Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Cheltenham

Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

Cheltenham was founded in 1682 and incorporated as a township in 1900.

The Chelten Hills Water and Gas Company was incorporated in 1859 Joseph Childs, Edward M. Davis, Charles Bosler, James Mott, Penrose Mather, George W. Lord Jr., and Morris L. Hallowell "for the parpoae of introducing water from Tacony creek and Kulp's stream, and other convenient sources, into the said township of Cheltenham and the adjoining township of Abington."  No evidence has been found that this company built anything.

The Oak Lane Water Company was incorporated on June 12, 1893 by William S. Perot, Jr., Joseph S. Keene, Jr., Edwin F. Partridge N. H. Rand, and H. E. Asbury to supply water to the township of Cheltenham.  In 1895, this company built a plant located at what is now the corner of Mill Rd and Moseley Avenue that pumped water from wells into a standpipe.  The company was purchased by the North Springfield Water Company on November 2, 1899.  That company was leased by the Springfield Consolidated Water Company for 99 years on September 28, 1908, which was renamed in 1925 as the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. and later became part of Aqua Pennsylvania.

Water service is provided by Aqua Pennsylvania.


References
1859 An act to incorporate the Chelten Hills Water and Gas Company.  March 26, 1859.

1893 Philadelphia Inquirer, May 18, 1893, Page 6.
Notice of application for incorporation by Oak Lane Water Company.

1893 Oak Lane Water Company, Capital $1,000, June 12, 1893.  Said corporation is formed for the purpose of supplying water to the public in the township of Cheltenham, in the county of Montgomery, and State of Pennsylvania, and to such persons, partnerships and corporations residing therein and adjacent thereto who may desire the same.

1894 Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia from January 1 to December 31, 1894.
Pages 80-81: AN ORDINANCE.  To permit the laying of water pipe by the Oak Lane Water Company in a portion of the Twenty-second Ward.
Section 1. The Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia do ordain, That the Oak Lane Water Company be, and is hereby permitted to lay water pipe in any of the public highways in that portion of the Twenty-second Ward described and bounded as follows : By the county line, the Old York road. Second street and Green lane upon the following conditions, viz :
First: That all work done by permission of this ordinance shall be done under the direction and with the approval of the Department of Public Works.
Second: That said Water Company will erect, maintain, and supply water without charge to the City all fire hydrants that may be required by the said department.
Third: To furnish without charge any and all water required for City purposes, for schools, for police and fire stations, except water that may be required by the House of Correction or the City Prison, Almshouse or Municipal Hospital, or other institutions of a like character located in said ward, and if any water be paid for by the City of Philadelphia it shall be by meter measure at the price charged consumers by the city.
Fourth: That the City shall have the privilege of taking possession of any or all of the pipes, stop cocks, and fire hydrants laid under the provisions of this ordinance or that have heretofore been laid without the authority of the City by the said company, at a price to be ascertained by three (3) arbitrators, one to be chosen by the City, one by said company, and the third to be chosen by the two arbitrators so selected. In case the City should purchase any of said pipes the right is hereby reserved by the City to charge the owners of property fronting on said streets the usual frontage charges for said pipe the same as in other sections of said City.
Fifth : That before any work shall be done under the provisions of this ordinance the said company shall file with the City Solicitor an acceptance thereof, and also a bond in the sum of five thousand (5000) dollars to secure satisfactory compliance with the provisions of this ordinance and to protect the City from any damages done to persons or property by reason of the operations of this company.
Sect. 2. That nothing contained in this ordinance shall be construed to prevent the granting of similar privileges to other companies or to prevent the laying of water pipe by the said City in accordance with existing laws and with the right to collect the usual frontage charges.
Sect. 3. That the privileges hereby granted can be revoked at any time by the passage of an ordinance to that effect without creating any claims in law or equity for damages arising from such revocation. The said water company shall change and relay water pipes and readjust connections at its own expense, should the same become necessary by reason of any and all revision of grades by the City.
Sect. 4. That a copy of this ordinance shall be printed on the backs of all bills for water rent issued by said company.  And that the sum of fifty (50) dollars be first paid into the City Treasury by said company for advertising the ordinance.
Approved the twenty-seventh day of March, A. D. 1894.  EDWIN S. STUART, Mayor of Philadelphia.

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

1899 Fire and Water 26:ix (August 12, 1899)
The Oak Lane Water company has arranged to supply Oak Lane, Philadelphia, in better shape.  It will increase its pumping capacity at Pickering creek.  Reservoirs have been constructed and mains are being laid to connect with the system from Devon to Chestnut Hill, from which place it will run water into the present standpipe at Oak Lane.  The water is filtered by the sand process.

1904 Ordinances and Opinions of the City Solicitor, Philadelphia (Pa.).
Pages 191-192: AN ORDINANCE. Supplementary to an ordinance approved the twenty-seventh day of March, A. D. 1894, "to permit the laying of water pipe by the Oak Lane Water Company in a portion of the Twenty-second Ward," and to authorize the North Springfield Water Company as grantee of all the franchises and property of the Oak Lane Water Company to assume the obligations and be subject to the liabilities and provisions of the said ordinance.
Whereas, The North Springfield Water Company has obtained by deed of conveyance a grant of all the franchises and all the property of the Oak Lane Water Company under the provisions of the Act of Assembly of April 17, 1876, Pamphlet Laws, page 33, Section 5.
And whereas, By the provisions of said Act of Assembly, the said Oak Lane Water Company after said conveyance of all its franchises and property, ceased to exist, and by said deed of conveyance the North Springfield Water Company assumed the performance of all the covenants, contracts and all other obligations of the Oak Lane Water Company, including the obligations arising under the Ordinance of March 27, 1894, and has since the date of said conveyance been complying with the provisions thereof in place and stead of the Oak Lane Water Company; therefore,
Section 1. The Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia do ordain, That the North Springfield Water Company be and the same is hereby accepted by the City of Philadelphia as the grantee of the Oak Lane Water Company of all the rights and subject to all the obligations, restrictions, limitations and liabilities of the said Oak Lane Water Company set forth and defined in the said Ordinance of March 27, 1894, with the same force and effect as if the name of the North Springfield Water Company had been substituted in said ordinance for that of the Oak Lane Water Company.
Sect. 2. That the sum of fifty (50) dollars shall be paid by the North Springfield Water Company into the City Treasury for advertising this supplementary ordinance.
Approved the sixteenth day of September, A. D. 1903.

1904 "Water resources of the Philadelphia District," by Florence Bascom

1911 "The Springfield Consolidated Water Company," The Fourth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Health of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1909, Part 1.
Page 880: The Oak Lane Water Company pumped its supply from drilled wells into a standpipe located in the village, whence it flowed by gravity to the consumers.  The pumping station is still in a fair state of repair, but it is not used and its capacity is not sufficient to supply the district at present.  However, the standpipe is in commission and is a part of the system of the North Springfield Water Company.
Page 884: The Oak Lane standpipe receives its supply from the distributing system fed by the main supply pipe. The standpipe is thirty feet in diameter and seventy feet high and its capacity is three hundred and seventy thousand gallons. The elevation of the top is three hundred and seventeen feet above sea level. The structure is a part of the old works of the Oak Lane Water Company.

1915 Ordinances of the City of Philadelphia from January 1 to December 31, 1915.
Pages 604-605:  An ordinance To provide for the purchase by the City from the North Springfield Water Company of the water pipe and appliances in Haines street, between Old York road and Wilson street, heretofore laid by said company.
Whereas, By ordinances of March 27, 1894, September 16, 1903, October 16, 1905, April 3, 1906, and December 26, 1906, the North Springfield Water Company, as successors and grantees of the Oak Lane Water Company, were given the privilege of laying water pipe and supplying water to residences, among other locations, in Haines street, from Old York road to Wilson street;
And Whereas, The City water supply is now in close proximity to the North Springfield Water Company's pipe in Haines street above mentioned; and extensive business operations are in progress south of Haines street, which the North Springfield Water Company is not authorized to supply with water, therefore,
Sectiox 1. The Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia do ordain. That, in accordance with the provisions of the said ordinances of March 27. 1894, the City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Works, take possession of all the water pipe and appurtenances thereto and rights therein in Haines street, between Old York road and Wilson street, laid and now owned by the North Springfield Water Company, the cost thereof, which by mutual agreement has been fixed at two thousand eight hundred and fifty-six (2,856) dollars, to be paid out of the appropriation of seventy-five thousand (75,000) dollars to Item 170, for laying water mains, etc., apportioned by ordinance of June 15, 1915. out of the loan of five hundred thousand (500,000) dollars, approved May 6, 1915, it being understood that the price paid for said pipe shall not form the basis for future payment for the purchase of any or all of the North Springfield Water Company's
other pipes or mains.
Approved the twenty-seventh day of December, A. D. 1915. RUDOLPH BLANKENBURG, Mayor of Philadelphia.

1920 "Springfield Consolidated Water Company," Water Resources Inventory Report, Part VI, Water Supply Commission of Pennsylvania

1926 "Two Water Plants Taken Over by City," The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 1926, Page 2.
Pipes in Oak Lane District Now served by Municipal System.

1935 "Professors Founded Big Water Company," The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 1935, Page 13.
Started Phila. Suburban System at Swarthmore.

1976 A History of Cheltenham Township, Elaine W. Rothschild

Melrose Park Neighbors Association, map showing Oak Lane Water Company in 1909.





2017 Morris A. Pierce