Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Ohio Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland was founded in 1796.

The Cleveland Water Company was incorporated in 1833 by Philo Scovill "for the purpose or supplying the village of Cleveland, in the county of Cuyahoga, within the present corporate limits thereof with good and wholesome water."

The Cleveland Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1833 by Horace Perry "for the purpose or supplying the village of Cleveland, in the county of Cuyahoga, with good and wholesome water."

These companies failed to build a system, and the city built a system that began service on September 24, 1856.  The engineer was  Theodor R. Scowden

Water is supplied by the City of Cleveland, which has a good on line history of the Cleveland Water Works


References
1833 An act to incorporate the Cleveland Water Company.  January 25, 1833.

1833 An act to incorporate the Cleveland Aqueduct Company.  February 25, 1833.

1850 An act to amend an act entitled, "An act to incorporate the Cleveland Water Company," passed January 25, 1833.  March 19, 1850.

1852 "Water Works. Report of the Committee appointed by the Common Council of Cleveland on the subject of a supply of Pure Water," Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 8, 1852, Page 2 and November 9, 1852, Page 2.

1853 Report to the Common Council of the city of Cleveland, on the subject of water works, for supplying pure and wholesome water to the inhabitants, accompanied with general plans for carrying the project into practice; together with a supplementary report suggestive of a thorough system of sewerage, in connection with water work, by Theodore R Scowden.  February 28, 1853.

1853 Report of the Committee Appointed by the Common Council of the City of Cleveland, on the subject of a supply of Pure Water.  Includes "Report of the Composition of the Waters of Cleveland," by W. W. Mather, December 25, 1852.  Similar to the November 8, 1852 version in the Plain Dealer.

1853 Engineer's Report to the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland, Theodore R. Scowden, June, 1853.

1854 "Cleveland Water Works," Cleveland Morning Leader, June 29, 1854, Page 1.

1854 "Cleveland Water Works, No. 2," Cleveland Morning Leader, June 30, 1854, Page 1.

1854 "Cleveland Water Works, No. 3," Cleveland Morning Leader, July 7, 1854, Page 1.

1854 "Cleveland Water Works, No. 4," Cleveland Morning Leader, July 8, 1854, Page 1.

1854 "Cleveland Water Works, No. 5," Cleveland Morning Leader, July 10, 1854, Page 1.

1855 Third Report to the Trustees of the Water Works of the City of Cleveland, by Theodore R. Scowden, April 1, 1855.

1855 "Notice to Transportation Companies - Cleveland Water Works," The New York Times, April 16, 1855, Page 7.
Proposal for transportation of engines from New York to Cleveland.  Two Cornish pumping engines, with boilers and all appurtenances complete, the whole weighing 400 tons more or less, to be taken from the dock near the foot of Grand-st., on the East River, City of New-York, and delivered on the Water Works Dock at the city of Cleveland. T. R. Scowden, Engineer, Cleveland, April 6, 1855.

1855 Concise Statement giving the Dimensions, Capacity, & Extent of the important details of the Cleveland Water Works, by T. R. Scowden, April 6, 1855.

1855 "Supplying the City of Cleveland, Ohio, with Water," The New York Daily Herald, May 8, 1855, Page 4.

1856 Cleveland Leader, April 5, 1856, Page 2.
Cleveland Water Works.  It is not generally known to our readers that next Monday the citizens of this city will be called upon to vote for or against a loan of one hundred thousand dollars for the completion of the Water Works.  If the question were now for the first time to be presented for action, we should say, "No loan," decidedly.  But as four hundred thousand dollars have already been expended in the construction of Water Works, and as we are assured from a reliable source that another hundred thousand will complete them, we suppose there is no other way to vote, "Loan," on Monday next.  There seems to be no other method to save the four hundred thousand already expended.

1856 Cleveland Leader, September 24, 1856, Page 3.
The attempt to burn the engine house belonging to the Water Works, will excite general indignation.  The rascal bored two holes through the second floor of the building between which and the ceiling, a slow fire was kindled, the holes giving it air.  The timely discovery by the night watch kept there along saved the building and the two beautiful and costly engines from destruction.  As it was, a hole some two or three feet square was burned in the floor.  It is a great pity that the villain who could thus attempt the destruction of such a work, had not fallen into the hands of the officers of the law.

1856 Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 25, 1856, Page 3.
The water works went into successful operation last night.

1856 Report on Water Works to the Trustees, by T. R. Scowden, Engineer, January 28, 1856.

1856 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1856.

1857 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1857.

1858 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1858.

1858 "New Water Pipe," Cleveland Leader, November 1, 1858, Page 3.
Mr. C. C. Nichols,  agent of the firm of J. Ball & Co., New York, is in town, for the purpose of laying a few hundred feet of their "Indestructible Water Pipe," in place of that now used by the Water Works Company.  This pipe is of sheet iron, lined and coated with cement which, in process of time, becomes stone, rendering the pipe as durable as the native rock.  The amount now laid will merely be an experiment.  About five hundred feet are to be laid in Merwin street, that being the place of greatest pressure.  This will be an interesting experiment and one which we think will prove much to the benefit of the city, for while this pipe is more durable, it is 25 per cent. cheaper than that now in use.  The work will be done in a few days.

1859 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1859.

1860 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1860.

1861 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1861.

1862 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1862.

1863 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1863.

1864 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1864.

1865 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1865.

1866 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1866.

1867 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1867.

1868 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1868.

1869 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1869.

