Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Michigan Jackson

Jackson, Michigan

Jackson was incorporated as a village in 1843 ans as a city in 1857.

The Jackson City Water Company was incorporated on May 14, 1869.  The city bought almost all of the company's stock, and the company built a Holly water system that was demonstrated on August 24 and 25, 1870.  The city bought the remaining stock in 1871 to acquire full ownership of the system.

The system originally used two steam-driven Holly rotary pumps, but two Holly piston pumps were added in April, 1873. 

Water is supplied by the City of Jackson.


References and Timeline
1865 "Common Council Proceedings," The Jackson Daily Citizen, March 29, 1865, Page 1.
Report of water works committee.

1868 "Water for the City," The Jackson Daily Citizen, February 19, 1868, Page 4. | 2nd article on same page | Note:  The first article is reprinted from the Ann Arbor Argus, but doesn't say that.
A plan for giving an abundant Water Supply to our city, and dispensing with fire engines.
Visit by William C. Weir, of the Holly Manufacturing Company.

1869 "From Jackson," Detroit Free Press, May 16, 1869 Page 4.
Jackson, May 14. An organization has been formed in this city known as the Jackson City Water company, composed of George H. Lathrop, L.G. Bennett, Eugene Pringle, J.C. Bonnell, and C.H. Bennett, as stockholders.  The object of this company is to furnish water for the city.  A meeting will be held on the 2nd proximo for the purpose of electing officers.

1870 "Proclamations," Jackson Daily Citizen, January 28, 1870, Page 4.
Meeting called by Mayor in accordance with January 24 resolution.

1870 "Water Works," Jackson Daily Citizen, January 28, 1870, Page 4.
The Trip to Kalamazoo - The Holly Water Works - Committee Meeting - An Enjoyable Occasion.

1870 "Water Works," Jackson Daily Citizen, February 1, 1870, Page 2.
Report of the Committee of Citizens.

1870 "The Water Works Question," Jackson Daily Citizen, February 8, 1870, Page 6.
The Question Settled Affirmatively by Unanimous Vote.

1870 "Common Council Proceedings" Jackson Daily Citizen, February 9, 1870, Page 4.
Resolution to purchase stock in the Jackson City Water Company and to adopt Holly system of water works.

1870 "The Water Works - Strike of the Workmen," Jackson Daily Citizen, May 17, 1870, Page 5.
The Water Works remain in statu quo.  On Wednesday nothing was done, on account of the rain.  Thursday morning, of the forty-two men employed, all but eight declined to go to work unless they were paid $1.75 per day, which was refused.  The wages paid up to that time were $1.50 per day.  The superintendent, Mr. C. Warriner, expects to be able to obtain more help in a short time, when labor will be resumed.

1870 "Common Council Proceedings," Jackson Daily Citizen, May 18, 1870, Page 4.
Report of Jackson City Water Company.

1870 "Our Water Works," Jackson Daily Citizen, August 30, 1870, Page 5.
Their Trial Test, the works, machinery, etc.

1870 B. Holly's system of fire protection and water supply, for cities and villages, Fifth Edition.
Pages 24-29:  Water Works Celebration at Jackson, Mich.

1871 "Common Council Proceedings," Jackson Daily Citizen, May 2, 1871, Page 4.
Purchase of remaining water company stock.

1871 "First Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Jackson City Water Company, of the City of Jackson, Michigan.,"  Jackson Daily Citizen, May 10, 1871, Page 2.

1871 "Common Council Proceedings," Jackson Daily Citizen, May 17, 1871, Page 2.
Purchase of five water company shares.

1873 "The New Pumps," Jackson Daily Citizen, April 29, 1873, Page 5.
A cheap and important addition to our works.  Two piston pumps.

