Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Illinois Rockford

Rockford, Illinois

Rockford was incorporated as a city in 1852.

The Rockford Water Works Company was incorporated in 1869, but was not successful in building a systsem.

The city built a Holly water works system that was demonstrated on August 19, 1875 with two steam-driven Quadruplex pumping engines.  Gaskill engines were added in 1888 and 1890.

Water is provided by the city of Rockford, which has a history page.


References
1869 An act to incorporate the Rockford Water Works Company.  March 24, 1869

1877 The History of Winnebago County, Illinois : its past and present, containing ... a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics ... history of the Northwest, history of Illinois ... etc
Pages 409-410:  HOLLY WATER WORKS.
A number of years ago a company was organized to supply the city of Rockford with water, as well as provide for the extinguishment of fires, but it never amounted to anything. During the summer of 1874 the matter was agitated again, and a favorable vote of the people taken. A committee of construction was authorized, who began work upon the present structure in the fall of that year, and finished it some time during the winter, at a net cost of $34,013.81, including the lots and cost of preparation, building, pumping pit, foundations for pumps, fitter, smoke stack, etc. The machinery, or pumps, which began to pump for general use in March, 1875, cost $36,000, or laid down here with all the extras, $37,758.38. The hydrants, pipes and laying swell the total cost of all to $236,144.82.
In digging for the foundations, a spring of large size was discovered, which has been utilized, most of the water ordinarily coming from it, while on extraordinary occasions the supply is drawn from the river, near which the works are located.
The Holly system has this distinguishing featureó that, by a set of powerful steam pumps, centrally located, and a system of pipes in all the streets, a steam fire engine is placed at every man's door, with a supply of water that is practically inexhaustable. A pressure of 45-pounds per square inch is maintained in all the water pipes, the engines running fast or slow automatically, as it falls below or exceeds this point. Since the completion of the works, no fire has ever spread beyond the building where it originated. They are under the supervision of S. T. Holly, Chief Engineer, and Frank A. Holly, assistant, with two firemen. They give about thirty-seven gallons daily to each inhabitant of the city.

1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. April 1887

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

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

1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. November 1891

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

1897 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois.

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

1913 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. Volume 1 | Volume 2 |

1933 "The Rockford Water Supply," by Daniel W. Mead, Journal of the American Water Works Association 25(8):1140-1151 (August, 1933)

1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. May 1950 | Volume 1 | Volume 2 |

1951 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. 1951 | Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 |

2005 "A History of the Rockford Water Department 1875-1955," by Thomas Powers, Nuggets of History 43(3) (September 2005)

2005 "A History of the Rockford Water Department 1955 to the Present," by Thomas Powers, Nuggets of History 43(4) (December 2005)

Rockford Water Works Gallery


© 2019 Morris A. Pierce