Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Indiana Terre Haute

Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute was incorporated as a village in 1832 and as a city in 1853.

The Terre Haute Water Works Company was incorporated on March 7, 1871 and received a fifty-year franchise from the city on March 31, 1871.  The ordinance directed the company to "adopt the system known as the Holly Water Works, or some other approved system in their discretion."  The company chose to use the "Clapp & Jones system" of direct pressure, which began service on October 8, 1873. 

An 1872 newspaper article states that Clapp & Jones "pumps water directly into the pipes with a given pressure varied at will, and controlled by Clapp's automatic regulator."  The Holly Manufacturing Company filed a $150,000 patent infringement suit against the water works company in May, 1874 and also threatened to do so in 1879 after Holly had prevailed on another patent infringement case against Union City.

The water works company was sold in 1888 or 1889 for a reported $220,000 to a New York syndicate represented by James Gamble, one of the founders of the Proctor & Gamble Company, who invested in and built several water works companies before his death in 1891.  The company was sold about a year later to N. W. Harris & Company of Chicago for a reported $330,000. 

The original capital stock of $220,000 was increased to $500,000 on June 8, 1889, and on that same date the $280,000 in new stock was issued to A. G. Farr for construction of a new plant, along with $440,000 in first mortgage gold bonds of the company.  The new plant began service in late 1890.  

The system was bought by the American Water Works and Electric Company in May, 1924, who re-incorporated it as the Terre Haute Water Works Corporation on May 14, 1924.

Water is supplied by Indiana American Water.

1868 Richmond Weekly Palladium, November 6, 1868, Page 3.
The New Terre Haute Water Works are estimated to cost $130,000.

1871 "Proceedings of the City Council," Terre Haute Daily Gazette, March 8, 1871, Page 4.

1871 "The Terre Haue Water Works Company," Terre Haute Daily Gazette, March 9, 1871, Page 4.

1871 An ordinance authorizing the Terre Haute Water Works Company to construct, maintain and operate Water Works, and supply Water to the City and Citizens of Terre Haute, and defining their powers and privileges.  March 21, 1871.
Franchise for 50 years.  The company shall adopt the system known as the Holly Water Works, or some other approved system in their discretion.

1871 "Terre Haue Water Works," Terre Haute Daily Gazette, May 10, 1871, Page 4.

1872 "Water Works," The Evening Gazette (Terre Haute, Indiana), March 28, 1872, Pages 2 & 3.
The Holly Water Works.  Valuable statistics and reports from cities that have them in use.  From the Toledo Blade.

1872 "The Water Works," Terre Haute Daily Gazette, August 6, 1872, Page 4.
Editor of Terre Haute Gazette: In your Saturday's Evening GAZETTE, you have a paragraph in reference to the construction of the Terre Haute Water Works, in which you say "The Water Works machinery will be commenced in a very few days." You also say, that "The indications are, that the works will be in successful operation by the time specified in the contract, viz: January 1, 1873." May I rise to explain? Work was commenced on the machinery nearly a month since, and the boilers are nearly completed. You may be very certain the works will be fully completed before the time agreed upon. It could have been easily done in ninety days but for two important items the articles or agreement. Your Water Works Company is very fortunate in its selection of officers. They succeeded in making a contract, requiring us to throw sixteen fire streams one hundred feet high, when your Council, by the charter, only required six. Besides that, we have to build the machinery with special reference to a possible rise of twenty-six feet in your river. It is therefore necessary to make the machinery of a different construction from any for which the Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Company had patterns. An entirely new set of patterns having to be made, it takes time; consequently the machinery will be longer in building than under other circumstances, giving ample time to complete the other parts of the work without any extraordinary effort.
I had an ambition to build the works not only superior to anything of the same capacity in the country (which is apart of the agreement), but also to do it in less time. In the latter particular, possibly my ambition may not be gratified but all your good temperance people may rely upon an abundant supply of filtered water, from twelve miles of pipe, and the other sort can change their whisky from forty rod to a less capacity, from the same source, by the 20th of December.
While I am up, let me explain that this is not the Holly system of water works, but the Clapp & Jones system, Mr. M. R. Clapp, who has no superior as a mechanic in the country, being the inventor and constructor of the work. It pumps water directly into the pipes with a given pressure varied at will, and controlled by Clapp's automatic regulator.
That same thing was done three hundred years since, minus the regulator. The Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Company do not claim that as especially a part of their system, neither do they admit that any one has any special claim to it as apart of any system at the present time.
The Holly system, with its more recent improvements, has two sets of machinery, one with a set of gang pumps, for domestic supply, the other rotary pumps for fire protection. Clapp & Jones construct two entire sets of machinery, with Clapp's patent piston pumps only, the same pumps working at different velocities giving both domestic supply and "fire streams." It is practically in its working a combination of the Holly system an the stand pipe system, having none of the objectionable features of the one, and remedying all the objections to the other. In the Clapp Jones system, one or both sets of machinery being in operation, if an alarm of fire is given, it is only necessary to inscrease the speed, to give any number of fire-streams required, thus avoiding the necessity of getting another set of machinery in operation before that can be done.
But I am taking up too much of your valuable space, aud will take my seat. Yours, &c., J. A. RICHARDSON.

1873 Richmond Weekly Palladium, September 6, 1873, Page 4.
The new water works (Holly) at Terre Haute has been tested a second time with satisfactory results.

1873 Terre Haute Weekly Gazette, October 9, 1873, Page 4.
The Terre Haute Water Works Company, commencing last evening, will furnish water to consumers at all hours day and night; and will be ready for business in case of fire.

1873 The Indianapolis News, November 17, 1873, Page 1.
The Terre Haute Water Works have been tested, and the Express pronounces them the best in the United States.

1874 Terre Haute Weekly Gazette, May 14, 1874, Page 4.
The Express has at last been informed that the "Holly Manufacturing Company are about commencing, or have already commenced, suit against the Terre Haute Water Works Company, for an infringement of their patents, laying their damages at the large sum of $150,000."  When the Gazette reports the probability of such a suit the Express hooted at it.

1876 "How it Works," Fort Wayne Daily News, March 13, 1876, Page 1.
Operations of the Terre Haute water works company.

1879 Indianapolis News, February 22, 1879, Page 4.
C. G. Hildreth, secretary of the Holly water works company, is in the city to-day enroute from Terre Haute to his home.  He has been over to the prairie village to serve notice that unless the water works company there settled with the Holly company for using is system, with Clapp & Jones machinery, a suit for an injunction and damages will be instituted.

1879 "How Company Water Works are Appreciated at Terre Haute," Fort Wayne Daily News, April 24, 1879, Page 1.

1881 Terre Haute, from Engineering News 8:311-312 (August 6, 1881)
On the main leading from each pump is an air chamber of 26-in. diameter and 30 ft. high, with an air pump for regulating the density of the contained air.

1882 Terre Haute, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.
Each pump has a close stand-pipe 28 feet high, 24 inches diamter, into which all the water is pumped; from thence, by compressed air, it is forced into the mains.

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

1889 "Terre Haute Water-Works Sold," Chicago Tribune, February 5, 1889, Page 2.
Nearly all of the Terre Haute Water-Works stock of $220,000 has been sold to the New York syndicate that has been buying up Western companies, among them the Vincennes and Greencastle companies in this state.

1890 "New Water Works Plant," Terre Haute Daily News, December 27, 1890, Page 1.

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

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

1891 "The National Filter Plant at Terre Haute, Ind.," Engineering News 25:127-128 (February 7, 1891)

1891 History of Vigo county, Indiana, with biographical selections, by H.C. Bradsby
Page 452: July 12, 1870, the first steps were taken toward establishing a system of water works.
Page 507:  Terre Haute Water Works. The plant is located on the river at the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad crossing. Works were constructed in 1873. The new works, with a capacity of 3,000,000 gallons per day were commenced in 1888, and completed and the water turned on in the summer of 1890. These are as fine water works as the country affords.

1895 "Should the Building of Stand-Pipes be Abandoned?," Engineering News 34:122 (August 22, 1895)
Direct pumping system in Terre Haute

1896 "The Jewell Mechanical Water Filter in 19 Cities," Engineering News 35:354-356 (<May 18, 1896)
Jewell Filter in Terre Haute

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

1904 "Notes on Forms Used by the Terre Haute Water Works Co., Terre Haute, Inc.," by Dow R. Gwinn, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the American Water Works Association 24:298-325 (June, 1904)

1904 "Terre Haute Waterworks," Fire and Water Engineering 35:244 (June 4, 1904)

1906 The General Ordinances of the City of Terre Haute: With Reference Notes to Acts of the Indiana General Assembly Governing Cities Generally and Rules Governing the Common Council

1909 "Fight Use of Water Meters," Daily News-Democrat (Huntington, Indiana), August 6, 1909, Page 3.

1911 "For Municipal Plant," Brazil Daily Times, September 6, 1911, Page 2.
Terre Haute, First action towards municipal ownership was taken last night.

1913 Albert George Farr (1851-1913) grave

1913 "A. C. Farr Dies Suddenly," The Indianapolis Star, December 23, 1913, Page 1.
Chicago banker was interested in Terre Haute Water Works.

1915 "Commission to Fix Our Water Rates," Angola Herald, April 9, 1915, Page 1.
Terre Haute Water Works Case.   Partial Remarks of E. E. Watts, consulting Engineer of Princeton, Indiana, to the Rotary Club of Angola, Indiana:
To further illustrate the conscienceless methods pursued by manipulators and financiers of these properties I have in mind the Terre Haute water case which has Just recently recently tried before the Commission and an opinion has not yet been
handed down. This plant was organized about 43 years ago with a capital stock the city or Terre Haute subscribed and paid for $50,000 worth.  Later, in the year of 1888 the plant had been allowed to run down and sold for $220,000. The next year the plant was sold for $330,000 - a profit of $110,000 to the manipulator during that one year. The new purchasers were the N. W. Harris & Co. of Chicago, who still own the property.  The plant at the time of their taking it over needed considerable betterment, re-construction and additions.  In the N. W. Harris Company, but not a holder of any of the Terre Haute water works securities in the year 1889, was one A. G. Parr.   In the year l889 the directors of the Terre Haute Water Works Co. had a meeting in the offices of N. W. Harris & Co. at Chicago at which meeting they made a contract with A. G. Farr to construct certain pumping stations and filtration works which it was shown actually cost about $136,000.  In the contract the consideration which Farr was to receive was $440,000 of the first mortgage bonds of the company, $280,000 of the common stock aggregating $720,000 of securities for $136,000 worth of work. Not content with this, when the contract was
finally completed the directors voted to Farr a bill of extras in cash of $39,000, so that for $136,000 of actual outlay Farr received $759,000 in cash and securities. On behalf of the city I Insisted that their stock transfer books be brought before the Commission and these books disclosed the fact that the day after the settlement with Farr for his contract he transferred the major portion of his common stock holdings to Harris and his other associates of the N. W. Harris Co.
But these things are now of the past and no public utility may juggle its finances as it is necessary to secure the consent of the commission before any securities of public utilities may now be issued.

1915 Commercial Club of Terre Haute et al., v. Terre Haute Waterworks Company, December 17, 1915, Indiana Public Service Commission.  History and valuation of company's plant.

1916 Terre Haute Paper Company v. Terre Haute Water Works Company, 62 Ind. App. 263, June 2, 1916, Appellate Court of the State of Indiana.

1919 "Proper Regulations Governing Private Fire Protection Water Service Lines," Municipal and County Engineering 56(5):193-195 (May, 1919)

1919 "Methods Used and Results Obtained in Metering the Water Supply of Terre Haute, Ind," Municipal and County Engineering 57(3):129-133 (September, 1919)

1920 "Meter Practices of the Terre Haute Water Works Company," by Don R. Gwinn, Journal of the American Water Works Association, 7(1):12-33 (January, 1920)

1920 "A Brave Deed," by John M. Goodell, Journal of the American Water Works Association, 7(3):286-287 (May, 1920)
Rescue of meter worker overcome in confined space.

1920 "The High Cost of Money to Public Utilities," by Don R. Gwinn, Journal of the American Water Works Association, 7(4):516-522 (July, 1920)

1924 "On Terre Haute Deal," The Indianapolis News, May 16, 1924, Page 6.
Service Commission will hear case involving water works.  Sale to the American Water Works and Electric Company.

1924 "Terre Haute Water Works Changes Hands," Fire and Water Engineering 75(21) (May 21, 1924) | also here |
Terre Haute Water Works Changes Hands The Terre Haute Water Works Company of which Dow R. Gwinn, well known water works man and ex-president of the American Water Works Association, has been president and general manager for a number of years, has been absorbed by the American Water Works and Electric Company and a new company will be formed, to be known as the Terre Haute Water Works Corporation. This makes the twenty-seventh utility to go under the control of the American Water Works and Electric Company, there being subsidiaries to this corporation in thirteen different states.

1929 Terre Haute Water Works Basin

1972 "A Century of Service," The Terre Haute Tribune, September 19, 1972, Page 84.
Terre Haute Water Works Corporation

2019 Morris A. Pierce