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New England States Massachusetts Boston Cochituate Aqueduct

Cochituate Aqueduct

Although the Aqueduct Corporation had been operating in Boston since 1798, their system only served a small number of customers in the city, leaving most residents to rely on wells.  Mayor .  aommi Baldwin reviewed the operation of the Aqueduct Corporation in 1834 and published two reports that provide a detailed description of their system, including a detailed map of the pipeline from Jamaica Pond:

After the city's Cochituate water system starting service in 1848, the Aqueduct Company's fortunes waned and after some negotiation it was sold to the city's water board on June 12, 1851 for $45,217.50.  The city didn't want to bother with serving customers in Roxbury but wouldn't sell the system to that city, but they did agree to sell it to a Roxbury group on November 1, 1856 for $32,000.  They formed the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company the following year.  The City of Roxbury was annexed by Boston in 1868 and the Boston Water Board purchased the system (again) in 1892.  

The Boston Hydraulic Company was incorporated in 1836 by William Sullivan, Daniel P. Parker and Caleb Eddy "take any ponds, or lands covered with water, situate northwardly of Charles river, and within twelve miles of the city of Boston, for the purpose of conducting water therefrom, through the town of Charlestown, in the county of Middlesex, and into and through the city of Boston," but the act would be void unless "the city council of the city of Boston shall, within four months after the passage thereof, declare, by vote, their assent thereto."

Local Civil Engineer Robert Henry Eddy was engaged on January 14, 1836 to prepare a report on delivering water from Spot and Mystic Ponds, which was delivered on June 13, 1836 as Report on the Introduction of Soft Water into the City of Boston. 

Imperial gallon    = 4.54609 litres (277.419 in³) The wine gallon, ("Queen Anne's gallon") was 231 in³ (3.79 litres)  282 according to the standard gallon for beer and ale in the Treasury
US (liquid) gallon = 3.785411784 litres (231 in³)  


From Report of the Commissioners Appointed by Authority of the City Council: To Examine the Sources from which a Supply of Pure Water May be Obtained for the City of Boston,
by John B. Jervis and Walter R. Johnson, November 18, 1845.  Document No. 41.



From Inquiry into the best mode of supplying the city of Boston with water for domestic purposes, in reply to the pamphlets of Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Shattuck and also to some of the representations to the committee of the Legislature on the hearing of the petition of the city, [by Nathan Hale] (1845) Distribution Department, Cochituate Aqueduct, Newton, Mass., May 6, 1909
Photographer:  Tryon, Oliver, 1883-1922. Massachusetts Metropolitan Water Works Photograph Collection, 1876-1930


In


References
1825 Columbian Centinel, May 14, 1825, Page 2.
Board of Aldermen, May 12. The Mayor, Aldermen Marshall, Bryant and Oliver, were appointed a Committee to consider and report upon the subject of public reservoirs, to be used for the extinguishment of fires.

1825 Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle, May 19, 1825, Page 2.
In Common Council, May 16.  Ordered, That the Committee on the subject of protecting the city against fire, be instructed to inquire into the practicability, expense and expediency of supplying the city with good wholesome soft water, both for the general use of the inhabitants and for the purpose of extinguishing fires.

1825 Columbian Centinel, June 11, 1825, Page 2.
In Common Council, June 9.  On the report of a Committee on the subject it was "Resolved, That the Mayor and Aldermen be and they are hereby authorized and empowered to cause a survey of such points or place in the vicinity of this city, from which a sufficient supply of good and wholesome water may be obtained, and that, for carrying this resolution into effect the sum of one thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby appropriated."

1825 Report made to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Boston on the subject of supplying the inhabitants of that city with water, November 4, 1825, by Daniel Treadwell.  | also here |
Page 4:  The supply ought not to be less than 1,600,000 gallons.  [His calculations allow 147.5 gallons per family for all uses, including trades, watering cattle and streets, waste and leaks, but not supply for fighting fires, for a total of 1,180,000 gallons per day at present.]

1825 Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle, November 16, 1825, Page 2.
Board of Aldermen, Nov. 14.  The committee upon the subject of causing fresh water to be brought into the city, made a report, accompanied with a report and calculation made by Daniel Treadwell, Esq. pointing out several modes of effecting the same - which was committed to the Mayor, Aldermen Blake, Bellows, Marshall and Oliver.

1825 Columbian Centinel, December 14, 1825, Page 2.
City Council, Dec. 12.  The Mayor, Aldermen Bellows, Bryant, and Oliver, Messrs. Parker, Hallet, Boies, Fuller, and Rice, were appointed a committee to consider the report of Daniel Treadwell, Esq. relative to supplying the city with water; - to ascertain upon what terms the sources of water, with the privileges appurtenant thereto, can be obtained.

1826  A municipal history of the town and city of Boston during two centuries: from September 17, 1630, to September 17, 1830, by Mayor Josiah Quincy (1852)
Pages 394-396:  Inaugural Address of Mayor Josiah Quincy, January 2, 1826
Page 395: The calculation should be formed on one hundred and fifty gallons for each family.
Pages 197-198: City Government. 1826.  Measures for Introducing Water.

