Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States New Hampshire Bristol

Bristol, New Hampshire

Bristol was incorporated as a town in 1819.

The first waterworks was built by Warren White and others, who in 1862 installed a force pump and wheel on the lower end of the flume connected to the grist-mill on Central street, with four-inch pipes laid to Central Square and the junction of Central and Merrimack Street.

Voters approved establishment of a village fire district in 1871, which replaced the original pump in 1878 and upgraded the system.

Agitation for a better water works resulted in the incorporation of the Bristol Aqueduct Company in 1886, which built a gravity water system distributing water from Newfound lake through cement-lined wrought-iron pipes.

On June 12, 1947 the Town of Bristol voted to purchase the Bristol Aqueduct Company for $22,500.

Water is provided by the Town of Bristol, which has a good history page.



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

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

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

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

1904 History of the Town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire, Volume I - Annals, by Richard W. Musgrove.
Page 423:  Previous to 1858, Bristol village had no facilities to fight fire other than the water pail.  July 4, 1861, came the greatest conflagration in the history of the town, when the entire west side of Central square was
destroyed.  At the next town meeting, in March, 1862, it was
voted to adopt Chapter 116 of the Revised Statutes for the
purpose of forming a fire precinct of the village school districts.  A meeting of the voters of the precinct was held June 3, 1862, when H. B. Fowler was chosen moderator, and M. W. White, clerk. Fire wards were elected and steps taken looking to the organization of an engine company, and a cheap fire engine house was erected at the junction of South Main and High streets. This appears to have been the end of this effort. A little later, Warren White and others placed a force-pump and wheel at the lower end of the flume connected with the grist-mill on Central street, and laid four-inch iron pipe to Central square and to the Junction of Central and Merrimack streets. This afforded some protection for a limited area.
Pages 424-425:  In the summer of 1878, a new force-pump with a capacity of 750 gallons per minute replaced the old pump on Central street, and, in 1886, a new Hunt wheel took the place of the old wheel to drive the pump, greatly increasing its efficiency. This change cost $250. Later, the old pump was placed in the building now owned by Calley & Currier on the south side of
the river, and a pipe laid from it to the west side of South Main street. In 1889, the new force-pump was removed from the grist mill to the pulp-mill of the Train-Smith company, at the invitation of this company, and was connected with a 400-horse-power wheel. Four hundred feet of six-inch iron pipe was laid to connect this pump with the pipe already laid in Central street and Central square. This change greatly enlarged the capacity of this pump. That year, the present engine-house was built, 28 x 42 feet, two stories. The bell, presented by the Bristol Water Power company, is the same as hung in the belfry of the
old woolen-mill near the railroad station.
In 1885, the question of a water supply from Newfound lake, or some other source, was agitated. Meetings were held by the precinct to consider the matter, and a committee, consisting of John H. Brown, M. W. White, and B. F. Perkins, was appointed to investigate the subject and report. This committee reported in favor of a supply from the lake. This agitation resulted in the formation of the Bristol Aqueduct company in March, 1886, which put in a system of water works from the lake the following summer.
The precinct contracted with this company for water to supply twenty-five hydrants at an annual rental of thirty dollars each. This contract continued for ten years, during which time the number of hydrants was increased to thirty-three. At the end of this time, a difference of opinion existed between the precinct and the aqueduct company as to what the service was worth, and a new contract was not made till 1899. A contract was then signed under which the aqueduct company was to furnish water for thirty-three hydrants, for ten years, at twenty dollars per hydrant per year; the precinct to take water for
flushing sewers and sprinkling streets without extra charge.
Pages 426-427: The Bristol Aqueduct company was organized Mar. 31, 1886, with a capital of $20,000, divided into 400 shares of S50 each. The following were the incorporators : Josiah Minot, George M. Cavis, Cyrus Taylor, Richard W. Musgrove, Jeremiah A. Haynes, William A. Berry, Charles W. Fling, Clarence N. Merrill, Edward M. Drake, Benjamin F. Perkins, Frank P. Fields, David Mason, Ira A. Chase, Gustavus B. Sanborn.
The first annual meeting was held June 10, 1886, when the following directors were elected : G. M. Cavis, B. F. Perkins, Cyrus Taylor, W. A. Berry, R. W. Musgrove, I. A. Chase, C. W. Fling. B. F. Perkins was elected president; G. M. Cavis, treasurer, and I. A. Chase, secretary.
The pipe was laid in the summer of 1886, from the lake to the village by Goodhue & Birnie. under contract. John H. Brown represented the aqueduct company as superintendent, assisted by M. W. White and B. F. Perkins. The pipe laid was mostly sheet-iron and cement, and its durability has shown the wisdom of its use. Iron pipe was used from the lake to the gate-house, in crossing streams and in some other places. The size of the pipe used was fourteen inches from the intake in the lake to the gate-house ; from the gate-house to Union street, ten inches ; thence to Central square it is eight inches via Lake street, and six inches via North Main street. These two pipes unite at Central square. A six-inch pipe also crosses the river near the stable of John W. Wilbur & Co., to supply the territory south of the river. The remainder of the pipe is mainly four inches.
The water of Newfound lake is of exceptional purity, as has been demonstrated by analysis, and Bristol is favored with a water supply that is not surpassed by the most favored town or city in the state. Besides supplying the fire precinct with water for fire purposes, the company supplies two-thirds or more of the families of the village with water for domestic uses. The fall from the crest of the dam at the lake to Central square is 125 feet.
The present officers of this company are Karl G. Cavis, president ; secretary and treasurer, Marshall W. White ; directors, Karl G. Cavis, Benjamin F. Perkins, Marshall W. White, Frank P. Fields, Richard S. Danforth, Dr. Ferdinand A. Sellings, and Ira A. Chase. George M. Cavis was treasurer till his death in 1891, and Mr. White has since filled this position. Smith D. Fellows was superintendent till 1898, when he was succeeded by Ira B. Burpee, who still fills this position.

1912 Statistical Report, Volume 2, By New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission
Page 1382:  Bristol Aqueduct Company.  Date of incorporation:  April 3, 1886.  Incorporated under the general law of the State of New Hampshire.

2017 Morris A. Pierce