Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States New Hampshire Concord

Concord, New Hampshire

Concord was settled in 1725 and was originally named Rumford.     

The first water works in Concord was probably built in 1826 by Joseph Low, Thomas Chadbourne, and Porter Blanchard, who advertised for construction of an aquduct 150 rods in length, or about 2,475 feet.  No additional information has been found about this system, but Joseph Low was an incorporator of the 1829 Concord Aqueduct Association, whose charter does not mention an existing system.

The Concord Aqueduct Association was incorporated in 1829 by William Low, Jacob B. Moore, Stephen Brown, and Joseph Low and was "authorized and empowered to take water from any fountain or fountains in the vicinity of Concord Village in the County of Merrimack and to convey the same by subterranean pipes, or otherwise, to any house, or other place in said village."  The association did not hold their first meeting until May, 1831, and the next reference that has been found for this company is in 1845, when Joseph and William Low and Stephen Brown requested that a meeting of the association be called since one had not been held in about ten years.  At that time the three men held one-twentieth of the stock in the association.  No further information has been found about this company or system.

Amariah Pierce constructed an aqueduct to supply water to a distillery and other customers.  This was probably the Amariah Pierce who died on March 28, 1846 at the age of about 60.  Nathan Call succeeded in ownership of this system, and desirous of extending the works secured the incorporation of the Torrent Aqueduct Association in 1849.

The Torrent Aqueduct Association was incorporated in 1849 by Nathan Call, George Hutchins, John C. Wilson, Eliphalet Gale, William B. Parker, William Hopkins, and William Hart. This company expanded the earlier Amariah Pierce system and continued in service until the city bought it in 1873.

The Penacook Water Works was incorporated in 1855 by Joseph A. Gilmore, John Gass, Rufus Clement, Nathaniel B. Baker, Edward H. Rollins, Charles H. Norton, Stebbins H. Dumas and Cyrus Hill, "for the purpose of bringing water into the central portion of the city of Concord from Long Pond."

Agitation for a publicly-owned water system began in 1859, but did not come to pass until the early 1870s.  The city constructed a gravity system using cement-lined wrought-iron pipes and bought out the other aqueduct systems.  Water was first introduced into the city on January 14, 1873.

Water is provided by the City of Concord

1826 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, April 24, 1826, Page 3.
The subscribers will purchase materials, for an AQUEDUCT, to be constructed of white pine logs, from 2 to 16 feet long --12 inches diameter at the small end, exclusive of bark and sap,--to admit of a 4 inch bore,--the logs to be connected by seasoned white oak tubes 12 inches long, (a speciment of which may be seen)--the logs to be secured from splitting by iron hoops driven into the ends,--the ditch to be 4 feet deep in dry soil and about 2 feet in wet.  Other logs are wanted for lateral branches, not less than 8 inches in diameter, exclusive of bark and sap, to admit of a 2 inch bore, to be connected in the same manner as the others.
Separate proposals will be received until Wednesday, the 26th of April, for furnishing the logs,--boring the same, digging the ditch,--furnishing the connecting tubes,--and making the hoops.  The large logs will extend about 150 rods.  The work is expected to be completed in the month of May.  Persons wishing to congract for any or the whole of the above will call on either of the subscribers.  Joseph Low, Thomas Chadbourne, Porter Blanchard. Concord, April 23, 1826.

1829 An act to incorporate the Concord Aqueduct Association.  July 2, 1829.

1831 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, May 30, 1831, Page 3.
Concord Aqueduct Association.  Notice is hereby given to the members of the Association, that their frist meeting, or organization, under the act of incorporation, will be holden at the Columbian Hotel, in Concord, on Thursday, May 26th Inst. at 7 o'clock, P. M.  William Low, Jacob B. Moore, Stephen Brown, Joseph Low.  Concord, May 19, 1831.

1845 New Hampshire Statesmen and State Journal, July 18, 1845, Page 3.
To Arthur Fletcher, Esq., a Justice of the Peace for the county of Merrimack.
The subscribers, owners of one-twentieth part of the stock and property of the "Concord Aqueduct Association," represent that said corporation has failed to hold its annual meeting for the present year and some ten years last past.  They thereford request you to call a meeting of the members of said corporation to be held at Col. S. Brown's store, No. 129, Main street in Concord, in said county on Saturday the second day of August next, for the purpose of acting on the following subjects, to wit.
1st. To choose a chairmen to preside at said meeting.
2d. To choose directors, a clerk, treasurer, agent, and other officers of said corporation.
3d. To take suitable measures for revising and adopting additional By-laws and regulations to promote the object of said association.
4th. To transact any other business which may come before said meeting.
Joseph Low, Wm. Low, Stephen Brown. Concord, July 12, 1845.

The State of New Hampshire.-Merrimack, ss.
To Col. Stephen Brown, of Concord, in said county.
Whereas application has been made to me Arthur Fletcher, a justice of the peace for said county of Merrimack by the owners of one twentieth part of the stock and property of the "Concord Aqueduct Association," to call a meeting of the members of said corporation, for the purposes therein expressed.
You are therefore required to warn a meeting of said corporation to held at the time and place, and for the purposes mentioned in said application, by publishing a copy of said application and warrent in the New-Hampshire Statesman and State Journal a newspaper, printed at said Concord, at least fourteen days prior thereto.
And make return of this warrent at said time and peace of meeting. Arthur Fletcher, Justice of the Peace.  Dated this 14th day of July, 1845.

