Documentary History of American Water-works

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Southwestern States
Missouri Sedalia

Sedalia, Missouri

Sedalia was incorporated as a city in 1860.

The city built a Holly water works system that was inaugurated on October 17, 1872. The city faced significant financial problems and advertised for a firm to buy the system in 1887.  The successful bidder was John B. Quigley of St. Louis, who had incorporated the Inter-State Gas Company with Theodore Plate in 1885 to built gas works.  Shortly after Quigley had received the Sedalia franchise, he and Plate changed the name to the Inter-State Gas and Water-works Company, and sold the Sedalia system to it.  Shortly thereafter the system was re-sold to the Sedalia Water Company, which had been incorporated in April by Quigley, Plate and others. Quigley was injured in a fireworks accident in  July 1890 and Plate became president of the company, but after Quigley recovered he accused his former partner of financial irregularities and secured an injunction against his participation in the company. 

Quigley incorporated the Sedalia Water & Light Company in June 1893, which then bought the water company.  He sold his stock in the firm in 1898 as he was engaged in many other activities.   The Sedalia Water & Light Company was foreclosed by its mortgage holder in 1906 and sold at a receiver's sale.  The new owners reorganized the company as the City Water Company of Sedalia and it operated until 1927, when it was reorganized as the Sedalia Water Company.  It was sold in 1929 to the General Water Works and Electric Corporation, which went into receivership in late 1932 and was reorganized as the General Water, Gas & Electric Corporation, which was itself owned by the International Utilities Corporation. 

The Sedalia Water Company was sold to the Arkansas Municipal Water Company of Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1943. The Arkansas company changed its name to the General Waterworks Corporation on April 17, 1945.

On February 19, 1957, voters approved a $2.7 million revenue bond issue to buy the system and improve it by a vote of 4,787 to 620.

The city water system was purchased from the Sedalia Water Company on April 1, 1957 for $2.114 million.

Water is provided by the city of Sedalia

1872 "Our Water Works," The Sedalia Democrat, October 18, 1872, Page 4.

1882 Sedalia, Engineering News, 9:39 (February 4, 1882)

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

1882 The History of Pettis County, Missouri: Including an Authentic History of Sedalia,
Pages 505-506:  The Water Works
On March 3, 1871, the following resolution was brought up before the Library Association:
Resolved, That a committee of five, of which the President of the Board shall be Chairman, be appointed to confer with the City Council in regard to the most feasible plan of supplying the City of Sedalia with water.
The following gentlemen were appointed on the committee: Geo. G. Vest, Col. R. S. Stevens, Abram Meyer and James O. Ives. These gentlemen presented the matter to the City Council in such a favorable light that the plan at once secured the approval of the Council. Mayor Thos. J. Montgomery, B. H. Ingram, C. G. Taylor and Wesley Kipp were appointed a committee to confer with the Library Committee.
The result of these conferences was that on May 12,1871, a delegation of the most prominent citizens, accompanied by Mr. Keep, the Chief Engineer of the Holly Water Works Co., of Lockport, N. Y., visited Flat Creek, three miles south of town to examine its facilities for furnishing water.
The examination was so satisfactory that a special committee consisting of Col. Stevens, J. O. Ives, C. M. Walker, A. Y. Hull and D. H. Smith were appointed to submit a report to the Council and Library Association. The report was made and was eminently satisfactory.
Col. A. D. Jaynes was then appointed to visit the principal cities which had the Holly Water Works system, and to report on its practical workings. During the summer Col. Jaynes performed this duty with rare judgment and promptness. His report was so favorable that the City Council at once expressed a desire to confer with the heads of the company.
On Sept. 15, 1871, Holly and Keep, representing the Holly System, appeared before the City Council and explained their whole system and the probable cost of erecting suitable works for Sedalia.
A proposition to subscribe $100,000 to build the works was submitted to a vote of the people. It was carried, and on Oct. 2, 1871, an ordinance authorizing the issue of $100,000 in city bonds was passed. Oct. 11, 1871, the contract for digging trenches for the mains was let to Wm. Russell and C. M. A. Chaney. Twenty acres of land on Flat Creek was purchased by the city for the site of the works. All necessary contracts were made and the work pushed with rapidity. In August, 1872, the water works machinery was received. In September, 1872, they were up and ready to be tested. The works were put to a very severe trial. About the middle of September there was a grand demonstration in honor of the completion of the works. By Jan. 1, 1873, there were three miles of main pipe and five miles of street pipe furnishing water to the city. From that time on, foot after foot has been laid, month by month, and year after year, until now the water mains extend from Sicher's Park on the west to the Missouri Pacific Round-house on the east, a distance of nearly two miles, and for a mile through the city from north to south. In 1880 a reserve reservoir was erected at the foot of Ohio street near Seventeenth, with a capacity of 200,000 gallons. It cost $5,000.
In the fall of 1881 the work of constructing a dam of solid masonry across Flat Creek to make a larger reservoir of water was begun. The dam was completed and tested on May 27, 1882. The closing of the sluice gates of the dam caused the bed of the stream to fill with water of an average depth of six feet to a point nearly two miles above the dam. The dam will cost when fully completed about $10,000. The city now has a certain supply of water large enough for a place of 50,000 inhabitants.

