Documentary History of American Water-works

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Ohio Zanesville

Zanesville, Ohio

Zanesville was founded in 1797.

The first water system in Zanesville was built in 1816 by Willis Silliman and David J. Marple, distributing water through wooden pipes from a reservoir fed by springs.  The system delivered water the following year, but as the reservoir was not much higher than the distribution system was unable to deliver water with any pressure.  The water was also not suitable for cooking or drinking, and the system was soon abandoned.  Marple later absconded with funds from the local bank where he was chief cashier, but was apprehended.  He later moved to Texas, where he died in June 1822.

The town built its first water works in 1842 using a water-driven pump to fill a reservoir.  The town built a second steam-powered plant in 1868, but the quality of construction of poor and the boiler exploded in early 1870, killing the fireman.  This plant was apparently rebuilt, but primarily as a reserve for a newer steam pumping station built in 1873, which was successful.

Water is currently provided by the City of Zanesville.

1841 An act to authorize the loan of certain moneys to the town of Zanesville, in the county of Muskingum, for the erection of water works and other purposes, March 26, 1841

1866 To authorize the city of Zanesville to renew the loan made to the town of Zanesville by the Zanesville Canal and Manufacturing Company. April 4, 1866.

1870 Mobile Register, May 7, 1870
Zanesville, Ohio, May 6.-- The boilers of the new power-house of the water works exploded with a terrible crash.  The engineer and fireman were the only persons in the building.  The fireman was blown through the roof, and landed fifty feet from the building.  He will probably die.  The engineer is not much hurt.  The building was blown to pieces.  Loss about $100,000.

1877 "Early History of Zanesville", The Zanesville Daily Courier, December 15, 1877. page 1
Willis Silliman and David J Marple erected the first water works in Zanesville in 1816 and 1817. The reservoir was located near the corner of Underwood and Fountain alley, and was built of cut stone, puddled with white clay. The reservoir was 75 feet long and 25 feet wide, and about 9 feet high, arched over with brick. The water was brought from the springs on the surrounding hills in wooden pipes. From the reservoir it was conveyed in wooden logs to different parts of the village. When water was drawn from the pipes at the lower end of town, water wouldn't flow from the hydrants at the upper end of town. It wouldn't work like a charm; in fact, was a complete failure. This reservoir remained until about 1831, when the cut stone in the reservoir were sold for building purposes. In a few years the brick arch began to give way, but still the reservoir remained nearly full of water, and afforded an immense amount of sport for the boys of that day, of whom the writer was one. The frogs and snakes inhabited it in large numbers, and the boys put in many a happy hour in throwing stones at them.

