Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Massachusetts Lynn

Lynn, Massachusetts

Lynn was incorporated as a city in 1850.

A private aqueduct was built by John Lovejoy to bring water from a spring to his tannery.  It is not known when this was installed, but in 1837 he sold land to the Eastern Railroad Corporation that was between the between the spring and his morocco factory.  He reserved the right to an easement for the aqueduct logs through a culvert under the tracks.  Edward H. Ashcroft came into possession of the tannery and in 1870 the railroad filled in the culvert with rocks and crushed the aqueduct logs, and Ashcroft sued the railroad.  He lost as the court held the easement was only valid during Lovejoy's life.  In 1849 Lovely became a director of the Salem and Danvers Aqueduct Company, but this system never served Lynn.

Ashcroft and others incorporated the Lynn Aqueduct Company in 1865.  The company owned Sluice Pond in Lynn and built a system, but no information about it has been found.

The City of Lynn was authorized to build water works in 1869 and brought water from Flax Pond for fire protection in December, 1869.  The city then built a more substantial system that began operating in early 1873.

The Lynn Water and Sewer Commission was created in 1982 to take over the system.

Water is provided by the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission.

1857 "Lynn Aqueduct," Salem Register, May 18, 1857, Page 2.
A bill is before the legislature to incorporate the Lynn Water Works, with a capital of $250,000, and to hold real estate no exceeding $40,000, to supply that city with pure water from Humphrey's Pond, (Suntaug Lake,) in Lynnfield.  This beautiful sheet of water, affords a copious supply of the best of water, and is 108 feet higher than Lynn Common, so that it would carry water to the upper stories of their houses. - Some years since surveys were made with the idea of supplying Salem from this source. - Obs.

1864 Report on supplying the city of Lynn with pure water, made to the Lynn Aqueduct Company, by C. L. Stevenson.

1865 An act to incorporate the Lynn Aqueduct Company.  April 4, 1865.

1865 History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts: including Lynnfield, Saugus, Swampscot, and Nahant, by Alonzo Lewis and James R. Newhall.

1868 An act authorizing the Lynn Aqueduct Company to issue bonds, and for other purposes.  June 4, 1868.

1869 An act for supplying the city of Lynn with pure water.  June 23, 1869.

1871 An act to supply the city of Lynn with pure water.  April 22, 1871.

1871 Map of Lynn

1872 An act to provide a further supply of water for the city of Lynn.  April 24, 1872.

1873 "Lynn," Salem Observer, January 13, 1873, Page 2.
The Lynn Water Works, costing $650,000 were opened on Tuesday.  The reservoir is on Pine Hill, covers abut ten acres, contains about 20,000,000 gallons of water, and cost $70,000.  The engine is of 200 horse power, built by the Port Richmond Iron Works, Philadelphia.  It is one of the first of the kind ever built, and was invened by E.D. Leavitt, Jr., of Cambridge, and is capable of living two million gallons of water into the reservoir every ten hours, with an initial pressure of twenty-five pound against a constructive head of 125 feet, and can be made to perform 60,000,000 duty with 100 pounds pressure.  The boilers were tested before leaving the place of construction by a hydrostatic pressure of 125 pounds per square inch, and were found to be perfectly right.  The total cot of the works is $650,000.

1874 An Act To Incorporate The Flax Pond Water Company.  June 2, 1874.

1876 John Lovejoy (1789-1876) Grave.

1879 Edward H. Ashcroft vs. Eastern Railroad Company, 126 Mass. 196, January 21, 1879, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

1880 Sketches of Lynn, by David Newhall Johnson

1881 Lynn, from Engineering News 8:293  (July 23, 1881)

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

1883 An act to authorize the city of Lynn to supply the town of Swampscott with water for fire purposes.  February 21, 1883.

