Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Maine Bangor

Bangor, Maine

Bangor was first settled in 1769.

The Bangor Aqueduct Company was organized in or before 1825 and held at least three annual meetings, but no other information has been found about this entity.  Its clerk, Thomas F. Hatch, was proprietor of the Hatch House in Bangor. 

The proprietors of the new Bangor House installed an aqueduct in 1834 in Centre Street to the cellar of the hotel.  A homeowner named Brown tapped into the aqueduct, which was in the his half of the street.  Brown contended that the his title extended to the center of the street, giving him the right to tap, or even to remove the aqueduct.  The Maine supreme court ruled in Brown's favor.  No other information has been found about this aqueduct.

The Bangor Water Company was incorporated in 1869 by Thomas Mason, Solomon Parsons, Henry A. Wood, James Dunning, J. S. Rowe, John Lane, J. W. Palmer, S. F. Hersey, and W. H. Bishop "for the purpose of conveying to the city of Bangor a supply of pure water for domestic and municipal purposes, including the extinguishment of fires and the supply of shipping."  The company successfully subscribed all of its capital stock, but the public favored city ownership. 

An 1875 law allowed the city to construct a water system, which was approved by a vote of 2,776 to 79 on March 8, 1875.  A committee visited water works in several other communities to observe gravity and direct pressure systems, and it was decided to contract with the Holly Manufacturing Company to design and build a complete system.  The Holly water system was tested on December 28, 1875.

The system worked well, but the pumping plant on the Penobscot River was flooded in 1878 and 1895, cutting off the city's water supply.  Upstream sewage also contaminated the water supply, resulting in numerous typhoid cases, while growth in the elevated portions of the city led to lower delivery pressures.  A 1,750,000 gallon standpipe and Warren type Gravity Filter Plant were installed in 1897, and a new concrete gravity filter plant was placed in operation February 6, 1911.  The Thomas Hill Standpipe has become a significant local attraction and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The standpipe provides higher pressures in the elevated portions of the city and also provides a reserve supply of water. 

The Bangor Water District was formed in 1957 to supply water to Bangor and other nearby communities, and took over the City of Bangor water system in 1959.  The water supply was changed to Floods Pond in Otis.

Water is provided by the Bangor Water District, which has a good history page.

1825 Bangor Register, February 26, 1825, Page 3.
Notice. The Proprietors of the Bangor Aqueduct Company are requested to meet at the Academy Building, on Tuesday next, at 6 o'clock P.M. at which time their last meeting stands adjourned.  Punctual attendance is requested. Thomas F. Hatch, Clk. of said Corporation. Bangor, Feb. 23, 1825..

1826 Bangor Register, March 2, 1826, Page 3. 
Annual Meeting. The Members of the Bangor Aqueduct Company are hereby notified to meet at the Academy Building, on Tuesday  the seventh day of March next at seven o'clock in the evening for the purpose of choosing such officers as are made necessary by the charter and by-laws of said institution, for the ensuing year, and to transact such other business as may lawfully come before them. By order from the Directors.  Thomas F. Hatch, Clerk of the B. A. Company. March 2.

1827 Bangor Register, March 21, 1827, Page 3. 
Notice.  The Proprietors of the Bangor Aqueduct Company are hereby notified to meet at the Academy Building, on Tuesday, twenty-seventh instant, at four o'clock P. M. at which time said meeting was adjourned--to transact such business as it expressed in the order from the Directors.  A punctual attendance is requested. Thomas F. Hatch, Clerk. Bangor, March 17, 1827.

1848  Report on the Petition of John H. Pilsbury and others for an Act of incorporation under the name of the Bangor and Pushaw Water Company and remonstrance of  Edward Kent and others. Maine State Archives, GY 199-19.   Link 11702.

1851 Bangor House Proprietary v Brown, 33 ME 309,

1869 An act authorizing the city of Bangor to conduct water from one part of said city to another.  February 17, 1869.

1869 An act to supply the people of Bangor with pure water.  March 1, 1869.

1870 An act to amend "an act to supply the people of Bangor with pure water," approved March first, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine. March 2, 1870.

1875 An act for supplying the city of Bangor with water.  February 22, 1875.

1875 "Vote on the Water Question," Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, March 9, 1875, Page 3.

1875 Portland Daily Press, May 22, 1875, Page 3
Messrs. B. Holly, inventor of the system bearing his name; T. T. Flagler, President; and J. A. Richardson, agent, of the Holly Water Company, were in Bangor on Thursday in conference with the Bangor Water Board on the question of supplying the city with water.

1875 "Report of the Water Commissioners Concerning Their Recent Tour of Inspection," Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, July 1, 1875, Page 3.

1875 "Articles of agreement for the construction of Water works for the City of Bangor, Maine," July 13, 1875.  Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, July 15, 1875, Page 1.

1875 Springfield Republican, July 15, 1875, Page 7.
The Bangor Water commissioners have signed a contract with the Holly manufacturing company of Lockport, N. Y., to construct a complete set of water-works, which shall have a capacity of 8,000,000 gallons of water a day, the total cost to be $186,000, and the works to be completed by January 1, 1876.

1875 Springfield Republican, September 3, 1875, Page 6.
Charles Sweeney, employed on the Bangor water-works, was fatally sun-struck, Wednesday.

1875 "Machinery of the Water Works," Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, December 4, 1875, Page 1.

1875 Springfield Republican, December 20, 1875, Page 7.
Nearly all the 400 laborers employed for four months on the Bangor water-works have been discharged.

1875 Portland Daily Press, December 29, 1875, Page 2.
The Bangor Water Works.  Thorough and Satisfactory Tests.  Bangor, Dec 28.--To-day has been an interesting one to our people, as the contract test of the Holly water-works, just completed, has been made.  The first test consisted of playing twelve 1-inch streams into hydrants in the vicinity of East Market Square.  Streams playing 140 feet high, with 105 pounds pressure at the works.  The next test was through a 2-inch nozzle, 282 feet horizontally with 155 pounds pressure.  At 2 p.m. eight streams were played from hydrants on East Broadway and on the corner of York and Broadway, between 170 and 180 feet high, pressure 135 pounds; elevation above low water mark 120 feet.  The next test was playing six streams; height reached 124 feet, pressure 145 pounds; elevation above low water mark 150 feet.  The last test was four streams from the top of Thomas hill, 220 feet above low water mark; height of stream 120 feet; pressure 170 pounds.  The tests have been highly satisfactory, and were witnessed by large crowds of people.  The cost of the works is $186,000.

1876 "The Holly Water Works System," from The Kingston Daily Freeman, January 14, 1876, Page 3.

1876 An act to amend an act titled "an act for supplying the city of Bangor with water," approved February twenty-two, eighteen hundred seventy-five.  February 11, 1876.

1876 "Bangor" from Addresses as President of the National Board of Fire Underwriters of the United States: On Several Occasions, 1871-76

1877 History of the Bangor Water Works from Its Commencement: While Under the Charge of the First Board of Commissioners

1877 "Description of the Water Works at Bangor, Maine," by L. H. Eaton, C.E., Engineer, Bangor Water Board, Engineering News 4:59-60 (March 10, 1877)

1877 "Water Works at Bangor, Maine," by L. H. Eaton, C. E., Engineer Bangor Water Board, from Scientific American Supplement, No. 77, Page 1220.  (June 23, 1877)

1878 Portland Daily Press, December 21, 1878, Page 2.
Bangor, Dec 20.-The Penobscot Choked with Ice. The water works has stopped.  The pumping house has two feet of water in it.  Great inconvenience to citizens is caused as there has been no water since 9 o'clock this morning.

1881 Bangor, Engineering News, 8:393 (October 1, 1881)

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

1882 "The Water Works," from History of Penobscot County, Maine: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches

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

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

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

[189?] Cumberland Manufacturing Co. The Warren filter :for the purification of water for water works,

1895 Boston Journal, February 8, 1895, Page 1.
Bangor, Me. Feb 8.--Bangor Water Works in Trouble.  The pumps of the city Water Works are reported to be under water and useless.

1895 Boston Journal, December 29, 1895, Page 16.
Bangor, Me. Dec. 28.--Anchor Iced Piled up High. The Bangor water works are also affected by the jam, and the city may be possibly cut off from its water supply and the power necessary to run the street lights.

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

1901 An act to amend Chapter one hundred and sixty-eight of the Private and Special Laws of Maine for the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, entitled "An Act for supplying the city of Bangor with water."  March 16, 1901.

1918 "Annual Report of the Water Department of Bangor," by M. A. Sinclair, Fire and Water Engineering, 63:256-257 (April 10, 1918)

1957 An act to create the Bangor Water District.  March 19, 1957.

2012 Bangor Water Works, by Ryan R. Robbins

2016 Morris A. Pierce