Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Southwestern States
Missouri Hannibal

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal was incorporated as a city in 1845.

The Hannibal Water Works Company was incorporated in 1860 by William P. Samuel and his associates, but did not build anything.

The Hannibal Water Company was , February 1880 Construction engineer was Thomas N. Boutelle and the contractor was Carroll E. Gray, Jr. of Chicago.

The city purchased Hannibal Water Company in 1913 for $301,346.65.

Water is provided by the city of Hannibal.

1860 An act to incorporate the Hannibal Water Works Company.  January 4, 1860.

1882 Hannibal, Engineering News, 9:67 (February 25, 1882)

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

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

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

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

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

1905 A mirror of Hannibal : containing a most complete and authentic history of the city, by C P Greene, Thomas H Bacon, Sidney J Roy
The water supply of the city of Hannibal is inexhaustible, it being taken from the Mississippi river. The water works plant is owned and operated by a corporation, the Hannibal Water Company. The pumping station is located on the river one mile above the city. It is excellently equipped with modern machinery of ample capacity, consisting mainly of one 250 H. P. steam boiler of the internal firing type, and two horizontal tubular boilers of 100 H. P. capacity each; also one duplex Blake pump, having a daily pumping capacity of 1,500,000 gallons; one Allis compound condensing pumping engine, having a daily pumping capacity of 2,500,000 gallons; and one Worthington vertical, triple expansion pumping engine, having a daily pumping capacity of 4,000,000 gallons. Its filtering appliances are located at the pumping station. The works comprise one storage reservoir of 1,500,000 gallons impounding capacity, and one storage reservoir with two alternating compartments of 16,000,000 gallons impounding capacity.
The equipment of the plant aggregates a pumping capacity of 8,000,000 gallons daily service, and a storage capacity of 17,500,000 gallons. The gravity pressure on the delivery mains from the high localities of the reservoirs ranges from 100 toi 60 pounds to the square inch, according to altitude, making an excellent domestic and fire pressure in all parts of the city. There are practically three delivery mains into the city. There are twenty-one miles of delivery pipes, and one hundred and six double fire hydrants. The water as delivered to the customer is clear and wholesome.  The water rates are reasonable, and the policy of the company in extending mains and service pipes is liberal.
The Hannibal Water Company, whose offices are located in the Missouri Guarantee Building, operates in Hannibal one of the best equipped and managed water stations in the country. Mr. C. J. Lewis, one of Hannibalís leading men, is at the head of this company and has done much to promote its growth and add to its satisfactory service. Mr. Charles G. Price is also associated with the company and is most thoroughly experienced, as is Mr. Lewis, in all details of the business, from beginning to end.

1913 In the matter of the Application of the Hannibal Water Company and the City of Hannibal, Missouri for an order authorizing the sale of the water works and system, and other property of said Hannibal Water Company to the City of Hannibal.  Approved September 15, 1913.

1938 "A History of Hannibal's Utility Service," Hannibal Courier-Post, 100th Anniversary Edition
Water Plant Built in 1879
The original water plant was built in 1879 and consisted of one Blake pump with a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons of water in 24 hours, and two steam boilers of 100 horsepower capacity.
The distribution system consisted of a reservoir with a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons of water and 10 miles of cast iron pipe. This distribution system was extended from time to time, until it consisted, in 1913, of 24 miles of cast iron mains, ranging from four to 14 inches in diameter. In 1913 there were 121 fire hydrants in use. There were 2,946 service pipe connections in 1913.
The machinery at the water plant was also improved from time to time. In 1895, a vertical compound condensing Corliss crank and fly wheel pumping engine, with a daily capacity of 2,500,000 gallons, was installed. In 1904, a Worthington vertical triple expansion, duplex, condensing double acting 4,000,000 gallon pumping engine was installed.
In 1913 the city of Hannibal purchased the water plant, the citizens voting on September 1 of that year a bond issue of $360,000 for the purpose of purchasing the entire property of the Hannibal Water Co. Of this amount, $301,346.65 was used for the purchase of property, the remainder being used for the extension of water mains and other improvements in the service system. The property purchased in 1913 included little of what is in the department today. The old steam pumping system is long since obsolete and the filtration system did not exist. The only treatment of water was by crude methods.
The steam pumping engine was done away with in 1924. In this year on May 1, the citizens of Hannibal voted a $400,000 bond issue to improve the water department. In place of the steam pumping plant, a modern motor driven pumping plant operated with current from the light plant, as installed. By installing the new electrically driven pumping plant, the board of public works did away with the need of buying coal to operate the plant, using electrical energy in the pumping of water, this being done at hours when the load on the light plant was lightest. This created a means cutting down the expense of operation.
A filtration plant, outstanding for a city the size of Hannibal, was also installed in 1924. This great improvement, a modern rapid sand filtration plant, was installed in Riverview Park, near the reservoir. The city also employed a city chemist and put him in charge of the filtration plant.
Included in the improvements during 1924 was the erection of two storage towers at two of the highest points in the city, one being erected on Grape street in the south part of the city, the other at the intersection of Pleasant and North Hayden streets. Additional water mains were also installed during the improvements in 1924. Within a few years the city had 45 miles of water mains ranging in size from 4 to 20 inches. There have been two bond issues in interest of the city water plant, the first for $360,000 in 1913, primarily for the purchase of the plant, and the second for $400,000 in 1924, for improvements. This total amount of $760,000 has been entirely paid off.
The original city water system had practically no water meters, the consumers being on a flat service. During the past seven years meters have been installed for some 75 percent of the water consumers in the city. This has resulted in a large reduction of water waste in the city.
Improvement work in the water system has continued since the last bond issue in 1924, these improvements having been financed by the surplus earnings of the department. The total amount of money spent on improvements in the water system during the past six years is $142,949.89. The operating costs of the water department, like that of the light plant, has included an amount for depreciation The depreciation charged against the plant in the operating expenses last year was $19,039.
Among the most recent improvements of the water plant is a huge reservoir with a capacity of 6,000,000 gallons. The city has 284 fire hydrants as compared with 121 in use in the city when it took over the plant in l9l3.
Prior to 1913, there was a different superintendent for each of the light and water departments. When in 1913 the city took over the water department, and the light and water were then both municipally controlled, one superintendent has been in charge.

1986 Hannibal, too: historic sketches of Hannibal and its neighbors, by J Hurley Hagood and Roberta Roland Hagood

© 2020 Morris A. Pierce