Documentary History of American Water-works

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North Central States
Ohio Norwalk

Norwalk, Ohio

Norwalk was incorporated as a city in 1881.

The village built a Holly water system that was completed on March 31, 1871.

Water is supplied by the city of Norwalk, which has a history page.


References
1871 "Holly Water Works," Cleveland Daily Leader, March 31, 1871, Page 4.
Trial Test of the Holly Water Works at Norwalk - Their Thorough Efficiency Demonstrated

1871 "The Norwalk Water Works," The Fremont Weekly Journal, April 7, 1871, Page 3.

1878 "Norwalk, Ohio, Water Works," Engineering News 5:153-154 (May 16, 1878)

1879 History of the Fire lands, comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and pioneers, by William W. Williams
Pages 143-144:  Norwalk Water Works.
The citizens of Norwalk, as the town increased to a goodly size, felt the need of a more adequate supply of water for all purposes, than could be obtained from wells and cisterns, and in 1869, or before that time, the question of erecting a system of water works began to be agitated. Meetings were held, and the council engaged the services of an engineer to make surveys with such an object in view in the future. It was found impracticable to adopt the reservoir system, which was at first proposed. Surveys were made at Maxville, but would require seven miles of pipe. For similar reasons other places, where water could be procured, were discarded. A committee was appointed by the village council to visit Kalamazoo, Michigan, and examine into the Holly system of water works, which had been adopted, and were in use in that city. They were well satisfied with the results of their examination, and on their returning the council passed an ordinance which was published December 20, 1809, submitting the question of establishing the Holly system of water works, to a popular vote, the cost of the same not to exceed seventy-five thousand dollars. A meeting of the citizens was called at the court house, January 28, 1870, which was enthusiastic in favor of the proposition. The election to decide the question was held February 7th, and resulted in a vote of five hundred and eighty in favor to twenty-one against. The proposition was to issue bonds for the whole amount, the same to run not to exceed fifteen years at seven per cent. interest. It being feared after the vote was taken that the bonds could not be negotiated with but seven per cent. interest, it was thought best to again submit it to the people, with a change in the rate of interest the bonds were to bear, to eight cent. The requisite notice was given, and the second election was held April 30, 1870, resulting in three hundred and ninety in favor of the works, to thirty-eight against.
The erection of water works being determined on, three trustees were elected at the regular time of holding elections, April i, 1870; the members elected being O. A. White, S. J. Patrick and John Gardiner.  On June 1st, a contract was entered into by the village of Norwalk and the Holly Manufacturing Company, of Lockport, New York, for suitable machinery for the purpose desired, the water capacity to be not less than two million gallons every twenty-four hours, and the machinery to be shipped on or before August 15, 1870. Work was at once begun on a well, filters, and a brick house for the machinery, which were erected at a cost of four thousand dollars. The work of laying pipe was also commenced, but was not completed until the spring of 1871. It had been decided to procure the water from the east branch of the Huron river, some two miles west from the courthouse. The machinery was duly placed in position, and on March 30, 1871, a test of the working of the machinery was made. A committee of citizens was invited by the council to visit the works. Visitors were also present from Sandusky, Milan, Fremont, Adrian, Michigan, Mansfield and other places. The test proved entirely satisfactory, and was duly reported in the leading papers of this portion of the State. The citizens, one and all, took great pride in the fact of the establishment of a water works system in the beautiful village, their home.
The building for the machinery is fifty-four by fifty-eight feet. The machinery comprised three engines, one being a rotary for reserve purposes, the others double-cylinder piston engines. Two boilers furnished steam, and six gang pumps forced the water, which runs through a filter of stone, charcoal and coarse sand, into a well twenty-five feet deep and twenty-two feet wide, capable of holding fifty-six thousand gallons of water. A telegraph line runs from the works to town; there is also a telephone attached to the wire.
It was found, after a while, that the Holly engines were not satisfactory, and, in the spring of 1878, two new Worthington low-pressure engines and pumps were placed in position, and were tested, in presence of the trustees, April 22, 1878, proving entirely satisfactory.
The cost of the Holly works was a little more than ninety-six thousand dollars, and the new Worthington engines and pipes have cost fourteen thousand dollars more, making a total cost of about one hundred and ten thousand dollars. In the near future it will be necessary to replace the main pipe with a larger size,  as the one now in use causes a great loss in pressure from its being too small. At the present time, it requires a pressure of one hundred and sixty-five to one hundred and eighty-five pounds at the works to produce ninety to ninety-seven and one-half at the court house, which is elevated about fifty feet above the works and two miles distant. The system, as a whole, has proved a good investment to Norwalk, and such defects as it may have will, in time, be remedied.
The number of water takers, the 15th of May, 1879, was about three hundred and seventy-five. There are now in place, for use, some ninety hydrants, about fourteen miles of street mains, and two tanks for the use of the traveling public in watering their teams.
The power at the water works is utilized instead of fire engines, in case of fire on any of the streets in the village. As soon as an alarm is sounded, the signal for fire pressure to be applied is sent over the wire to the engineer at his post, at the water works building. The fire companies respond to the alarm, and as soon as the hose are attached to the hydrants, powerful streams of water can be thrown; thus the water works power answers the same purpose as half a dozen fire engines, and at no additional cost.
Many of the citizens have small rubber hose, which can be attached to the pipes in their yards and used to water the flowers, the lawn and garden, and sometimes to settle the dust on the street. Different forms of lawn sprinklers are used, some of them producing a beautiful spray, and serving the purpose of a fountain. In addition to these fi.Ktures, there are a number of fine private fountains, in different parts of the village, the power for which is furnished by the aid of the heavy engines, located two miles distant.
The present (1879) officers of the works are as follows: W. A. Mack, president; W. A. Mack, J. M. Crosby, David Stoutenburgh, trustees; M. Y. Watrous, secretary; U. Pritchard, superintendent.

1881 Norwalk, from Engineering News 8:382  (September 24, 1881)

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

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

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

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

1896 Report of the State Board of Health of the State of Ohio
Page 100-113:  Report on Proposed Water Supply for Norwalk

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



2019 Morris A. Pierce