1883 Engineering News 10:35 (January 20, 1883)
Sedalia (Mo.) Water Works.- G. B. Simmonds, for a number of years Master Mechanic and General Superintendent of the M. K. & T. car shop in that city, presented to the City Council a proposition to take hold of the Sedalia Water-works, furnish them throughout with all necessary new machinery, and furnish the city with a full supply of water for ten years for the sum of $10,000 per annum.  The present running expenses of the water-works are about $10,000 per year, and in the past two years the large sum of $15,000 has been expended on additions and repairs.  It is quite probable that public sentiment will favor the proposition.

1885 "The Water Works," The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, June 9, 1885, Page 8. | also here |
Proposal of the National Water Works Company to the board of aldermen of Sedalia.

1885 "Illinois Corporations," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 21, 1885, Page 1.
Springfield, Ill., August 21. A license of incorporation was issued to-day by the Secretary of State to the Inter-State Gas Company of East St. Louis, to construct buildings and necessary machinery and to manufacture gas for illuminating and heating purposes.  Capital stock $50,000.  Incorporators, J. B. Quigley, J. C. Wands and Theodore Plate.

1887 An Ordinance to provide for a supply of water for the City of Sedalia, and the inhabitants thereof.  March 9, 1887.
Quigley & Co., of St. Louis for twenty-one years.

1887 Fire and Water (March 26, 1887)
The name of the Interstate Gas Company of St. Louis has been changed to the Interstate Gas and Water-works Company and the capital increased to $150,000.

1887 "Sedalia Water-Works," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 13, 1887, Page 3.
Sedalia, Mo., April 12, - Articles of agreement of the Sedalia Water-works Company were filed this morning in the office of the Recorder of Deeds. The capital stock of the corporat1on is S200,000, divided into 2,000 shares of the par value of $100 each, all paid up.
The shareholders, all of St. Louis, are as follows: William B. Quigley, 500 shares; Theodore Plate, 500 shares; John B. Quigley, 499 shares; Lewis P. Andrews, 250 shares; Albert Schenck, 250 shares and A. A. Quigley, 1 share.  The Board of Directors for the first year are:  W. B. Quigley, Theodore Plate, Lewis P. Andrews, Albert Schenck and John B. Quigley. The company is formed for the purpose of acquiring the the franchise for the erection and operation of water-works in the city of Sedalia, and is to extend for a period of fifty years.

1887 "Changed Hands," The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, May 3, 1887, Page 8.
Quigley & Co. Pay the Purchase Money for the Sedalia Water Works.
J. B. Quigley and Theodore Plate, of the Quigley water works company, were in the city yesterday and paid into the city treasury $95,000 purchase money for the Sedalia water works and franchise for the next twenty-five years, preparatory to taking formal charge of the same to-morrow morning.

1887 The Engineering Record 15:664 (May 21, 1887)
Sedalia, Mo. - The Inter-State Gas and Water-Works Company, of St. Louis, have bought the water-works at $100,000

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

1889 The Sedalia Brewing Company, Appellant, v. The Sedalia Water Works Company, Respondent, 34 Mo. App. 49,  February 4, 1889, Kansas City Court of Appeals.

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

1891 "Quigley's Stock," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 15, 1891, Page 4.

1891 "Perpetually Enjoined," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 8, 1891, Page 3.
Decision of a Big Suit in Which Several St. Louisans Were Interested.
The Sedalia Water Works Case at Last Disposed of.
Sedalia, Mo., October 7. -

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

1893 "Sedalia Water and Light Company," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, January 7, 1893, Page 4.
Sedalia, Mo., January 6. - Articles of incorporation of the Sedalia Water and Light Company were filed with the County Recorder of Pettis county to-day.  The company has a paid-up capital stock of $50,000. J. B. Quigley, well known in St. Louis, is President and chief promoter of the enterprise. The company virtually absorbs the old Sedalia Water Works Company, of which Mr. Quigley was also President, and over which so much litigation resulted in the past year. Extensive improvements will be made in the Sedalia water system. The other incorporators are L. P. Andrews and S. F. Rose. of Sedalia.

1893 "General Bond News," United States Investor and Bond Promoter 3(8):12 (February 25, 1893)
Sedalia Water & Light Company.

1893 "Death of Theodore Plate," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 2, 1893, Page 8.

1895 "Great Big Money Is In Sedalia's Deal," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 24, 1895, Page 1.
Portrait and biography of J. B. Quigley, The Head of the Capitol Removal Project.

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

1899 "It would help his business," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 19, 1899, Page 7.
Why Quigley Wants to Be Water Commissioner.

1906 "$600,000 Capital," The Sedalia Evening Democrat, November 22, 1906, Page 1.
The "City Water Company of Sedalia," Missouri.  Articles of incorporation.

1907 "The Mercantile Trust Company of New York, Complainant, vs. Sedalia Water Works Company et al., Defendants," Sedalia Weekly Democrat, January 18, 1907, Page 4.
Receiver's sale on mortgage foreclosure.

1907 Moody's Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities
Page 1673:  SEDALIA WATER & LIGHT CO.-—Inc. Jan 6, 1893, in M0. to supply water and electric light. Franchise perpetual.

1907 "City Water Company," The Sedalia Democrat-Sentinel, March 15, 1907, Page 11.
Is the new name of the old Sedalia Water and Light Company.  Mr. L. P. Andrews is manager.

1910 Poor's Manual of Industrials: Manufacturing, Mining, and Miscellaneous Companies
Page 125:  City Water Co. of Sedalia, Mo. - Incorporated Nov. 23, 1906, under the laws of Missouri, and purchased properties of Sedalia Water Works Co. and its successor, Sedalia Water & Light Co.  Franchise extends to March 9, 1928, and by 21 years thereafter if city does not exercise option to purchase by appraisal.

1916 In re City Water Company of Sedalia, 4 Mo. P. S. C. 140, April 3, 1916, Public Service Commission of Missouri

1918 The State ex rel. City of Sedalia, Appellant, v. Public Service Commission et al, 275 Mo. 201, July 5, 1918, Supreme Court of the State of Missouri

1920 The State of Missouri at the relation of The City of Sedalia, plaintiff in error, v. The Public Service Commission of Missouri, Etc., 251 U.S. 547, March 1, 1920, United States Supreme Court.  Dismissed for want of jurisdiction

1921 City Water Company of Sedalia v. City of Sedalia, Appellant, 288 Mo. 411, June 23, 1921, Supreme Court of Missouri

1921 "Water Supply of Sedalia, Mo.," Fire and Water Engineering 70(14) (October 5, 1921)
The water works of Sedalia, Mo., owned and operated by the City Water Company of Sedalia, supply water to all closely built territory within the city limits. The original works, built by the city in 1871 and 1872, were purchased by a local company in 1887 and by the present owners in 1907.
The original franchise was granted in 1887 and was amended in 1898, 1903 and 1906. As bearing on fire protection, the franchise, as last amended, provides that the company shall at all times give ample supply to all hydrants and maintain a pressure on the system so that a gage at the city hall, at Osage and Second Streets, shall show 40 pounds at all times; shall extend its mains as directed by the city; shall install 10 hydrants for each mile of mains laid and shall receive an annual rental of $30 for each hydrant; shall raise pressures to 140 pounds at the pumping station on the receipt of all alarms of fire for a period of 5 years from 1906 or until such time as the population has exceeded 25,000. The company is now operating under the regulation of the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Missouri, which has authorized an increased hydrant rental, first to $45 and later to $55. The officers of the company are: President, Hunter Wykes; Vice-President, Edgar L. Street; Secretary, Treasurer and Manager, L. P. Andrews, who has had charge of the plant since 1907. There are nine regular emplovees, two on maintenance and operation, five at the pumping station and two in the office.
The supply, taken from Flat Creek, about three miles south of the business center of the city, is raised by low-lift pumps to a sedimentation basin from which it flows by gravity through a filter plant and is pumped directly into the system by high-lift pumps. Distribution is in one service. Flat Creek, with a watershed covering about 150 square miles, furnishes the usual supply. This is augmented when necessary by water from an impounding reservoir at Lake Tebo, about seven miles above the pumping station with an estimated capacity of 250,000,000 gallons. There are also six wells equipped with deep well pumps with a combined estimated yield of about 1,000,000 gallons a day, which could be used in emergency; the pumps were at the time this report was written partially dismantled.
The intake gallery, located on the bank of the creek, is 5 by 50 feet, built of concrete and timber, with outer side made up of 1 1/2-inch iron rods spaced with washers 1/4 inch apart and forming a screen. The low-lift pumps discharge through separate 12-inch connections to a single 24-inch line to the sedimentation basin, located about 100 feet west of the filter house; the basin was built in 1892 and covers an area of 17 acres and has an average depth of 11 feet with a total capacity of 53,000,000 gallons and an available capacity of about 10,000,000 gallons above the flow line of the coagulating basin.
The coagulating basin, adjoining the filter house, constructed in 1913 and built in excavation with reinforced concrete walls and bottom, is in one basin 46 by 84 feet and 18 feet deep and has a capacity of 375,000 gallons, only about 125,000 gallons of which is available. The supply flows by gravity from the coagulating basin to six rapid sand filters with a combined capacity of 3,000,000 gallons a day. The filters cannot be by-passed.
The pumping equipment consists of two Alberger low-lift, single-stage centrifugal pumps, each direct connected to 11 by 9-inch steam engine, 5,000,000 gallons capacity; one Allis-Chalmers high-lift, horizontal, cross-compound, condensing, crank and flywheel, duplex, double-acting pump, 5,000,000 gallons; and one Laidlaw-Dunn-Gordon high-lift, horizontal, tandem-compound, condensing, duplex, double-acting pump, 2,500,000 gallons.
The reservoir of the Ravenna, Neb., water department is to have a new steel and concrete roof and the addition of about ten feet of reinforced concrete, which will take the place of the three feet of brick which is now on top of the reservoir walls. This will make a net increase of seven feet in the depth of the reservoir, increasing its capacity. The reservoir is sixty feet in diameter, occupying a hill top site on a farm just outside the northern limits of the city. It had a theoretical capacity of 200,000 gallons, but cracks in the upper walls reduced the actual capacity to about 125,000 gallons.

1924 "Commission Orders Betterments at Sedalia," Fire and Water Engineering 76(24) (December 10, 1924)
The Missouri state public service commission has issued an order that the City Water Company of Sedalia, Mo., make improvements to its property in order to increase the water supply and better the service. The order also authorizes the company to increase its rates twenty-one per cent, and its hydrant rentals to $75 a year. The new rates will become effective December 1, 1924, and will provide revenue for the contemplated improvements.
Sedalia’s present water supply source is an artificial lake created by the construction of a dam across a branch of a creek. The present supply from this source has become inadequate because of the cultivation of the watershed of the creek and the loss of water stored in the lake through evaporation and seepage.
The commission’s order to increase the supply requires that the company construct a dam on Spring Fork and a reservoir, together with a 20-inch pipe line from the dam to the pumping station. Other requirements call for the raising of Flat Creek dam and laying reinforced mains in its distribution system. Also the purchase of a new pump, boiler and accessories is advised. The total cost of the various betterments is estimated at $534,000. Completion of the improvements should be made not later than October 1, 1925.
The valuation of the Sedalia Water Company’s property (exclusive of the proposed improvements) is fixed at $742,500 by the commission.

1926 "Motion Pictures and Lecture on Water Plant," The Sedalia Democrat, November 4, 1926, Page 9.
Presented Before American Water Works Association meeting held in St. Louis.

1926 "Water Company Changes its Name," The Sedalia Democrat, November 16, 1926, Page 1.
City Water Company name changed to Sedalia Water Company.

1929 "Permits Asked on Stock Holdings," The Sedalia Democrat, May 23, 1929, Page 1.
The General Waterworks and Electric Corporation, a Delaware corporation, today applied to the public service commission to hold more than 10 percent of the capital stock of the Sedalia Water Company and the Capital City Water Company.

1929 "Water Companies of 2 Cities Sold," Moberly Weekly Monitor, June 27, 1929, Page 1.
Delaware Corporation to Pay Big Price at Sedalia and Jefferson City.  "Excessive," order of commission says.

1933 Poor's Financial Records:  Public Utility Manual
Page 2619:  Sedalia Water Company, Incorporated November 26, 1926 and on January 15, 1927, acquired the entire water works property formerly owned and operated by the City Water Company of Sedalia, which latter company was incorporated Nov. 23, 1906. The physical property consists of artificial and natural storage.

1935 "Former St. Louisan Dies At Lebanon," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 19, 1935, Page 13.
John B. Quigley, 79, Once Interested in Railroad Construction Here.

1943 "Application to buy Water Company Stock," The Sedalia Democrat, June 15, 1943, Page 1.

1943 "Sanction Sale Proposed of Water Plant," The Sedalia Democrat, August 12, 1943, Page 10.
No change in management or policy planned.
General Water, Gas and Electric Company of Delaware sells Sedalia Water Company to the Arkansas Municipal Water Company of Pine Bluff, Ark. To pay $153,100 for 11,807 share of the 11,850 outstanding shares.

1957 "Council Favors Buying Water Company," The Sedalia Democrat, January 8, 1957, Page 1.
Would Set Price at $2,114,000 Financed by Bonds

1957 "City Council Ratifies Acts on Water Co.," The Sedalia Democrat, April 2, 1957, Page 1.
Sedalia is Now Sole Owner of Utility

1960 "Waterworks Up Out of Creek Into Modernity," The Sedalia Democrat, October 16, 1960, Page 10.

2013 Legendary Locals of Sedalia, Missouri, by Rebecca Carr Imhauser
Page 21:  Lewis P. Andrews.  Sedalia's public water supply dates to 1872, when the city completed its $120,000 waterworks plant on Flat Creek.  Lewis P. Andrews was president and manager of the Sedalia Water Company from I900 to his death in I939. Educated as an engineer, he began his career with the railroad.  He also built waterworks and electric plants in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Mexico.  (includes portrait)

2018 "City of Sedalia: Water System Improvements," by Martin Ghafoori, The Missouri Municipal Review 83(3):10-11 (May/June 2018)

© 2020 Morris A. Pierce