Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Michigan Holly

Holly, Michigan

Holly was incorporated as a village in 1865.

The city contracted with Miciah Walker to build water works that began operating in December, 1879, using two steam-driven Walker pumps and Wyckoff wooden pipes.

Water is supplied by the village of Holly.

References and Timeline
1879 "Michigan News," The Times-Herald (Port Huron, Michigan), July 28, 1879, Page 1.
The village of Holly votes on the 4th prox. on the question of issuing $7,500 in bonds for the purpose of establishing Holly water works.

1879 Pontiac Weekly Bill Poster, September 3, 1879, Page 3.
The village dads of Holly have resolved to enter into a contract with Mr. M. Walker, as per plans, for the construction of water works, and will John Donovan for the construction of suitable buildings.

1879 "New Water Works," The Times-Herald (Port Hudson, Michigan), December 15, 1879, Page 4.
Mr. M. Walker who has been engaged in putting in water works at Holly, was in the city yesterday, and in regard to the matter said the work had beena complete success, exceeding the expectations of the most sanguine.  The system is one which combines the advantages of the Holly and Standpipe systems, with the difference that it is much cheaper.  The works at Holly cost only $9,000, including two and one-half miles of water mains and 17 hydrants, the mains being large enough to admit of their being extended to supply a town of 6,000 inhabitants.  Six fire streams can be thrown at one time, and at the private text made Friday a pressure of 170 pounds was attained.  The usual fire pressure in this city is 65 pounds, extra, 100.  A public test will be made next Tuesday, and a great time is expected.   Invitations have been extended to the officials of all neighboring cities, and quite a number will go from this city.

1879 Milford Times (Milford, Michigan), December 27, 1879, Page 2.
The Holly water works were tested last week Tuesday, and more than filled the bill.  The day was stormy and unpleasant, but this did not deter many from abroad being present to witness the trial.

1880 "Water Works," The Times-Herald (Port Hudson, Michigan), January 27, 1880, Page 4.
Something New in this Line Invented by a Citizen of Port Huron.
Ever since Mr. M. Walker put in the Port Huron water works, seven years ago, he has been seeking to device some system of works that would accomplish all that is performed by the old reservoir system, as well as by the direct pumping of the Holly system.  He also sought to reduce the expense by simplifying the machinery, and in other ways, to such as extend that villages and the smaller cities could afford water works.
In this he has succeeded.  The trial works were trial at Holly some six weeks ago, and from men from experience who were there we learn that the new system works admirably.  These works have two miles of piping, with 16 hydrants, and are able to throw eight good fire streams.  The piping is large enough to meet the wants of a place containing 5,000 inhabitants.  The entire work cost $10,000.
One of the peculiarities of these works is the use of a large compression chamber, made of very heavy boiler iron.  The pumps force the water in at the base of the chamber and compress the air in the top to such as extent that after up a pressure of about 85 to 100 pounds, the chamber can be shut off, the works stopped, and left for several days with the pressure on, unless the water is sued for domestic purposes or ordinary supply.  In case of fire the valve on the chamber is opened, and instantly the pressure is on the entire system of piping, and from one to four streams can be thrown by this reserve until steam can be got up.
Another set of works was started at St. Louis, Gratiot county, last Wednesday.  These works will be used for fire purposes only, for the next year.  From a record of the official test made, it appears that 30 lbs. of steam was raised from cold water in five minutes, and in seven minutes three good fire streams were thrown.  During the trial two 1 inch streams were thrown 200 feet, and one 1 steam 275 feet.  At another time five good streams were thrown with one pump.  These pumps are peculiarly constructed, simple, compact and of great capacity.
The piping used at both these places is the Wyckoff patent wood pipe, manufactured by Ayrault, Smith & Co., of Bay City, and if other cities give it as severe a test as these two, and it gives as good satisfaction, it will supercede iron pipe entirely in a few years.

1881 Milford Times (Milford, Michigan), March 12, 1881, Page 2.
In company with H. Jenkins, of the Register, we had the pleasure of inspecting the Holly water works engine, at Holly, on Monday last.  Few towns can boast of as efficient Fire Department as our sister village.

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

1883 Holly, Engineering News, 10:200-201 (April 28, 1883)

1888 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Holly, Oakland County, Michigan. September, 1888

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

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

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

1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Holly, Oakland County, Michigan. July, 1893

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

1900 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Holly, Oakland County, Michigan. April, 1900

1907 An act to authorize and empower the village of Holly, county of Oakland, Michigan, to extend the connecting or supplying pipes of its water works system beyond the corporate limits of the village, not to exceed one hundred rods, also to extend its lighting system beyond the corporate limits of the village, not to exceed one hundred rods, and also to establish police regulations therefor.  June 4, 1907.

1908 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Holly, Oakland County, Michigan. May, 1908

1912 History of Oakland County, Michigan, by Thadeus D. Seeley
Pages 395-396.  Village of Holly.  The Waterworks.
In 1899 the waterworks were built by the village and operated by the Holly Electric and Power Company and the Holly Produce and Milling Company. The electric company pumped the water from wells under contract with the village corporation, the same arrangement still holding good. The present plant was erected in 1909 and is operated under the Harris air lift system. The pumping capacity amounts to two hundred thousand gallons every twenty-four hours, and the supply goes both to village consumers and the railroads. The waterworks had a narrow escape ^at the fire of December 17, 1910, when the plants of the milling and electric companies were destroyed at a loss of $50,000. Many of the pipes were melted and the supply was shut off for several hours, but the pumps and walls were saved after a desperate fight by the firemen.

1921 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Holly, Oakland County, Michigan. December, 1921.

2019 Morris A. Pierce