1846 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, March 26, 1846, page 3.
Deaths.  In this town, on Friday, the 20th inst., of inflamation of the lungs, Mr. Amariah Pierce, aged about 60.

1849 An act to incorporate the Torrent Aqueduct Association.   July 7, 1849.

1850 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, January 3, 1850, Page 3.
Torrent Aqueduct Association.  Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the stockholders in said corporation will be held at the Columbian Hotel, in Concord, on Saturday, January the 26th, inst., at 3 o'clock P. M. for the purpose of choosing officers for the ensuing year, and to transact any other business which may come before said meeting.  Attest, J. C. Wilson, Clerk. Concord, Jan 3, 1850.

1855 An act to incorporate the Penacook Water Works.  July 11, 1855.

1856 The Concord directory, containing the names and business of citizens in the compact part of the city, with a business key thereof, and also of societies, banks, insurance offices, &c., to which is added a business key of Fisherville, by David Watson
Page 158: H. M. Robinson, Proprietor of Waterville Aqueduct [display ad, this was probably Henry Martin Robinson (1811-1858), who operated a small water works in Concord from springs near Whites Park.]

1859 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, March 30, 1859, Page 3.
Deaths. In this city, March 23, Capt. Nathan Call, aged 86. To him are our citizens mainly indebted ... for the general introduction of pure water into the compact part of the city.

1861 New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, October 2, 1861, Page 2.
Thorough Drainage Needed.  No improvement in Concord is more needed fpr ihe health of the thickly settled part of the city, than deep and well-constructed common sewers down Centre, Park and School streets.  The residents west of Green street, as far as the foot of the hill, now comprise a very large portion of the population. They have neat neat and well-constructed dwellings, and much capital has been invested on land that thirty-five years ago was almost a swamp.  Indeed the first aqueduct ever constructed in Concord, as we recollect, was put down in logs by Amariah Peirce, and subsequently purchased by the late Capt. Nathan Call, one of the the most enterprising citizens Concord ever had. It came from the lower side of the old "Sand Hill," north of Centre street, on land then owned by Mrs. Mary Sargent, just below the fine residence of Judge Perley. Since that time a number of aqueducts have been constructed, the water being taken from the high land farther west.  Capt. Call's descendants still furnish us with most of our water, imperfect as is in the supply; and to the Call enterprise the citizens of the thickly settled part of Concord mainly indebted for what would otherwise be a serious drawback fo its prosperity.  There was once a proposition to bring Long Pond down to to town;  and then again to take the water from Contoocook river, four miles beyond, before valuable waer privileges at the West Parish and Fisherville had been secured by other parties, which then were cheap, but are now purchasable, probably, as a price higher than the cities authorities feel willing to pay.  Such an aqueduct must be bullt, however, some day, whatever the expense may be. And it will be.  It should have been long ago.  More property has already been lost by fire, for want of a proper supply of water, since our recollection, than would once have paid the estimated expense of building the proposed canal from the Contoocook river. It was surveyed twenty years ago by James Hayward, Esq., then an experienced engineer, and for many years subsequently the President of the Boston & Maine Railroad.  The route, as we recollect the survey, came down from Fisherville through the West Parish, (Ward 2,) ans passed below the new cemetery in the year of Richard Bradley, Esq.'s, residence, back of the State Prison, along the side of the hill to the residence of Elisha Morrill, and then to the Merrimack or Turkey river, near bow crossing, on the Concord Railroad, the constructino of which at that time had not been thought of.  But enough of the aqueduct projects.  What the people of Wards 5 and 6 now want, especially in the sickly season of August and September, is better drainage of the land between Green and Spring streets.  Two-thirds of the inhabitants south of "Smoky Hollow" are interested in this improvement.  Thoroughly constructed sewers through the streets we have named at the commencement of this article, are what is needed; and there could he no better time than the present to commence building one or more or them, before the winter sets in. We have many good, well-disposed, industrious laborers in our midst, who are out of work. Let them be cemployed.  We respectfully call the attention of our city authorities to the consideration of this

1867 An act in amendment of an act to incorporate the Torrent Aqueduct Association, approved July 7, 1849. June 28, 1867.

1868 Torrent Aqueduct Association certificate of stock, July 8, 1868

1871 An act to authorize the city of Concord to establish water-works in said city.  June 30, 1871.

1882 "Concord," Engineering News, 9:83 (March 11, 1882)

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

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

1888 "Address of John Kimball, President of the Board of Water Commissioners, at the Banquet, Jan. 20, 1888, Celebrating the Introduction of water into Penacook," from The Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Concord for the year ending December 31, 1887.  A good history of the water systems in Concord.

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

1890 "The Water Supply," from The Leading Business Men of Concord, and Vicinity, Embracing Penacook, East and West Concord

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

1891 An act for the enlargement and extension of the system of water-works in the city of Concord.  April 7, 1891.

1893 "Test of a Worthington Triple Expansion Pumping Engine at the Concord (N. H.) Water-Works, Engineering News, 30:230 (September 21, 1893)

1896 "Water Supply," from History of Concord, New Hampshire: From the Original Grant in Seventeen Hundred and Twenty-five to the Opening of the Twentieth Century, Volume 1, prepared under the supervision of the City History Commission, James O. Lyford, Editor.

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

2015 "Water System Profile: City of Concord, New Hampshire," by Marco Philippon, from Journal of the New England Water Works Association, 129(4):255-259. (December 2015)

2015 Morris A. Pierce