Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Indiana Brookville

Brookville, Indiana

Brookville was platted in 1808.

The first waterworks were built by the town in 1820 using wooden pipes, but the system was poorly constructed and was abandoned in 1824.

The Town of Brookville voted in 1890 to build waterworks that began operation July 14, 1892.

The waterworks are currently owned by the Town of Brookville.

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

1892 Indianapolis News, August 15, 1892, Page 6
The Brookville water-works is providing a paying investment.  The plant is owned by Brookville.

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

1915 Notice to contractors for water works pumping station equipment and chimney for Municipal Water Works of the town of Brookville, Indiana, Engineering and Contracting, 44(19): 38 (November 10, 1915)

1932 "Some Early History of Public Health in Indiana," by William F. King, M.D., Monthly Bulletin of the Indiana State Board of Health, 35:165-168 (November 1932)
Page 167: Brookville had a waterworks system in operation as early as 1820. The town was so situated that the digging of a well was practically an impossibility; therefore, the source of supply for domestic purposes was entirely from springs. Fortunately this early settlement was favored with several springs along the west fork of Whitewater, one of these being of unusual magnitude. Carrying and hauling water soon became tiresome to the people, and one of their number devised ways and means for a public supply delivered to their doors. Nature provided the gravity force back of the water, and pipes were constructed of green sycamore saplings of three-inch bore, prepared by William Adams, a practical pumpmaker, for which work he was paid by the foot. The plant was constructed under the supervision of Messrs. McCarty and Allen, who represented the town. They paid Amos Butler, on whose ground this spring was located, $500 for the water and also right of way. This seems rather a small sum in this day, yet at the time of purchase-one hundred years ago-it was looked upon as a very large sum indeed. The sapling pipes were laid underground, and a reservoir eight feet in depth was constructed of oak planks. Only one family could boast of having water piped into their home, the balance of the consumers depending on a connection or arrangement of some kind outside of their houses. The story goes that those who lived under the hill and had private wells considered the users of this public supply as aristocrats, and occasionally a stray cat or dog, somewhat the worse for wear, was deposited in  the reservoir to portray their feelings. The pipes, as stated, were made of green sycamore and were allowed to lie in the sun for some time previous to their installation, which caused them to split a short time after being in service. Finally the strong gravity pressure burst the pipes and the plant ceased operation in the early part of 1824. Astonishing to relate, Brookville did not construct a second plant for public supply until 1890, or sixty-six years later.

1946 The Hoosier health officer; a biography of Dr. John N. Hurty and the history of the Indiana State Board of Health to 1925, by Thurman B. Rice
Page 153:  Basically repeats the text from the 1932 article quoted above.

2008 Brookville, by Craig T. Chappelow and Donald L. Dunaway
Page 38:  Short description of the 1892 waterworks including pictures.

2015 Morris A. Pierce