Documentary History of American Water-works

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Pacific States
California Grass Valley

Grass Valley, California

Grass Valley was founded in 1851 and incorporated as a city in 1893.

The first water works were built by the Union Water Works in 1854, which distributed water through lead pipes to about 60 houses.

The Grass Valley Water Works were built by 1860, when they prevented a total conflagration in the town.  Iron pipes were installed in 1862, but the town was unhappy with the cost of the system.

In 1866 the town was authorized to sell bonds and build its own system, which it did.

Water is provided by the City of Grass Valley.

1853 "For Sale:  The Golden Gate Saloon in Grass Valley, Nevada County," Nevada Journal, March 4, 1853, Reprinted in News & Advertising in the Early Gold Camps of Nevada County, California: 1850-1854, 2:29, by David A. Comstock (2007).
The undersigned,

1853 Grass Valley Telegraph, October 6, 1853.  Reprinted in News & Advertising in the Early Gold Camps of Nevada County, California: 1850-1854, 2:116, by David A. Comstock (2007).
For Rent.  Four genteel cottages, suitable for small families.  They are very pleasantly located, with yards neatly and substantially enclosed, with the mountain spring water, introduced by pipes, into each, to respectable and permanent tenants, they will be rented low.  Apply to Geo. Wood at office Wells, Fargo & Co.

1854 "Union Water Works," Grass Valley Telegraph, February 2, 1854.  Reprinted in News & Advertising in the Early Gold Camps of Nevada County, California: 1850-1854, 3:39, by David A. Comstock (2007).
Among the many enterprises which our citizens have engaged in, there are none which reflect more credit upon the parties engaged, than do the Union Water Works, which furnish our hotels and houses with water brought from Cold Spring Valley; west of town. The water is taken from the springs -- brought in lead pipes to a reservoir near the top of the hill, west of town, at an elevation of three hundred feet above Auburn Street, and about eighty feet higher than Main Street, where the Beatty House stands.  These works cost the company about $6,000, and are now beginning to pay them a fair per centage upon their investment. There are already about sixty houses furnished with their delightful water at a cost of from $3 to $12 per month, which brings in to the company about $250 per month. The company have sufficient water at all seasons of the year to furnish ten times the number of houses now furnished; the pipes extend along Main to Auburn St., from Main Street along School, Church, and Mill streets, as far as Neil [sic] Street; down Neil to Auburn, and along Auburn Street. Were our town incorporated, doubtless an arrangement for a small sum could be made with this company by which Fire Plugs could be erected, and other arrangements made to protect property from fire. Let our citizens see to it. These works are under the management of Mr. G. N. Crandall, whose energy and enterprise is too well known to our citizens to demand comment.

1854 Union Water Works supplies water “to our hotels and houses” in lead pipes. Some 60 dwellings paid from $3 to $12 a month for water piped along Main, Auburn, School, Church, Mill and Neal Streets.  February, 1854.  From "Architectual Legacy of Grass Valley," page 27.

1856 Brown & Dallison's Nevada, Grass Valley and Rough and Ready Directory, For the Year Commencing January 1st, 1856, Embracing a General Directory of Citizens, with an Historical Sketch of Nevada County, by Aaron Augustus Sargent
Page 131:  Joint Stock Companies.  Grass Valley Quartz Mining Association.  Secretary - G.D. Roberts.  Directors - C.K. Hotaling.

1856 The first attempt to supply the town with water began when a system of log pipes was laid by George Roberts and C.K. Houghton [Hotaling].  From "Architectual Legacy of Grass Valley," page 32.  Also see 1880 reference.

1860 "Water Works," Marysville Daily Appeal, August 19, 1860, Page 2.
One after one the principal mining towns are taking advantage of natural facilities to protect themselves against fire.  A total conflagration was prevented at Grass Valley last week by its newly completed water works.  Now Dutch Flatt has been protecting itself by reservoirs, pipes and hose.  The reservoir is located about 1400 feet from the first plug, on an elevation of about a hundred and fifty feet above the street.

1862 "Grass Valley Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, July 4, 1862, Page 1.
Nearly four thousand feet of three-inch iron pipe are now on their way from San Francisco to Grass Valley, Nevada County, for the Grass Valley Water Company.

1862 Sept. 4: George Roberts offers to extend the water works at a rate of $35 a month for each 1,000 feet added; the system was then extended from Mill, Church, Bank and Auburn Streets on Sept. 16.  From "Architectual Legacy of Grass Valley," page 36.

1863 Feb. 2. The clerk was ordered to notify George Roberts that “on and after March 12, 1863, the corporation of Grass Valley will not require the use of the water works” any longer. This was the second time the Board had balked at paying Roberts’ prices for water.  "Architectual Legacy of Grass Valley," page 36.

1865 Marysville Daily Appeal, July 30, 1865, Page 2.
Cooks, Zoyara & Wilson's Circus gave the Grass Valley water works a benefit on Thursday evening, which realized 00.

1866 An act to authorize the Town of Grass Valley to contract a debt and to issue bonds for the construction of Waterworks to supply said town with water.  February 14, 1866.

1870 Marysville Daily Appeal, November 13, 1870, Page 2.
The Grass Valley Water Works are to be extended by means of a lottery.

1880 History of Nevada County, California
Pages 67:  The first attempt made to supply the city with water through pipes was that of George D. Roberts and C. K. Houghtaling, who laid a system of log pipes through the streets in the year 1855, or 1856. The source of supply was the springs on Dibble's ranch.  For protection against fire a reservoir was built on Church Hill, and small fire hydrants were placed in the pipes.  By Act of Legislature, approved February 14, 1866, Grass Valley was authorized to contract a debt of $25,000 for water works. Bonds in sums of fifty, one hundred and five hundred dollars, due June 1, 1876, with interest at the rate of ten per cent, per annum. The amount realized from the sale these bonds was:  Bonds for $24,500 sold at 80 cents $19,600; 500 sold at 82 center $410, Total $20,010.
The Trustees caused a six inch main with four and three inch branches to be laid in the streets. This system of pipes was  supplied with water from the Empire ditch, then owned by L.L. Whiting and J. P. Stone, afterwards by Stone & Griffith.  In 1871, the Grass Valley Water Co. was organized and made a contract with the city to supply water for twenty years. The  company built the Stoney Point reservoir on Kate Hays Hill, at an altitude of one hundred and ninety-two feet above the  lowest and sixty feet above the highest point in the city. The pipe connecting the reservoir with the mains is eighteen inches in diameter. The water for the city is now supplied by the V. Flume Co.

1882 Grass Valley from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.

1885 Grass Valley, Engineering News, 13:140-141  (February 28, 1885)

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

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

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

1894 "The South Yuba Water Company," Mining and Scientific Press, 68:85-86 (February 10, 1894)
In Auburn and Newcastle the waterworks are owned by the company outright; in Lincoln there is only a half-interest; In Nevada City and Grass Valley local corporations own and run the system, purchasing of the South Yuba Company.

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

1921 Conrad Kissam Hotaling. Hotaling and George D. Roberts may have built a water system in Grass Valley  in 1855 or 1856, although no contemporary evidence of this has been found.  Hotaling was also a director of the 1855 San Francisco Water Company and proposed building a Salt water fire protection system in San Francisco in 1851.

1921 "Passing of the California Pioneer," The Grizzly Bear, 28(167):6 (March, 1921)
Captain C.K. Hotaling, native of New York, aged nearly 100; came around the Horn in 1848, and engaged extensively in mining; for sixty-six years was a resident of Kern County, died at Bakersfield.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce