Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Catasauqua, Pennsylvania

Catasauqua was first settled in 1805 and chartered in 1853.

The first water works in Catasauqua were built by the Lehigh Crane Iron Company, which has been formed in 1839 by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company to smelt iron ore with anthracite coal.  David Thomas, an iron master from Wales, was hired to build and run the works, which began operating in 1840.  Thomas undertook construction of the water works "before the charter grant was completed," which likely refers to the April 23, 1839 charter for the iron company.  David's son Samuel was a student at Nazareth Hall in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, from about 1840 to 1842, and while there his father asked him to visit the nearby water works in Bethlehem to "take measurements of the pump used there in order that he might have a model and some data to go on in the erection of Catasauqua's first water works."  The new pump "was attached to the water wheel that drove the hot-blast for the furnaces."  According to an 1884 history, water was initially supplied to houses of company employees.  In any case, a law in 1857 allowed the system to be serve all of the borough's inhabitants and the iron company owned and operated the system for several years.

The Crane Water Company was incorporated on August 14, 1895 and acquired the system and water rights from the iron company, which was experiencing financial difficulties. 

The Clear Springs Water Company was incorporated on May 15, 1899, and on April 10, 1902 these two companies were merged into a new Clear Springs Water Company, which entered into a contract with the Borough on August 18, 1903.  Residents were not happy with the water supply, and after the contract expired in December 1907 an effort for municipal ownership gained steam and on July 23, 1908 voters approved a loan of $800,000 to build new water works by a vote of 776 to 74.  The water company brought suit against the borough, but was unsuccessful and the borough's system system began service in October, 1910.

Water service is provided by the Borough of Catasauqua.

1857 An act to supply the borough of Catasauqua with water.  April 24, 1857.

1882 Catasauqua, from Engineering News, 9:309 (September 2, 1882)

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

1884 "Borough of Catasauqua. The Water-Works," from History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by Alfred Mathews and Austin N. Hungerford

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

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

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

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

1909 Clear Springs Water Co. vs. Borough of Catasauqua.  Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, June Term, 1909.

1909 "Catasauqua Wins in Water Litigation," The Allentown Leader, August 3, 1909, Page 1.

1914 "Water," from A History of Catasauqua in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, by James Franklin Lambert and Henry J. Reinhard

1914 "Water-Works," from Early History and Reminiscences of Catasauqua in Pennsylvania, by William H. Glace

2016 Morris A. Pierce