Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Holyoke, Massachusetts

Holyoke was first settled in 1745.

The first water system was built by the Hadley Falls Company, which had been incorporated in 1848 to develop the water-power of the Connecticut river for manufacturing.  Construction began on the water system in 1848 and the reservoir was filled on October 18, 1849 with water pumped from the Connecticut river.  Water was distributed through cement-lined cast-iron pipes.  The Hadley Falls Company entered receivership in 1848 and was taken over by the Holyoke Water Power Company, which was incorporated in 1859.

The City of Holyoke was authorized to build a new water system in 1872, which began service in 1873.  The Holyoke Water Power Company was authorized to take up their pipes in the enabling legislation.

The Crystal Spring Aqueduct Company was formed around 1885 to serve about ten families in the Elmwood section of Holyoke and was operating as late as 1922.

Water is provided by the City of Holyoke.

1848 An act to incorporate the Hadley Falls Company.  April 28, 1848.

1853 A report of the history and present condition of the Hadley Falls Company at Holyoke, Massachusetts
Page 13:  The water-works at Holyoke are calculated for the supply of a large population and extensive establishments. The water is forced from the Connecticut River, above the dam, into a reservoir, by means of two pumps of the same general description as those used, with so much success, at the celebrated Fairmount Works, for the supply of the city of Philadelphia with water from the Schuylkill River. The reservoir is situated upon the rising ground to the west of the mills. The water in it stands at an elevation of seventy-seven feet above the top of the dam. Its capacity is two millions of gallons. One pump, working alone, can fill it in two weeks, besides supplying the daily consumption. The water is conveyed from the pumps at the river's edge, to the reservoir, a distance of 1020 feet, in an iron pipe of fifteen inches internal diameter. From the reservoir it is distributed throughout the place by mains and pipes of different sizes; the total length of all the pipes, at present laid down, being 13,019 feet, or about two and a half miles.
The water has been brought into all the boarding-houses, mills, and the machine-shop. The head is sufficient to carry it above the roof of the highest mills upon the upper level.  The advantages of security against loss by fire thus afforded, as well as the comfort and convenience of the residents of the place, in having an ample supply of pure water brought to their doors, cannot be too highly estimated. These works were built and are owned by the company.

1855 History of Western Massachusetts: The Counties of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire. Embracing an Outline Aspects and Leading Interests, and Separate Histories of Its One Hundred Towns, Volume 2, by Josiah Gilbert Holland
Pages 76:  The arrangements for the supply of pure, soft water, from the Connecticut river, are made upon a large scale. A large reservoir is built upon the highest point of land in the village, of the capacity of 2,000,000 gallons, into which the water is forced by pumps, driven by water. The water of the reservoir is 72 feet above the top of the dam, and has sufficient head to force itself over the roof of the highest mills upon the upper level. In short, through the agency of the Hadley Falls Company, the ground work has been laid for the great city, which, sooner or later, must occupy Holyoke. Nothing in the future can be more certain, than that Holyoke will become, under a more prosperous and permanent phase of the manufacturing interest in this country, which must ultimately arrive, the largest inland city of New England, counting its thousands of population by fifties if not by hundreds. The prophecy may not be strictly " history" now, but it will be, in good time.

1859 An act to incorporate the Holyoke Water-Power Company.  January 31, 1859.

1872 An act to supply the town of Holyoke with pure water.  May 7, 1872.

1881 Holyoke, from Engineering News 8:294  (July 23, 1881)

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

1884 An act in addition to the act to supply the city of Holyoke with pure water.  March 7, 1884.

1885 Springfield Republican, October 19, 1885, Page 6.
Holyoke.  The board of health, by selling their lot to the Crystal springs aqueduct company for $900, made 300, which will pay for the furniture for the new hospital.

1886 Seventh Annual Report of the State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity of Massachusetts
Page 240:  Crystal Spring Aqueduct Company, Holyoke.  Used by possibly ten families.

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

1890 "The Whiting Street Dam at Holyoke, Mass.," from Engineering News 24:204 (September 6, 1890)

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

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

1896 An act to authorize the city of Holyoke to increase its water supply.  May 19, 1896.

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

1902 "Our County and Its People": A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts, Volume 3, by Alfred Minott Copeland
Pages 32-34:  "City Water Works."
Pages 72-73:  But in addition to building two dams and constructing an efficient system of water power canals for manufacturing purposes, the Hadley Falls company performed other good works, notably that in establishing a water supply for the "New City" and laying main and service pipes throughout the settled portion of the village. This was done in 1848 and the two years next following, and from that time until 1882 the Holyoke water supply for fire and domestic purposes was received from the company's reservoir on the elevated lands about seventy-five rods from the end of the dam.

1922 The New England Business Directory and Gazetteer
Page 1136:  Massachusetts - Water Supply Co's - Holyoke - Crystal Spring Aqueduct

1985 The Roots of Holyoke Water Power Company : a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities : the predecessor companies: Proprietors of the Locks and Canals on the Connecticut River ; Hadley Falls Company 1827-1847 ; Hadley Falls Company 1848-1858; Alfred Smith 1789-1868, by Robert E. Barrett.

2016 Morris A. Pierce