Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Michigan Marquette

Marquette, Michigan

Marquette was incorporated as a village in 1859 and as a city in 1871.

The village built a Holly water works system that began service in February, 1870, but were not completed until July.  The system used steam-powered rotary and piston pumps.

Water is supplied by the city of Marquette.

References and Timeline
1869 An act to create a board of water commissioners in the village of Marquette, and to define its powers and duties.  March 2, 1869.

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

1883 Green Bay Advocate, May 3, 1883, Page 3.
The Holly pumps in the Marquette water works are to be superseded by new pumping gear made at the Iron Bay foundry, the change to cost $6,000.

1883 Marquette, Engineering News, 10:412 (September 1, 1883)

1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. May, 1884

1886 Report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, Volume 7
Pages 175-176:  The Board of Water and Fire Commissioners is a separate body, existing under an act of the Legislature passed March 2, 1869.  It consists of five members, of whom one retires every year—the vacancy being filled from year to year by election of the Common Council. This board was authorized by the Legislature to borrow money up to $100,000 upon a popular vote in favor of the loan, for the purpose of building water works. The loan was voted and the construction of the present works begun in 1869. The works are upon what is known as the Holly system of direct pressure by pumping engines, through continuous pipes laid throughout the city. In February, 1870, pumping was commenced, although the works were not finished until the July following. The building is situated just west of the Government breakwater, and the supply of water is obtained from a point several hundred feet out in the lake. Thirty-four thousand five hundred and twenty-seven feet of pipe are laid through the city, and fifty-one fire hydrants are placed at intersections of streets and other convenient points.  The whole cost of the works has been $112,157. Independently of the protection afforded against fire, this has probably been a judicious and economical expenditure in the promotion of good health in the city by furnishing for domestic use an abundant supply of pure water. The operation of the works, which have been much improved by our own mechanics, has been on the whole constant and satisfactory, although some trouble is experienced in every winter from the freezing of pipes in exposed localities. When the works were first built there were no data obtainable as to the proper depth to sink the pipes for such a climate as this; and they were laid at a depth of five feet, which has proved insufficient in some localities. At a depth of seven or eight feet no trouble would have been experienced from the frost.

1888 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. May, 1888

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

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

1891 Muskegon Chronicle, April 9, 1891, Page 2.
The Marquette water works will be supplied with a new 3,000,000 gallons daily capacity Gaskill pumping engine.  The new water works, which is a handsome building constructed entirely of stone, is about completed.

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

1892 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. May, 1892

1897 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. October, 1897

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

1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. August, 1904

1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. November, 1911

1911 A History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and Its People: Its Mining, Lumber and Agricultural Industries, Volume 1, by Alvah Littlefield Sawyer
Page 414: The great fire of 1868, which swept over so large a territory of Marquette village, had a stimulating effect in the establishment of adequate water works and fire systems. On April 5, 1869, less than a year after its occurrence, the villagers voted in favor of a $100,000 loan for the purpose of constructing a system of water works. On account of some technicality the vote was considered illegal, but $50,000 was voted in the following August, and a contract was made with the Holly Manufacturing Company to supply the village with pumps of 2,000.000 gallons daily capacity. In the following month the authorities contracted with T. T. Hurley to build an engine house on the light house reservation near the harbor breakwater, and from that time Marquette's good water system has been established.

© 2019 Morris A. Pierce