1869 Cleveland, past and present; its representative men, published by Maurice Joblin.
Page 49:  Richard Hillier. He labored most indefatigably for the construction of our Water Works, because he saw what the future wants of the city would be. The scheme was strongly opposed by many on account of the debt it would involve. But it was finally accomplished, and we are more indebted to Richard Hilliard for its achievement than to any other man.
Page 380:  John Long Cassels, M.D.   In 1866, he analyzed the water of Cleveland which is brought from Lake Erie and distributed through the city. He analyzed this water taken from different parts of the city and from the point where it entered the pipes to be forced into the reservoir; also from a point in the lake three thousand four hundred and fifty feet from the shore, where he advised that the inlet pipe ought to be located. All these analyses are embraced in his report to the Trustees of the city water works; in which also are many valuable suggestions respecting supply pipes and the character of the water for steam purposes. [Report of Prof Cassels]
Pages 454-455:  The Cleveland Water Works were commenced on the 10th day of August, 1854, and were so far completed as to let water on the city on the 19th day of September, 1856. The time required to build the Works was two years and thirty-nine days. The capacity of these Works to deliver water is greater than the originally estimated wants of the population the works were intended to supply, which was for 100,000. They are, however, capable of supplying at least 300,000 inhabitants with abundance of water. By an enlargement of the main pump barrel and plunger to each Cornish engine, which was contemplated in the plans, the supply may be increased to an almost unlimited extent. No fear can be entertained that the present Water Works in the next fifty years will fail to yield a superabundant supply of water.
The water was first introduced into the city temporarily at the earnest solicitation of the Mayor, Common Council, and Trustees of Water Works, in which the citizens generally participated, on the occasion of the State Fair, on the 24th of September, 1856. Apart from the Fair, this event was hailed with demonstrations of great joy as the celebration of the introduction of the waters of Lake Erie into the city of Cleveland. At the intersection of the road ways, crossing at the centre of the Public Square, a capacious fountain, of chaste and beautiful design was erected, from which was thrown a jet of pure crystal water high into the air, which, as the centre, greatest attraction, gratified thousands of admiring spectators. It became necessary after the Fair to shut off the water as was anticipated, to remove a few pipes near the Ship Channel which had broke in two by the unequal settling of the pipes in the quicksand bed through which they were laid. These repairs were promptly made, and the water let on the city again; since which time the supply has been regular and uninterrupted. The length of pipes laid up to the first of January, 1869, aggregated thirty-nine and one-half miles. The total cost of the Works to that period was $722,273.33. The earnings, over running expenses, for 1868, were $36,340.23, being a little over five per cent, on the capital invested. The preliminary work is now doing for the construction of a tunnel under the bed of the lake, in order to obtain a water supply at such a distance from the shore as to be beyond the reach of the winter ice-field and the impurities collected beneath the ice-crust.
Pages 459-462:  Theodore R. Scowden.  Theodore R. Scowden, son of Theodore Scowden, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was born June 8, 1815, and was educated at Augusta College, Kentucky.
On leaving college, in 1832, he was apprenticed to the steam engine business at Cincinnati, and continued at this about four years, when he engaged as engineer on a steamer plying between Cincinnati and New Orleans. From the time of commencing engine building, he employed all his spare moments in studying mechanics, hydraulics and civil engineering. He remained in the position of engineer on the river for about eight years, when, in 1844, he turned his attention to the work of designing and planning engines, and so put into practice the knowledge acquired by application for the previous twelve years, and, in fact, for which he more particularly fitted himself while at college. He was then appointed by the city council of Cincinnati, engineer of water works, the primitive works then existing being inadequate to the increased wants of the city. The water was conveyed in log pipes, and the work before Mr. Scowden was to replace these logs by iron pipes, and to design and erect new works. In about a year from his appointment his plans were perfected and he was ready to commence operation. A great difficulty under which he labored, was, the necessity of keeping up the supply of water all the time, and being at the same time compelled to place the new reservoir and engine house in the exact spot of the old. This made the construction extend through nearly eight years, during which time from forty to fifty miles of iron pipe were laid, and a reservoir of great capacity constructed. This was his first great public work completed, and was a perfect success.
The first low pressure engine ever successfully used in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, was designed by Mr. Scowden and introduced into these works. It was found that the sedimentary matter of the Ohio river cut the valves in the condensing apparatus, and so destroying the vacuum, rendered the working of the engine ineffective. This Mr. Scowden overcame by introducing vulcanized india rubber valves, seated on a grating. Since that time he has designed several low pressure engines for the Mississippi river, which are still working successfully.
In 1851, Mr. Scowden was commissioned by the city of Cincinnati, to make the tour of England and France for the purpose of examining the principles and workings of public docks, drainage, paving and water works. After returning and making his report he resigned his post and came to Cleveland, for the purpose of constructing the water works now in operation in this city. The plan and designs were completed during 1852, and active operations commenced in 1853. The site of these works is said to have presented more engineering difficulties than any other in the country. At the time the tests were made for the foundation of the engine house, the water was nearly knee deep, and four men forced a rod thirty feet long and three-quarters of an inch in diameter twenty-eight feet into the ground. By the aid of five steam engines and pumps he succeeded in excavating to the depth of fourteen feet, and not being able to proceed further, he commenced the foundation. It is well to note the fact here, that the soil was in such a semi-fluid state that it could not be handled with a shovel, and altogether the chances of success for securing a permanent foundation looked, to the public, at least, very dubious. The citizens grew uneasy; they thought it was a waste of public money, but Mr. Snowden never despaired, though he with his own hand thrust a pole down twelve feet from the bottom of the excavation.
He laid down over the whole area two courses of timber laid cross-wise, leaving a space of twelve inches between each timber. The first timber was drawn by a rope, and floated to its place. In order to get a bed he scooped a space of two feet in length at one end, which was filled with gravel. This process was continued through the whole length of the timber. The second timber was floated to its place, leaving a foot between them, and the same operation was performed throughout the whole foundation.
All the spaces between the timbers were filled with broken stone and hydraulic cement; then the cross timbers were laid, filling the spans with the concrete also. It is to be observed that not a single pile was driven in all the foundation.
The masonry was commenced upon the timbers, and carried up about nineteen feet, and, notwithstanding the misgivings of scientific and experienced contractors and builders, and others, the superstructure was completed in 1855, and from that day to this not a crack in an angle of the building has been seen, although it may with truth be said that the engine house floats on a bed of quicksand. There were three thousand feet of aqueduct from the engine house to the lake, which presented similar difficulties, as did also the laying of pipes under the Cuyahoga river.
The engines in use in the Cleveland works are the first Cornish engines introduced west of the Allegheny mountains. After completing the works and putting them in successful operation, Mr. Scowden resigned his position here, in 1856.
In 1857, Mr. Scowden commenced the construction of the water works of Louisville, Kentucky, and finished them in 1860, and for character, capacity and finish they are acknowledged to be second to none in the United States, if in the world. The second pair of Cornish engines used west of the mountains were introduced there.
The next public work of Mr. Scowden was the extension and enlargement of the canal around the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville, which comprises a new work, as very little of the old was used. The engineering of the work was done under the direction of a board of directors, the president of which was James Guthrie, former Secretary of the Treasury under Pierce, and late United States Senator.
The locks in these works are the largest in the known world for width, length, and lift, not excepting the Suez Canal. There are two locks of thirteen feet lift, and containing fifty-two thousand yards of masonry. The canal is crossed by iron swing bridges. The work has been inspected by the United States topographical engineers, and General Wietzel, now in charge of the work, has pronounced it unsurpassed by anything within the range of his knowledge, and, what is more remarkable, a like tribute to the skill of our fellow citizen has been accorded by French, English and German engineers, and also by the president of the board.
This was his last and greatest triumph of engineering skill; and being a national work, and he a civilian, he may well feel proud of his achievement.
After completing the last mentioned work, Mr. Scowden returned to Cleveland and engaged in the iron trade, constructing a rolling mill at Newburg, for the American sheet and boiler plate company, with which he is still connected.
As an engineer, Mr. Scowden stands high. He never was baffled, though established principles failed, for he had resources of his own from which to draw. Without an exception, every great public work undertaken by him has been not only completed, but has proved entirely successful.
As a man he enjoys the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. His manner is affable and unassuming, and his disposition kindly. Constant application for twenty-five years has had its effect upon him, but with care, he may yet be spared many years to enjoy the fruits of his labors.

1870 An act declaring the consent of Congress to the erection of a crib in Lake Erie by the city of Cleveland, Ohio, for the protection of an inlet for a water-works tunnel about to be constructed by said city.  Public Law 54.  April 13, 1870.

1870 "Cleveland Water Works Lake Tunnel," from Journal of the Franklin Institute, 59(5):313-320 (May 1870)

1870 Fifteenth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1870.

1871 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1871.

1872 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1872.

1873 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1873.

1874 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1874.

1875 Twentieth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1875.

1876 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1876.

1877 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1877.

1878 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1878.

1879 "The Cleveland Water Supply," Engineering News 6:132-133 (April 26, 1879) | Part 2: Pages 140-141 (May 3, 1879) | Part 3: Pages 148-149 May 10, 1879 | Part 4: Pages 185-186 (June 14, 1879) |

1879 Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1879.

1880 Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1880.

1881 Cleveland, from Engineering News 8:163-164  (April 23, 1881)

1881 Twenty-Sixth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1881.

1882 Cleveland from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1882 Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1882.

1883 Twenty-Eighth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1883.

1884 Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1884.

1885 Thirtieth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1885.

1886 Thirty-First Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1886.

1887 Thirty-Second Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1887.

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

1888 Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1888.

1889 Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1889.

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

1890 Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1890.

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

1891 Thirty-Sixth Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1891.

1892 "A New Method of Laying Large Submerged Water Mains," Engineering News 27:279-280 (March 19, 1892)  Proposed 8.5 foot diameter 2.5 mile long pipeline for Cleveland water works.

1892 Thirty-Seventh Annual Report of the Trustees of Water Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1892.

1893 Thirty-Eighth Annual Report of the Water Works Division of the Department of Public Works, City of Cleveland for the year 1893. Note the pages are scanned in reverse order.

1894 Thirty-Ninth Annual Report of the Water Works Division of the Department of Public Works, City of Cleveland for the year 1894. Note the pages are scanned in reverse order.

1895 Fortieth Annual Report of the Water Works Division of the Department of Public Works, City of Cleveland for the year 1895. Note the pages are scanned in reverse order.

1896 "Report on improved Water Supply and Sewage Systems for Cleveland," Engineering News 35:117 (February 20, 1896)

1896 A History of the City of Cleveland: Its Settlement, Rise, and Progress, 1796-1896, by James Harrison Kennedy.  This book includes several references to the water works.

1896 Centennial History of Cleveland, by Clara A. Urann

1896 Forty-First Annual Report of the Water Works Division of the Department of Public Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1896. Note the pages are scanned in reverse order.

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

1897 Forty-Second Annual Report of the Water Works Division of the Department of Public Works of the City of Cleveland for the year 1897. Note the pages are scanned in reverse order.

1905 Report on the Quality of the Water Supply of the City of Cleveland, O., by George Chandler Whipple

1907 "Notes on Municipal Government. The Relation of the Municipality to the Water Supply, A Symposium," by Frederic Rex, Chicago, Ill.; Henry Ralph Ringe, Philadelphia, Pa.; Henry Jones Ford, Baltimore, Md.; Edward W. Bemis, Cleveland, O.; Prof. A. C. Richardson, Buffalo, N.Y.; Murray Gross, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.; Max B. May, Cincinnati, O.; James J. McLoughlin, New Orleans, La.; Delos F. Wilcox, Secretary, Municipal League, Detroit, Mi.; Daniel E. Garges, Washington, D.C.; Frank E. Lakey, Boston, Mass.; and W. G. Joerns, Duluth, Minn.  The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 30:129-164 (November 1907)

1910 "The Water Supply," from A History of Cleveland, Volume 1, by Samuel Peter Orth

1912 Report on the sanitary condition of the Cleveland water supply on the probable effect of the proposed changes in sewage disposal and on the various sources of typhoid fever in Cleveland : to the Hon. Newton D. Baker, mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, by Daniel D. Jackson.  May 25, 1912.

1912 "Sanitary Condition of the Cleveland Water Supply," by Daniel D. Jackson, Sanitary Expert, New York City, The Cleveland Medical Journal 11(10):792-816 (October 1912).  Includes a brief history of the water works.

1912 "Typhoid Fever in Cleveland in 1911," by T. S. Jackson and R. G. Perkins.  The Cleveland Medical Journal 11(1):816-834 (October 1912)

1912 "Editorial - Is Lake Erie Water Safe?," The Cleveland Medical Journal, 11(10):835-836 (October 1912)

1918 "Municipal Water Supply," A History of Cleveland and its Environs, by Elroy McKendree Avery

1922 "A Sanitary Survey of Lake Erie, Opposite Cleveland, Ohio, 1920," by J. W. Ellis, Engineer of Water Purification, Water Department, Cleveland, Ohio. Journal of the American Water Works Association, 9(2):186-207 (March, 1922)

1962 "Cleveland," from Public Water Supplies of the 100 Largest Cities in the United States, 1962, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1812, by Charles Norman Durfor and Edith Becker

[1970] The Cleveland Water Story, City of Cleveland Water Division

1978 Division Avenue Pumping Station, Filtration plant and the Baldwin Filtration Plant and Reservoir of the Cleveland Water Supply System, by Ed Pershey,  Historic American Engineering Record.  | 2009 updated version |

1998 Water System - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, by Willis E. Sibley.

1998 Waterworks Tunnel Disasters - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

2006 Garrett A. Morgan - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History



2016 Morris A. Pierce