1881 Jackson, Engineering News, 8:489 (December 3, 1881)

1881 History of Jackson County, Michigan
Page 500:  In 1870 the city constructed water-works on the Holly plan, and they have been the main reliance for the extinction of fires, although the steamer has been retained as a measure of protection for the districts not reached by the Holly Works. The Holly system has been severely tested several times, and has, so far, proved an entire success. It has always prevented the spread of the flames, and there has usually been more damage from the flood of water than from the fire.
Page 566-568:  The Water Works of the city of Jackson were formally opened Aug. 24, 1870. The building containing the machinery, supply pipe, etc., is situated on the mill-pond near the M. S. & L. S. R. R. depot. It is built of brick after the designs of J. F. Coots. The engine house, etc. is rectangular, 56x76 feet, 20 feet in height, with a tower 45 feet, rising from the main building, and close by the lofty octagonal chimney shaft rising to a height of 78 feet. The roof is a mansard, slated and tastefully ornamented after the French style of architecture. The machinery comprises four steam-engines, two of 200-horse power each, one of 125-horse power, and a pony supply engine. Each engine is independent in its workings. Two of Holly's elliptical power pumps are employed and are capable of discharging 2,000,000 gallons of water every day. The design of the three engines is to vary the supply of water according to the demand, only one being needed for the ordinary supply, and the others in case of fire. An extra supply is commanded by simply opening a hydrant, raid be it ever so far away this action acts automatically on the machinery, gives fresh impetus to the pumps, supplies the increased force necessary for the extra flow in a few seconds, and simultaneously sounds an alarm to warn the engineer, so that the accessory engines may be set in motion. The water is forced through a 12-inch main to the pipes running beneath the principal thoroughfares, and thence through smaller pipes leading to the less populous districts of the city.
In December, 1869, a meeting of the citizens was called for the purpose of voting a sum of money for the purchase of a fire-engine, and of making other arrangements against fire. The meeting was adverse to any expenditure for such, and decidedly in favor of a system of water-works which would vie with or eclipse some ol those that were then being used in other cities. In January, 1870, Mayor Bennett invited a party of citizens to visit Kalamazoo, with the object of eliciting some facts in connection with the works then recently erected there. The result of this visit was the formation of a company to take the enterprise in hand, as the charter terms opposed such an investment on the part of the city. A regular meeting of the citizens was held Feb. 6, 1870, which authorized Mayor Bennett to represent the city in its dealings with the Water Company, to purchase 995 shares of stock, amounting to $99,750, and to use his influence for the adoption of the Holly system. This gave the city controlling power, and resulted in the appointment of Mr. Bennett as general superintendent of construction. During March and April the contracts were made for engines, pipes, hydrants, machinery and buildings. The erection of the water-works house was begun April 26, and completed Aug. 1, 1870. At this time the water of the river was brought through great filters, and formed the only supply; but since that period wells have been erected and a plentiful supply of the best artesian water procured. In case of fire the reservoir is brought into use. The tests were applied to the works Aug. 24, approved and possession taken of them in the name of the Jackson Water Company.
By the establishment of these water-works, the city has been singularly benefited. A supply of artesian water is brought into the very homes of the people, and hydrants, at regular intervals, are ready to offer opposition to the fire-fiend; but above all else is the high sanitary condition of the people which is insured, so long as they continue to use that mineral water which these works send coursing through the city.

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

1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. April, 1886

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

1889 Jackson, Mich., Resources, Natural Advantages, Manufacturing and Commercial Interests. Leading Business Houses, by Robert H. Baker
Page 16:  A factor which doubtless has more to do with the city's excellent sanitary condition than any other one cause is the existence of an absolutely pure water supply. In 1874 the Holly system of water works was completed at a total cost of $250,000. By this system water of crystal clearness is pumped from the depths of four artesian wells directly into the thirty miles of mains which convey it to the homes and business places of citizens.  The consumption of water averages 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 gallons daily and the works are capable of supplying 5,000,000 gallons per day.

1890 Ordinances of the City of Jackson, Michigan: As Amended
Page 76:  An ordinance fixing the rates of water from the Jackson City Water Works, July 9, 1877.
Page 254:  Amended ordinance fixing rates of water, July 22, 1890.

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

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

1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. January, 1893

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

1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. November, 1899

1903 DeLand's History of Jackson County, Michigan, compiled by Colonel Charles V. DeLand.
Page 142:  In 1870 the city constructed water-works on the Holly plan, and they have been the main reliance for the extinction of fires, although the steamer has been retained as a measure of protection for the districts not reached by the Holly works. The Holly system has been severely tested several times and has so far proved an entire success. It has always prevented the spread of the flames, and there has usually been more damage from the flood of water than from the fire. The Jackson fire department is today acknowledged the best and most efficient and successful of any in the state.
Page 501:  About 1868 or 1869 George H. Lathrop initiated a company for the installation of a water-works system in Jackson, and Mr. Pringle became a stockholder of the company, as well as its attorney. He drew an ordinance covering the city's use of the system and during the discussion of the project it transpired that public opinion was distinctly in favor of the city's owning the system. Legislation was accordingly secured enabling the municipal corporation to subscribe for stock, of which it thus secured ninety-nine thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars' worth of the one hundred thousand dollars of the stock issued, and came into virtual control of the enterprise. This was the first instance of municipal ownership of public utilities, and Mr. Pringle remains a -stanch advocate of this policy, particularly as applying to water works.

1907 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan.

1909 City Water Works, Jackson, Michigan postcards

1917 Annual Report of the City of Jackson Water Department

1918 Annual Report of the City of Jackson Water Department

1919 Annual Report of the City of Jackson Water Department

1924 Investigation of the Water Supply System of Jackson, Michigan, with Recommendations for Future Improvements, by William C. Johnson and Carl M. Waltz, Thesis, Michigan Agricultural College, June, 1924 | Also here |




2019 Morris A. Pierce