Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Tecumseh, Michigan

Tecumseh was incorporated as a village in 1837 and as a city in 1954.

The village built a water-works system in 1877 that used a Perkins windmill to pump water from wells into elevated tanks, from which it was distributed through Wyckoff wood pipes..   In 1892 the system was rebuilt, adding two steam-driven Blake pumps and a standpipe. 

Water is supplied by the city of Tecumseh.


References and Timeline
1879 History and Biographical Record of Lenawee County, Michigan: Containing a History of the Organization and Early Settlement of the County, Together with a Biographical Record of Many of the Oldest and Most Prominent Settlers and Present Residents, Obtained from Personal Interviews with Themselves Or Their Children, Volume 1 | Volume 2 |

1885 Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre, Mich.), March 19, 1885, Page 2.
Tecumseh will have the Holly water works.

1888 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. October, 1888

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

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

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

1892 Grand Rapids Herald, September 4, 1892, Page 2.
A 16-horse-power engine was necessary to keep down the flow of water in the well that is being made to supply the Tecumseh water works.

1892 Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre, Mich.), October 21, 1892, Page 2.
The standpipes of Tecumseh's water-works are to be 120 feet high, and will be erected at one of the public parks.  Eight miles of pipe are being laid as fast as possible.

1892 Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre, Mich.), December 16, 1892, Page 6.
The work of laying the water works pipe in Tecumseh is completed.

1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. February, 1893

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

1899 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. July, 1899

1903 Illustrated history and biographical record of Lenawee County, Mich, by John I. Knapp, Richard Illenden Bonner
Page 14:  There is an efficient system of water works, and water of the best quality is supplied.

1907 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. March, 1907

1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. November, 1912

1922 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan.  January, 1922

1935 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. June, 1935

1944 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan. June, 1944

2006 Tecumseh: The First Century, by Kern Kuipers and Amanda Payeur
The Tecumseh Waterworks pumping station was built between 1892 and 1893 on South Division Street. It had a coal-fired steam pump and was part of a major reworking of the city's water system that included all new water mains and a standpipe for water pressure. Once the new system was finished, residents and businesses began to rely on it over their wells. A news article from 1893 reads "Gariinghouse Bros. were the first to tap the new mains and put in water connections." A 1928 news clipping states, "New automatic pumping equipment at the waterworks will do away with the need for a night man."
Completed in 1893, the standpipe, shown here in 1913, was part of a water delivery modernization project. The city originally had a water delivery system, the primary purpose of which was to supply water to fight fires and water horses. The old system used wooden pipes and windmills for pumping, making it unreliable and inefficient. Built in the old Court House Square, which became known for a time as Adam's Park, the standpipe dominated the east side of downtown for nearly 100 years. Eventually the post office was built in front of it, and in 1984, with a failing foundation, the standpipe was torn down.




2019 Morris A. Pierce