Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Kensington, Pennsylvania

Kensington was founded in 1732, incorporated as a district in 1820, and annexed by the city of Philadelphia in 1854.

The City of Philadelphia contracted in 1826 with the three districts north of Vine Street, Spring Garden, Northern Liberties, Spring Garden and Kensington, to supply them water from the new Fairmount pumping plant.  The price paid would be fifty percent higher than that paid by residents of Philadelphia, and the districts were responsible for installing their own piping networks.  Population growth, especially in higher elevation areas, resulted in the district securing approval from the state legislature to construct their own works, which was granted in 1843.  Kensington chose not to participate in the resulting project, so Spring Garden and Northern Liberties proceeded to build a plant to pump water from the Schuylkill River using a pair of steam engines, which was operating at the end of 1844. 

Kensington was served by this system under a contract until its own plant came on line in 1851.  This plant pumped water from the Delaware River into a reservoir using two steam engines.

The district and its system was annexed by the City of Philadelphia in 1854.  At the time of annexation Kensington was the twelfth largest city in the United States.

Water service is provided by the City of Philadelphia.

1843 An act to authorize the Commissioners of the incorporated districts of the county of Philadelphia to construct works for supplying said districts with water from the Schuylkill river.  April 18, 1843.

1888 "Delaware or Kensington Works," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Delaware or Kensington Works," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1931 "Delaware and Kensington Works - 1851," from The Water Works of the City of Philadelphia: The Story of their Development and Engineering Specifications, compiled by Walter A. Graf, Staff Engineer.

2016 Morris A. Pierce