Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Northwestern States
Kansas Atchison

Atchison, Kansas

Atchison was incorporated as a city in 1855. 

The city granted a 25-year franchise to Sylvester Watts on March 5, 1880.  He then assigned it to the Atchison Water Company, which built a reservoir system pumping water from the Missouri River.

A group of local businessmen formed the non-profit Atchison City Water Works, Inc. in 1948 to purchase the stock of the water company using a bond issue, and when the bonds were paid off giving the system to the city.  They succeeded in buying the company in 1949 and in 1966 refinanced the bonds and the city extended the franchise.

The Austin City Water Works, Inc. gave the system to the city in August, 1977 after the last payment was made.

Water is provided by the city of Atchison.


References
1880 The Atchison Daily Champion, January 28, 1880, Page 4.
The City Council will be expected, at its next meeting, to consider the subject of Water Works.

1880 "An Ordinance for the erection and maintenance of water works in the city," March 5, 1880, Atchison Daily Patriot, March 6, 1880, Page 1. | pdf |

1880 The Topeka Daily Capital, March 26, 1880, Page 1.
The charter of Atchison water company was also filed.  The object is to supply Atchison with water for 50 years and has a capital stock of $70,000.  The directors all live in St. Louis.

1882 Atchison, Engineering News, 9:50 (February 11, 1882)

1883 History of the State of Kansas, by William G. Cutler
Page 380:  Atchison Water Works. - From the earliest settlement of the city up to the year 1880, one of the most serious drawbacks to a residence in Atchison, was an inadequate supply of wholesome water suitable for all purposes. During that year the people wisely decided, by a vote of 1,309 to 84, to contract with Sylvester Watts, of St. Louis, for the construction of water works on the reservoir plan. The "Atchison Water Company" was organized under the laws of Kansas, and John R. Lionberger, George E. Leighton, Thomas E. Tutt, Charles Parsons and Sylvester Watts, all of St. Louis, were elected Directors, and T. N. Bontelle, Chief Engineer. It was agreed to furnish fifty hydrants for fire purposes and for flushing sewers, together with a number of public watering troughs, the city paying therefore the sum of $6,000. Six miles of mains were laid, and water laid on the following streets: On Ninth from Commercial to Main; on Ninth to Kansas avenue; on Kansas avenue from Ninth to Tenth; on Tenth from Kansas avenue to Laramie; on Seventh from Commercial to Kearney; on Fifth from southern limits to Division; on Atchison from Fifth to Second; on Fourth from Atchison to Riley; on Riley from Fourth to Fifth; on Second from Main to Parallel; On Fourth from Commercial to V street; on V from Fourth to Fifth; on Main from Fifth to Eighth; on R from Fifth to Seventh; on Seventh from R to Park. The reservoirs are located on the highest ground within the city limits, the top of the settling being 227 feet above the level of the Missouri river. They are located at the southern extremity of South Fifth street, in Spring Garden Addition. The ground on which the reservoirs are placed was purchased of George T. Challis for $2,500. From the embankment a magnificent view is obtained of the winding of the Missouri river, the city of Atchison, and the country west and south. The settling reservoir has a capacity of 1,250,000 gallons. Adjoining this on the west is the storage reservoir, capable of holding 3,500,000 gallons of water. The reservoirs are built in the most substantial manner. The pumping works are located at the west end of the Missouri River bridge, and the water is forced to the settling reservoir through a ten-inch pipe capable of discharging 1,000,000 gallons in twenty- four hours. The suction apparatus is worked by a pair of combination engines and pumps known by machinists as isochronal engines, of seventy-horse power each. They are of thirty-inch stroke, with cylinders twenty-four inches in diameter. The pumps act independently, and each can pump 1,000,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. But one of the pumps is used at a time, thus preventing any stoppage in case of accident. The Missouri River water is agreeable and wholesome. The sediment consists almost entirely of sand. The water is allowed ample time to settle before being drawn into the storage reservoir, and from thence delivered to consumers. The total cost of the water-works was $150,000, and it is money well expended. In this connection it may be well to remark that as a means for the extinguishment of fires, six streams can be simultaneously thrown a distance of 100 feet and upwards - sufficient for all practical purposes. The Silsbee steam fire engine is now a piece of useless property, and will soon be disposed of by the City Council, to some less favored community. There has been no change in the official management of the water-works company from the first organization, the following named gentlemen still retaining the management: John R. Lionberger, President, St. Louis, Mo.; John D. Davis, Secretary, St. Louis, Mo.; J. R. Quigley, Superintendent, Atchison.

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

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

1891 George Manley v. Thomas J. Emlan, as Treasurer of Atchison County, et al., 46 Kan. 655, June 6, 1891, Supreme Court of Kansas
Legality of Atchison water taxes

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

1896 Water rates and revised rules and regulations, Atchison Water Company

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

1912 Sylvester Watts (1837-1912) grave
After the war Watts served as Civil Engineer, setting up gas & waterworks in Sedalia, East St. Louis, Illinois, Carondelet, Columbia, Boonville & Louisiana Missouri.

1948 "New Move to Buy Water Plant Here," The Atchison Daily Globe, July 1, 1948, Page 1. | part 2 |

1948 "An Ordinance Granting a Franchise to the Atchison City Water Works, Inc.," The Atchison Daily Globe, August 19, 1948, Page 10.

1949 "Form Water Corporation," The Manhattan Mercury, March 31, 1949, Page 14.
The newly-formed Atchison City Water Works, Inc. today purchased the Atchison Water Co.

1966 "An ordinance granting a franchise to the Atchison City Water Works, Inc," The Atchison Daily Globe, March 31, 1966, Page 10.



2020 Morris A. Pierce