Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Manayunk and Roxborough

Manayunk and Roxborough, Pennsylvania

Manayunk and Roxborough were annexed to the City of Philadelphia on February 2, 1854 and became part of the 21st Ward of Philadelphia.

The 1854 Act of Consolidation combined the City of Philadelphia with thirteen townships, six boroughs and nine districts in the County of Philadelphia. This more than tripled the population and increased the city's area from 2 square miles to 129 square miles, much of it still rural and undeveloped.  The Germantown Water Company has been operating in Germantown Borough since 1851, and the Chestnut Hill Water Company had been incorporated in 1856 to serve an area in the former Township of Germantown, and began service in 1859.  Both of these companies were bought by the City of Philadelphia in 1866 and 1873 respectively.

In February, 1858, the Common Council directed the chief engineer of the water department, Henry P. M. Birkinbine, to report "on the expediency of providing for the erection of water works in the upper end of the Twenty-first Ward, for the purpose of supplying the northern section of the City with a better supply of water, and the probable cost thereof."  He delivered his report on February 9, 1860, but in the meantime the Manayunk and Roxborough Water Company had been incorporated.  

The Manayunk and Roxborough Water Company was incorporated in 1859 by Joseph Ripka, William B. Stephens, John F. Preston, Christian B. Miller, J. Towers Ogle, Archibald Campbell, James B. Winpinny, Daniel Arbuckly, David Wallace, Bernard McCain, William McGlinchey, John Bromly, John Adams, William Dawson (waterman), Charles Thompson Jones, Charles E. Graeff, Michael Blime, George W. Davis, Israel V. James, John Harris Jr., James Shaw, James Bowker, William McFadden, and Edward Strause "for raising, introducing and distributing into the districts of Manayunk and Roxborough, in the Twenty-first ward of the consolidated city of Philadelphia, a sufficient supply of pure water."  This company engaged Birkinbine to prepare a report on a supply of water, which he completed on March 19, 1863, as he was no longer the chief engineer of the Philadelphia department.  The company secured an amendment to their charter the following month allowing them to supply water to the twenty-second ward in addition to the twenty-first ward specified in their charter, and also to sell water to the Germantown Water Company.   This is the last mention of this company until the 1909 Report of the Water Supply Commission of Pennsylvania, which states that the company was sold to the city, which it may have been but no record of this has been found.

The Common Council appropriated funds in July, 1865 to build a new water system to supply these same areas, and they were completed in 1869.

Water service is provided by the City of Philadelphia.


References
1855 New Map of the Consolidated City of Philadelphia

1858 Journal of the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia for the Year 1858
Page 530: February 24. Resolved:  That the Chief Engineer of the Water Department be, and he is hereby instructed to report to these Councils on the expediency of providing for the erection of water works in the upper end of the Twenty-first Ward, for the purpose of supplying the northern section of the City with a better supply of water, and the probable cost thereof.

1859 An act to incorporate the Manayunk and Roxborough Water Company.  April 9, 1859.

1859 "Report on a Supply of Water for the Twenty-First Ward," by Henry P. M. Birkinbine, September 8, 1859, from  History of the Works and Annual Report of the Chief Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, February 9, 1860.

1861 "The Water Supply," The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 1861, Page 5.
Report on a Supply of Water for the Twenty-First Ward, by Henry P. M. Birkinbine, September, 1859.

1863 Report made to the Commissioners of the Manayunk and Roxborough Water Company, on a supply of water for the district embraced under their charter, in the city of Philadelphia, by Henry P. M. Birkenbine, March 19, 1863..

1863 A supplement to an act to incorporate the Roxborough and Manayunk Water Company, approved one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine.  April 15, 1863.
That it shall and may be lawful for the Roxborougb and Manayunk Water Company to extend their mains, for conveying water, to the Twenty-Second ward of Philadelphia, and are hereby authorized to make a contract with the Germantown Water Company, to supply the said company with water from the river Schuylkill.

1865 "Extension of the Water Works," The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 12, 1865, Page 3.

1909 Report of the Water Supply Commission of Pennsylvania, 1909
Page 90:  Manayuk and Roxborough Water Company, April 9, 1859, Sold to City.







2017 Morris A. Pierce