Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States New York Amsterdam

Amsterdam, New York

Amsterdam was first settled around 1710

The Amsterdam Aqueduct Association was incorporated in 1820 by Benedict Arnold, Marcus T. Reynolds, and Welcome U. Chase.  This company built a system that served families on the west side of the Chuctenunda Creek. A second company was formed to supply water to the east side of the creek but nothing else is known about it.

The Amsterdam Water Works Company was incorporated in 1865 for the improvement of Chuctenunda Creek, but did not distribute water.

The village of Amsterdam organized a water supply system in 1881 using a reservoir and gravity supply.  This system used salt-vitrified pipe to reduce costs, which was relatively unusual.

Water service is provided by the City of Amsterdam.

1820 An act to incorporate the Amsterdam Aqueduct Association, April 7, 1820.

1865 An act to incorporate the Amsterdam Water Works Company. March 17, 1865

1872 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to incorporate the Amsterdam Water-works Company," passed March seventeenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-five. May 6, 1872.

1881 An act to provide for a supply of water in the village of Amsterdam, and to exempt said village from the provisions of chapter one hundred and eighty-one of the laws of eighteen hundred and seventy-five.
April 14, 1881

1883 Amsterdam, from Engineering News, 10:364 (August 4, 1883).

1888 “The use of Salt Glazed Vitrified Pipe,” by Stephen. E. Babcock, C.E., from Proceedings of the Annual American Water Works Association 8:20-46 Paper read at the Cleveland Convention of American Water-Works Association, April 17, 1888.  Description and discussion of clay pipe installed at Amsterdam and Little Falls.

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

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

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

1892 History of Montgomery County: Embracing Early Discoveries, the Advance of Civilization, the Labors and Triumphs of Sir William Johnson, the Inception and Development of Manufactures, with Town and Local Records, Also Military Achievements of Montgomery Patriots, Volume 1 by Washington Frothingham
Page 190: Amsterdam Water Supply. — In 1820 the legislature incorporated the Amsterdam Aqueduct Company, of which Marcus T. Reynolds, Benedict Arnold and Welcome U. Chase were the principal factors, and whose design was to furnish a supply of pure and wholesome water to the families living on the west side of the Chuctenunda. Also at a later day another effort was made to establish a water supply system on the east side of the creek, and while both enterprises were rewarded with moderate success, the population increased so rapidly that the supply soon fell far short of the demand. This system, however, together with numerous wells throughout the village, was the only water for domestic purposes used in Amsterdam prior to 1881.
In the year last mentioned the legislature passed an act creating the "Water Commissioners of Amsterdam," appointing to this office Stephen Sanford, John Kellogg, Davis W. Shuler, Henry Greene, Gardiner Blood, John McClumpha, jr., Walter R. McCowatt, Augustus Clarke and John McFarlan to serve, three of them for three years, three for four years and three for five years, as they should determine by ballot or otherwise. On the 13th of May, the commissioners organized by the election of Stephen Sanford, president ; John McClumpha, secretary ; and Davis W. Shuler.
For the purpose of procuring an abundant supply of water, a reservoir was constructed on the hill north of the village, and was fed by the Rogers and McQueen creeks. The dam is 410 feet long and 50 feet high, and stands on a foundation of solid rock. The reservoir covers eighteen acres and has a capacity of more than 80,000,000 gallons. From the reservoir the water is conducted by pipes extending throughout the city.  The fire department has the use of 195 hydrants, located at convenient points on the streets. The main pipes extend through twenty miles of street, and the total cost of the water works was about $300,000. The elevation of the reservoir above Main street is nearly 300 feet, and the pressure on the mains is regulated by valves. The members of the board of water commissioners are as follows: James R. Snell, president;  John I. Christman, secretary ; William J. Taylor, treasurer ; Dr. William H. Robb, John Kellogg, Middleton Warnick, Thomas F. Kennedy, Robert Blood, Miles Cooline. A. H. De Graff, superintendent.

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

1973 Outlines of history, Montgomery County, State of New York [1772-1972] by Hugh P. Donlon
Page 89:  The Amsterdam Aqueduct Association that began operations in 1820 was privately financed for sale of water and distribution was made with use of hollow logs.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce