Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Ownership and Financing of American Water-Works

Water Works Owned by Public Entities

Most early water works were owned by private companies, but over time cities bought these systems or built their own. The following systems were owned by a public entity, which was usually a village, city, or town.   This list does not includes many small systems used for fire protection, or those that purchased water from another entity, either public or private.  

#
Year
City
State
Comments
1 1801 Philadelphia PA
2 1802 Beaver Borough PA Costs paid by general taxes, no charge for water.
3 1808 Bellefonte PA
4 1808 Winchester VA
5 1809 Rebersburg PA
6 1810 Wilmington DE
7 1817 Newburgh NY
8 1823 Leesburg VA
9 1823 New Orleans LA City bought uncompleted Latrobe system in 1821, operated it from 1823 until the Commercial Bank started up a new system in 1836.
10 1828 Pittsburgh PA
11 1829 Richmond VA
12 1829 Lynchburg VA Town built new system to replace inadequate private works.
13 1830 Nashville TN
14 1830 Pearisburg VA
15 1832 Troy NY
16 1833 Murfreesboro TN First system used a horse to draw barrels of water to an elevated reservoir, which was abandoned after a short time.
17 1833 Lexington VA
18 1834 Wheeling WV
19 1835 Columbia SC The City bought the system that Abram Blanding had built, but apparently never paid him for it.
20 1835 St. Louis MO The City bought the system built by John C. Wilson and Abraham Fox
21 1835 Poughkeepsie NY
22 1836 Frederick MD City bought Frederick Water Company at a Sheriff's Auction.
23 1836 Detroit MI City purchased the Detroit Hydraulic Company.
24 1837 Lancaster PA
25 1837 Steubenville OH
26 1839 Cincinnati OH City purchased the Cincinnati Water Company.
27 1840 Lisbon OH
28 1841 Erie PA
29 1841 Harrisburg PA
30 1842 New York City NY Built Croton Aqueduct to supply the city, did not buy the existing Manhattan Company System.
31 1842 Zanesville OH
32 1843 Staunton VA
33 1844 Northern Liberties PA Spring Garden and Northern Liberties built their own water works in 1844 to avoid paying the high costs offered by Philadelphia. This system was consolidated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854.
34 1844 Spring Garden PA
35 1847 Saratoga Springs NY
36 1847 Honolulu HI
37 1848 Boston MA City built Cochituate Aqueduct to supply the city and bought the Aqueduct Corporation.
38 1848 Worcester MA City purchased the Worcester Aqueduct Company.
39 1849 Allegheny PA
40 1850 Albany NY Bought the Albany Water Works Company.
41 1851 Kensington PA Kensington built its own water works in 1851 as the supply from Spring Garden was inadequate.  To Philadelphia in 1854.
42 1851 Kalamazoo MI
43 1851 Tamaqua PA
44 1852 Madison IN City purchased the Madison and Clifton Water Works.
45 1852 Whitehall NY
46 1853 Watertown NY
47 1854 Sacramento CA
48 1854 Savannah GA
49 1854 Chicago IL Built new system, bought the existing Chicago Hydraulic Company works.
50 1854 Baltimore MD City bought the Baltimore Water Company.
51 1854 Jersey City NJ
52 1855 Hartford CT
53 1855 Plymouth MA Town purchased the Plymouth Aqueduct.
54 1856 Pittsfield MA The Pittsfield Fire District built a system which was acquired by the city in 1892.  This was the first system built by a special district.
55 1856 Charlottesville VA
56 1856 Cleveland OH
57 1857 Rutland VT The Rutland Water Company was leased by the Village of Rutland for one thousand years.
58 1857 Petersburg VA The city built a new system; did not buy the Petersburg Aqueduct Corporation.
59 1857 Cohoes NY The company built new works and bought the works of the Cohoes Company.
60 1857 New Britain CT
61 1858 Huntsville AL The city bought the system built by Hunter Peel and expanded by Dr. Thomas Fearn.
62 1858 Hoboken NJ
63 1858 Brooklyn NY City acquired the Nassau Water Company, which was building works.
64 1859 Georgetown DC City distributed water from the Washington Aqueduct
65 1859 Washington DC City distributed water from the Washington Aqueduct.
66 1859 Trenton NJ City bought the Trenton Water Works Company.
67 1860 Newark NJ City purchased the property of the Newark Aqueduct Company.
68 1860 Danbury CT
69 1861 Augusta GA
70 1862 Winchester CT Merged with the town of Winsted in 1915.
71 1864 Charlestown MA
72 1865 Cambridge MA City bought the Cambridge Water Works Company.
73 1865 Reading PA City bought the Reading Water Company.
74 1865 Chattanooga TN Built by the Union Army in 1865, sold to a private company around 1867.






2018 Morris A. Pierce