Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Geneva, New York

Geneva was settled around 1793.

The first water works was built by the Geneva Water Works Company which organized in 1796 and water was supplied the following year.  A charter from the state was received on March 31, 1803. The system was expanded several times and Iron pipes were installed in 1841. 

Geneva Palladium, August 25, 1825

The City of Geneva bought the water system in 1896 and currently supplies water to the community.  

1882 Geneva Water Works from Engineering News 9:123 (April 15, 1882)

1878 History of Ontario Co., New York by W. H. MacIntosh
Page 128:  THE GENEVA WATER-WORKS—This organization was established August 20, 1796, and the following subscribed to the shares set opposite their names; Jacob HALLETT, for Chas. WILLIAMSON, 20; Jacob HALLETT, 6; Timothy ALLEN, 3; J. W. HALLETT, 1; David COOK, 1; David ABBEY, 1; Samuel HOOKER, 1; Clark JENNINGS, 1; C. HART, 2; Phineas PIERCE, 1; Thos. SISSON, 1; P. ALLEN, for Ambrose HULL, 2; Elias JACKSON, 3; Thos. WILLIAMS, 1; Ezra PATTERSON, 2; Samuel COLT, 2; T. WALBUR and W. LATHUR, 1; Jerome LUMMIS, 1; Job SMITH, 2; GRIEVE and MOFFATT, 4; Robert JOURDAN, 1; BEAN and LUZALERE, 1; Jacob BLACKENSTOSE, 1; HOWARD and GRIFFEN, 1; Wm. M. GUNNING, 1; J. JOHNSTON, 2. The following also subscribed to one share each; J. SAYRE, William ADAMS, Park ALLYN, Alex. BERNIE, Nath. W. HOWELL, Joseph ANNIN, Edward WHITE, Samuel LATTA.

The company was incorporated March 31, 1803, with the following charter members: Herman H. BOGERT, Jacob HALLETT, Jacob W. HALLETT, Samuel COLT, Nathaniel MERRILL, David COOK, David MAGEE, Ezra PATTERSON, Wm. HOUTFEN, Chas. WILLIAMSON, Thos. POWELL, John JOHNSTON, Polydore B. WISNER, and Joseph ANNIN.

The following is the board of directors as at present constituted: Stephen H. HAMMOND, Stewart S. COBB, Phineas PROUTY, Samuel H. VERPLANCK, Edward KINGSLAND. Mr. HAMMOND, president; Mr. VERPLANCK, treasurer; Mr. KINGSLAND, secretary.

The reservoir is located upon the “White Springs Farm,” lately owned and occupied by James O. SHELDON, about one and one half miles west of Main street on the old pre-emption road. The spring is two hundred and eighty-three feet above Seneca lake, and furnishes an abundance of water for the supply of the village.

1888 Geneva from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1 by Moses Newton Baker

1893 History of Ontario County, New York  edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich and George Stillwell Conover
Page 266: During the year 1796 the little village was provided with a water supply, by the formation of a company, followed by the laying of pipes from the White Springs, about one and one-half miles southwest of Pelteney Park.  The pipes were of logs, ten to twelve inches in diamater with a two-inch bore through which water could be supplied to each house in the village.  The Geneva Water Works company was incorporated in 1803, which will be more fully referred to later in this chapter.

Page 273:   The Geneva Water Works Company- The present water supply company traces its history back almost an hundred years, to the time when the energetic action of Captain Williamson and a few of his associates laid log pipes from the White Springs, and thus furnished the village with wholesome water for all domestic purposes. The organization of this primitive company was accomplished in August, 1796, and in the next year the water supply was furnished. On the 31st of March, 1803, an incorporated company was formed, among whom were Herman H. Bogert, Jacob Hallett, Jacob W. Hallett, Samuel Colt, Nathaniel Merrill, David Cook, David Naglee, Ezra Patterson, Charles Williamson, Thomas Powell, John Johnston, Polydore B. Wisner and Joseph Annin. This company for some time operated the old system provided originally, cast iron pipes with a bore of two and one-half inches being substituted in 1846, but the rapid growth and extension of the village finally necessitated a more substantial equipment and a greater supply; consequently new pipes were laid and the storage reservoir increased in capacity. In 1875 the works of the company were a second time enlarged, and again in 1887 and '88, the latter increase in capacity being the cause of much discussion and some feeling throughout the village. At this time a pumping station was established on the lake to increase the natural reservoir supply, and this was the occasion of the criticisms upon the action of the company. There have been established at various convenient points throughout the village 125 fire hydrants, from which water is taken in case of fire, the same being paid for by the village. There are about fifteen miles of from four to twelve-inch main pipe. The capital stock of the company is $20,000, and the officers are Stephen H. Hammond, president; A. L. Chew, treasurer; Edward Kingsland, secretary; Samuel S. Graves, superintendent. Cost of the works has been $150,000, and in the present year, 1893, the works are again being enlarged.

1897 Geneva from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4 by Moses Newton Baker

Note that the construction date of 1797 in the 1882 Engineering News article became 1787 in the 1888 and later editions of the Manual of American Water Works, which has carried over into later writings.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce