Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Fitchburg was first settled in 1719 and incorporated as a city in 1872.

The first settler is thought to have been David Page, who in 1719 was found living in the town by the committee assigned to sort out the new towns.  Page has built a house surrounded by a stockade, and had brought water in through an underground channel to supply water in case of attack by unfriendly natives.

The Fitchburg Gas Company was authorized to supply water in 1856 and built a system although the exact timing and extent is not known.  It is not known how long the gas company system was in operation.

The Pearl Hill Water Company was incorporated in 1865 by Alvah Crocker, Charles Burleigh and James B. Lane "for the purpose of furnishing the inhabitants of the town of Fitchburg with pure water."  This company did not build anything.

The Fitchburg Water Company was incorporated in 1870 by Alvah Crocker, Ebenezer Torrey and Moses G. Lyon "for the purpose of furnishing the inhabitants of said town with pure water."  This charter allowed the town to assume the rights of the company, which it did in a vote on June 6, 1870 and subsequently built a gravity system designed by Phineas Ball of Worcester using cement-lined wrought-iron pipe.

Water is provided by the City of Fitchburg.

1856 An act authorizing the Fitchburg Gas Company to supply the Inhabitants of Fitchburg with Water.  May 28, 1856.

1865 An act for supplying the town of Fitchburg with pure water.  April 29, 1865.

1870 An act for supplying the town of Fitchburg with pure water.  March 19, 1870.

1871 "Water Works. To Contractors," Fitchburg Sentinel, March 4, 1871, Page 3.
Sealed Proposals for construction of Water Works for the Town of Fitchburg.

1871 First Annual Report of the Water Commissioners of the Town of Fitchburg, March 31, 1871.  Several additional reports on included with this.

1872 National Aegis (Worcester), January 13, 1872, Page 6.
The Fitchburg water works are in working order, and the hydrants throw streams 154 feet, with a 1 inch nozzle.

1874 "Notice - to all parties who take water of the Fitchburg Gas Co.," The Fitchburg Sentinel, December 19, 1874, Page 3.

1879 "Water Supply," History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Embracing a Comprehensive History of the County from Its First Settlement to the Present Time, with a History and Description of Its Cities and Towns, Volume 1, by C. F. Jewett.

1880 Fitchburg Sentinel, December 23, 1880, Page 2.
To those who receive their supply of water from the Fitchburg Gas Co.:

1882 Fitchburg, from Engineering News 9:39  (February 4, 1882)

1882 Fitchburg, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1882 Fitchburg Directory
Page 201:  Schedule of Water Rates

1885-1891 1st to 7th Annual Reports of the Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners (1885-1891)
1889 Fitchburg Gas Co., Water rents, $962.25
1890 Fitchburg Gas Co., Assets, Water works, $8,184.24

1886 Seventh Annual Report of the State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity of Massachusetts
Page 270:  Fitchburg Water Company

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

1889 "Fitchburg Water Works," History of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 1, by Duane Hamilton Hurd

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

1890 A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts: With Numerous Illustrations, by Elias Nason
Page 307-308: On December 18 (O. S. Dec. 7), 1719, the General Court voted to lay out two new towns on the westerly side of the Groton west line. One of these, as laid out, included the present towns of Lancaster, Fitchburg and Ashby, and was known as the Turkey Hills, on account of the large number of wild turkeys that came there to feed on the abundant acorns and wild chestnuts. When the committee to whom the business was entrusted first came to make the surveys, they found there a man named David Page, who, with his family, had selected one of the best sites of the place on the south side of Clarke's Hill. He had built a comfortable house, well fortified by a palisade of logs pierced with loop-holes for muskets, and had turned a small brook from its natural course, making it flow some distance underground and then through his garrison.

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

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

1935 "Water Pipe Bids Opened," Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts), August 13, 1935, Page 5.
Three companies submitted prices when bids were opened this morning by Joseph M. Peirce, commissioner of public works for water pipe.  The bids were requested for purchase of 2000 lineal feet of wrought iron cement lined water pipe, measuring two inches in diameter. 
The Eureka Pipe Co., Inc and the Cement Lined Pipe Co. both of Lynn, bid $42.49 per 100 feet.  The Boston Pipe and Filling Co., Inc submitted a proposal of $47.50 per 100 feet.  All three offered 2 per cent discount for payment within 10 days.

2017 Morris A. Pierce