Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Cooperstown

Cooperstown, New York

Cooperstown was established in 1786.

The earliest water works in Cooperstown were constructed in 1794 by the "Company of the Water Works in Cooperstown," which had been formed by William Cooper and his associates.  They laid a system of wooden pipes from the side of a hill to the west.  (1991, 273)  The system was built by Thomas and Elijah Church.

The Aqueduct Association in the Village of Cooperstown was incorporated on April 14, 1827 by Henry Phinney, William H. Averill, and William Nichols.

The Village of Cooperstown purchased the water system from the Aqueduct Association in 1941 and continues to supply water to the community. 

1827 An act for incorporating an Aqueduct Association in the Village of Cooperstown, in the County of Otsego.  April 14, 1827.

1862 A condensed history of Cooperstown by Samuel Truesdale Livermore.
Page 100: Water Works.
Although the village has several very fine living springs, yet from the first it has expended much time and money in bringing water from a distance. One of these springs is impregnated with mineral qualities which might make it of medicinal service, were it properly isolated.
As early as in March, 1806, one of the leading citizens stated that already they had expended "between three and four thousand dollars"for the " article of water." In 1798 it was brought into the village from the western mountain, in logs under ground. In 1827 a water company was here incorporated.
The supply now is what may be called ample, although, as the agent, Mr. Jarvis, says, " the bottoms of the wells that are not too hard for use fall out in dry times." It is brought into the village from two directions. The one branch, properly called The Croton, was brought in from the north-west, a distance of three-fourths of a mile in 1845. This supply was insufficient, and therefore, in 1847, another branch was established, which I shall take the liberty to name The Fairmount Water. This is conducted in logs under ground, from a spring south of the village, to the grist mill of Stephen
Gregory, a distance of 100 rods, having a fall of 20 feet.  At the mill is a force pump, acting on the same principle of the celebrated Fairmount Works, which raises the spring water about 80 feet into a reservoir, whence it is distributed throughout the village.
These works now have about three and a quarter miles of pipe, of which about two and a half miles are iron. Whole cost of works to the present company up to 1862, is $8000.

1883 Cooperstown from Engineering News 10:80 (February 17, 1883)

1888 "Cooperstown"from Manual of American Water Works Volume 1 by Moses Newton Baker

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

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

1897 "Cooperstown" from Manual of American Water Works Volume 4 by Moses Newton Baker

1991 "Who Murdered William Cooper?" by Alan Taylor New York History Vol. 72, No. 3 (July 1991), pp. 261-283 (also here)

Records of the Cooperstown Aqueduct Association 1827-1938 are in the collections of the New York State Historical Association and Farmers' Museum

2015 Morris A. Pierce