1826 The Boston News-letter; and City Record, Volume 1.  January 28, 1826.
Page 80:  Water Works.- The City of Philadelphia is well supplied with water from the Schuylkill River, at a very great expense.  The whole extend of iron pipes, which conveys the water, is now upwards of fifteen miles.  It is estimated that the aggregate of water rents for 1826, will be $24,160.  A handsome revenue will accrue to the city in a few years, as "the water rents," after defraying all expenses, except those incurred by the purchase of new iron pipes, yield and annual surplus in the sinking fund of 15,000 dollars.

1827 Columbian Centinel (Boston), August 4, 1827, Page 2.
Aqueduct.  The Committee on the subject of the right of the City to use the waters of the Aqueduct Corporation, reported, that the City had the right to use such water in case of fire, free of expense, and recommended that the subject be referred to the Committee on Reservoirs, to consider the expediency of placing conduits thereto, in places remote from the Reservoirs.  The report was accepted, in concurrence.

1827 Boston Traveler, November 13, 1827, Page 3.
Deaths. On Sunday last, Major Luther Emmes, Age 78, a worthy soldier of the Revolution, who became disabled, and a legitimate pensioner, by the wounds he received while opposing the enemies of his country.

1829 National Aegis (Worcester), March 11, 1829, Page 3.
Died - In Lexington, Mr. Joseph Underwood, aged 80, of the remaining few who met the British on the plains of Lexington, on the ever memorable 19th of April 1775; and for many years superintendent of the Aqueduct Corporation in Boston.

1834 Communication to the City Council, on the subject of introducing water in the city, by Mayor Theodore Lyman, Jr., January 29, 1834.
Page 14:  I should not, therefore, put down the supply at less than 150 gallons daily to a family.
Page 15:  It would not, therefore, seem either safe or wise to build an aqueduct that would not ultimately deliver daily into Boston from 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 gallons.

1834 Report on the subject of introducing pure water into the city of Boston, by Laommi Baldwin.  October 1, 1834.  Baldwin's first report to the Boston Aqueduct Corporation, dated May 16, 1834, is included as Appendix A (pages 59-72).
Page 48:  The quantity proposed is five million gallons daily.

1834 Plan of the Route of Pipes from Jamaica Pond, in Roxbury, to the Reservoir, at Boston, surveyed under direction of L. Baldwin, Civil Engineer. Drawn by W. S Ellison, May, 1834.

1835 Second report of Loammi Baldwin, engineer, made to a Committee of the Boston Aqueduct Corporation, January 19, 1835.

1835 Boston Daily Advertiser, October 19, 1835, Page 3.
Aqueduct Corporation. - An adjourned meeting of the Aqueduct Corporation will be held at their office, No. 8, City Hall, on Monday, Oct. 26th, at 11 o'clock. A.M. to determine upon the best mode of raising additional capital, to meet the cost of laying down a capacious cast iron main pipe, from Jamaica Pond into the city, so as to meet the increased demand of hte inhabitants for pure water - also to determine the expediency of connecting other sources of water with Jamaica Pond, as recommended by the reports of Loammi Baldwin, Esq.; and of applying steam or water power to raise the water to the elevated parts of the city.  Per Order.  Thomas A. Dexter, Clerk.

1835 Report on Introducing Pure Water Into the City of Boston, Second Edition, with Additions, by Loammi Baldwin.  November, 1835.  Baldwin's first report to the Boston Aqueduct Corporation is included in Appendix B (pages 79-92), and also includes the second report (pages 93-99).
Page 50:  I shall therefore proceed to the investigation of the means of supplying or of bringing within the control of the town five million gallons daily.

1835 A Treatise on Water-works for Conveying and Distributing Supplies of Water, with tables and examples, by Charles Storer Storrow

1836 An act to incorporate the Boston Hydraulic Company, April 16, 1836.

1836 Report on the Introduction of Soft Water into the City of Boston. by Robert Henry Eddy, June 13, 1836. 
Page 9: Therefore, I shall feel safe in estimating this [Spot] pond capable of supplying, on average, from 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 gallons per day.
Page 23:  Since the operation of the works [at Fairmount in Philadelphia] commenced, a period of fourteen years, we preceive the extent of consumptin in the city amounts to 2,255,033 gallons per day.  Therefore if it has taken this time for a population double that of Boston, to use but the above amount of 2,225,033 gallons, may we not infer many years will elapse ere the city of Boston would consume an equal amount, with fewer facilities for distribution at the commencement, then were possessed by her sister city, Philadelphia.

1836 Report of committee appointed to inquire into possible water sources for the city, June 30, 1836.  Sam. T. Armstrong, Chairman.  Document No. 7.

1836 Memorial of the Boston Aqueduct Corporation to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Boston, August 20, 1836.

1836 "The Water Question," Boston Morning Post, December 31, 1836, Page 1.

1837 Order under which the Water Commissioners were appointed and their duties prescribed.  March 16, 1837.  Document No. 1.

