Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania  Bedford

Bedford, Pennsylvania

Bedford was settled in 1751 and incorporated as a borough in 1795.

The first water system was proposed in August, 1817 and was operated by that winter from a reservoir containing 16,000 gallons.  The wooden pipes were likely bored by William Krichbaum (1768-1863) and connected with iron castings obtained from Pittsburgh.

The Bedford Water Company was incorporated in 1850 "to bring and convey into the borough of Bedford, by means of steam or water power, through pipes, trunks, aqueducts or other means, some spring or springs, stream or streams of water from the neighborhood of, or from within the bounds of said borough."  William T. Daugherty, Samuel M. Barclay, Samuel L. Russell, Thomas B. Miller, Job Mann, Samuel H. Tate, George Blymire, John Cessna and Collin Loyer were appointed commissioners to form the company.  No further information about this company has been found and it is now known what relationship it had to the earlier and later water systems.

The first iron water pipe was installed in 1854.

The borough of Bedford constructed a gravity water system in the early 1870s.

On May 14, 1923, Bedford Borough Council established a commission of Water Works in accordance with the 1915 law governing boroughs.

Water service is provided by the Borough of Bedford.

1850 An act to incorporate the Bedford water company.  May 6, 1850.

1851 An act to repeal the second proviso of the second second of "An act to incorporate the Bedford water company."  February 25, 1851.

1872 An act for the appointment of water commissioners for the borough of Bedford, in Bedford county.  April 13, 1872.

1873 A further supplement to An act for the appointment of water commissioners for the borough of Bedford, in Bedford county, approved the thirteenth day of April Anno Domini eighteen hundred and seventy-two.  February 21, 1873.

1881 Bedford, from Engineering News, 8:394 (October 1, 1881)

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

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

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

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

1907 "Bedford in Ye Olden Time," Bedford Gazette, June 14, 1907, Page 4.
Complete Text of Two Lectures Delivered by Dr. Charles N. Hickock in the Court House at Bedford, February 23 and March 29, 1886, and Printed in Full in the Bedford Gazette.
Speaking of Samuel Riddle's house reminds me that I omitted to mention how it was supplied with water.  William Krichbaum, who was born in 1768, and died in 1863, was a famous maker of pumps and wooden water pipes.  He bored and laid the pine logs that conducted the water from the spring that supplies the Anderson farm house, this side of the stone mill, north through Juliana street to the court house corner, and thence to Riddle's at Penn and Richard.  These were the first water-works.
Krichbaum afterward made and laid the pipe from the Gravel Hill reservoir.  Once these pipes began obstructed and, for a time, no ingenuity could discover the cause.  Finally, after much patient digging, Krichbaum found the obstruction at Larry Harmon's corner.
The stop in the pipes we spoke of occurred in this way.  The fibrous root of a locust tree had found it way through a small work hole, into the bore of the log piope, and grow and spread there, fed by the running water, until like the fabled camel that with great apparent humility and modesty, thrust its nose into a tailor shop, it did not take long for this root to fill the entire pipe and make the flow of water impossible, and yet old Father Krichbaum in 1854, when the first iron pipes were laid indignantly pronounced "tese new fangled tings nix goot." 

1915 "Borough Water Works System Must Be Improved," Bedford Gazette, May 14, 1915, Page 2.

1916 "Bedford Borough Makes Appeal," Bedford Gazette, October 5, 1916, Page 1.

1931 "More Facts about Proposed Reservoir," Bedford Gazette, October 23, 1931, Page 1.

1948 "First Water Works," Bedford Gazette, March 25, 1948, Page 42.
According to an early history, the first "municipal water works" were laid out in Bedford in August, 1817, and a reservoir with a capacity of 16,000 gallons was planned, "near the public springs."  Castings were procured from Pittsburgh for the pipe, and the works were in operation before the winter of 1817-18.  John Tod was a member of the committee.

2016 Morris A. Pierce