Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Vermont Montpelier

Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier was first settled by Europeans in 1787.

In 1807, Theophilus Pickering, Larned Lamb, and Erastus Watrous, proprietors and owners of the aqueduct in Montpelier, in Calendonia county, were incorporated as the Montpelier Aqueduct Company for the purpose of keeping in repair, and enjoying the said aqueduct.  The language in the charter indicates that the aqueduct was already existing, although the date of its construction is unknown.  This 1810 advertisement for a building notes that "An aqueduct of water comes into the house."  No other information has been found about this company or its system.

Montpelier Watchman, June 28, 1810, Page 4 Montpelier Watchman, January 14, 1832, Page 4

Around 1820 local merchant Roger Hubbard "laid a line of pump logs from a spring in his pasture about 150 feet above his dwelling and a quarter of a mile distant, first to his own home, and then from time to time extended it to his neighbors. After a time, these logs were lined with lead pipe made in the village, in lengths of 10 or 12 feet and soldered together."  S. Woodbury & Co. began the manufacture of lead pipe in Middlebury by 1832, as shown in the above advertisement.  This system was in turn owned and operated by his son Erastus and grandson John under the name Hubbard Spring Water.  (The 1886 Engineering News reference has more information on this system.)

The State Street Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1823 by Daniel Baldwin, Calvin Newcomb, James H. Langdon, John Spalding, and Joshua Y. Vail "for the purpose of completing, repairing, and enjoying said aqueduct."  Nothing more is known about this system.

A second Montpelier Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1856 with no named incorporators.  Nothing is known about this company.

Joseph Bradish built a gravity water system in 1875 that served about 70 houses by 1878.

The Village of Montpelier was authorized to construct water works in 1872, but disagreements between those favoring cast-iron pipes and others who favored cement-lined wrought-iron pipes led to inaction.  The Village finally built works in 1884 that were very successful due to the high elevation of the reservoir, which allowed use of inexpensive water motors to produce power anywhere water was available.  Water demand was so high that the Village installed a second main pipeline from the reservoir, which lead to local resident General Joel Hayward Lucia filing suit against the Village for essentially wasting taxpayer's money.  Lucia was a well-known Civil War veteran and lawyer, but the Village prevailed in the lawsuit after appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court.   

Water is provided by the City of Montpelier.

1807 An act to incorporate the proprietors and owners of an aqueduct in Montpelier, October 20, 1807

1823 An act, to incorporate an aqueduct company in the village of Montpelier.  October 31, 1823.

1856 An act to incorporate the Montpelier Aqueduct Company, November 18, 1856

1872 An act to amend An act to incorporate the Village of Montpelier and extend its powers, November 26, 1872

1873 Reports of the Committee on Water Supply for the Village of Montpelier, November 20, 1873.

1876 "New Water Works," Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont), February 10, 1876, Page 4.
Montpelier village will have a new supply of excellent drinking water next Summer, if not fully sufficient for fire urposes, from seven springs owned by Messrs. Joseph Bradish & Son, situated on the Clay Hill Road.

1878 "A Query Answered," Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont), January 16, 1878, Page 2.
Description of Montpelier water system built in 1874 by Joseph Bradish.

1882 The History of the Town of Montpelier, Including that of the Town of East Montpelier, for the First One Hundred and Two Years, by Abby Maria Hemenway
Page 516:  Daniel Baldwin ... In his will he manifested his undying interest in Montpelier, by bequeathing $2,000, to be used under certain conditions in securing a suitable water supply for the village.

1884 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to incorporate the Village of Montpelier," November 21, 1884.

1886 Montpelier, Vt., Water Supply, from Engineering News  15:331 (May 22, 1886)

1888 J. H. Lucia, On Behalf of Himself and all Taxpayers of the Village of Montpelier, v. Village of Montpelier, The Board of Baliffs, the Board of Water Commissioners, and F. L. Easton, Treasurer, Vermont Supreme Court, 60 Vt. 537, 1 L. R. A. 169, 15 Atl. 321, from Lawyers' Reports Annotated, Volume 1, 1888, 1913 | also here |

1888 Joseph Bradish (1813-1888) grave.  He built a water system in Montpelier in 1874.

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

1889 "The Montpelier Village Water Works," Gazetteer of Washington County, Vt., 1783-1889, by William Adams

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

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

1895 Argus and Patriot, October 2, 1895, Page 3
The patrons of the Hubbard Spring Water company in the vicinity of the Union house were shut off from their supply a couple of days last week and a complaint was entered that the spring failed to work.  A man was sent to investigate the cause and on Thursday morning found that the hogs in the cellar of B. P. Young's barn had gnawed through the lead pipe and the water had leaked into the basement.  The break was repaired and the water flowed on its customary course.

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

1899 "Death of John E. Hubbard,"  Argus and Patriot, July 19, 1899, Page 3

1915 "Obituary of Joel H. Lucia," The Vermont Journal, April 2, 1915

2000 "Dying Well in Montpelier:  The Story of the Hubbard Memorial," by Cynthia Mills, Vermont History 68 (Winter/Spring 2000): 3557.

2015 Morris A. Pierce