1837 Report of the Commissioners Appointed Under an Order of the City Council, of March 16, 1837, to Devise a Plan for Supplying the City of Boston With Pure Water,  November. 23, 1837 by Daniel Treadwell, James F. Baldwin and Nathan Hale, Commissioners.
Page 4:  If therefore we take for the supply of Boston, quantity proportionate to that of London, according to the inhabitants, it would seem that we shall not fall below the requisite quantity.  This will give Boston, containing about 80,000 inhabitants, 2,220,000 wine gallons daily, on its present population, provided that the water were at once taken as generally as it is in London.
Page 5:  With these view of the increase of the city, we have thought it necessary to provide, in our designs for the works for an immediate supply of 1,600,000 gallons daily, to be extended in five years, to 2,500,000, and at the end of ten years, to 3,000,000 gallons daily.
Page 13:  By this it will be seen that we are of the opinion that Spot Pond may be relied upon to furnished an average of 2,100,000 gallons day, - that the dischrage may be taken as never falling before 1,600,000 gallons, - and may never be expected to exceed 2,600,000 gallons a day.

1838 Report on introduction of pure, soft Water into the City, accompanied by an opinion of the City Solicitor, relating to the same.  January 29, 1838. Document No. 4

1838 Resolve pertaining to the Boston Hydraulic Company, with other Resolves in furtherance of a plan for supplying the City with pure soft Water.  March 15, 1838. Document No. 11

1838 Memorial of the Boston Aqueduct Corporation to the Boston Common Council, March 19, 1838.  Offered to sell system to city for $150,000.

1838  "Review. Reviewed Works: Report Made to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Boston, on the Subject of Supplying the Inhabitants of That City with Water by Daniel Treadwell; Report on the Subject of Introducing Pure Water into the City of Boston by Loammi Baldwin; Report on the Introduction of Soft Water into the City of Boston by R. H. Eddy; Report of the Commissioners Appointed under an Order of the City Council of March 16th, 1837, to Devise a Plan for Supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water," Review by: The North American Review, 46(99):541-544 (April, 1838) | also here |

1838 "Petition of Aqueduct Corporation," Columbian Centinel, November 3, 1838, Page 3.

1838 Report on the introduction of pure soft Water into the City, together with a report on the revised estimates of Daniel Treadwell and Nathan Hale, two of the Commissioners on Water -- James F. Baldwin, the other Commissioner, dissenting from said Report.  December 20, 1838.  Document No. 33.

1838 Columbian Centinel, December 22, 1838, Page 2.
Pure Water.  If the citizens mean to have pure water introduced into the city now, or at any future time, they must take the matter into their own hands, and petition the Legislature on the subject, or it is very doubtful whether the City Government will take any efficient measures upon the subject.  While the City Government do nothing, the Aqueduct Corporation are making every exertion to extend their grand and secure their monopoly.  If the citizens allow the present season to pass without an effort, the opportunity of introducing an adequate supply of water may be lost forever.  Let the citizens look into it.  Civis.

1838 Papers relating to the introduction of pure water, Document No. 9.
Communication from R. H. Eddy, March 1, 1838. Relating to crossing Charles Iron by iron through a brick gallery under the same.
Petitions and Remonstrances, March 1, 1838.  Includes several petitions, for, and memorials against the introduction of pure soft water into the City.
Communication of L. M. Sargent, February 21, 1838.  Information about Boston Aqueduct Corporation.
Foreign Water Works, March 1, 1838,  Minutes of evidence taken and papers laid before the Select Committee of the House of Commons and the Commissioners on the supply of Water to the metropolis in the years 1821, 1828 and 1834,

1839 Water: Mr. Baldwin's Report, by James Fowle Baldwin, January 22, 1839. Document No. 5. | text enabled pdf | also here | Recommends Long Pond rather than Spot and Mystic Ponds as a water source.

1839 Statement of evidence before the Committee of the Legislature, at the session of 1839, on the petition of the city of Boston, for the introduction of pure soft water, February 27, 1839.

1839 Proposed Act in addition to an Act to establish the Aqueduct Corporation in Boston. February, 1839.  Senate No. 28.

1839 An act in addition to an Act to establish the Aqueduct Corporation, in Boston.  April 6, 1839.

1839 Report from the Standing Committee on Water, with the Resolve Accompanying.  April 29, 1839.  For the Committee, Sam'l A. Eliot. Document No. 19.

1839 Report of the Committee on the Introduction of Soft Water into the City, September, 1839.  Document No. 25.  Recommended a city-owned system using water from Spot Pond.

1840 Boston Post, February 5, 1840, Page 2.
Petition of the Aqueduct Corporation, stating that they were about to present a petition to the Legislature of Massachusetts, for authority to draw water from Spot Pond, whenever they can obtain a right to do so, by purchase or otherwise, and conduct it to the city.  It is believed that expenditures will reach one million dollars.

1840 Boston Traveler, September 10, 1840, Page 2.
Jamaica Pond Water. - The Aqueduct Corporation have just completed a new line of iron pipe, from the pond to the city; and for the last few days, an abundant and copious supply of this excellent water has been received by families who before were favored with but a scanty supply.  The water passing through the new pipe is charged with a heavy deposit of earthy matter - it is very yellow, and its taste bad. - Transcript.

