Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States Maine Skowhegan

Skowhegan, Maine

Skowhegan was first settled in 1771.

The first water supply in Skowhegan was built around 1831 using lead pipes.  The company that built this early system was probably the Skowhegan Aqueduct Company, but this has not been confirmed.  Several small aqueduct companies were established in the 19th Century, including the West Skowhegan Aqueduct Company, Coburn Aqueduct Company, Niel Aqueduct Company, and Skowhegan Aqueduct Company.  Very little information has been found about the origin of these companies.

The Skowhegan Water Company was incorporated in 1887 by R. B. Shepherd, L. W. Weston, A. R. Bixby, J. O. Smith, C. M. Brainard, Jas. P. Blunt, J. C. Griffin, F. B. Heselton, H. S. Steward, S. W. Gould, C. A. Marston and L. L. Walton "for the purpose of conveying to, and of supplying the inhabitants of the town of Skowhegan with water for all domestic, sanitary, municipal and commercial purposes."  This company built a system that began service in 1889 pumping water from the Kennebec River.

The Skowhegan Water Company became part of Atlantic Public Utilities, which became part of Samuel Insull's utility empire in 1931.  After various ownership changes, it was purchased in 1992 by the Wanakah Water Company, a subsidiary of Consumers Water Company.  Consumers Water merged with Aqua America, Inc. in 1999 and became Aqua Maine, which in turn was sold to Connecticut Water Services in 2011 and renamed Maine Water Company.

Water is provided by the Skowhegan Division of the Maine Water Company.

1834 American Advocate [Hallowell, Maine], July 9, 1834, Page 2.
Skowhegan Village. The reason was, it was impossible to get good water without crossing to the main land.  This difficulty has been remedied by an aqueduct which carried water in leaden pipes from the southern shore along the bottom of that branch of the river up to the south bank of the island, and furnishes it by branches at very spot where it is wanted.  The leaden pipes of the aqueduct were at first found insufficient for crossing the river, and were removed, and I believe broken by the ice.  They were then encased in square pieces of iron, about three feet long, and not joined together at the ends.  The iron was heavy enough to keep the pipes at the bottom, and the joints permitted them to bend according to the bed of the river.  This was three or four years since and the supply of good water has since been ample and uninterrupted.

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

1887 An act to incorporate the Skowhegan Water Company.  February 3, 1887.

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

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

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

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

1906 Skowhegan Water Company v. Skowhegan Village Corporation, December 18, 1906, 102 Me. 323, 66 A. 714, Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

1909 Public Supplies. Skowhegan. "Underground Waters of Southern Maine," by Frederick G. Clapp, USGS Water Supply Paper 223, Page 209.

1919 An act to incorporate the Skowhegan Water District.  March 19, 1919.

2008 "Skowhegan System Overview," by Rick Knowlton, Aqua Maine, Inc., Journal of the Maine Water Utilities Association, 87:68-69 (August 2008).  This article is an excellent and thorough summary of the various owners of the Skowhegan system.

2016 Morris A. Pierce