Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Vermont Woodstock

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock was chartered in 1761.

The first water supply in Woodstock was built prior to 1820 by, or with the aid of, Eliakim Spooner, one of the earliest settlers in Vermont.  Spooner lived in Westminster from the 1780s to about 1815, ran a public house at the corner of Henwood's Hill Road and Route 5, and was almost certainly aware of the early aqueduct in that community.  He moved to Woodstock around 1815 and managed the Village Hotel until it was sold in 1819 to Robert Barker.  The Village Hotel has been opened in 1796 by Elisha Taylor, so it is possible that the aqueduct was built to serve the hotel around 1796 or when Spooner took over management in 1815.  The only primary source mentioning the aqueduct is Spooner's 1820 obituary.

The Woodstock Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1880 by Frederick Billings, George R. Chapman, F. W. Clark, John S. Eaton, Robert Southgate, F. N. Billings, F. S. Mackenzie, George W. Paul, O. P. Chandler and J. F. Mackenzie "for the purpose of constructing an aqueduct to supply the inhabitants of the village of Woodstock with water for domestic and other purposes."  The company began construction of work in May, 1886 which were completed December 1, 1887.

The system is owned by the Woodstock Aqueduct Company.

1820 Woodstock Observer, January 11, 1820, page 3
Died, in this village, on the 3d instant Eliakim Spooner, Esq. in the 80th year of his page.
He was among the first settlers; and resided there prior the organization of its government. His philosophicel habits of thought and expression--his highly social and companionable disposition--together with a stern republican integrity--became a passport to many of the responsible offices within the gift of the state.  These he ever filled with honour to himself, and satisfaction to his constituents.  More than forty years he officiated as a civil magistrate.  He was seven or eight years a Counsellor in the State Legislature; and as often represented the town in which he resided, in the General Assembly.  The character of his mind was inventive and original.  The aqueduct, so much in use among us, composed of logs perforated with an auger, is an invention of his. He was temperate and even abstemious in his habits; moral and exemplary in demeanor.  He had much, and was possessed, to the last, of a memory strong and retentive.  He has left an aged widow to mourn under the afflictive dispensation of Providence, by which she is bereft of the companion of her youth and the staff of her declining years.

1880 An act to incorporate the Woodstock Aqueduct Company, December 15, 1880.

1880 History of Woodstock, Vermont, by Henry Swan Dana
Page 157-158:  Mr. Spooner was among the first inhabitants in Vermont, having settled within the limits of the State prior to the organization of a State government. He was of a very social and companionable disposition, yet withal a man of stern, republican integrity, qualities that furnished him a passport to many of the responsible offices within the gift of the State. He was possessed of an original turn of mind, and it is understood that the aqueduct so much in use sixty years ago along this neighborhood and elsewhere, composed of logs perforated with an auger, was an invention of his. He died in this town, January 3, 1820, in the eightieth year of his age.

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

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

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

1891 History of Windsor County, Vermont, by Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes
Page 270-271:  The Woodstock Acqueduct Company.—The subject of supplying the village of Woodstock with pure and wholesome water from some of the outlying streams of the town began to be agitated about the year 1878, and the matter was made the subject of consideration at the village meeting held in January, 1879. At that meeting Oliver P. Chandler, Justin F. Mackenzie and Charles Chapman were chosen a committee to " inquire as to the feasibility of obtaining a supply of water from Blake Hill, or other hills of the vicinity." The committee made diligent examination into the matter of their duty, and on January 5, 1880, reported to the meeting the results of their investigations, together with an estimate of the probable expense of the entire enterprise, which they placed at seventeen thousand dollars. The report was accepted and ordered to lie on the table. It may be stated, further, that the report remained on the table, and the village made no further discussion of the project.
In the year 1880 a number of enterprising citizens of the village procured from the Legislature an act of incorporation of the Woodstock Acqueduct Company, having a capital stock of $36,000, in shares of $50 each. The company, however, did nothing in the matter of carrying out the object of its incorporation until the year 1887, when a reservoir was built on Thomas Brook, and water mains laid from that point to and through the streets of the village, under the management and direction of the following persons: J. J. Randall, designing engineer; T. William Harris, constructing engineer and sub contractor; contractors, R. D. Wood & Co. The main pipe from the reservoir is of eight-inch iron, while the street pipes are six and four inches in diameter, the latter size predominating. The company now has about seven miles of main laid, and is patronized by about one hundred and sixty water takers. The village is supplied with twenty-eight hydrants, located at convenient points, ready for instant use in case of fire.
The company is under the following management: President, Frank N. Billings; vice-president, Frank S. Mackenzie; secretary, H. C. Phillips; treasurer, Frederick W. Wilder.

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

2012 Westminster, Vermont, 1735-2000: Township Number One by Jessie Haas
Page 112:  Eliakim Spooner kept a public house on the corner of Henwood's Hill Road and Route 5.

© 2016 Morris A. Pierce