1842 Half Century Sermon: Delivered on Sunday Morning April 24, 1842, at Jamaica Plain, by Thomas Gray
Page 12: In September, 1788, a difficulty first arose in respect to the waters of Jamaica Pond being drawn off for the supply of a corn mill, so far as to affect the wells of the inhabitants of the Plain, who considered them as altogether supplied by the pond. This difficulty terminated in a lawsuit; John Marston, owner of the mill, plaintiff, and Martin Brimmer, David S. Greenough, and Capt. Daniel McCarthy, defendants (unsuccessful.) Afterwards, in 1795, Mr. Marston sold his mill and privileges in the waters of the pond, which had been granted by the town of Roxbury for said mill, to the Aqueduct Corporation, for supplying the town of Boston with Jamaica Pond water.
Page 31: Jamaica Pond, or lake, as it is now called, covers about one hundred and sixty acres, and in its deepest place is from sixty to seventy feet; and supplies, by means of an aqueduct, the city of Boston with water perfectly clear, and so soft as to be excellent for washing, and for all culinary purposes.
Page 35: The following is a copy of the vote passed at a meeting of the town of Roxbury, August 4, 1796.
At a legal meeting of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the town of Roxbury, held at the meeting-house in the Easterly Parish, on Thursday, fourth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six.
The second article in the warrant being read and considered, the town thereupon unanimously voted, That the waters of Jamaica Pond belong to the town, and are and ever have been held under their direction and at their disposal, and that it is the opinion of this meeting, that the design now attempting to be carried into execution by the Aqueduct Corporation, of drawing water from Jamaica Pond, (so called,) for the purpose of conveying the same to the town of Boston, by subterraneous pipes, if carried into effect, will be a daring attack upon the rights and property of the said town of Roxbury, will operate to the great injury of the town, and more especially to such of its inhabitants as are proprietors, or live upon Jamaica Plain, the value of whose estates, we conceive, will be materially affected thereby. And the Selectmen, to wit, Hon. John Read, Esq., Mr. John Davis, Mr. Jacob Weld, Ebenezer Seaver, Esq., and Mr. John Williams, together with Hon. John Lowell, Dr. Thomas Williams, Deacon David Weld, Major Ebenezer Whiting, David S. Greenough, and Martin Brimmer, Esqrs., be a committee in behalf of the town, with full power to use all lawful means to prevent any waters being drawn from said pond for the purpose aforesaid, and to prosecute any person or persons, or society who shall draw the said waters for the purpose aforesaid, or for any other purpose, not heretofore expressly granted at a legal town meeting.  A true copy. Attest, Stephen Williams, Jr., Town Clerk

1842 "Water Rents in Boston," New York Tribune, August 15, 1842, Page 1.

1843 Report of the Committee on the Petition of James C. Odiorne, for leave to bring into the City of Boston and Distribute Water of Spot Pond.  February 6, 1843. Document No. 6.  Also included as appendix A of this 1845 document.

1843 An act to incorporate the Spot Pond Aqueduct Company.  March 24, 1843

1843 Historical Sketch of the Middlesex Canal: With Remarks for the Consideration of the Proprietors, by Caleb Eddy, Agent of Middlesex Canal Corporation
Pages 10-18:  [Proposal to supply Boston with water from the Woburn upper lock.]

1844 Petition for a Charter for a Charles River Aqueduct Company.  February 1, 1844.  Charles Crocker, John M. Dearborn, and twelve others.

1844 Thoughts about water, August 31, 1844, by "A Selfish Tax Payer"

1844 A plea for pure water : being a letter to Henry Williams, Esq. by Walter Channing, October 1, 1844.  With, an Address "to the citizens of Boston" by H. Williams.

1844 Report of the commissioners appointed under the order of the City Council, August 26, 1844:  to report the best mode and expense of bringing the water of Long Pond into the city of Boston., November 9, 1844, Document No. 24.
Page 4:  They refer in their report, to the water works of the City of Philadelphia, as those which afforded as liberal a supply of water, as those of any city within their knowledge, and they state that the quantity, as appeared from the official report of the preceding year, amounted to an average of 28 1/2 wine gallons, to each inhabitant within the limits of distribution.
Page 5:  At this ratio, the supply of 250,000 inhabitants will rquire 7,125,000 gallons of water per day.

1844 Hints to the honest taxpayers of the city of Boston, by Temperance

1844 Report of the commissioners, November 14, 1844.  Document No. 25.

1844 Report of the commissioners, December 19, 1844, Document No. 26.

1845 Petition of the Spot Pond Aqueduct Company, January 5, 1845.  Asking to remove the requirement that stock-holders were personally liable for all the debts of the company and to extend the time for completion of the aqueduct by two years.

1845 Remarks on supplying the city of Boston with pure water, by John H. Wilkins. [January 1845] 

1845 Boston Courier, January 23, 1845, Page 1.
Water.  Mr. J. H. Wilkins has published in a pamphlet his thoughts on supplying the city with pure water.  This gentlemen was the writer of several communications published in this paper in the months of September and October last, which appeared to be the result of much investigations, and to be dictated by an honorable regard to the future as well as the immediate interests of the city.

1845 Boston Courier, February 17, 1845, Page 1.
Water.  To the Editor of the Courier, by John H. Wilkins.

1845 Proceedings before a Joint Special Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature, upon the petition of the City of Boston, for leave to introduce a supply of pure water into that city from Long Pond, February and March, 1845. Reported for the City Government by Nathan Hale, Jr.  Document No. 12½.

1845 Argument on behalf of Joseph Tilden and others, remonstrants, on the hearing of the petition of the mayor of the city of Boston : on behalf of the City Council for a grant of the requisite powers to construct an aqueduct from Long Pond to the city / before a joint special committee of the Massachusetts Legislature, March VI, MDCCCXLV [i.e., March 6, 1845], by William J. Hubbard. | Also here |

1845 Mr. Shattuck's letter to Jonathan Preston on the Water Question, by Lemuel Shattuck, March 8, 1845.   Answer to interrogatories of J. Preston in relation to the introduction of water into the city of Boston.

1845 Remarks on Supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water, Second Edition, with additions, by John Hubbard Wilkins [March 1845]

1845 Boston Courier, March 12, 1845, Page 1.
The Water Project.  Mr. Wilkins has recently published a second edition of his pamphlet, concerning the supply of pure water for the city, which contains some additional matter, in an appendix.

1845 Report of Joint Special Committee, March 13, 1845.  Senate No. 92.

1845 Arguments and Statements addressed to the members of the Legislature, in relation to the petition of the City of Boston for power to bring into the city the water of Long Pond, by a Remonstrant [Makes references to the second edition of Wilkin's pamphlet, published in March, 1845.]

1845 An act in addition to an act to incorporate the Spot Pond Aqueduct Company. March 25, 1845. Repeals the individual liability of stockholders and extends the time for completing the aqueduct by two years.

1845 An Act For Supplying The City Of Boston With Pure Water.  March 25, 1845.  This act was rejected on May 19, 1845 by a vote of 3,670 yeas to 3,999 nays.

1845 How shall we vote on the water act?  [April 26, 1845]

1845 Boston Courier, April 28, 1845, Page 3.
"How shall we vote on the water act?"  This is the title of a pamphlet, published on Saturday, addressed to the citizens of Boston.  It is a review of the Act, which is taken, section by section, and commented upon with candor.  The act is dissected by the hand of one, who knows what he writes about, and exposes the absurdities and incongruities, with which the act abounds.  We earnestly solicit the attention of every voter to this pamphlet.  It will repay a careful perusal.

1845 Parliamentary Sketches, and Water Statistics.  Being another word addressed to the citizens of Boston, in support of supplying the city with the pure water of Long Pond, by Walter Channing, M. D.  May 1, 1845.

1845 Fellow citizens : the question is to be taken and decided ... whether you will accept the Act for supplying the city of Boston with pure water from Long Pond or Charles River.  Signed and dated by John D. Williams and others of the Spot Pond Aqueduct Company, Boston, May 1845.  Includes text of Act to incorporate the Spot Pond Aqueduct Company. | text enabled pdf |

1845 Address of the Faneuil Hall Committee on the project of a supply of pure water for the city of Boston, May 5, 1845. 

1845 Emancipator and Republican, May 7, 1845, Page 5.
How shall we vote on the water act?

1845 Remarks on the Present Project of the City Government for Supplying the Inhabitants of Boston with Pure Soft Water, by Henry B. Rogers. [May 7, 1845]

1845 Boston Courier, May 8, 1845, Page 2.
The Water Question.  A pamphlet was published yesterday, written by Henry B. Rogers, entitled "Remarks on the present project of the City Government for supplying the inhabitants of Boston with Pure Soft Water."

1845 Inquiry into the best mode of supplying the city of Boston with water for domestic purposes, in reply to the pamphlets of Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Shattuck and also to some of the representations to the committee of the Legislature on the hearing of the petition of the city, by a member of the late Board of Water Commissioners. [May, 1845, attributed to Nathan Hale] 

1845 Boston Courier, May 15, 1845, Page 1.
The Water Question.  We have received a pamphlet, entitled "Inquiry into the Best Mode of Supplying the City of Boston with Water, for Domestic Purposes; in reply to the Pamphlets of Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Shattuck, and also to some of the representations to the Committee of the Legislature, on the hearing of the Petition of the City.  By a member of the late Board of Water Commissioners."  It is understood to be the production of Mr. Hale, the editor of the Daily Advertiser.  As we have not had time to read the pamphlet, and presuming that the writer can give the best account of its contents, we copy the following from the advertiser : -

1845 Boston Courier, May 15, 1845, Page 2.
Reply to the Address against the Water Act, of Samuel A. Eliot, John H. Wilkins, Jonathan Chapman and thirteen others.

1845 Further remarks on supplying the city of Boston with pure water : in answer mainly to Inquiry into the best mode of supplying the city of Boston with water for domestic purposes, etc., by John H. Wilkins. [August 1845]

1845 Petition of the stockholders of Spot Pond Aqueduct Company : August 18, 1845, Document No. 27.

1845 Report on a petition concerning a subscription on the part of the city to the capital of the Spot-Pond Aqueduct Co.  September 8, 1845, Document No. 29.

1845 Report on the chemical examination of several waters for the City of Boston, by Benjamin Silliman, Jr. October 29, 1845.

1845 Report of the Commissioners Appointed by Authority of the City Council: To Examine the Sources from which a Supply of Pure Water May be Obtained for the City of Boston, by John B. Jervis and Walter R. Johnson, November 18, 1845.  Document No. 41.  | text enabled pdf  |

1845 Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water, to whom was referred a communication from James C. Odiorne and others, proposing to sell Spot Pond to the City.  November 24, 1845. Document no. 40 

1846 A review of the report of the water commissioners of 1845; : with an examination of some of its statements and estimates, by John Hubbard Wilkins.

1846 Report and bill for supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water, February 27, 1846.  Senate No. 47.  This report provides a good summary of the situation.

1846 An act for supplying the City of Boston with Pure Water, March 30, 1846.  This act was accepted on April 13, 1846 by a vote of 4,637 yeas to 348 nays.
Section 16.  That said city of Boston is hereby authorized to purchase and hold all the property, estates, rights and privileges of the Aqueduct Corporation, incorporated by an act passed February 27th, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, and by any convenient mode may connect the same with their other works.

1846 First quarterly report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water, September 24, 1846, Document No. 26

1846 The song of the well : a discourse on the expected supply of water in Boston / preached to the congregation in Essex Street, Boston, on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1846, by Nehemiah Adams. 

1846 Report on Petition of Josiah Bradlee and Others for Purchase of Jamaica Pond Aqueduct, December 17, 1846. Document No. 32 | text enabled pdf |

1847 Second quarterly report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water, January 21, 1847, Document No. 5 | text enabled pdf |

1847  Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water, on the petition of Silas P. Barnes and others : In Common Council, February 18, 1847, by Joseph W Coburn; Nathan Hale; James Fowle Baldwin; Thomas B Curtis. Document No. 8.  | text enabled pdf |

1847 Report on the petition of Luther Munn and others on unusual and improper measures adopted by the water commissioners, April 29, 1847.  Document No. 19.

1847 Water Commissioners' semi-annual report, December 2, 1847.  Document No. 44.  

1848 An act in addition to "An Act For Supplying The City Of Boston With Pure Water."  February 29, 1848.

1848 Report of the consulting physicians of the city of Boston in relation the action of Cochituate water upon mineral substances : with documents accompanying, April 12, 1848.  Document No. 18.

1848 Report of the Water Commissioners on the Material Best Adapted for Distribution Water Pipes: And on the Most Economical Mode of Introducing Water in Private Houses, August 14, 1848.  Document No. 32.

1848 Celebration of the introduction of the water of Cochituate Lake into the city of Boston, October 25, 1848  

1848 City Solicitor's opinion on the water rents. December 18, 1848.  Document No. 45.

1849 Schedule of rates established by the Water Commissioners for the use of water from the Boston Water Works. Document No. 3.  

1849 Report on Hydrants. January 22, 1849.  Document No. 5.

1848 A Description of the Boston Water Works : embracing all the reservoirs, bridges, gates, pipe chambers, and other objects of interest, from Lake Cochituate to the city of Boston : with maps and illustrations | also here |

1848 Report of the Committee on Water on Purchase of Jamaica Pond Aqueduct by the City. December 14, 1848.  Document No. 44.  Recommends purchase of Aqueduct Corporation (except non-related real estate) for $75,000.  Includes Memorial of Aqueduct Corporation signed by Thomas A. Dexter, Superintendent and Treasurer, November 10, 1848.

1849 An act in addition to "An Act For Supplying The City Of Boston With Pure Water."  May 1, 1849.

1849 Service-pipes for water : an investigation made at the suggestion of the Board of Consulting Physicians of Boston / E.N. Horsford ; from the Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Quarterly meeting, November 8, 1848, 2:62-99 (1852)

1849 Boston Aqueduct and the City of Boston, by Lucius Manlius Sargent, principal stockholder of the Boston Aqueduct Corporation.  This was originally published as a series of articles in the Daily Evening Transcript in July and August, 1849.

1850 Final water report. January 5, 1850.  Document No. 3.

1850 "The Boston Watermen," Boston Weekly Messenger, January 23, 1850, Page 1.

1850 Water Board quarterly report. March 18, 1850.  Document No. 7.

1850 "Report of a general plan for the promotion of public and personal health," by Lemuel Shattuck, Presented April 25, 1850, commonly referred to as the Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts  |1948 reprint |

1850 An act in addition to An Act For Supplying The City Of Boston With Pure Water.  May 3, 1850.

1850 Annual report of the Cochituate Water Board for the year 1850, December 10, 1850.  | Map of the Cochituate Aqueduct 4 page pdf |

1851 An act in further addition to An Act For Supplying The City Of Boston With Pure Water.  May 7, 1851.

1851 "Boston Water-Works," from Sketches of Boston, past and present, and of some few places in its vicinity, by Isaac Smith Homans.
Page 164:  This pond, at its highest elevation, is 49 feet above tide-water, and is capable of a maximum daily supply of about 50,000 gallons.  In 1845, the company had laid about 5 miles of 8 and 4 inch iron pipe, and 10 miles of wooden pipe, conveying the water to nearly 3,000 homes.

1852 Map of the Boston water works

1852 Report of the Cochituate Water Board, January 15, 1852. | Map of the Cochituate Aqueduct (pdf) |

1853 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1852, January 15, 1853.

1854 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1853. January 15, 1854.

1854 An act authorizing certain Railroads to Tap the Cochituate Water Pipe at Charlestown.  April 24, 1854.

1855 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1854. February 1, 1855.

1856 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1855. January 15, 1856.

1857 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1856. January 15, 1857.

1857 An Act to incorporate the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Corporation. May 8, 1857

1857 Documents of the City of Boston for the year 1856, Volume 1, containing documents from No. 1 to No. 87, Inclusive.

1858 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1857. January 15, 1858.

1858 Documents of the City of Boston for the year 1857, Volume 2, containing documents from No. 54 to No. 85, Inclusive. Sale of Jamaica Pond and Aqueduct, page 215 (and more)

1859 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1858. January 6, 1859.

1859 An Act To Authorize The City Of Boston To Raise The Dam At The Outlet Of Lake Cochituate.  April 5, 1859.

1859 Documents of the City of Boston for the year 1858, Volume 1, containing documents from No. 1 to No. 13, Inclusive.

1859 Life of James Sullivan: with selections from his writings, Volume 1, by Thomas Coffin Amory
Page 243:  In order to meet the urgent demands of our shipping in Boston for additional supplies of pure water, he started an enterprise, of which he was long the president and active agent, for an aqueduct from Jamaica Pond.
Pages 373-374: Yet another public work, of some importance, at the same time engaging his attention, was a project which he started for the supply of Boston with pure water. Much of the well-water of Boston, from proximity to the sea and the nature of the soil and formation, was hard and brackish; and the rain collected in cisterns was often rendered unpalatable and unsuited to domestic uses, from smoke and other impurities. The population was increasing, and the area of the peninsula, originally but about one thousand acres, was gradually encroaching on the harbor. Our foreign commerce was in a rapid state of development, and it seemed expedient to secure, in good season, from beyond the narrow limits of the town, an abundant provision of the all-important element, as well for the shipping as for the other wants of the inhabitants.
When, in the autumn of 1782, the French fleet, under the Count de Grasse, was lying in the harbor of Boston, the admiral and his principal officers were frequent visitors of Mr. Durant, a gentleman originally from France, who resided five miles from the town, in what is now called Lakeville House, on the borders of Jamaica Pond. Struck with the purity of its waters, compared with that supplied from the usual sources for the service of the fleet, the admiral ordered his butts to be sent to the pond to be filled. One of the vessels shortly returning into France, some of the water still remaining, for reasons not known, was subjected to chemical tests, and found, upon analysis, to be unusually pure. Out of compliment to Mr. Durant, to whose hospitality the French officers had been much indebted, a certificate of the result of this examination, signed by the expert employed, was sent back to America. When it was proposed, a few years later, to construct an aqueduct for the use of the capital, the pond, for this and other considerations, commended itself as the best and most convenient source of supply.
Nearly a century before, in 1698, Joseph Belknap had obtained from the citizens of Roxbury the privilege of applying the natural overflow of the pond to the purposes of a grist-mill, for their own benefit and that of the people of Brookline. Twice, when the mill had been put to other uses, in 1739 and 1783, the selectmen of Roxbury had interfered. Whatever rights had vested in the owners of the mill had been purchased of Marshall, its recent proprietor, by Eames, Bond and Page, when, at the close of 1794, they petitioned the legislature for a charter to carry the water through an aqueduct to Boston. The inhabitants of Roxbury remonstrated, and the applicants, in January, 1795, had leave to withdraw their petition. What connection, if any, Sullivan had at this time with their plan, does not appear from the documents; but, according to tradition, he was its original projector. Procuring a vote from Boston approving the design, he set forth its advantages in a petition; and, notwithstanding the renewed opposition of Roxbury and its most influential inhabitants, which he was able to overcome, the following month he obtained leave to bring in a bill, which was passed.

1859 Life of James Sullivan: with Selections from His Writings, Volume 2, by Thomas Coffin Amory
Page 106: In the city and state archives are numerous letters, petitions and other papers, in the handwriting of Sullivan, in behalf of the Boston aqueduct from Jamaica Pond, which was now already sufficiently advanced to afford supplies of pure water to the inhabitants and navigation. He not only continued, as its president, to give it his general superintendence, but devoted to the undertaking much time and labor; and to his unremitting efforts, in surmounting numerous obstacles, and much selfish opposition on the part of individuals, it was largely indebted for its successful accomplishment.

1860 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1859. January 15, 1860.

1861 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1860.  January 10, 1861.

1861 An act in amendment of the act for supplying the City of Boston with pure water.  May 23, 1861.

1862 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1861. January 9, 1862.

1863 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1862. January 12, 1863.

1864 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1863. January 11, 1864.

1864 An act in further addition to "an act for supplying the city of Boston with pure water." May 13, 1864.

1865 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1864. January 5, 1865.

1866 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1865-66. May 25, 1866.

1867 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1866-67. April 29, 1867.

1868 History of the Introduction of Pure Water Into the City of Boston: With a Description of Its Cochituate Water Works, by Nathaniel J. Bradlee.  This repeats Shurtleff's history of the aqueduct, which was originally published as articles and published in book form in 1871.

1868 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year 1867-68. May 14, 1868.

1869 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1869. May 6, 1869.

1871 "Ponds and Aqueducts" from A Topographical and Historical Description of Boston by Nathaniel Bradstreet Shurtleff. 

1871 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1871.  April 20, 1871.

1872 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1872.  June 4, 1872.

1873 Report of the Cochituate Water Board, on an Additional Supply of Water for the City of Boston: With the Reports of the Chief and Consulting Engineers Appointed to Investigate the Subject.  March 13, 1873.

1873 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1873. May 5, 1873.

1874 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1874. May 5, 1874.

1874 Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water Together with the Report of the City Engineer in Reply to Orders of the City Council Pertaining to an Increased Supply of Water from the Cochituate and Mystic Lakes Combined, and an Additional Supply from Charles River. October 26, 1874.

1875 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1875. May 1, 1875.

1876 Report of the Cochituate water board, to the City council of Boston, for the year ending April 30, 1876. May 20, 1876.

1876 History of Charlestown, New Hampshire: The Old No. 4, Embracing the Part Borne by Its Inhabitants in the Indian, French and Revolutionary Wars, and the Vermont Controversy; Also Genealogies and Sketches of Families, from Its Settlement to 1876, by Henry Hamilton Saunderson
Page 498: Dr. William Page

1876 History of the Boston Water Works, from 1868 to 1876, by Desmond FitzGerald.  August 4, 1876.

1877 Annual report of the Boston Water Board, for the year ending April 30, 1877.  May 1, 1877.

1878 Description of the Boston water works

1879 Water Works, by Joseph P. Davis, City Engineer. Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Boston.

1882 Boston Water Works: Additional Supply from Sudbury River; Description of the Work with Plates, by Alphonse Fteley, Resident Engineer Additional Supply, 1873-1880

1891 Index to the City Documents 1834 to 1891, City of Boston

1893 Annual Report of the Boston Water Board, for the Year Ending January 31, 1893, Volume 17

1898 "Editor's Table," The New England Magazine, 17(6):774-778. (February, 1898)  Text and comments on 1838 water petitions and public ownership of utilities.

1911 Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 2, by John Woolf Jordan and Wilfred Jordan
Page 1103-1104:  Colonel John Marston, son of Captain John and Elizabeth (Greenwood) Marston, born in Boston, Massachusetts, March 27, 1756, was long engaged in the mercantile business in Boston, and became a wealthy and highly respected merchant of that city. Just coming to manhood’s years at the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, Colonel Marston took an active part in the struggle for independence. Tradition relates that it was his father who formed one of the “Boston Tea Party” in 1774, but it seems more probable that it was the son who took part in the daring act of patriotism than his father, then a man in his sixtieth year. Colonel Marston was second lieutenant of the Ninth Company, Captain Perez Cushing, Massachusetts Regiment of Artillery, Colonel Craft commanding, in 1776, his name appearing on the roll of that company as serving from September 9, 1776, to February 1, 1777; again from February 9, to May 8, 1777; August 1, to September 30, 1777; November 1, to December 3, 1777; January 1, to March 1, 1778; and March 1, to April 3, 1778. He served until the close of the war, and later was identified with the state militia of Massachusetts, attaining the rank of colonel. He removed late in life to Taunton, Bristol county, Massachusetts, where he died December 1 3, 1846, aged ninety years and eight months. John Marston married, August 4, 1784, Anna Randall, of London, England, and they were the parents of seventeen children, nine of whom died in infancy. 

1955 "Lemuel Shattuck and the Boston Water Supply," by John Blake, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 29(6):554 -562 (November/December 1955)

1956 Water for the Cities:  A History of the Urban Water Supply Problem in the United States, by Nelson Manfred Blake.  Pages 64 to 67 include a good history of the Boston Aqueduct Company.

1981 The water and sewer works of the city of Boston 1630-1978, by Neil J. Savage.

1983 Great waters: a history of Boston's water supply by Fern L. Nesson. This book is primarily about the later water systems in Boston, but the author's first footnote on page 87 states that: "The Aqueduct Corporation's system was built by Loammi Baldwin, Sr., father of Loammi Baldwin."  Her cited reference, however, only mentions Baldwin Senior's work on the Middlesex Canal with no mention the Boston Aqueduct.  Baldwin Senior (1744-1807) worked with James Sullivan (first president of the Aqueduct Corporation and later Governor of Massachusetts) on the Middlesex Canal and was one of the initial directors of the Aqueduct Corporation, but no evidence has been found to suggest that he did any engineering or construction work for the Aqueduct Corporation.  This error has found its way into later histories of Boston's water supply.  Baldwin Senior is considered by some to be the Father of American Civil Engineering.  His son Laommi Baldwin (1780-1838) prepared a report for the Boston Aqueduct Corporation in 1834 and promoted the development of the Cochituate Aqueduct, which was built after his death.  Father and son both held the rank of Colonel, which add to the confusion.

2001 Water For Greater Boston, by Dr. William P. Marchione.  Construction of Chestnut Hill Reservoir after 1859 aqueduct break

2004  "The Nature of Water: Reform and the Antebellum Crusade for Municipal Water in Boston," by Michael Rawson, Environmental History, 9(3):411-435 (July, 2004) | Also here

2011  History Flows On, Part I, From Dave Brigham:

Some records of the Aqueduct Corporation are in the Baker Library at Harvard University

1837 - 1922 Documents of the City of Boston.

Water Supply Books from the Boston Public Library on archive.org


. Documents of the city of Boston. Volume 1838. Boston, n.d. 742pp.

 Documents of the city of Boston. Volume 1843. Boston, n.d. 672pp.


© 2015 Morris A. Pierce