|Introduction||Historical Background||Chronology||Geography||Biography||Technology||Ownership and Financing||General Bibliography|
Joliet was incorporated as a village in 1837 and as a city in 1852.
An 1878 history notes that "The first artesian well was put down in 1866-7, and since that time, in addition to three public wells, a dozen or more have been sunk by private individuals. The well at the corner of Chicago and Jefferson streets is 455 feet deep, and at its completion raised water sixty feet, with thirty-one pounds pressure to the square inch, and with a daily flow of about fifteen thousand barrels. Pipes were laid on Chicago and Jefferson streets from this well, but owing to some defect it does not at present supply them." It is unclear when these pipes were installed, or what the defect was that prevented their use.
The city awarded a water works franchise to Jesse W. Starr, Jr. on March 15, 1880. He completed the works but the city did not accept them as they did not meet the requirements of the contract. The company were foreclosed and sold in 1883 to its bondholders and the city revoked the contract in 1884. The bondholders sued and the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the bondholders had a right to bring the works into operating condition within twelve months. The city and bondholders agreed to arbitration and a price of $186,620 was set to sell the works to the city.
The city built a new system that began service in 1890.
Water is provided by the city of Joliet.
1878 The History of Will County, Illinois
Page 411: There are few cities in Illinois that can favorably compare with Joliet in its supply of good water, the health-giving element. The artesian wells, of which there are a number in the city, supply an abundance of water, and that of a quality, too, unsurpassed by any city or country. The limestone springs of Kentucky, supposed to afford the best water in the world, scarcely equal that of the artesian wells of Joliet. These wells, with their inexhaustible supply, are an acquisition to the city, of which the people should be justly proud, and one, too, that will last as long as their own granite hills. The first artesian well was put down in 1866-7, and since that time, in addition to three public wells, a dozen or more have been sunk by private individuals. The well at the corner of Chicago and Jefferson streets is 455 feet deep, and at its completion raised water sixty feet, with thirty-one pounds pressure to the square inch, and with a daily flow of about fifteen thousand barrels. Pipes were laid on Chicago and Jefferson streets from this well, but owing to some defect it does not at present supply them. Another of the city wells is at the East Side public school, and was bored about one thousand one hundred feet deep. The other public well is on the West Side. These wells, together with the number of private ones in the city, afford an apparently inexhaustible quantity of water for all practical purposes. Before the era of artesian wells the city was supplied by the ordinary wells, in which water was usually obtained by digging down to the gravel. From the "Geological Survey of Illinois,'' it appears there are two strata of sand rock reached in boring these artesian wells, one at a depth of about four hundred and fifty feet and the other at about one thousand two hundred feet below the surface, and it is in these the best water is obtained. But without going into a full detail of this feature, the reader is referred to the " Geological Survey," extracts from which are found in another department of this work.
1879 Report of Special Committee on Water-works recommending that the city should not own the works, but that they should be owned and operated by a private corporation. December 1, 1879. 1,000 of these were printed, but no copy has been found.
1880 City advertises for water works in Iron Age and American Manufacturer.
1880 Thomas Suplee, representing Jesse W. Starr, presents a proposition and contract. March 8, 1880
1880 Agreement between J. W. Starr, Jr., and city of of Joliet, March 15, 1880.
to Organize," Chicago Tribune, October 5, 1880, Page 7.
Springfield, Ill., Oct. 4 - The Secretary of State to-day issued licenses to organize to the following corporations: The City of Joliet Water-Works Company, capital $200,000, corporations, Jesse W. Starr, Jr. Thomas B. Suplée, Jr., Darrance Dibbell.
1881 Jesse W. Starr, Jr., notifies council that were were completed, November 8, 1881.
Waterworks Company," The Inter Ocean, July 26, 1882, Page 1.
The Joliet Water-works Company has been placed in the hands of J.D. Paige, as receiver. This company has a floating indebtedness of about $15,000, and as the labor to a great extent is unpaid, and the company has thus far failed to put the works in a condition to which the city can accept of them, the credits seek this means of making their claims. It is reported that Jesse W. Starr, Jr., the President of this company and builder of the works, will be here to-morrow with funds sufficient to discharge these claims and complete the works.
Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), May 4, 1883, Page 7.
The Joliet water works were sold at public auction Saturday for $54,000, to Philadelphia parties.
1883 Joliet, Engineering News, 10:388 (August 18, 1883)
1884 Council resolution cancelling contract with Starr. October 16, 1884.
1884 The city charter and revised ordinances of the city of Joliet, Illinois : together with acts of the General Assembly of the state of Illinois, relating to the cit, April, 1884
Courts," Chicago Tribune, August 9, 1884, Page 13.
The Joliet Water-Works Wants an Injunction.
1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Joliet, Will County, Illinois. February 1886
1886 Foster v. City of Joliet, 27 Fed. 899, June 9, 1886, Circuit Court Northern District of Illinois
1887 Joliet v Foster, 122 US 639, March 21, 1887, United States Supreme Court. Affirmed by a divided court, no opinion published.
1888 "Bondholders and
Illinois Water Bond Decisions," Commercial
and Financial Chronicle 46(1,191):498 (April 21, 1888)
Joliet Water Works Contract. Judge Blodgett, in his opinion, took it for granted that the water company had not complied with the conditions of the ordinance, but nevertheless he held that the bondholders stood in such a position that they had the right to go on and complete the works, and that no forfeiture should be allowed or enforced until they had had a reasonable time to do so; that the delays in completing the works, while a breach of the letter of the contract, were not such as should work a complete forfeiture of all rights acquired and moneys spent under it. The court accordingly entered a decree declaring that the bondholders were lawfully in possession of the streets of the city, and enjoining the city from interfering with the mains and pipes, but ordering the bondholders, within twelve months, to do the necessary work for supplying water and carrying out the contract..
Daily Gazette, May 8, 1888, Page 2.
The Board of Arbitration to which the city of Joliet, Ill., and the Joliet Water works Company submitted for final settlement the question of the value of the waterworks plant in that city, sent in their decision Monday, fixing the valuation at $186,620. The city is obliged to purchase and the company to sell at that price.
1888 Brown v. Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company, 128 US 403, November 19, 1888, United States Supreme Court
1888 Wood v. Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company, 128 U.S. 416, November 19, 1888, United States Supreme Court.
1888 "Joliet," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
Inter Ocean, August 31, 1890, Page 19.
The new engines and pumps of the Joliet Water Works were started up Monday and work to perfection. With an abundant water suply and excellent management under Superintendent J. F. Gleason, Joliet has one of the best water supplies and systems in the country.
1890 "Joliet," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
1891 Report of Supt. of Water Works for the year ending April 30, 1891
1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Joliet, Will County, Illinois. August 1891
and Revised Ordinances of the City of Joliet, Will County, State of
Illinois: With Marginal Notes and References to Leading Decisions of
the Courts of Illinois and Other States
Pages 219-245: Water works including rates
1891 "Joliet," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.
illustrated : historical, descriptive and biographical
Page 5: Picture of Joliet Water Works
Page 15: Frank W. Dewey, superintendent of Joliet Water Works
1897 "Joliet," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.
1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Joliet, Will County, Illinois.
1901 Contract and Specifications, Together with the State Law and City Ordinance Governing the Proposed Improvement of the Water Works System of the City of Joliet, Illinois | also here |
and Revised Ordinances of the City of Joliet, Will County, State of
Page 394: Water rates
of Proceedings of City Council, of the City of Joliet, Illinois for
the Year Ending April 30, 1906
Page 101: June 12, 1905. I find upon examination that from a communication sent Sept. 30, 1904, that the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, as Trustee, of the trust deed of the Joliet Water Works Company, of the City of Joliet, has possession of the trust deed and refuses to deliver it over to the City until the amount of $160.42 is paid it for services and that the deed to the water works has never been recorded.
2019 Joliet's Future Water Supply, April 17, 2019, Allison Swisher and Nick Gornick
© 2019 Morris A. Pierce