Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Northwestern States
Minnesota Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis was founded in 1856.

The first waterworks were built in 1868 by the City of Minneapolis using Holly water pumps.  These proved suitable and were replaced with an improved local design.

The East Side Water Company was incorporated in August 4, 1874 to supply the east side of the city from an artesian well, which proved to be a failure.

The waterworks are currently owned by the City of Minneapolis.

1867 Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 15, 1867, Page 4.
By invitation of the city council, Messrs. Holley and Keep of the Holley Water Works Co., of Lockport, New York.
It was decided that the plan of water works as submitted by Messrs. Holly and Keep, of the Holly works of Lockport, N. Y. should be used in this city.

1867 Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 20, 1867, Page 4.
The wheels, pumps and machinery have been ordered and are now in the process of construction at the Holly Water Work Company's shops, Lockport, N.Y.  The cement pipes, which have been ordered at Jersey City, N.J., are thought to be far superior to the iron pipes.

1868 The Buffalo Commercial, January 22, 1868, Page 3.
Minneapolis Water Works.  Water was successfully introduced into the pipes of the City Water Works yesterday.

1868 An act to authorize the city of Minneapolis, to issue Bonds for the construction of Water Works.  February 12, 1868.

1868 An act to amend the charter of the city of Minneapolis, and to amend an act entitled "an act to authorize the city of Minneapolis to issue bonds for the construction of water works," approved February twelfth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight.  March 4, 1868.

1868 "The Water Works," Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 24, 1868, Page 4.
Failure of cement pipe.

1868 "The Cement Pipe," Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 9, 1868, Page 4.
Why it was purchased.  Detailed Statement by W. H. Lee.

1869 B. Holly's system of fire protection and water supply, for cities and villages. Machinery manufactured and warranted superior to any other, by Holly Manufacturing Company, Lockport, N.Y.
Pages 13-17:  Minneapolis Water Works.

1870 "The City Water Works," Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 21, 1870, Page 4.
How Minneapolis is Supplied with Pure Water.  A General Reconstruction of the Pump House.  New "Torrent" pump installed.

1870 "The Council Proceedings," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 16, 1870, Page 4.
Condition of the Pumps.  We are at present reduced to the successful working of only one pump, for all of our fire protection, in consequence of the breaking of the other.  The Holly pump is a good pump for fire protection along, but it is in good order, but for continued work it is a very expensive pump to run, being easy to get out of order and very difficult to repair.

1872 "City Water Works," Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 18, 1872, Page 3.
The Old and the New.  Great Increase in Power and Capacity.  Full Description of the Improved Pumps.

1874 "The Water Works," The Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 23, 1874, Page 2.

1874 "East Side Water Company," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 16, 1874, Page 4.

1874 "East Side Water Company," Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 4, 1874, Page 1.
Now fairly an incorporated institution

1874 "East Side Water Company," Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 22, 1874, Page 2.

1874 An Ordinance Granting Certain Water Rights to the East Side Water Company, October 7, 1874

1875 "Council," Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 4, 1875, Page 4.
The proposed artesian well appropriation meets with opposition from an East Side Alderman.

1875 "Our Wise Men," Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 18, 1875, Page 4.
$2,000 voted to complete the Artesian Well.

1875 Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 11, 1875. Page 4.
The artesian well is now 1,390 feet deep, and the appropriation will pay for about 19 more feet. By next Tuesday another appropriation will be asked.  The new Council will be organized just in time to grant or refuse the request.

1875 "The Wyckoff Pipe," Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 15, 1875, Page 2.  Several testimonials.

1875 Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 23, 1875. Page 4.
Nothing is being done at the artesian well. Numerous people look down the hole to see if they can discover the $3,000.

1876 Annual Report of the Board of Trade of Minneapolis 1876
Page 20:  Water Works

1877 Annual Report of the Board of Trade of Minneapolis 1877
Pages 27-28:  Water Supply and Fire Protection

1878 "East Side Water Works," The Minneapolis Tribune, November 29, 1878, Page 4.

1878 Annual Report of the Board of Trade of Minneapolis 1878
Page 24:  Water Supply and Fire Protection

1881 Minneapolis, Engineering News, 8:433 (October 29, 1881)

1881 History of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis, by George E. Warner and Edward Duffield Neill
Page 420: in 1871, Joseph Miller began the manufacture of candies and ice cream.  His machinery is run by a twenty-four-inch hydraulic motor of one horse-power, furnished by the city water-works.
Page 490:  The city of Minneapolis was incorporated in the spring of 1867, and the next fall the Holly system of water works was introduced, and completed in the spring of 1868.  Two Holly pumps were put in, and about a mile of cement pipe was laid, at a cost of about $60,000.  The cement pipe was a failure, and in 1870 was replaced by cast-iron pipe.  During the latter year, the city purchased of J. B. Bassett the stone saw-mill at the head of the canal, and paid for it $18,000.  James Waters, then in charge, erected new pumping machinery with daily pumping capacity of two million gallons, and the Holly pumps were moved into the new quarters.  In 1880, the old rotary pumps were removed to make room for a new pump of four million gallons daily, making the present total capacity nine and one-one half million gallons per day.  There are eighteen and two-thirds miles of main pipe laid.

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

1883 "The Water Supply of Minneapolis," Bulletin of the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences 3:38-44 (March 6, 1883)

1883 Hand-Book of Minneapolis.  Prepared for the thirty-second annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, held in Minneapolis, Minn., August 15-22, 1883.
Page 86:  City Water Supply.  "Not only the quantity, but also the quality of water supplied by the city has been a subject of debate, for which there is, at present, but slender cause. Whilst the increase of the city's sewerage, pouring into the river, must prove at no distant day, an actual source of pollution to the water, and suggests the propriety of a further removal of the works to a place of more assured safety than they at present occupy, there is, as yet, no real ground for alarm."

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

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

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

1893 History of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Part 2, edited by Isaac Atwater.
Pages 805-807:  Chapter XXIV. Water Works, by Rufus J. Baldwin.

1894 "Mechanical Filters at New Orleans and Proposed Filter Plant at Minneapolis," Engineering News 32:174-175 (August 30, 1894)

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

1902 Annual Reports of the Registrar and Supervisor of Water Works of the city of Minneapolis for the year ending December 31, 1902.

1903  Annual Reports of the Registrar and Supervisor of Water Works of the city of Minneapolis for the year ending December 31, 1903.

1904 "The Water Supply of Minneapolis," by J. Frank Corbett, M.D., Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies 33(6):331-335 (December, 1904)

1905 The question of pure water for Minneapolis.

1908 "Eight-Center Water in Minneapolis," Public Service 5(5):141-143 (November, 1908)

1909 Report of Pure Water Commission, June 16, 1909.

1910 "A 20,000,000-Gal. Hypochlorite Water-Disinfecting Plant at Minneapolis, Minn. by J.A. Jensen, Engineering News. 63(14):391-2. (April 7, 1910)

1910 Report on an Improved Water Supply for the City of Minneapolis, by Rudolph Hering, F. H. Bass, J. F. Corbett

1914 Report on the Water Works Department of the City of Minneapolis, Minn, by Frederick Wilhelm Cappelen

1919 The Water Works of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota:  A Brief Historical Sketch and a Description of the Present Water Works

1923 History of Minneapolis Gateway to the Northwest
Page 155-160:  Public utilities

1984 "A Tale of Two Towers:  Washburn Park and Its Water Supply," by Thomas W. Balcom.  Minnesota History Magazine 49:19-28 (Spring 1984)

2012 Establishment of the Minneapolis Waterworks, 18671910, by Joseph Manulik

2017 Morris A. Pierce