Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Joplin, Missouri

Joplin was incorporated as a city in 1873.

The Joplin Water Company was incorporated April 9, 1881 by Patrick Murphy and Oliver H. Picher of Joplin.  the company built a reservoir system that began service on November 1, 1881..

The Joplin Water Works Company was incorporated February 6, 1893.

The company was bought by the American Water Works and Guarantee Company in April, 1899.

Water is provided by Missouri American Water.

1880 Ordinance No. 29 to provide for the supplying the streets, lanes, alleys, squares and public places in the city of Joplin, Mo., and for the contracting with Paul B. Perkins, of Geneseo, Ill., his heirs, associates and assigns, for the purpose of supplying with water such streets, lanes, alleys, square and public places.  December 21, 1880.  Includes rates

1882 Joplin, Engineering News, 9:179 (June 3, 1882)

1881 The Evening Spy (Kansas City, Kansas), April 16, 1881, Page 2.
The Joplin, Mo., water company has been incorporated with a capital stock of $127,000.

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

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

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

1893 An Ordinance Waiving the right of the City of Joplin, Missouri, to purchase the works of the Joplin Water Company for the period of ten years.  January 5, 1893.

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

1899 "Joplin Water Works Sold," Salina Herald, April 28, 1899, Page 2.
Joplin, Mo., April 26. - The American Water Works Company, which owns water works in thirty American cities, has purchased the Joplin water works for a sum said to be about $500,000.

1912 A History of Jasper County, Missouri, and Its People, Volume 1, by Joel Thomas Livingston
Pages 257-258:  The Water Works.
As mentioned in our section devoted to the 'seventies that the great majority of the people who came to Joplin in its early day did not expect to remain longer than to make a quick fortune. Consequently the early improvements were not of a permanent character. The houses were quickly put together, but few people dug wells or cisterns, and the main water supply was from the water wagon. S. O. Ellis, of East Joplin, had a deep well from which he secured a fine supply of water which, was sold to his customers, but the great majority of water haulers obtained their supply from the mining pumps. With these conditions the establishment of a water works system was hailed with delight.
Shortly after his election as mayor W. E. Maynard appointed a committee of citizens and the city council to act jointly and to investigate and report a feasible plan to build a water works system for Joplin.
The committee consisted of L. A. Pilmore, P. Murphy, J. Hewitt, O. H. Picher, A. B. McCarty, Dan Collins, C. J. Lewis, P. E. Blow, W. L. Harris, and A. C. Blakey.
The committee held a number of sessions and during their settings listened to three propositions by C. E. Gray of St. Louis, Charles H. Puller of Decatur, Paul B. Perkins of Geneseo, Illinois. The one submitted by Mr. Perkins seemed the most feasible and on the 22d of December, 1880, the committee submitted its report to the city council recommending that a franchise be granted to that gentleman and that the system of water works proposed by him be adopted.
The matter was submitted to a vote of the people and at a special election held on January 11, 1881, was carried by a tremendous majority 1,229 votes being cast in favor of the proposition and only 31 against it.
The Joplin Water Works Company, successors of Paul B. Perkins, was incorporated April 9, 1881, with a capital of $124,000. The officers of the company were 0. H. President, president ; P. Murphy, vice president and treasurer; L. P. Cunningham, secretary, and C. J. Lewis, superintendent.
The works were built during the summer and fall of 1881 ; a public test, which proved highly satisfactory, was made October 20th, and the plant was formally accepted by the city and opened to the public on November 1st.
The building of the water works was perhaps the most important event of the 'eighties and marked the beginning of the passing from an overgrown mining camp to an up-to-date city. With their building came a modem fire department and adequate fire protection. It lessened insurance rates and supplied the city with a quantity of fresh water from beautiful spring-fed Shoal creek. It made possible a water supply for factories, mills and mining plants. In short, it paved the way for a greater Joplin.
The building of the water works also gave a confidence in the stability of the city and was one of the factors in its real establishment. In 1882, the first year after the construction of the water works, some $500,000 was spent in buildings of various kinds not much for today, but then a considerable sum.

2020 Morris A. Pierce