Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Canandaigua, New York

Canandaigua was settled in the 1790s.

The village of Canandaigua built a water system in 1816 that used pump logs made by Joel Ackley, as shown in the following advertisement from 1824:

Ontario Repository., March 17, 1824, Page 3

This system served the commmunity until the Canandaigua Water Works Company was organized in 1884.  This company built a system that pumped water from Canandaigua Lake into a standpipe before being distributed throughout the city.

In 1894 the Village of Canandaigua decided to build its own water works, but unlike most other communities served by a privately-owned water supply chose not to acquire the Canandaigua Water Works Company or even undertake serious negotiations with them.  Bond-holders of the company, including Colby University, filed suit in federal court for an injunction to stop construction of the village system and hopefully force the village to negotiate a purchase or condenmation of the company's system, but several courts held that state law did not require the village to do so.  The village system began operation in late 1895 with an electrically-driven pump, and the water works company continued operating for some time but eventually shut down.

The village encounted a separate legal problem when it installed a water pipe and electric lines across property owned by Robert M. Benedict without acquiring any rights to do so through purchase or condemnation.  After an extensive court case the village lost, although it is unclear what became of the water pipe and electric lines that had been installed by trespass.

Water service is provided by the City of Canandiagua

1815 An act to vest certain powers in the freeholders and inhabitants of the village of Canandaigua. April 18, 1815.

1827 Ontario Repository (Canandaigua, New York), August 27, 1827, Page 1
Pump Making.  The subscriber wishes to inform the pubic, that he continues to carry on the PUMP MAKING business; also, Boring and Laying LOGS, for water works.  All orders for work as above, will be executed cheap for cash, and on short notice.  JOEL ACKLEY. Canandaigua, Feb. 13, 1827.

1875 The Buffalo Commercial, July 13, 1875, Page 2.
The Holly Manufacturing Company propose to supply Canandaigua with water works complete, including nine miles of pipe, for $73,000, and contract to run and keep the same in repair for a term of years for $2,500 per annum.

1884 Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), January 10, 1884, Page 3.
The certificate of organization of the Canandaigua Water Works company was filed in the county clerk's office Tuesday of this week.

1884 An act for the relief of the Canandaigua Water-works Company. April 30, 1884.

1884 Canandaigua, from Engineering News 12:47 (July 26, 1884)

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

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

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

1893 History of Ontario County, New York, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich and George Stillwell Conover
Page 223-225:  The system of water supply inaugurated by the trustees in 1816 was maintained and enlarged by subsequent village authorities, and served the purposes of the village until 1884, when the present operating water company was organized and the water works supply established. Throughout the principal streets the company laid mains and placed hydrants, and the water being supplied with sufficient force to render needless the use of the steamer, they have been laid aside and their companies resolved into hose organizations.
The Canandaigua Water Works Company.—Although in no sense a municipal institution, but a private corporation, in the present connection we may properly mention this public enterprise. The company was organized in 1884 under the personal management of Frank B. Merrill, who became its president. The pumping station is situated near the lake shore, at the foot of Main street, and pure and wholesome water is obtained from the lake, being taken from a "crib" two thousand six hundred feet distant from the main land. The water is then pumped to a stand pipe at the head of Main street, two and one-half miles distant from the station, and thence is distributed throughout the streets of the village, there being now in use fifteen miles of main pipe, while for fire purposes there are placed at convenient points ninety hydrants. The number of water- takers in the village is five hundred and twenty five. The present officers of the company are Frank B. Merrill, president and treasurer, and Harland H. Lane, secretary.

1895 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 26, 1895
No Injunction Yet Against the New Canandaigua Water Works
The hearing of a motion for a temporary injunction to restrict the building of new water works at Canandaigua, which was to have been heard before Judge Rumsey at Rochester yesterday, has been postponed until Thursday. Meantime the pipe and hydrants are arriving and being distributed along the village streets. The Italian laborers are swarming in in large numbers, and the attempt to secure the injunction is evidently not bothering the contractors very much.

1895 "Electric Power Pumps for Water-Works," by John M. Goodell, from Engineering News 34:198-199 (September 26, 1895)  Mentions new elecrric pumps for Canandiagua

1895 Colby University v Village of Canandaigua, 69 Fed 671, (Circuit Court, N. D. New York. August 26, 1895.)

1895 Wyoming County Times, August 29, 1895, Page 1
CANANDAIGUA WATER WORKS. United States Court Decides in Favor of the Village. On Monday Judge Wallace of the United States District court handed down a decision declining to grant an injunction restraining the village of Canandaigua from operating its new water works system. The injunction was petitioned for by the bond holders of the old company. This decision settles the fight between the old company and the village. It has been a long and tedious fight, having been begun almost a year ago.

1895 Village of Canandaigua Board of Water Commissioners v. Robert M. Benedict and Ontario Orphan Asylum, Motion Papers on Appeal of Order, with extensive documentation on the village system.

1896 Village of Canandiagua v. Benedict, (90 Hun 605, June 19, 1896). Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Department.·8 App. Div. 475 (N.Y. App. Div. 1896)

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

1899 President, etc., of Colby University et al. v. Villge of Canandaigua, et al., 96FR449, (Circuit Court, N. D. New York. September 13, 1899.)

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce