Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Ohio Ironton

Ironton, Ohio

Ironton was incorporated as a city in 1865.

The city built a Holly water system that began service in May, 1872 pumping water from the Ohio river using two rotary pumps and a gang pump. 

Water is supplied by the city of Ironton.

1872 Portsmouth Daily Times, June 1, 1872, Page 3.
The Ironton Water Works threw their first stream of water Monday.

1874 "The Water Works," Portsmouth Daily Times, May 30, 1874, Page 3.
Ironton water works sliding into the river.

1881 Ironton, from Engineering News 8:510  (December 17, 1881)

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

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

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

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

1895 "Ironton's Water Works Wrecked," The Pittsburgh Press, July 24, 1895, Page 7.

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

1916 A Standard History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with an Extended Survey of the Industrial and Commercial Development, Volume 1, by Eugene B. Willard
Page 313, 315:  Building of the Waterworks.
Since then the greatest assurance of protection against fire has been realized in the establishment and extension of the waterworks of the city. As a sanitary measure, in connection with the construction of a sewerage system, the distribution of healthful water was of prime importance.
The waterworks of Ironton have been in course of building and improvement since November, 1870. On the 10th of that month W. C. Weir, construction engineer of the Covington (Kentucky) Waterworks, in company with a special committee of the city council, examined a site for the new waterworks on the river bank, near the foot of Vernon Street, and at a citizensí meeting, held at the courthouse, at that time, it was decided to construct them on the Holley system. The estimated cost of the works was $80,000, and the revenue $119,000. At this decisive public meeting B. Garvey presided and E. S. Wilson, then editor of the Register, was secretary.
In February, 1871, the finance committee of the common council contracted with J. Harsman and I. W. Iddings for the sale of $100,000 waterworks bonds and arrangements were made with the Holley Company to commence work at once. As the site for the power plant the Ohio Iron and Coal Company sold the city 100 feet between Front Street and the river and above Vernon. The specific contract with R. T. Coverdale called for the erection of a neat brick building at that locality, 17,946 feet of pipe, the sinking of a well and the running of the supply pipe under the river at a depth of forty-seven feet, and twenty-five double and twenty-five single fire plugs.
It would be immaterial to trace every step of the construction and extension of the system. Although progress has been made from year to year and the water furnished has been excellent, as a whole, temporary defects have been encountered, mainly due to the fact that the water was filtered through a natural sandbar which, in seasons of flood or other river disturbances, affected the purity of the supply. As a protection against fire, the works have always been considered an invaluable safeguard.
The Present Waterworks.
The present waterworks comprise a substantial power house, the machinery of which is operated by steam and three pumps, installed in 1882, 1891 and 1898, respectively, having a combined daily capacity of 6,250,000 gallons. The distribution system is ample for all demands. Within the past eight years some $125,000 has been expended on the improvement of the system, and, in response to the recommendations of the public and the state board of health, a modern filtration system is under way, at an estimated cost of $300,000.
Aside from the protection against fire afforded by the waterworks, Ironton has an organized department, with accommodations for engine, hook and ladder and hose.
At the time the original works were discussed the city council was about to dig cisterns all over town and buy two steam engines, but this crude solution of the problem gave way to the proposition to erect the waterworks, both for protection against fire and epidemics largely traceable to impure water supply. So the works were erected with a pressure of 120 pounds to the square inch; pipes were laid through all the streets and fire plugs placed at all the corners; and this feature of the system. has been especially developed year by year.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce