Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania

German immigrant Alexander Schaeffer founded a settlement in the town of Heidelberg in Lebanon County in 1743 which became known as Schaefferstown.  He built The King George hotel in 1744 and constructed a water system from a spring on a nearby hill.  Schaeffer and his wife deeded the water system to local residents on July 16, 1763 and it may have been called "The Fountain Company of Heidelberg."  The entity was owned an operated by local water consumers who prayed for a corporate charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which was granted April 16, 1845 as the "Schaefferstown Water Company." This company continues to own and operate the water system which only supplies two fountains in the town.  The company is organized on a cooperative basis.

This system is not mentioned in any 19th Century waterworks inventory and only came to widespread notice in 1896 when Julius Frederich Sachse wrote about it in a series of articles for the Lebanon Daily News. 

The Schaefferstown Water Company has an historical marker and the company also issued paper scrip in the 19th Century as shown below, although the 1845 charter "shall not be so construed as giving the company any banking privileges."

1845 An Act to incorporate the Schaefferstown Water Company, April 16, 1845.

2015 Morris A. Pierce