Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst was incorporated as a town in 1759.

The town of Amherst began studying a water supply in 1870, appointing a committee that presented several options, but a proposal to ask the General Court for authority was voted down.  A great fire of 1879 brought the matter to the forefront of local discourse.  Charles L. Goodhue and William Birnie of Springfield, noted water works engineers and constructors, were asked to make a survey and submit a proposed scheme.  They proposed to build the system and keep in in repair for three years at a cost of $40,000, while giving the town the option to do the work, form a fire district or stock company, or let an outside party design and build a system.  A stock company was organized in July, 1879 with a capital of $40,000.  Only $16,000 was subscribed locally, so Goodie and Birnie took the remainder of the stock and built a gravity system that began service in May, 1880.  Several local residents secured a charter for the Amherst Water Company in April, 1880, and took over the system.  

The town bought the water company on October 10, 1941 for $600,000.

Water is provided by the Town of Amherst  

1871 Amherst Record, January 25, 1871
Abstract of water committee report.

1880 An act to incorporate the Amherst Water Company.  April 7, 1880.

1882 Amherst, from Engineering News 9:381  (November 4, 1882)

1887 Springfield Republican, July 28, 1887, Page 5.
John E. Williams, proprietor of the Amherst Record, has put in one of the Amherst water motor company's machines to drive his presses.

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

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

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

1896 The History of the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, by Edward Wilton Carpenter
Pages 422-425: Water Supply.

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

1903 An act relative to the water supply of the Amherst Water Company.  April 7, 1903.

1941 An act relative to the water supply of the Amherst Water Company, and its purchase and operation by the town of Amherst.  May 26, 1941.

1941 Springfield Republican, October 13, 1941, Page 2.
Papers in connection with the purchase by the town of the Amherst Water company were passed Friday morning in the First National Bank.  A check for $600,000 was paid to the Amherst Water company, and the town is now the owner of the water company.

2018 Morris A. Pierce