Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Kingston, New York

Kingston was settled in 1651 by the Dutch.

The Aqueduct Society of the Town of Kingston was incorporated on April 9, 1804 by Luke Keersted, Christopher Tappen, John Tremper, Abraham B. Bancker, Abraham Hossman, Jacobus S. Bruyn, Jonathan Hasbrouck, Conrad Edmund Elmendors, John Tappen, Frederick A. DeZeng, Lucas Elmendors and Joseph Gasherie "for the purpose of supplying themselves in the said town of Kingston, with pure and wholesome water, and for the use of such other of the inhabitants as may be inclined to take the same."  They built a system that only served a small number of consumers, which is not surprising given the language in the charter.  An 1805 article in a local newspaper noted that "the transactions of the company are enveloped in mystery, and like its benefits, are accessible to but few."  No other information has been found about this company.

Joseph M. Low entered into a contract with the city of Kingston to supply water on November 20, 1882.  The following year he transferred the contract to Kingston Water Company, which was incorporated on March 12, 1883.  The contract specified that the city could buy the system after ten years.

The City of Kingston bought the Kingston Water Company on March 1, 1896 for $468,750. The following year, the board bought the rights to Cooper Lake and surrounding properties.

Water in the City of Kingston is provided by City of Kingston Water Department, which was founded on May 27, 1895 by a special act of the New York State Legislature to provide potable water to the residents of the City of Kingston. It is a financially and administratively independent department within the City of Kingston and is governed by the Board of Water Commissioners. The Board is a continuously sitting body and each member is appointed to a five (5) year term by the Mayor. The Mayor is a voting member of the Board.   

1804 An act to incorporate an Aqueduct Association in the Town of Kingston, in the County of Ulster, April 9, 1804.

1805 Plebian (Kingston NY), January 14, 1805, page 3.
Aqueduct Company-- If this I know but little.-- The transactions of the company are enveloped in mystery, and, like its benefits, are accessible to but few.  The health, the convenience, and the safety of the village, however, demand, that we should obtain a certain supply of wholesome water.

1882 The Sanitary Engineer, 5:343 (March 23, 1882)
The people of Kingston, N. Y., are discussing the question of a water supply.  Mr. John Lockwood has made a proposition to build water works.  There appear to be two parties in the town holding very diverse opinions as to the propriety of a private corporation controlling the proposed works.  Without presuming to express any opinion on the main subject, we think that so far as we can have seen, the Freeman has the best of the argument on the financial question, as it sustains its opinions by citations of figures from statistical tables of cost and revenue of various works, recently published.

1884 Kingston, from Engineering News 11:233 (May 10, 1884)

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

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

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

1895 An act to provide for supplying the city of Kingston with pure and wholesome water. Accepted by the city. Became a law May 27, 1895, with the approval of the Governor. Passed by a two-thirds vote.

1893 Majority and Minority Reports of the Commission to Secure a Site for a State Reformatory in Ulster County, January 17, 1893, Document No. 34 in Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 5.  Includes copies of the contracts between the City of Kingston, Joseph M. Low, and the Kingston Water Company, along with details of the system construction.

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

1898 Catharine M. Gallagher and Margaret Kerr vs. The Kingston Water Company, 164 NY 602 (Gallagher v. Kingston Water Co.), New York Court of Appeals. Records and Briefs. Suit for diversion of water without compensation.

1900 McEntee vs. Kingston Water Company, 165 N.Y. 27 (N.Y. 1900) Court of Appeals, New York, November 27, 1900,  in The Northeastern Reporter, Volume 58:785-786.  Details of the Kingston Water Company and its failure to provide water to one of its customers.

1902 "Water Supply of the City of Kingston," Water and Gas Review 12(12):22-24 (June, 1902)

2015 Morris A. Pierce