Documentary History of American Water-Works

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

The Manhattan Company's 1799 Water System

After the British evacuation of Manhattan on November 25, 1783, the process of rebuilding began.  After receiving several unsolicited proposals to built water works, the Common Council advertised for bids in 1786 and received three, but returned them unopened due to local sentiment against private ownership of water works.  Several other proposals were received in the following years, and in February, 1796 the Common Council advertised for water works proposals.  Dr. Joseph Browne submitted a proposal to take water from the River Bronx, which was favorably received by the Council.  They hired William Weston to study the practicality and cost of this scheme while they would prepare and submit an act to the legislature that would give the City the power to construct the system and raise taxes to pay for it.  Weston submitted his report in March 1799, in the meantime Aaron Burr, who was Dr. Brown's brother-in-law, led an effort in the New York legislature to obtain a charter to supply water to the City.

The Manhattan Company was incorporated on April 2, 1799, with the charter including a clause "That it shall and may be lawful for the said company to employ all such surplus capital as may belong or accrue to the said company in the purchase of public or other stock, or in any other monied transactions or operations not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this State or of the United States for the sole benefit of the said company."  This clause was the beginnings of JPMorgan Chase and Company.  

The Manhattan Company proceeded to build a water works system, but used local wells instead of the Bronx River as a water source.  The pipes were mostly bored wood logs, but included 400 feet of cast-iron pipe to connect the pump to the reservoir, the first installed in an American water works.  Some wooden pipes were provided by Caleb Leach, who was later agent and superintendent of the works.  Water was initially pumped into a small elevated cistern using horse pumps provided by Robert McQueen.  He built a larger elevated iron tank at the corner of Reade and Center Streets in 1800.  Another reservoir was built on Chambers Street.  Two steam engines were purchased from McQueen in 1803.  The use of well water resulted in a very unsatisfactory system, but it managed to survive until Croton Water arrived in the 1840s.  The company's charter was extended in 1808, which included a provision authorizing the company to sell the water system to the city. The two 18 HP steam engines apparently remained in service until the system was eventually abandoned.


Manual of the corporation of the city of New York, for the year 1855, by D.T. Valentine, page 220.

Manhattan Company Reservoirs
Year
Location
Size
Remarks
1799
Near Horse Pump
10,600 gallons
Cistern mentioned in Joseph Browne's July 26, 1800 letter to Judge Burke in Charleston, South Carolina..
1800?
Northwest corner of Reade (Reed) and Centre Streets
123,354 gallons
Built by Robert McQueen. Mentioned as being under construction in Joseph Browne's July 26, 1800 letter. Elevated 23 feet above ground, wrought iron tank 41 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep.  Later enclosed in a building, mentioned in several articles from 1898 until its demolition sometime after 1914. 
1801?
31-33 Chambers St.
100,000 gallons?
Shown in illustration above.  Apparently demolished after construction of the Croton aqueduct in 1842, as no further record is known to exist.  The property was owned by the Department of Public Works until the Hall of Records of built at the end of the Nineteenth Century.  Some sources state a capacity of 550,000 gallons, but no details of its size are known to exist.
1836
Bleecker Street and Broadway. ?
Mentioned in Gregory S. Hunter's dissertation and book, also the city's 1840 report on the company.


In 1829 the City of New York built a water tank for fire protection and installed iron pipes to distribute the water.  A steam engine was added in 1832.

In 1825 the New York Water Works Company was incorporated, but the potential water supplies were previously granted to others and it had to surrender its charter in 1827.

In 1830 John L. Sullivan proposed to build an aqueduct under the Hudson River to use water from New Jersey.

The introduction of the Croton water supply in 1842 made this system obsolete, but water was pumped until 1923 to protect their corporate banking charter.



References
1788 "Water-Works," The New-York Packet, January 29, 1788, Page 3.
The following Petition is now handing around this city in order to take the sense of the inhabitants whether they would wish the city should be furnished with a plentiful supply of water, by means of water works and conduit-pipes, as proposed (and party executed) before the later war.
To the Hon. the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of New-York in Common Council convened:
:That as the present mode of furnishing this City and shipping with water, is in many respects subject to many inconveniences, we do hereby declare our approbation of a design for supplying the same by means of waterworks and conduit pipes, and will (as soon as the same shall be compleated) be satisfied to pay our respective proportion of a tax for the purpose, provided the same does not exceed twenty-six shillings for each home per annum, at an average.
May it therefore please your honors to take the premises into consideration, and to adopt such measures for effecting the same as you shall judge most expedient, for the advantage, convenience and safety of the City.

C A L C U L A T I O N
Supposing 3200 houses in the city at 26s is
Of which
1000 houses rated at 45s per ann.
1000 ditto 26
1200 ditto 10/2d
£4160

2250
1300
610
£4160

1798 Treatise on the yellow fever; shewing its origin, cure and prevention, by Joseph Browne, February, 1798. | A text version is available here | Browne recommended use of the Bronx River was a water supply.

1798 Memoir of Joseph Browne, M. D. on Supplying the city with Pure and Wholesome Water, July 2, 1798.
Page 27:  That every householder, in all the streets of the said city, through which the pipes of the conduit shall be laid, shall be entitled to receive daily from the same, a supply of at least thirty gallons of water.

1798 Report of Committee on Supplying the City with Water, December 17, 1798.

1799 To Alexander Hamilton from Philip Schuyler, [31 January 1799] The opening paragraph of this letter contains the first reference in Hamilton’s extant correspondence to a series of events that led to the chartering of the Manhattan Company.

1799 "Thoughts on the mode of supplying the city of New-York with water and contributing to the health of its inhabitants," Greenleaf's New Daily Advertiser The Argus, March 20, 1799, Page 3.

1799 AN ACT for supplying the city of New York with pure and wholesome water, April 2, 1799,

1799 A Yearly Tax of 140,000 Dollars! [Handbill]
A Few Plain Facts, for the consideration of the Electors of New-York!
The Corporation of your City, anxious for its welfare, framed a petition the last winter to the Legislature, stating the calamities you had recently suffered, and requesting the aid of a grant of the Auction duties, amounting to about 30,000 dollars per annum, to enable them to bring pure and wholesome Water into the City, and to furnish every family with it, free of all further expence; and an Act for that purpose was even drafted by the Recorder and sent with the petition to Albany. – But the majority of your Representatives were prevailed upon to withhold the petition and to conceal the Bill. – In place of it, Mr. Burr, by means of erroneous statements and false representations, procured an Act of incorporation to himself and his associates, empowering them to raise the enormous sum of Two Millions of Dollars for erecting works and supplying the City with Water, and those who receive the Water are to pay the proprietors the interest of their money.  As this capital must yield at least seven per cent, amounting to more than One Hundred and Forty Thousand Dollars per annum, no person in the city, rich or poor, can enjoy the privilege of one of the indispensable necessaries of life, without contributing, yearly, his proportion of this immense sum, which far exceeds all of your highest City Taxes.
And now you are called on to vote again for Mr. Burr as your representative – but he is a dangerous man!  Let theses facts put you on your guard against the Ticket headed with his name.
April 30, 1799

1799  Proceedings of the Corporation of New-York, on supplying the city with pure and wholesome water with a memoir of Joseph Browne, M.D. on the same subject, Browne's Memoir is dated July 2, 1798 and was approved for publication on December 17, 1798.

1799 Report of William Weston, Esquire, on the practicability of introducing the water of the River Bronx into the city of New-York. : Done at the request of the Corporation of the said city, March 16, 1799 | also here | A text version is available here

1799 Report of the Manhattan Committee of the Manhattan Company, by John B. Coles, Samuel Osgood and John Stevens, April 19, 1799.

1799 "Pipes of conduit wanted for the Manhattan Company," Greenleaf's New York Daily Advertiser, May 9, 1799, Page 3.
The subscriber is authorized by the Manhattan Company to receive proposals for supplying the said company with pipes, for the conveyance of water, made from yellow or white poine logs.  From 500 to 2,000 will be immediately wanted of from 12 to 14 feet in length and of different bores 2 to 6 inches in diameter.  The diameter of the log must be according to the bore from 12 to 24 inches clear of sap.  The pipes are to be fitted into each other.  The price of each kind must be specifically mentioned.  The pipes must be delivered at the city of New York, on or before the 1st of August next, proposals will be received until the frist day of June.  Joseph Browne, No. 107 Liberty street
N.B. As a much larger, quantity of pipes than the above, will soon be wanted, it may become an object worth attention to those who have  saw mills in the vicinity of navigable water.  New York, May 8th.

1799 Greenleaf's New York Journal, June 8, 1799, Page 4.
The Manhattan Company intend shortly to employ a superintendent to conduct the works necessary for conveying water into the city; the salary to be paid to such superintendant will be 1500 dollars per annum. Persons property qualified to execute this important work, will apply by letter accompanied with the best recommendations they can produce to the secretary of the company. J.B. Prevost

1799 New-York Gazette, August 29, 1799, Page 3.
The Water-Works of the Manhattan Company progress with astonishing rapidity, Pipes are already laid through Chapel-street nearly down to Pearl-street – a distance of half a mile from the source – and in a month hence we may expect that Pearl, from Chapel-street down, will be completely supplied with pure water.

1799 Merchantile Advertiser, November 13, 1799, Page 3.
To the Public.
The legislature at their last session was pleased to incorporate the Manhattan Company, for the purpose, among others, of supplying the city of New-York with pure and wholesome water.-- The directors, impressed with the importance of this trust, determined to lose no time and to spare no expense in carrying into full effect the benevolent design of their incorporation.  An object so essential to the general health and convenience of the inhabitants could not fail to insure the most unremitting attention on their part; such measures therefore were immediately adopted, and have been steadily pursued, as appears best calculated to obtain an early, adequate, and permanent supply.  Notwithstanding the intervention of a malignant fever, which occasioned so great and so large a desertion of the city, the works have never been suspended; and although not more than seven months have elapsed since their first meeting, the directors are happy in announcing to their fellow citizens that conduit pipes are laid in several of the principal streets, and that water is not ready to be furnished to many of the inhabitants and to all the shipping in the harbour.  From actual experiment there is no doubt that one of the wells already opened will yield to five thousand families a daily supply of fifty gallons each, of a quality excellent for drinking and good for every culinary purpose.
The following regulations have been adopted for the distribution of water among the inhabitants of the city.
1st. Those who are desirous of being supplied from the aqueducts of the company will please to apply personally or in writing to the superintendent of the works, who will keep a register of the name of the applicant, the number and situation of his house, and of the rate he is to pay.  The superintendent will also direct a proper person to tap or pierce the main pipe opposite to his house, for the insertion of the smaller or lateral tube, by which the water is to be conveyed into the building.  The main pipe must always be opened or tapped under the direction of the superintendent or of a person employed by him.
2d. The lateral or small pipe must be procured and laid at the expence of the applicant, who may employ what workman he pleased for the purpose.  The company recommend the use of leaden pipes.
3d. Although water will be continually running in the pipes, and the inhabitants will not be limited in its use, yet is will be proper to guard against any unreasonable waste which may happen from negligence or other cause, as such waste cannot but prove prejudicial to the inhabitants at large, and may be attended with great inconvenience and trouble to persons immediately in the vicinity.  The prevent in some degree any wasteful consumption of the water, the pipes for leading it into the houses must be completed and fixed under the direction of the superintendent, who, on complaint made to him, will visit the apartments where the pipes may be fixed, in order to prevent a continuance of such waste.
4th.No one shall supply with water received from the aqueducts any neighbour or person not living in a house furnished by the company.
5th.The rates at which the water will be delivered are as follows:-- For every house or building, containing not more than four fire places, there shall be paid the sum of five dollars per annum; and for every fire place exceeding four in any house or building there shall be paid an additional one dollar and twenty-five cents, providing however that not more than twenty dollars shall be paid for any private house or dwelling.  These rates shall not be encreased during the term of five years from the date hereof.
6th .From the proceeding rates are excepted buildings in which manfactures are carried on requiring a larger supply than usual.  Stables and taverns, with the proprietors of which separate agreements will be made.
7th. All payments for water shall be made quarterly, to wit, on the first days of February, May, August, and November of every year; one quarter to always be paid in advance.  Persons who begin to take water on any other day than the these before mentioned will pay in advance pro rata until the quarter day then next ensuing.
8th.Upon default in payment as aforesaid, or in case of infraction of any of the proceding regulations, the pipe though which the water is conveyed to the house will be immediately cut off.
9th. Ships and vessels will be supplied at the rate of 10 cents per hogshead.  A fountain for the purpose is erected at the extremity of Dye-street, where boats may conveniently lie, and casks or hogsheads be filled without the trouble of putting them on shore.  Fountains for the same purpose will be raised in other parts of the city.
10th. Works of this kind being in a great degree new in this country, it is not possible to foresee all the cases of which it may be necessary to provide.  Experience will suggest many improvements in the mode of distributing the water; the directors therefore expresly reserve to themselves the right granted by the act of incorporation of making from time to time such change in those regulations and such further bye laws and ordinances for preserving the works of the company, and for conveying the water through the city, as they may think proper, except only as to the rates above mentioned, which shall undergo no augmentation for the space of five years.
DANIEL LUDLOW, president.  By order of the board J.B. PREVOST, secretary.

1800 New York Gazette & General Advertiser, June 11, 1800, Page 3.
The rapidity with which the Manhattan Water works in this city go on, is worthy of remark — already six miles of pipes are laid through tbe principal streets — and upwards of four hundred houses are supplied with water.

1800 Letter from Joseph Browne to Judge Burke, Charleston, South Carolina, July 26, 1800  Good description of the water system as of July, 1800.

1801 Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1784-1831, 3:6
July 6, 1801.  Ordered that the Aldn of the 2d & 3d with the Assist of the 5th Wards be a Committe to apply to the Manhattan Co on the subject of the bad state ot the Pavement in many of the Streets occasioned by their bring broken up to lay the Aqueducts and since not put in the Order they were found.

1802 "Water for Shipping," Mercantile Advertiser, June 29, 1802, Page 4.
The Directors of the Manhattan Company have resolved to lease out for one year, from the first day of July next. the exclusive right to furnish the shipping of the harbour with water from the different foundtains on the North and East Rivers, established by the Company.
Proposals must be sent sealed to the Subscriber, on or before the 27th inst. They may contemplate either the whole of the shipping in the two rivers, or any part thereof.  It is expeted that security for the sum agreed on will be offered.
The Lessees will be at liberty to charge such price as the water as they please.
Joseph Browne, Superintendent.  June 8

1802 "Water for Shipping," Daily Advertiser, July 7, 1802, Page 2.
The Subscriber has taken on lease of one year, the extensive right to supply whipping with Water from the aqueducts of the Manhattan Company.  As it may be found very convenient for many persons to have permission to sell Water to boatmen and others from their private houses, the Subscriber will sell such right to any person desirous of the same, as a modern rate, at the same time he begs leave to notify that if any person shall be found selling Water without such permission, he will take the property step to punish them for the injury sustained.  Apply at the corner of Cross and Barley street, near the Manhattan Wells.  July 7.  Noah Miller.

1803 Morning Chronicle, March 5, 1803, page 3
Steam Engine.  Sealed Proposals will be received by the subscriber until the 20th instant, for constructing and erecting a Steam Engine for the Manhattan Company, on the principle of Watt and Boulton's patent, capable of raising one million gallons of water per 24 hours, to a height of 60 feet.  Joseph Browne, Superintendent of Water Works

1803 Daily Advertiser (New York, New York), June 8, 1803, Page 2.
Extracts from a late Dublin paper.   A work has lately made its appearance in London, written by Doctor Lambe, a celebrated Physician, entitled "Researches into the Properties of Spring Water; with Medical Cautions against the Use of Lead in Water-pipes, Pumps, Cisterns,&c."  Many new positions are advanced in this work, which has excited amongst the faculty no inconsiderable share of attention.

1807 Public Advertiser (New York, New York), May 11, 1807, Page 3.
MANHATTAN WATER WORKS.
The President and Directors of the Manhattan Company, desirous of rendering the establishment of the Water Works as useful to the city as possible, in order to give general information respecting the same, and to correct abuses which have a tendency to obstruct the important objects of the institution, have thought proper to publish the following abstract of resolutions, passed by the board of directors, having a reference to the terms and stipulations to be observed by those who are supplied with the water, viz.
1.  Application for the water to be made in writing, to the superintendent of the Water-Works, and no one to make use of it, for building or otherwise without liberty first obtained as aforesaid.
2.  Applicants pay the expense of laying the lateral pipes, and keeping them in constant repair, which at proper times, are to be examined by the superintendent, or those acting by this directions.
THE RATES at which the water will be delivered, are as follow.
1. To houses, containing not more than three fire-places, at 5 dollars per annum; if occupied by two families, 7 dollars and 50 cents.
2.  Houses, of five fire-places, 6 dollars and 50 cents; if occupied by two families, 7 dollars 50 cents.
3.  Houses, of six fire-places, 7 dollars 50 cents; if occupied by two families, 9 dollars.
4.  Houses, of seven fire-places, 8 dollars 75 cents, if occupied by two families, 10 dollars.
5.  Houses, of eight or more fire-places, 1 dollars 25 cents for each fire-place.
6.  Houses, in which dram shops are kept, if or not more than four fire-places, 6 dollars.
7.  Taverns and eating houses, containing not more than six fire-places, 7 dollars 50 cents.
8.  Houses, occupied as stores without families, 5 dollars.  From the abaove are excepted grocery stores, which pay 10 dollars.
9.  Bake-houses 10 dollars for every oven.
10.  Currier's shops 7 dollars 50 cents.
11.  Printing offices, hatters stone cutters and barbers' shops, 5 dollars.
12.  Stables pay according to the number of stalls, one stall 3 dollars, two stalls 5 dollars, three or ten 2 dollars reach; and for every stall over ten 1 dollar.  All public stables to be supplied with ball cocks; as also manufactories if required.
13. Shipping supplied at the fountains, at the foot of Courtlandt Street, Coenties, Coffee House and Peck Slips, and the corner of Vessey and Washington Streets, at 20 cents a puncheon.  Coasting vessels at 2 dollars and 50 cents per annum.
14.  From the above rates are excepted manufactories and hotels, or taverns requiring a larger supply than usual, with the proprietors of which separate agreements are made.  The price of water for building is also estimated according to the quantity used.
15.  Although the company employ men for the purpose of laying and repairing lateral pipes, the inhabitants are not precluded from employing other workmen, or in case of laying new pipes, notice therefore is given to the superintendent, therefore no deduction from the annual stipulated price will be made, for an alledged want of water, be the cause what it may, provided the main pipes are supplied, which is all the company guarantee.
16.  Payment to be made half-yearly in advance, and no subscriber for the water can discontinue his subscription, except at the commencement of each half year, viz. the 1st of May, and 1st of November and notice thereof to be given in writing.
17.  Those who suffer the water to waste, or supply others who do not pay the company for the same, as well as those who are thus supplied, shall be prosecuted for the damages.
18.  The directors reserve the themselves the right of making any alterations in the preceding regulations; and also inc case of default of payment, as aforesaid, or other infractions of said regulations, by an individual taking the water, to discontinue his supply.
N.B.Orders for new pipe, or repairs, to be left at the Water Office, 18, Upper Chamber-Street, or at the Manhattan Bank.  The present charges for laying in lead pipe is 6s, and for wood do. 3s. per foot including the taking up and replacing the pavement, flagging, &c.  The cost of conveying the water to houses in wood pipe (which from experience is found to be least liable to injury) is generally not more than 10 dollars.  And the annual expence in repairs very trifling, consisting chiefly in repairing the cocks, which from the great pressure of the water is required to be done in 12, or at least 18 months.
By order of the board of directors.  John Fellows, Superintendent W.W. May 11, 1807.

1808 AN ACT supplementary to the act, entitled “AN ACT for supplying the city of New York with pure and wholesome water,” March 25, 1808.

1823 Queries to the superintendent of the Manhattan Water Works, and his answers thereto. March 5, 1823.

1825 AN ACT to incorporate the New-York Water-Works Company. March 24, 1825.

1826 Report to the directors of the New-York Water Works Company, Canvass White, engineer of the New-York Water Works Company, January 9, 1826 | also here |

1827 "Proposals for Cast Iron Pipes," The Evening Post, September 22, 1827, Page 3.

1830 A description of a sub-marine aqueduct to supply New-York with water from New-Jersey, connected with a commercial canal, and rail-way, for the direct western trade of this city by John L. Sullivan

1832 Report of Colonel De Witt Clinton on potential water supplies for the City of New York, December 22, 1832 | also here |
10. The works of the Manhattan Company consists of a Well in Cross-street, twenty-five feet in diameter, and two Steam Engines of eighteen horse power each ; a Reservoir on Chambersstreet, and one or two small wooden Reservoirs. In a Circular, signed by John Lozier, Esq. in 1823, he states, that the Steam Engines work sixteen hours in the day, and raise in twenty-four hours, 691,200 gallons, which is more than one fifth greater than the capacity of the Reservoir; that twenty-five miles of pipes were then down, and the Company supplied two thousand houses, excluding manufactories, &c. He also remarks, “That the water was pumped very clear from the Well, and the Reservoirs so constructed with Strainers, that impurities of any kind, cannot pass into the pipe of Conduit.” That the Company had not expended less than $400,000 in constructing the Works, and that the Well from which the water is obtained, was the Old Tea Water Pump, and was called Tea Water, and was considered the best on the Island.
11. The Manhattan Company since 1823, have employed Mr. Dinsbrow to construct a Well, near the corner of Bleecker-street and Broadway; its diameter is eight inches, and its depth is four hundred and forty-two feet.
12. The conclusions which we can draw from Mr. Lozier’s Circular in 1823, are these, That the Manhattan Reservoir on Chambers-street, does not contain a quantity equal to the daily consumption, or it is five times filled and emptied in every twenty-four hours, and the water when distributed for use, is in the same state as the water in the pumps and well That the Company have, on an average, laid one mile of pipe, mostly of wood, every year since its incorporation to 1823, and that the best pump water on the Island, by having a dense population collected around its sources, has lost its goodness, and now contains foreign matter destructive to health.

1832 Advertisement of a proposition for ward companies to supply the city of New York with rock water, etc, by Levi Disbrow and J.L. Sullivan

1832 To the mechanics of New-York : on the subject of supplying the city with pure water, August, 1832, by John L Sullivan, also, in behalf of Levi Disbrow, Mechanician.

1833 An address to the Mayor, the Aldermen, and inhabitants of New York, supplemental to Col. Clinton's report, on water: demonstrating ... the advantages of a rock-water company, with banking privileges, appropriating the surplus to public baths, and cleansing streets, also, a proposition to the Manhattan Company, to fill their aqueduct with rock-water, John Langdon Sullivan

1836 "Report of the select committee on the memorial of citizens of the city and county of New-York, praying for an investigation in relation to the Manhattan company," April 18, 1836.

1838 Sketch of the civil engineering of North America: comprising remarks on the harbours, river and lake navigation, lighthouses, steam-navigation, water-works, canals, roads, railways, bridges, and other works in that country, by David Stevenson
Page 292-293: The only supply of water which the inhabitants of New York at present enjoy is obtained from wells sunk in different parts of the town. The water is raised from these wells by steam-power to elevated reservoirs, and thence distributed in pipes to different parts of the town. Some of the wells in New York belong to the Manhatten Water Company, and some to the corporation. One well, belonging to the corporation, is 113 feet in depth. For the purpose of collecting water, there are three horizontal passages leading from the bottom of the well, which measure four feet in width, and six feet in height; two of them are seventy-five, and the third is one hundred feet in length. This well cost about £l1,500, and yields 21,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. There are many other wells in the town, some of which are said to produce 120,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. This mode of collecting water in subterraneous galleries has been successfully practised in this country, on a great scale, at the water-works of Liverpool, by Mr Grahame, the engineer to the Harrington Water Company. The supply at New York is far from being adequate to the wants of the inhabitants; and the water in most of the wells being hard and brackish, is not suitable for domestic purposes.
New York is built on a flat island, which is nearly surrounded by salt water, so that the method that has been resorted to for the supply of Philadelphia and most other towns in the United States is altogether impracticable in that situation. Many plans have been proposed, and, among others, that of throwing a dam across the Hudson, so as to exclude the salt water ; but as a free passage, by means of locks, must be preserved for the numerous vessels which navigate the river, the success of such a plan seems very doubtful.
Many engineers in the United States, of great reputation, have made surveys of the country in the neighbourhood of New York, in order to devise a plan for the supply of the city with water, and they have proposed to effect this object, so important to its inhabitants, by conveying the water of the river Croton in a tunnel to New York. The point from which the water is intended to be withdrawn, is about thirty miles distant from the city. The estimate for the entire execution of the work, is upwards of one million Sterling.

1840 Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Investigate the Condition of the Manhattan Company: together with the Minutes of Their Proceedings, and Various Statements Relative Thereto, March 14, 1840.

1844 Reminiscences of the City of New York and Its Vicinity [by Henry B. Dawson and William J. Davis]

1853 Maps of the City of New York, by William Perris
Plate 28: Map bounded by Leonard Street, Centre Street, Chambers Street, Broadway, Reade Street, West Broadway
Shows location of former Manhattan Company reservoir on Chambers street.

1857 Maps of the City of New York, by William Perris
Plate 9: Map bounded by Pearl Street, Chatham Street, Chambers Street, Rose Street, Frankfort Street, Murray Street, Church Street; Including Duane Street, City - Hall Place, Reade Street, Warren Street, Broadway, Elm Street, Centre Street, Tryon Row, North William, William Street
Shows location of former Manhattan Company reservoir on Chambers street.

1860 "Original Plan of Supplying the City with Water, From the River Bronx, in 1798", from Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York for 1860 by David T. Valentine, Clerk of the Common Council .

1879 Atlas of New York City, by George Washington Bromley
Plate 4:  Shows former location of the Manhattan Company reservoir on Chambers Street.

1891 Atlas of New York City, by George Washington Bromley
Plate 2:  Shows Department of Public Works as owner of 31 Chambers St., former location of the Manhattan Company reservoir.

1893 "Water Works and Banking," Engineering Record 28:313 (October 14, 1893)

1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of New York City
Manhattan, V. 1, Plate No. 9 [Map bounded by Pearl St., Rose St., Frankfort St., Elm St.]
Shows former site of reservoir on Chambers Street owned by Department of Public Works and outline of water tank in building at Reade and Center streets.

1896 The Water Supply of the City of New York, 1658-1895  by Edward Wegmann
Page 12:  1823 - Its works consisted of the large well mentioned above, from which two steam-engines of eighteen horse-power each, pumped 691,200 gallons per day into the Chambers Street reservoir, which had a capacity of about 550,000 gallons.
Plate 4:  Map showing property of the Manhattan Company, including engine house and reservoir.

1898 "A Curious Historical Water Tank," Engineering Record 37:451-452 (April 23, 1898)

1899 "Bank of Manhattan and its Water Tank," New York Times Illustrates Magazine, April 2, 1899, Page 11.

1899 Atlas of New York City by George Washington Bromley
Plate 6, Part of Section 1: [Bounded by Reade Street, Duane Street, New Chambers Street, Roosevelt Street, Cherry Street, Franklin Square, Frankfort Street, Cliff Street, Beekman Street, Gold Street and Ann Street]
Shows former site of reservoir on Chambers Street, site of new Hall of Records.

1900 Early New York houses: with historical & genealogical notes, by William Smith Pelletreau
Pages 57-59:  The Tanks of the Manhattan Water Company, with photograph

1914 "Water Tank Landmark Doomed," The New York Times, July 9, 1914, Page 16.

1915 "Manhattan Company Reservoir Demolished" from Twentieth Annual Report 1915 of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society

1917 "Water Works History" from Twenty Second Annual Report of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society 1917

1917 "Early Pipe Line Systems" from The Catskill Aqueduct and Earlier Water Supplies of the City of New York: With Elementary Chapters on the Source and Uses of Water and the Building of Aqueducts, and an Outline for an Allegorical Pageant by New York Mayor's Catskill Aqueduct Celebration Committee

1920 Early New-York & the Bank of the Manhattan Company, by Bank of the Manhattan Company

1956 Water for the Cities by Nelson Blake, includes several chapters on New York City.
Page 59: Rates were based on the size of the houses as measured by the number of fireplaces that they contained. For a house or building with not more than four fireplaces the charge was $5 per year; for every fireplace exceeding four the owner was to pay an additional $1.25, provided that not more than $20 per year should be charged for any private house or building. Separate arrangements would be made for the supply of manufacturies, stables, and taverns. Ships would be supplied at a rate of twenty cents per hogshead from several fountains located along the water front.

1957 "Burr, Hamilton and the Manhattan Company: Part I: Gaining the Charter," Beatrice G. Reubens, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec., 1957), pp. 578-607 

1958 "Burr, Hamilton and the Manhattan Company. Part II: Launching a Bank,” Beatrice G. Reubens, Political Science Quarterly, LXXIII (March, 1958), 100–25

1989 Chapter 3, "Managing the Water Works," from "The Manhattan Company: managing a multi-unit corporation in New York, 1799-1842," by Gregory S. Hunter, A dissertation submitted to the graduate school of arts and sciences in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at New York University, February, 1989.  Also published as a book, see following entry.

1989 The Manhattan Company : managing a multi-unit corporation in New York, 1799-1842, by Gregory S Hunter.  Reprinted in 2017.
As a result, the city constructed its own water works, the Croton system, which became fully operational in 1842.  The Manhattan Company curtailed its water operations, but did not abandon them for many decades. It order to protect its charge, the Manhattan Company pumped water from a well to a holding tank at Reade and Centre Streets each day until 1923.
Finally, from 1835 to 1836, the company paid over $30,000 over an iron holding tank and building at Bleecker Street and Broadway.
Note 87:  The actual cost of the tank was $32,130.12.

2000 Water for Gotham by Gerard T. Koeppel

2008 The History of JPMorgan Chase & Company

2008 “A very convenient instrument”: The Manhattan Company, Aaron Burr, and the Election of 1800, by Brian Phillips Murphy, William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Series, Volume LXV, Number 2, April 2008

2013 The Contentious History of Supplying Water to Manhattan by Lauren Robinson, Museum of the City of New York






© 2015 Morris A. Pierce