Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Northern Liberties, Pennsylvania

Northern Liberties was incorporated as a district in 1803 and was consolidated with the City of Philadelphia in 1854.

The District of Northern Liberties contracted for a supply of water from the City of Philadelphia on June 6, 1826.  In 1843, they and the adjoining district of Spring Garden decided to build their own water works rather than pay the higher rates offered by Philadelphia, which was completed by December, 1844. 

Water service is provided by the City of Philadelphia.

1824 A further supplement to an Act entitled "An act to incorporate that part of the Northern Liberties, &c." passed March 16, 1819.  March 27, 1824
The property fronting on any such street, road, lane, or alley, shall be taxed and liable for all the expenses that may be incurred, for laying the pipes, in proportion to its.extent, in front, and also shall be subject thereafter, to all such taxes or assessments that may be laid, from time to time, for keeping up the necessary supply of water, and the expenses attendant thereon.

1826 Contract for supplying the district of Spring Garden with Schuylkill water.  The contracts for the district of Southwark and the township of the Northern Liberties, are in the same terms, mutatis mutandis.

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.

1845 Water Supply contract with Kensington, March 26, 1845

1845 "Important Decision," Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), August 20, 1845, Page 2.
Judge Kennedy, of the Supreme Court of the State, yesterday granted a perpetual injunction against the use of the Schuylkill water by the Commissioners of Spring Garden and the Northern Liberties, for the supply of those districts.  This virtually declares the act of the assembly, giving to those district the right to erect water works, unconstitutional, on the ground that it impairs the obligation of the contract between the City and the Schuylkill Navigation Company and the State.  The question as to the relative rights of the parties to this controversy has been the subject of debate for some time, and a decision has been looked for with much interst, as a large amount of money has been invested by the several Corporations in their respective works, and considerable rivalry excited between them.

1848 Mayor, &c. v. The Commissioners of Spring Garden, 7 Pa. 348, March 1, 1848, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

1848 "The Schuylkill Water Case," Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), March 2, 1848, Page 2.
Yesterday, Chief Justice Gibson delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court in the case of the City of Philadelphia vs. the Commissioners of Spring Garden and Northern Liberty.  The decision was in favor of the defendants, and the Court ordered the junction dissolved and the bill dismissed.

1847 "Water Works and Water Rents," A Digest of Acts of Assembly Relating to the Incorporated District of the Northern Liberties, and of the Ordinances for the Government of that District

1848 "Northern Liberties," Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), March 8, 1848, Page 3.
The Board of Commissioners of the District of the Northern Liberties met last evening.
Another [resolution] was passed, authorizing the Watering Committee to contract with the Commissioners of the District of Penn, for supplying them with the Schuylkill water on the same terms it is furnished to the authorities of Kensington - the District of Spring Garden first assenting thereto.

1851 "Commissioners of the Northern Liberties," Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), May 20, 1851, Page 2.
On motion of Mr. Goodman, the Board proceeded on the consideration of the proposed agreement by the district of Spring Garden to supply the district of Penn with Schuylkill water, when Mr. Goodman submitted a modification of the agreement, so as to make the arrangements or contract from year to year, and a resolution recommitting the same to the Watering Committee, which was agreed to.

1853 "Water Works and Water Rents," A Digest of Acts of Assembly Relating to the Incorporated District of the Northern Liberties, and of the Ordinances for the Government of that District

2018 Morris A. Pierce