Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Illinois Cairo

Cairo, Illinois

Cairo was incorporated as city in 1857.

The Cairo Hydraulic Company was incorporated in 1857 by Samual Staats Taylor, Cyrus G. Simons, Abraham Williams, Bryan Shaunessy, Ninian W. Edwards, Isham N. Haynie, and Albert G. Jones "for the purpose of supplying the city of Cairo with wholesome water." This company did not build anything.

The Cairo Water Company was incorporated in 1881 by Travers Daniels, William Rincke and J. Henry Pank after receiving a franchise from the city of Cairo.  Daniels had built the water works in Clarksville, Tennessee in 1879 and engaged in much activity in Cairo, but failed to accomplish anything aside from irritating local citizens.

Peter Herdic from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, who had built several water works in Pennsylvania along with one in Orlando, Florida, received a franchise from Cairo on October 6, 1885.  He built a system pumping water from the Ohio River into a standpipe (which fell down in 1913) that began operating in 1886.

Another Cairo Water Company with a capital of $125,000 was incorporated in January, 1886 by William H. Green, William B. Gilbert and Miles Frederick Gilbert, who were prominent Cairo businessmen.  This company apparently acquired the system from Herdic, although no details have been found.  Herdic died in 1888 while constructing water works in Huntington, Pennsylvania and his estate was, well, complicated.

The Cairo Water Company was acquired by the Community Water Service Company in 1927, which became part of the American Water Works Company.

Water is provided by Illinois American Water, although the City of Cairo also mentions that it provides water but has apparently not issued any water quality documentation.

1857 An act to incorporate the Cairo Hydraulic Company.  February 17, 1857.

1881 "Cairo. Water for the Mud Suckers," The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), August 17, 1881, Page 1.
The city council to-day accepted the proposition of I. Daniels, of Clarksville, Tennessee, to construct a system of waterworks for this city, work to commence within 60 days.

1881 "An immense institution.  The Projected Works of the Singer Manufacturing Company at Cairo," The Cairo Bulletin, September 6, 1881, Page 1.
An interview with Mr. Leighton Pine on the Subject.  To protect the magnificent works and as a work of their appreciation of the advantages which their city will derive from their coming, the people of Cairo have decided to commence forthwith the derection of the model water-works of our country.

1881 The Cairo Bulletin, October 9, 1881, Page 4.
People are fast losing confidence in both the ability and inclination of Mr. Daniels to perform his contract to build the Cairo water works.

1881 Illinois Daily State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), October 15, 1881, Page 6.
New Corporations.  Cairo Water Company, of Cairo; capital stock, $40,000; incorporators, Travers Daniel, William Rincke and J. Henry Pank.

1881 "'The Cairo Water Company' is Incorporated," The Cairo Bulletin, October 16, 1881, Page 1.

1881 The Cairo Bulletin, October 20, 1881, Page 4.
Letter from Mr. Travers Daniels to Mayor, N. B. Thistlewood.

1881 "Cairo's Water Works," The Cairo Bulletin, October 26, 1881, Page 4. | Part 2 |
Work on them commenced yesterday.

1881 "A Dispatch From Daniel," The Cairo Bulletin, December 7, 1881, Page 1.
Have contracted for stand-pipe iron, am getting many bids for water pipe; foundries are full of orders, but will place contract this week. Cairo works will be finished in August, sure.

1882 The Cairo Bulletin, January 10, 1882, Page 4.
Mr. Travers Daniels says he had assigned the contract of building the Cairo water works to Mr. James Gamble, a wealthy gentlemen of New York City, who will begin active operations soon and continue until the works are in operation.

1882 The Cairo Bulletin, February 3, 1882, Page 4.
Mr. Travers Daniels, the gentlemen who is one of the incorporators of the "Cairo Water Works company," has not been heard from within the last few weeks by city authorities.

1885 "An ordinance granting to Peter Herdic," October 6, 1885. Laws and Ordinances of the City of Cairo (1904)

1886 Harrisburg Daily Independent, January 9, 1886, Page 4.
The enterprising and irrepressible Peter Herdic seems to be in demand as a builder of water works.  He is about finishing an extensive job at Selinsgrove, and negotiations are pending for similar works in several other towns.  He also is building the great water works at Cairo, Ill.  As lately remarked by Peter to a newspaper interview, he is "catching on again."

1886 Alton Evening Telegraph, January 14, 1886, Page 3.
The Secretary of State has licensed the Cairo Water Company, with a capital of $125,000.  Incorporators Wm. H. Groen, Wm. B. Gilbert and Miles F. Gilbert.

1886 "Want More Wages," St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 8, 1886, Page 4.
The men employed in laying street mains for the Cairo water works struck this morning.  They are getting $1.25 per day and want $1.50.

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

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

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

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

1910 A History of the City of Cairo, Illinois, by John McMurray Lansden
Page 264:  It would require no little time and work to go over all these matters with any degree of fullness, and to add thereto accounts of our water works, established in 1885, and furnishing us an abundant supply of good water.

1913 "Standpipe Falls; Man Hurt," The Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), February 12, 1913, Page 14.
The standpipe of the Cairo Water company, 175 feet high, fell today, pouring 350,000 gallons of water over the ground.  One man was injured.

1921 "Operating a Water Works Plant Under State Supervision," by C. M. Roos, Secretary, Cairo Water Company,  Journal of the American Water Works Association 8(4):337-355 (July, 1921) | Also here |

1927 Boston Herald, April 22, 1927, Page 21.
Buy Cairo Water Company.  The Cairo Water Company, Cairo, Ill., has been acquired by Community Water Service Company.

1927 "Community Water Service Buys Illinois Property," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 23, 1927, Page 22.


2017 Morris A. Pierce