Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Williamsport

Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Williamsport was settled in 1786, incorporated as a borough in 1806, and as a city in 1866.

The Williamsport Water Company was incorporated in 1853 with John W. Maynard, James Armstrong, Samuel H. Lloyd, John S. Grafius, William H. Armstrong, George White, E. S. Lowe, W. F. Packer, Matthias Eder, Abraham Updegraff, Oliver Watson, C. H. Dabler, T. W. Lloyd, J. J. Ayres, J. B. Beck, and J. M. Green appointed as stock subscription agents, "for raising and introducing into the said borough a sufficient supply of fresh and pure water."  This company engaged H. P. N. Birkinbine of Philadelphia as engineer for a gravity system, which began service in 1856.

The Lycoming Gas and Water Compoany was incorporated in 1865, with Peter Herdic, Loren A. Ensworth, John B. Beck, A. P. F. Dodge, Melon Fisher, H. S. Morse, H. Mudge, L. Mahaffe, G. W. Youngman, Robert Fordsman, Henry White, F. Coleman, A. T. Nichols, M. Eder, B. H. Taylor, H. E. Taylor, John G. Reading and H. G. Perkins appointed commissioners to sell stock "for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants, residing within the limits of the plot, or territory, here described, and parts adjacent thereto, a sufficient supply of gas and pure water; the boundaries of the plot, or territory, described as follows: on the east, by the western boundary line of the borough of Williamsport, as established, prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three; on the north, by a line, formed by extending the northern boundary line of said borough west to Lycoming creek, and on the west, by Lycoming creek, in a southerly direction, the junction of the said creek with the West Branch of the Susquehanna river; thence east, along the bank of said river, to the western boundary line of the borough of Williamsport.   This company also built a gravity system, but ran into financial and legal difficulties and was sold at a judicial sale in 1880.  It was afterwards reorganized as the Citizens' Water and Gas Company on September 30, 1880.  The management of the Williamsport Water Company bought control of the Citizens company around 1884, and the companies were merged in 1912 until the former's name.

The Community Water Service Company bought the system in 1927, and it in turn was acquired by the American Water Works and Electric Company in 1936. This company was broken up for anti-trust reasons towards the end of World War II, and the Williamport company ended up under the ownership of John H. Ware, Jr., whose Northeastern Water Company owned several water system.   He sold the company to the Williamport Municipal Water Authority on July 11, 1947 for $5,648,296, shortly before he acquired the American Water Works Company.  The authority had been formed on July 6, 1946 to acquire the water company.

Water service is provided by the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority, which has a history page (that's not quite accurate).

1853 An act to incorporate the Williamsport Water Company...  April 18, 1853.

1856 "Williamsport Water Works," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 8, 1856, Page 1
Arrangement with Mr. H. P. M. Birkinbine, Hydraulic Engineer of this city, for the erection of Water Works.

1857 Lewisburg Chronicle, January 2, 1857, Page 2.
The Town Council of the borough of Williamsport, are prepared to borrow money to the extend of $10,000, at the rate of 6 per cent. per annum - being the amount duly authorized in the subscription to the stock of the Williamsport Water Company.

1859 A supplement to an act to incorporate the Williamsport Water Company, and for other purposes, passed the eighteenth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three.  February 9, 1859.

1865 An act to incorporate the Lycoming Gas and Water Company.  March 24, 1865.

1868 An act supplemental to an act incorporating the Williamsport Water Company.  March 12, 1868.

1868 A supplement to an act, entitled "An act to incorporate the Lycoming Gas and Water Company." April 4, 1868.

1869 A supplement to an act incorporating the Williamsport Water Company.  January 20, 1869.

1872 An act relating to the Williamsport Water Company.  April 3, 1872.

1875 Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, July 1, 1875, Page 1.
Circuit Court in Williamsport.  Benson vs. Peter Herdic.  Benson sued Herdic for payment of water pipes, Herdic said the pipes were worthless and caused positive damage.  The jury returned a verdict that Mr. Benson should take the pipes back, and Mr. Herdic need not pay the notes, but should receive $4,600 damages from Benson.   The verdict was a great surprise to Mr. Benson, and all parties think that he made a sad mistake in beginning the action.

1880 The Williamsport Water Company versus the Lycoming Gas and Water Company, 95 Pa. 35, May 31, 1880, Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

1881 Williamsport, from Engineering News, 8:304 (July 30, 1881)

1882 Williamsport, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1888 "Williamsport," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Williamsport," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Williamsport," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1892 History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, by John Franklin Meginness
Page 369:  The Williamsport Water Company was organized in 1856, a charter having been secured April 18, 1853.  In 1875 the company built a stone dam across Hagermanís run for holding water in dry weather. The expense of this improvement was upwards of $7,000. The Lycoming Gas and Water Company was formed in 1864 for the purpose of supplying water to the mills and houses west of Campbell street, and the subsequent year the company was incorporated, with Peter Herdic as president. Water was obtained from a stream flowing through Mosquito valley. In course of time both companies were consolidated under one management. Improvements have been made from year to year until the works are now among the most extensive and complete in the country. The capacities of the reservoirs are given in the review of Armstrong township, where they are located. The company now have about fifty-three miles of main pipe in use. The officers are as follows: President, J . Y. Brown; secretary and treasurer, William H. Bloom.

1897 "Williamsport," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1900 A Digest of the Laws and Ordinances for the Government of the Municipal Corporation of the City of Williamsport Pennsylvania in force August 1st, 1900.  Includes several ordinances relating to the water works.

1911 "Water Question Again Debated," Williamsport-Sun Gazette, December 19, 1911, Page 10.

1912 "Big Water Company Merger," Harrisburg Daily Independent, January 13, 1912, Page 5.
Merger of the Citizens' Water and Gas Company and the Williamsport Water Company under the latter's name.  The capital of the new corporation is $1,010,000.

1927 "Williamsport Company Now in New Hands," The Wilkes-Barre Record, July 28, 1927, Page 28.

1936 "American Water Works Puts Over Big Deal," The Baltimore Sun, Mar 1, 1936.
Obtains control of $80,000,000 Community Water Service Company. Regions service by Community include Williamsport.

1946 "Water Company to be Bought by City.  Purchase Price of $5,648,296 Meets Approval," Williamsport Sun-Gazette, March 1, 1946, Page 1.

1947 "Water Authority Gets Deed for Local Utility," Williamsport-Sun Gazette, July 14, 1947, Page 2.

1955 "Water Supply Plentiful, Service Area Expanding," Williamsport Sun-Gazette, March 9, 1955, Page 18.
The Water Authority was incorporated on July 6, 1946.
The year 1956 will mark 100 years since the first community water system was inaugurated in the city.

© 2017 Morris A. Pierce