Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Vermont Windsor

Windsor, Vermont

Windsor was settled in 1764 and chartered as a village in 1884.  The village and town merged in 1967.

A bill to incorporate the Windsor Aqueduct Company was introduced in the Vermont legislature in 1808 and was reported favorably, but did not pass.  It was considered again during the 1810 session, but again was not passed.

The Windsor Aqueduct Company was organized in 1849, probably under the provisions of the 1835 aqueduct law.  This company built a system that began operating in the summer of that year.

The Windsor Water Company was incorporated in 1858 by Hiram Harlow, Samuel R. Stocker, Gyles Merrill, John D. Hatch and L. C. White "for the purpose of constructing and maintaining an aqueduct to supply the inhabitants of the village of Windsor, in the county of Windsor, with pure water for do­mestic uses."  Two of the incorporators were involved in the earlier aqueduct company, and the 1858 company may have taken over the earlier aqueduct company, although that is not certain.

The 1884 charter allowed the village "To provide a supply of water for the protection of the village against fire, and for other purposes, and to regulate the use of the same."  The village bought the existing system and built new works in 1888.  Unfortunately, the supply was subject to contamination by human waste, and the village suffered an epidemic of typhoid fever in 1894 that resulted in construction of a new supply.

Water is supplied by the Town of Windsor.

1808 Journals of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, October 31, 1808
Page 91: A bill, entitled, An act establishing a corporation by the name of the Windsor Aqueduct Company, was read the second time, amended, and passed, ordered to be engrossed, and sent to the governo and council, for their revision and concurrence, or proposals of amendment.

1858 An act to incorporate the Windsor Water Company.  November 25, 1858.

1881 Gazetteer and Business Directory of Windsor County, Vt., for 1883-84, Volume 1
Page 271:  The Windsor Aqueduct Company.  This company was organized as a corporate body under the laws of the State, in 1849, the first meeting for such purpose being held at the office of Dr. Edward E. Phelps, April 5th of that year. Roswell Smith was chosen president and Samuel R. Stocker, secretary. The construction of the works was immediately begun, and completed during that summer. Water was taken from a stream about a mile west of the center of the village, in a pasture now owned by Hiram Harlow. The supply at this point was soon found to be inadequate to the demand, so the stream was tapped nearer its source, where the reservoir is now located, upon the farm of Ryland Ely, giving a head of about 200 feet. The reservoir is about twelve by eighteen feet and fifteen feet in depth, into which the springs forming the brook are filtered. The company now supplies water for the railroad at this point, the hotel, most of the stores, the gas works, and a large portion of the dwellings. The present officers of the company are Hiram Harlow, president, and S. R. Stocker, secretary and treasurer.

1884 An act to incorporate the village of Windsor.  November 21, 1884.

1888 An act in addition to "An act to incorporate the village of Windsor," approved November 21, 1884.  November 20, 1888. 

1888 "Windsor," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1. | Also see corrections and additions, (which has Windsor in New Hampshire) |

1890 "Windsor, Vt. - Dams and Reservoir Embankments for Water-Works in the United States and Canada," from Engineering News,  23:578 (June 21, 1890)

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

1891 History of Windsor County, Vermont, edited by by Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes
Pages 318-319:  Village Water Supply.— For the purpose of supplying the village with pure and wholesome water a company was organized in pursuance of an act of the Legislature passed in 1849. The name of the Windsor Aqueduct Company was adopted, and of it Roswell Smith was chosen president, and Samuel R. Stocker, secretary. The company at once commenced operations by constructing a reservoir and stopping the water of a small mountain stream, a short distance west of the village; and from the reservoir a main pipe was laid to the village, and thence distributed through the principal streets. The first stream was found to afford an insufficient amount of water, to remedy which the company soon took measures to secure an additional supply from a reservoir on what was known as the Ely farm.
In the year 1888 the village acquired the rights, property and interests of the old company, and at once undertook and accomplished a complete re-organization of the whole system, under the immediate direction of commissioners appointed for the purpose. "The village voted to construct a distributing reservoir on the land of R. F. Ely, and also a storage reservoir on land of Thomas Sears, at the head of the Dudley Brook," from the combined capacity of which reservoirs an abundant supply of an excellent quality is assured. The work of the commissioners has been by no means confined to establishing a source of supply, for additional street mains have been laid in various localities, and fire hydrants placed at convenient points, so that not only an ample water supply is secured for domestic uses, but the heavy gravity pressure affords excellent protection in cases of fire. The work of the commissioners is not yet wholly completed, although enough is already done to assure the people of the village of the wisdom of their course in acquiring the franchise and property of the old company and holding the plant as one of the institutions of the corporation. The expense of the enterprise when completed is estimated at something like thirty-five thousand dollars, possibly a little more.

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

1894 "Windsor's Typhoid Epidemic," The Burlington Free Press, April 14, 1894, Page 4.

1895 "The Recent Typhoid Fever Epidemic at Windsor, Vermont," by J. D. Brewster, M. D., Vermont Medical Monthly 1(1):1-5 (January, 1895)

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

1898 An act to amend No. 224 of the Acts of 1884, entitled "An act in addition to an act to incorporate the village of Windsor," approved November 21, 1884.  October 24, 1898.

1906 An act to amend Section 11 of No. 224 of the Acts of 1884, entitled "An act to incorporate the village of Windsor," relating to trustees and water commissioners.  November 19, 1906.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce