Water Supply Co. will Accept Offer of City," Ottumwa Daily Courier, June 19, 1903, Page 8.
To purchase the waterworks plant for $270,000.

1903 "Serious Hitch," Ottumwa Daily Courier, July 23, 1903, Page 6.
In negotiations for sale of the waterworks bonds.

1903 "Notice of Special Master's Sale of the Property of the City Water Supply Company," The Ottumwa Courier, August 29, 1903, Page 6.

1903 "Waterworks Sold at Public Auction," Ottumwa Daily Courier, September 21, 1903, Page 1.
Property of City Water Supply Co. disposed of for $25,000.  Goes to former owners, William H. Slingluff of Morristown, New Jersey and William A. Underwood of New York City

1903 The Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), November 6, 1903, Page 4.
At a special session the Ottumwa city council granted a water works franchise to Messrs. Underwood and Slingluff for a period of twenty-five years.  The franchise was passed over the mayor's veto.

1903 "An Ordinance Granting to William A. Underwood and William H. Slingluff the right and privilege of maintaining, rebuilding and repairing the present system of water works in Ottumwa, Iowa," Ottumwa Evening Democrat, December 5, 1903, Page 2.

1906 "Improvements at Ottumwa, Ia.," by James Winans, Fire and Water Engineering 39(5):54 (February 3, 1906)

1914 History of Wapello County, Iowa, Volume 1, by Harrison Lyman Waterman
Pages 123-:  Waterworks System.| pdf

1923 Ottumwa Yesterday and Today
Pages 102-103:  The Ottumwa Water Works

2020 Morris A. Pierce