1883 An act relating to the Lynn Aqueduct Company.  February 21, 1883.

1884 An act authorizing the city of Lynn to supply the town of Swampscott with water.  May 27, 1884.

1887 History of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 1, compiled under the supervision of Duane Hamilton Hurd
Page 253-254:  Breed's Pond is also artificial, and takes its name from Theophilus N. Breed, who, in 1843, built a dam across the valley a few rods from Oak Street, on the north. He thus procured sufficient power for the iron works he established on Oak Street. On the 15th of April, 1851, during the memorable storm by which the light-house on Minot's Ledge was carried away, some forty feet of the dam were demolished, and out rushed the water in a current ten feet in depth, with such impetuosity that large rocks were carried across Oak Street into the meadow below. The dam was repaired and Mr. Breed continued his business,which was iron-casting and machine work, five or six years longer, and then the works were closed.
In 1860 the dam was broken, and the water suffered to escape, leaving a bed which remained a noxious bog, where rank vegetation flourished and noisy reptiles congregated. In 1863, however, the dam was again repaired, the pond restored and other business commenced. Finally, after an interval of idleness, in 1870, the city purchased the property as the first step towards securing a suitable public supply of pure water. Repairs were made about the pond, the Pine Hill Reservoir was built, pipes were laid in the streets, the pumping engine was set up on Walnut Street and then, on the 27th of February, 1873, the water was sent coursing through the distributing pipes. The reservoir has a capacity of twenty million gallons and is one hundred and seventy-seven feet above sea level.
Flax Pond was first looked to for a public water supply. It was in 1869 that it became apparent that something must speedily be done in that direction. It was found that this pond, with its adjuncts, could furnish a daily average of three million gallons, but objections were made as to its use for domestic purposes on account of impurities. A temporary arrangement, however, was made for its use in cases of fire.
Pipes were laid, and on the 8th of December, of the year named, the water was sent coursing to the hydrants in various parts of the city. And that was the first time the city received a supply from any source, by aqueduct, for any purpose. This arrangement continued till a supply for all needs was secured from other sources. Flax Pond, from the earliest times, has yielded its waters for many useful purposes. The  principal stream that it sends forth is Strawberry Brook, which, in its course to the ocean, has carried mills, supplied tanneries and done many other useful things, besides answering as a highway for the alewives to reach their spawning-grounds. This pond, likewise, is to a considerable extent artificial; and its name was derived from the circumstance that much of the flax which in former time^ was raised hereabout was taken there to be duly rotted.
Sluice Pond. At the time the matter of establishing public water-works in Lynn was under discussion, the waters of various sources were analyzed, and it was found that those of Sluice Pond were the purest. This little lake lies near the northeast border, in what used to be called Dye Factory Village, but now Wyoma. It is of irregular shape, and with it, by a gentle little stream, Cedar Pond is connected. The waters of this pond have for many years been utilized for mechanical purposes, the sluice-way through which they passed giving the pond its name ; it was, however, formerly called Tomlins's Pond. A small stream connects its waters with Flax Pond, so that Cedar, Sluice and Flax form links to the chain that reaches the ocean by way of Strawberry Brook.
Page 262:  Water Works.- Net cost of the public works, to January 1, 1887, $1,342,144.11.  Average consumption of water per day during the year 1885, 1,920,519 gallons; average to each inhabitant, a trifle over 41 gallons per day.  Total extension of pipe in Lynn, 751 miles.  The report of the president of the board says (1886), "The department has paid all expenses of maintenance, the inerest on the water debt, and shows a surplus of $26,919.18 to be carried to the water-loan sinking fund."

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

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

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

1891 Map of City of Lynn Massachusetts

1893 Edward H. Ashcroft (1819-1893) Grave

1893 Boston Daily Globe, October 14, 1893, Page 8.
The Marblehead water company is looking about Lynn to locate, if possible, some source to get an additional water supply.  Sluice pond has been looked at and ma be taken.  The pond is controlled by the Lynn aqueduct company, covers 30 acres of land and is taxed for $3,600.

1893 "Mass Corporation Returns," Boston Daily Advertiser, October 31, 1893, Page 8.
Lynn Aqueduct Co., assets, real estate, $25,000; Mach., $50.  Liabilities, capital $394,000, Debts, $4847. 

1895 "Legal Notice," Boston Post, October 4, 1895, Page 5.
Lynn Aqueduct Company meeting

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

1908 A report of the city council of the city of Lynn, Mass upon the improvement and enlargement of the supply system of the water works, by Edwin F. Dwelley

1920 "Progress in making an established water-works system modern and efficient," by Reeves J. Newsome, Commissioner of Water Supply, Lynn, Massachusetts, Journal of the New England Water Works Association 34(3):139-145 (September, 1920)
Lynn water works.

1982 An act establishing the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission and defining the powers thereof.  August 30, 1982.

2018 Morris A. Pierce