Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1769 and incorporated in 1806.

A 1906 memoir by a resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts states that a water company was chartered in Wilkes Barre in 1795, but this is incorrect.

The Wilkesbarre Water and Insurance Company was incorporated in 1832 to "bring into the borough of Wilkesbarre, by means of pipes, trunks, aqueducts, forcing pumps or other machinery, some spring or stream of water from the neighborhood of said borough."  Benjamin Perry, Andrew Beaumont, Ziba Bennet, John Myers, Henry F. Lamb, Charles D. Shoemaker and Edward Lynch were commissioners to form the company.  This company did not proceed with any construction.

The Wilkesbarre Water Company was incorporated in 1850.   George M. Hollenback, Samuel P. Collings, Henry M. Fuller, Warren J. Woodward, Lord Butler, Thomas W. Miner, Peter C. McGilchrist, Harrison Wright, Calvin Parsons, Ziba Bennet, George P. Steel, Samuel Puterbaugh, Oliver P. Hillard, Edward Covell, Sharp D. Lewis, Francis L. Bowman and Joseph P. Lubec were appointed commissioners to form the company.  After several years of delay, this company built a gravity system that began operating on September 19, 1860,

The Crystal Spring Water Company was incorporated in 1866 "for the purpose of introducing, into the town of South Wilkesbarre, and places contiguous thereto, and outside of the limits of the borough of Wilkesbarre ... a sufficieut supply of fresh and pure water,"  Washington Lee, Junior, Garrick M. Harding, Henry M. Hoyt, Stanley Woodward, George B. Nicholson, Charles Parrish, John C. Phelps, William S. Ross, William Hibler, William R. Malfett, Abel Bennett and Richard Jones were appointed as commissioners to form the company.  This company

The Spring Brook Water Supply Company was incorporated on March 2, 1896 to own the Wilkes-Barre Water Company and Crystal Spring Water Company,  

The Federal Water Service Corporation was incorporated in 1926 by Christopher Chenery.  This firm acquired the Spring Brook Water Supply Company in September, 1927, and renamed it the Scranton-Spring Brook Water Service Company.  The Federal Water Service Corporation and a subsidiary Federal Water and Gas Corporation was held to be in violation of the Public Utilities Company Holding Act by the Securities and Exchange Commission and ordered to dispose of its various holdings.  This ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1947 and ownership of the Scranton-Spring Brook Water Company passed to local capitalists, who renamed the company Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company on October 1, 1960.

The Pennsylvania-American Water Company, a subsidiary of American Water Works Company, Inc. acquired the regulated water assets of the Pennsylvania Gas and WAter Company on February 16, 1996 for $409 million.

Water service is provided by Pennsylvania America Water.


References
1832 An act to authorize the Governor to incorporate a company for making a turnpike road from the borough of Pottsville, through Minersville and Carbondale, in Schuylkill county, to Daniel Herb's tavern, in Northumberland county, and for other purposes.  May 5, 1832.  Sections 7-17 incorporated the Wilkesbarre Water and Insurance Company.

1833 To incorporate the Chambersburg Insurance company, and to extend and continue the charters of sundry Insurance companies in the city of Philadelphia, and for other purposes.  April, 3, 1833.  Section 7 extends insurance privileges to the Wilkes Barre Water and Insurance Company.

1850 An act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company.  February 12, 1850.

1856 Supplement To an act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company, approved the twelfth February, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and fifty.  April 21, 1856.

1860 A further supplement to an act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company, approved the twelfth February, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and fifty.  January 11, 1860.

1861 A supplement to the the act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company, approved twelfth February, one thousand eight hundred and fifty.  May 1, 1861.

1862 An act to correct a clerical error in a supplement to an act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company, approved the first day of May, one thousand eight hundred and sixty one.  April 5, 1862.

1866 An act to incorporate the Crystal Spring Water Company.  April 11, 1866.

1868 A supplement to an act, entitled "An act to incorporate the Crystal Spring Water Company," approved April eleventh, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six.  March 13, 1868.

1871 A further supplement to an act, entitled "An act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company," approved the February fifteenth, one thousand eight hundred and fifty.  May 19, 1871.

1873 A further supplement to an act, entitled "An act to authorize the Governor to incorporate the Wilkesbarre Water Company," approved the twelfth day of February, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and fifty.  April 19, 1873.

1881 Wilkes-Barre, from Engineering News, 8:481 (November 26, 1881)

1882 Wilkes-Barre, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.  | Crystal Spring Water Company |

1888 "Wilkes-Barre," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Wilkes-Barre," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Wilkes-Barre," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1896 "Mammoth Water Company Will Supply Entire Valley." The Scranton Tribune, March 27, 1896, Page 7.

1897 "Wilkes-Barre," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1897 The Scranton Tribune, November 10, 1897, Page 8.
About fifteen stone cutters employed on the dam of the Spring Brook Water Supply company at Mill Creek, went on a strike Monday.  They ask that a day's work be reduced from ten to nine hours and that the day's pay remain the same - $3.  It is not known whether or not the company will grant the concession.  The strikers claim that nine hours constitues a day's work among the Union workmen.

1906 Plymouth memories of an octogenarian, by William Thomas Davis
Pages 182-183:  About the year 1750 James Shurtleff built a house on the site which in 1789 came into the possession of Caleb Leach, who came to Plymouth from Bridgewater and projected the Plymouth water works, the first water works built in the United States. The company was chartered in 1796, the year after a company was chartered in Wilkesbarre, Penn., but the Plymouth works were constructed before the works of that town. The pipes were yellow or swamp pine logs, ten to twelve feet long, and ten inches in diameter, clear of sap, with a bore from two to four inches in diameter, and sharpened at one end, the other end bound with an iron hoop to prevent splitting when driven into the bore. During the latter years of the company iron connections with a flange in the middle were used.

1927 "Spring Brook Co. Will Become Unit of Federal Water System," Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, May 4, 1927, Page 25.

1929 "Water Supply," from A history of Wilkes-Barré, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania : from its first beginnings to the present time, including chapters of newly-discovered early Wyoming Valley history, together with many biographical sketches and much genealogical material, Volume 4, by Oscar Jewell Harvey.

1941 "City Acts to Protect Public from Huge Debt.  Council seeks injunction to restrain county from going ahead with water company deal." Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, February 22, 1941, Page 6.

1943 "Local Water Company is ordered sold," Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, February 12, 1943, Page 3.

1944 "Parting Shots," Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, July 21, 1944, Page 29.

1945 "Shall the Communities Acquire The Scranton-Spring Brook Water System?" The Wilkes-Barre Record, March 16, 1945, Page 6.

1945 "Parting Shots," The Wilkes-Barre Record, March 16, 1945, Page 32.

1946 "Scranton-Spring Brook Water Recap. Plan," Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, December 17, 1945, Page 15.

1947 Securities and Exchange Commission v. Chenery Corporation, June 23, 1947, 332 U.S. 147.

1949 "Federal Gas and Water Dissolution Approved," The Wilkes-Barre Record, December 3, 1949, Page 7.

1951 "Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Water and Gas Corp. et al. Order Approving Plan to Effect Final Liquidation,"  Federal Register, 16(186):9753, September 25, 1951.

1951 In re Federal Water and Gas Corp., unreported (D. Del., No. 1142, October 16, 1951), Eighteenth Annual Report of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Page 237, footnote 32 (1952)

1960 "New Name for Water Firm in Effect Oct. 1st," Pittston Gazette, September 26, 1960, Page 1.

1996 American Water Works Co Inc – ‘8-K’ for 2/16/96.  Details the purchase of the water assets of the Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company.





© 2016 Morris A. Pierce