Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Fort Ann

Fort Ann, New York

The Village of Fort Ann was the site of military forts dating back to 1690.

The President, Directors and Company of the Fort-Ann Aqueduct Association were incorporated in 1806 by Ozias Coleman, Jun., George Clerk, Joel Tubbs, Lemuel T. Bush, and Jeremiah Conklin "for supplying the village of Fort-Ann, in the county of Washington, with wholesome water, by means of aqueducts."  Although no additional historical information on this company has been found, an archeological excavation of historic Fort Anne in 1954 found a line of wooden conduits connected by metal bands.  A 1980 history concludes that these were installed to provide water to a 1709 fort, but the fort was occupied for only a short period and had a nearby well, which is still in existence.  Wood conduits with metal connecting bands would be consistent with an 1806 water works system.  The 1954 excavations were conducted by Paul F. Crumley (1914-1994).

The Village of Fort Ann received approval to construct a water system in 1917, but reapplied with a different water source which was disapproved in 1922.  Their water system was operating by 1925 and ran out of water in 1929 for a period of time. The Village currently provides water in the community (PWS # NY5700118)

1806 An act to incorporate the Fort-Ann Aqueduct Association, March 7, 1806.

1917 Application of the Village of Fort Ann, for approval of its plans for the acquisition of water supply and the financial and engineering plans for the construction of a water supply system, from Annual Report, Volume 7  By New York (State). Conservation Dept
Application filed December 12, 1916.
Hearing held in Fort Ann, January 16, 1917.
Decision, February 7, 1917.

1922 In the Matter of the Application of the Village of Fort Ann, for Approval of its Maps, Plans and Profiles of a New Water Supply,  Water Supply Application No. 275, Water Power Commission, March 16, 1922.  Department Reports of the State of New York, Volume 27  By New York (State)
Application rejected.

1925 Annual Report of the Division of Laboratories and Research by New York (State). Dept. of Health. Extract from 46th Annual Report, 1926.
Page 71:  Testing reports of Village of Fort Ann Public Water Supply, April 13, 1925

1929 New York Times, March 11, 1929, Page 16
Fort Ann's Supply of Water is Short
Only Wells are available--Residents want help to convicts to build dam at creek.
Fort Ann, N.Y., March 10. - Except for a supply obtained from wells, this village has been without water since noon yesterday and faces a dangerous situation if a fire breaks out.  About 1,000 persons are affected by the water shortage.
The village obtains its supply from Half Way Creek, which empties into the Champlain division of the Barge Canal.  Drawing off the water from the canal for the construction of a pipe line across the canal at Great Meadow Prison, six miles north of the village, has resulted in lowering the creek to such a level that the pumping station here cannot be operated.
The village officials proposed to build a sandbag dam to back up enough water to allow the pumps to work.  They requested Warden W. J. Hunt of Great Meadow Prison, for the aid of fifty convicts, with whose help the dam could be constructed in several hours.
Warden Hunt took the matter up with the State Prison Department and the Attorney General's office, but the request was refused.  The State officials held that prisoners could not be employed for such a purpose, as the State was not protected with liability insurance on them.
Several residents of the village will go to Albany tomorrow to confer with the Attorney General in an efort to get permission for the use of convlicts in constructing the dam.

1954 The Oneonta Star (Oneonta, New York), March 24, 1954, Page 8
Revolutionary Pipe Line
Seventy-nine feet of hollowed-out cedar logs, laid end to end and fastened at the joints by iron bands, have been uncovered by archeological excavations on the site of Fort Anne by the group now engaged in restoring one of the five forts from which the Washington County community derives its name.  Whether these "pump logs" formed a water conduit serving one of the forts or whether they were laid shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War period has not been determined by investigators. [Article includes a picture of the wooden conduits.]

1980 New York's forts in the Revolution, by Robert B. Roberts
Page 85:  [Fort Anne - 1709] The fort's water supply was obtained from Kane's Falls, one mile to the northwest, ingeniously piped through cedar pump logs with a three-inch-in-diameter hole.  Archeological explorations in the Fort Anne area have unearthed sections of the conduit, handsmithed iron bands still wrapped about the logs. 

2015 Morris A. Pierce