Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
South Central States
Alabama Montgomery

Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery was settled in 1785 and incorporated as a city in 1819.

The Montgomery Water Works Company was incorporated in 1854 with a capital stock "not less than two hundred thousand dollars nor more than three hundred thousand dollars" by William Knox, Hugh P. Watson, John W. Murphy, John A. Elmore, John H. Murphy, Charles R. Hansford and Seth Robinson "for the purpose of supplying the city of Montgomery with good and wholesome water."  An 1871 amendment extended the time for forming the company and named John E. Hukill and Wiley J. Bailey as incorporators.  This company built a system in 1873 that pumped water from the Alabama River into an elevated reservoir using a Worthington steam engine.  The company was sold at auction in 1880 to George Hall Hazlehurst, who also owned the Chattanooga water works, and the new owner reincorporated at the Montgomery Water Works.  The new company and the city had legal disputes over the terms of their contract, in which the company prevailed but the city in the meantime advertised for new proposals for water works.

The firm of Arthur H. Howland and Co. of Boston submitted the successful bid and was given a contract on October 7, 1885, upon which they formed the Capital City Water Company.  The old company started legal proceedings while the new one began construction, but sold out to Howland after the new company began operating.  The new system pumped water into a wrought-iron standpipe 105 feet high and 26 feet in diameter, holding 417,000 gallons with a stairway to the top.  An 1888 book includes a picture of the water works and stand pipe:

The new company had its own issues with the city, which started proceedings to buy the works in 1890.  This proceeded slowly, but another case resulted in the annulment of the company's charter in 1894 over the unsanitary condition of the water, after which it was operated by an appointed receiver who was friendly to the interests of the company.  After four more years of legal maneuvers, the city acquired the Capital City Water Company in late June 1898 for $420,000.

The Water Works Board of the City of Montgomery was formed on October 4, 1949 and purchased the city's water system for $780,000 the following year.  The board was renamed the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board was formed on July 22, 1952.

Water is provided by the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board.

References
1854 An act to incorporate the Montgomery Water Works Company.  February 18, 1854.

1871 An act to amend an act to incorporate the Montgomery Water-Works Company for the city of Montgomery.  March 2, 1871.

1878 The Weekly Advertiser, June 18, 1878, Page 3.
In the case of J. E. Hukill against the Montgomery Water Works company, a verdict was rendered yesterday in favor of the defendants.  The plaintiff, who was one of the original incorporators, claimed that the present water works infringed upon his guaranteed rights by commencing and completing the works without his consent.

1878 "The Montgomery Water Works," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 19, 1878, Page 3.  Letter from John T. Milner about a new well.

1879 An act to amend section six (6) and section nine (9) of an act entitled "An act to amend section four (4), section six
(6), section seven (7), section nine (9), section twelve (12), and twenty-eight (28), of an act entitled 'An act to amend the charter of the city of Montgomery and the various laws heretofore passed amending the said charter,' " approved March 3, 1870
.  February 13, 1879.
Sec 6. to erect and regulate markets and the assize of bread ; to regulate the conveyance of water from the vicinity into said city; to contract with the Montgomery Water Works Company, or any other water works company or companies now or hereafter organized, for a supply of water for the city for fire and sanitary purposes.

1879 "Chancery Sale of Valuable Real Estate," The Montgomery Advertiser, October 31, 1879, Page 2.
The entire Water Works of Montgomery, Alabama ... Montgomery Water Works Company.

1880 The Montgomery Advertiser, May 1, 1880, Page 3.
Articles of incorporation of a new company under the title of "Montgomery Water Works," were filed in the office of the probate court of this county on Thursday last.
The new corporation is the successor of the Montgomery Water Works Company and is organized for the purpose of operating the Water Works of this city.  Col. A. J. Lane was elected President and J. R. Baldwin Secretary and Treasurer of the new company.

1881 Montgomery, from Engineering News 8:329  (August 13, 1881)

1885 "The Water Works," The Montgomery Advertiser, October 6, 1885, Page 5.
Proposition submitted by Messrs. A. H. Howland & Co.

1885 "An Ordinance," The Montgomery Advertiser, October 9, 1885, Page 3.
Granting to Arthur H. Howland.

1885 City Council of Montgomery v. Montgomery Water-Works, 79 Ala. 233, Supreme Court of Alabama, December Term, 1885.

1886 "The Water Works Question," The Montgomery Advertiser, January 6, 1886, Page 6.
Request for injunction.

1886 "Water Works," The Montgomery Advertiser, January 7, 1886, Page 5.
The bill filed in equity by the Montgomery Water Works against the City Council and the Capital City Water Company.

1886 "The Montgomery, Ala., Water Works," Engineering News 15:46 (January 16, 1886)

1886 The Montgomery Advertiser, June 9, 1886, Page 5.
The Capital City Water Company's stand tower has come to be a kind of resort for Montgomery boys.  From the top of the tower a lovely view can be had of Montgomery on "her throne of beauty" and the surrounding country.  The base of the tower is on a tip-top of the dome of the City Building, and the top is the most elevated point attainable anywhere in or around Montgomery.

1886 "Water Works.  Latest Spurt of the Old Works Against the New," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 15, 1886, Page 1.
The State of Alabama, ex rel. J. R. Baldwin and J. R. Baldwin vs the Capital City Water Works Company

1886 "The Water Case Decided in Favor of the Company," The Memphis Daily Appeal, July 16, 1886, Page 4.
The State of Alabama vs the Capital City Water Works Company

1886 "The Banquet.  Given in Compliment to A. H. Howland," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 18, 1886, Page 1.
Massachusetts and Alabama have clasped hands over the bloody chasm and now wash away all the past differences in the pur and limpid water that gush from mother Earth.

1886 "Water Company.  Official Test and Magnificent Display," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 18, 1886, Page 7.

1886 "The Capital City Water Co. Charges for Service Pipe Work," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 30, 1886, Page 3.

1886 "Sold Out," The Montgomery Advertiser, August 14, 1886, Page 5.
Mr. Howland buys the Montgomery Water Works.

1886 "Bought Out the Old Company," The Courier-Journal, August 14, 1886, Page 5.
The feud and litigation between the old Montgomery Water-works Company and the new one, Capital City Company, ended suddenly, but not unexpectedly, to-day.  The Capital City Company bought out the Montgomery works.

1886 "Montgomery, Ala., Water Works," Engineering News 16:113 (August 21, 1886)

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

1888 Montgomery, the Capital City of Alabama

1890 "An Ordinance," The Montgomery Advertiser, October 15, 1890, Page 2.
The City of Montgomery desires and hereby elects to purchase the Water Works constructed under an ordinance granting to Arthur H. Howland ... adopted October 6, 1885.

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

1891 An act to provide a system of Water Works for the City of Montgomery.  January 26, 1891.

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

1894 The State ex rel. Macdonald v. Capital City Water Co., 102 Ala. 231, 14 So. 652, December 21, 1894, Supreme Court of Alabama.

1894 "The Charter Annulled.  The Capital City Water Company Dissolved," The Montgomery Advertiser, December 22, 1894, Page 7.

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

1898 "Buy the Water Works.  The Proposition of the Company Accepted."  The Montgomery Advertiser, March 24, 1898, Page 5.
$420,000 for the entire plant.

1950 "Bond Sale Slated," The Anniston Star, February 22, 1950, Page 19.
The water system will be purchased from the city by the board from $780,000 of the proceeds.








2016 Morris A. Pierce