1881 Zanesville, from Engineering News, 8:480 (November 26, 1881)

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

1882 1794: History of Muskingum County, Ohio: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers
Page 216:
The first attempt in Zanesville was made by David J. Marple and Wyllys Silliman, to whom the City Council granted the privilege of laying pipe and building a reservoir. The ordinance authorizing this work was passed in May, 1816, and the water works inaugurated in 1817.
The reservoir was located near the corner of Underwood street and Fountain alley; was built of cut stone, puddled with white clay, and arched over with brick. In those days, the springs were much stronger than now, and water was brought from the springs on the surrounding hills; from the spring at Best's still-house, east of Green lane, through Mrs. Fell's pasture lot, to the reservoir — through a cut of twenty'-five feet — the necessary fall. The reservoir was seventy-five feet long and twenty-five feet wide, and nine feet deep. The logs used tor piping were principally elm, poplar and oak. The work of preparing them was done on the lot where Mr. F. J. L. Blandy's residence now stands. The hole through the logs was two and a half to three and a half inches in diameter — they tapered and were driven together. The hydrants were of the primitive order, made by driving an upright pipe, about seven feet long, into the water-mains, and at the top a piece of wood was driven in, to keep the water from flowing out, and then a faucet of -wood or brass was inserted. The chief water-main ran down Main street, below Third,  with branches on the side streets, and in winter required to be well protected to prevent freezing. While water was being drawn from a hydrant at the lower end of the street, none could be had at the upper end, and vice versa. Captain John Dulty lived on the corner of Seventh and Fountain alley, and had the first hydrant on the line, and when he drew water all hydrants below were closed. The reservoir was not much higher than the hydrants and the pressure was not sufficient. The water was so tinctured with the wood through which it passed that it was not suitable for drinking or cooking.
The minimum price fixed for water supply to a family, was $5.00 a year, but the projectors of the enterprise never collected a cent for the use of water furnished to the citizens. The whole affair was a loss. This reservoir remained in existence until 1831, when the cut stones were taken out and sold for building purposes.
The second water works were completed in the autumn of 1842. The money used in constructing them was loaned to the town of Zanesville by the Canal and Manufacturing Company, being $39,443.18, for twenty-four years, from January 1st. 1842.  These works were driven by water power, and continued in use until 1873, when they were entirely abandoned.
The third water works were constructed in 1868, and driven by steam, and continued in use until 1873, when the present works were constructed. The works built in 1868, are in good repair, and held as a reservoir, in case of accident to the new works. The present works, (including that on the uplands,) cost $175,000.00. There are two reservoirs, with a capacity of four million and five hundred thousand gallons. Their elevation above low water mark in the river is two hundred feet. The pumping capacity of the engines is about five million gallons each, in twenty-four hours. The total cost of all works (now in good condition), with their appurtenances, was about $500,000.
The customary "By Laws, Rules and Regulations," have been adopted. The last, annual report of the Trustees of Water Works, for the year ending March 14th, 1880, contains the usual details, covering twenty-eight pages, which we do not think germain to this recital.
The following are the officers of the Water Works :
Board of Trustees— R. D. Schultz, M. Churchill, C. Stolzenbach. Superintendent, Elias Ebert ; Secretary, R. J. J. Harkins.
At the date of this report, the condition of the Water Works was as follows :
Total number of fire plugs in the city 188
" " " Street and private sprinklers 237
" " "Hydrants and taps ,. 2,307
" " " Steam engines supplied 51
" " " Hydraulic elevators supplied 4
" " " Brickyards supplied 5
" " " Water motors supplied 5
Length of cast iron mains, thirty-two miles 116 feet.
Total number of gallons pumped 702,313,204
" Cost of pumping 1,000,000 gallons $16.64
" " " running the works for the year 12,894.02
The income for each 1,000,000 gallons pumped 30.51
Balance on hand March 15, 1879 $ 2,220 56
Water rents and all other sources 24,576 44
Total, $26,797 00
Expenditures $22,828 42
Balance on hand, March 14, 1880 $3,968.58

Page 218: The following paper exhibits a disaster that happened to the bank :
"Bank of Muskingum, January 9, 1819.
To Whom it may concern: — This will make known, that the bearer hereof, Horace Nye, Esq., is a Director of the Bank of Muskingum ; that he has been duly appointed by the Board of Directors of said bank, to go in pursuit of David J. Marple, late cashier of said bank, who absconded on Tuesday morning last, as is supposed, with a large amount of the funds of said bank ; and the said Horace Nye is hereby authorized, in behalf of, and at the expense of said bank, to take all lawful measures to arrest and secure said David J. Marple, that he may be dealt with according to law and justice.
By order of the Board of Directors.

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

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

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

1892 Zanesville Water Works, from Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio: Embracing an Authentic and Comprehensive Account of the Chief Events in the History of the County and a Record of the Lives of Many of the Most Worthy Families and Individuals
Page 223:  David J. Marple, from Bucks county, Pa., was a prominent and for some years a useful citizen, during the early days.  He became involved in financial dishonor and in 1822 went to Texas.

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

1917 "New Pumping Station for Zanesville," Fire and Water Engineering, 61(24):356 (June 13, 1917)

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce