Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg was first settled in 1780.

The Gettysburg Water Company was established by John McConaughy, John Hersh, J. B. McPherson, Alexander Cobean, Bernard Gilbert, George Smyser, Walter Smith, Samuel H. Buehler, John Herbest, David McConaughy, James Dobben, Robert G. Harper, Sampson S. King, Michael C. Clarkson, James A. Thompson, Adam Walter, Jacob Winterode, John Ermon, Thaddeus Stevens, William McClellan Jr., Charles S. Diterline, James Scandling, George Zigler, David Zigler, Robert Hunter, Jacob Eyster, Ephraim Martin, John Garvin, Ann Giffin, Michael Bobst, James Gettys, George Arnold, Robert Golder, Thomas J. Cooper; John Arendt, and John Lisle, and in 1823 were incorporated "to complete the bringing and conveying a stream of water from land purchased of Damel Heck, within the borough of Gettysburg, by means of pipes, trunks or acqueducts." The company built a gravity system using bored wooden logs.  The estate of William McClellan, who died in 1845, included substantial (perhaps all) property of the Gettysburg Water Company.

Another Gettysburg Water Company was incorporated in 1846 with John B. McPherson, John Bringman. William King, James A. Thompson, Samuel H. Buehler, Robert Smith, Daniel M. Smyser, David Middlecoft, and George W. McClellan appointed as commissioners to sell stock and establish the company, which was "to proceed to bring and convey into the borough of Gettysburg, by means of pipes, trunks, of Gettysburg, aqueducts or other means, some spring or springs, stream or streams of water, from the neighborhood of, or from within the bounds of the said borough, the right to which shall have previously been vested in said company, and also provide cisterns or reservoirs for the reception thereof; and if they deem it expedient, may contract with the present holders of the property of the old Gettysburg water company, for the property now held by them."  This company rebuilt the system and in 1884 added a supply from wells that was pumped by a windmill.  A steam engine was added in 1894 to pump water from Marsh Creek to a reservoir, and a new pumping station and filtration built were built in 1912.

The state Department of Health took over operation of the water company during the 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Battle of Gettysburg to insure adequate and safe water supplies for the 53,407 veterans attending.

The company was purchased by the North American Water Works Corporation, which in turn became part of the Northeastern Public Service Company in 1931 and the Northeastern Water Company in 1942.

The Gettysburg Municipal Authority was formed on June 18, 1948 under the provisions of the Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, and purchased the water system on June 30, 1949 for $550,000.

Water service is provided by the Gettysburg Municipal Authority.

1822 Gettysburg Compiler, September 11, 1822, Page 6.
Attention!  The Subscribers, a Committee appointed by the Gettysburg Water Company to contract for Materials and Digging, necessary to bring in the Water from the Springs south of the Town, will meet at the Tavern of Mr. George Hersh, in Gettysburg, on Wednesday, the 11th of September next, to receive Proposals for delivering Yellow Pine Lots for Pipes, and boring the same, or either separately--and, also, the Digging for the Reservoir and Bed for the Pipe; and Scantling and other Lumber for Building the same.--A descriptoin of the different parts, and grading notes, will be shewn at any time by either of the Subscribers, to persons wishing to contract. John Hersh, George Smyser, J. McConaughy. Aug. 26, 1822.

1823 An act to incorporate the Gettysburg Water Company.  January 28, 1823.

1846 An act to incorporate the Gettysburg Water Company.  April 20, 1846.

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

1886 History of Cumberland and Adams County, Pennsylvania: Containing History of the Counties, Their Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc. ; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men ; Biographies, Part II  | Also here |
Page  194-195:  WATER COMPANIES.  In August, 1822, Thaddeus Stevens, a councilman, offered a resolution to contract for water supply for the town, to be furnished in hydrants, for the sum of $200.  This year, November, the council elected George Smyser to fill the unexpired term of Alexander Dobbin, deceased.
Thaddeus Stevens continued to press the subject of water-works, on the attention of his fellow councilmen.  It was greatly through his efforts that the old water-works and reservoir were constructed, and pipes laid from the spring on the side of Baltimore Street.  For many years these answered all purposes, but in the course of time the wants and growth of the town caused the present water-works to be put up by a private company, and now Gettysburg is supplied with a great abundance of the purest and best of water.  The stranger who visits the place, tastes its water, visits the water-works and sees the pure crystal fountain in the reservoir that is pumped from an inexhaustible lake that is covered by seventy feet of granite roofing, to him this is one of the attractive features of the place.  Certainly no place in the world is more favored in this respect than Gettysburg.
The new water-works were put up and completed in the summer of 1883; the work commenced in the fall of 1882.

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

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

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

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

1913 Agreement Between the State and the Gettysburg Water Company from Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg: report of the Pennsylvania Commission, presented to His Excellency, John K. Tener, Governor of Pennsylvania, for transmittal to the General Assembly, Volume 1.  | Department of Health Report |

1927 "New York Concern Buys Gettysburg Water Co.," The Evening News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), February 14, 1927, Page 22.
Control of the Gettysburg Water Company today passed to the North American Water Works Corporation, a New York concern.

1931 "Insull Interests Get Gettysburg Water Company," Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania), July 31, 1931, Page 10.
Sold to the Northeastern Public Service Company along other water companies in Pennsylvania.

1933 Gettysburg Times, May 13, 1933, Page 1.
Water Company Will Submit New Schedule.  The Average flat rate for the 816 consumers here is $16 a year.  Besides the flat rate consumers, the local company has 497 users who have meters in their homes and pay only for the amount of water used.

1939 Gettysburg Times, May 12, 1939, page 2.
$60,000 Project to Link Park to Local Water System Begins.

1946 The Gettysburg Times, May 6, 1949, Page 3.
Reminiscences of 70 Years in Gettysburg by Dr. Henry Stewart. [Description of the early water systems]

1948 Formation of Gettysburg Municipal Authority, June 7, 1948.

1948 Gettysburg Compiler, June 12, 1948, Page 4.
Chairman Hoffman Of New Borough Authority Tells of Plan to Purchase Water Company Under Bond Issue.

1949 Authorizing and approving a certain purpose agreement between Northeastern Water Company, a Delaware corporation, and Gettysburg Municipal Authority for the purchase by the Authority of all the common stock of Gettysburg Water Company, a Pennsylvania corporation.  April 27, 1949

1949 Gettysburg Compiler, April 30, 1949, Page 1.
Council Authorized Purchase of Water Company for $550,000 At Special Meeting Wednesday.

1949 The Star and Sentinel, July 9, 1949, Page 1.
First Step in Acquisition of Water Company is Completed.

1956 The Gettysburg Times, September 10, 1956, Page 31.
The First Hundred Years. 
The Gettysburg Water Company came into existence in 1823 and the first method of distributing the spring water was primitive, through wooden pipe, and the remains of one of these old wooden pipes was dug up during the past year.
Later the reservoir on Stratton St. was built and iron pipe substituted for the wooden ones.

1974 The Gettysburg Times, January 31, 1974, Page 3. The remaining articles in the series were published on February 1, 4, and 5, 1974.
Gettysburg was Among the First Towns in Nation to Have Own Water System.  This is the first of a series of four articles which the Gettysburg Municipal Authority has had prepared about the background, facilities and operation of the community's municipal authority that provides this community with water and sewage service.

2015 Morris A. Pierce