Documentary History of American Water-works

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Pacific States
California Marysville

Marysville, California

Marysville was incorporated in 1843.

The Marysville Water Company was incorporated in 1858 and built a system that pumped water from an artesian well into a tank located on top of the company's building.  The system began operating in September, 1859, and in 1888 a fire damaged the building and caused the tanks to collapse into the street.

The water company was sold to California Water Service Company in 1930.

Water is provided by California Water Services

1858 "Earthen Water Pipe," California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences 10(2):165 (August 13, 1868)
This kind of pipe is now becoming known, and quite extensively used, to convey water under ground. So far as heard from, it has given perfect satisfaction, and been found to answer the purpose admirably. The cost of the pipe makes it the cheapest and best pipe used; and being made by machinery of the most perfect construction, it will make handsome joints and finished work. About one mile of this pipe has been used in Suisun City. It is also used extensively in Sacramento. About 1500 feet was purchased for Auburn. The Stockton Asylum use it extensively to convey water. Maj. Hensley, of San Jose, has engaged 4000 feet for water piping, and Judge Bliss, of Marysvillc, about 1500 feet. These are some instances of its use; and from the testimony received from various sources, the public can rest assured it is worthy their attention. We learn that the company who manufacture this pipe, and whose advertisement appears in our columns, will have samples, of various sizes, as well as their new fluted brick, on exhibition at the State Fair, and also at the Mechanics' Fair. A. K. Grim. Esq., of Sacramento, is the agent of the company, and will furnish every information requisite.

1858 "Notice to Architects," Sacramento Daily Union, October 4, 1858, Page 1.
The Directors of the Marysville Water Company will pay the sum of $100 for the best plan and specifications for a building to be built of brick, 80 feet square and two stories high, with a fire wall 4 feet high, together with the entire frame work on said building necessary to sustain an iron tank of same area s building, and 6 feet deep, to be filled with water.
Directors. John T. Bayley, Chas. H. Simpkins, John Q. Packard.

1859 "Marysville Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, January 6, 1859, Page
Contract for boring the artesian well.

1859 "Marysville Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, April 15, 1859, Page 2.
Machinery tried and worked well.  It is estimated to raise 33,000 gallons of water per hour from the well.

1859 "Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, April 28, 1859, Page 2.
The Marysville Water Company have commenced laying their pipes in that city.

1860 "Marysville Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, July 7, 1860, Page 2.
Notices of the Marysville Water Works have not escaped the attention of newspaper readers, but I do not remember to have seen a connected statement of their operation and efficiency, even in the local prints. Be it my very brief and willing task to set the plan and example of this spirited enterprise before your city readers, who have an interest in the subject of water works. Imprimis, before the setting up of these works, the city was dependent on windmills and ordinary wells for its supply of water, which of course varied, both in quantity and quality, according to location and the period of the year. One of the oldest residents informed me that, for irrigating purposes, the windmills were provokingly "slow," resting from their labors when they were most wanted to labor, which was during the periods of the greatest heat and dryness, when of course their could be no wind to drive them. The Marysville Water Company was formed over a year and a half ago, and when it was given out as their intention to undertake the supply of the city by means of ah artesian well, there ensued the usual wagging of incredulous heads, by which mankind, in all ages of the world, has evinced its distinguished approbation of all new discoveries and experiments. The company made its arrangements, notwithstanding, and proceeded quietly to sink the well. They bored to the depth of seventy-seven feet, and coming upon a copious stream of water, determined to adjust their works to its supply, although they had expected to penetrate a much greater distance. A peculiar, and as it has proved, a most efficient and admirable pump was introduced, steam was applied, and a year ago the company announced their readiness to supply the city of Marysville with water.  Up to this time they have laid down about three miles of pipe.
The Marysville Water Company have their works in the heart of the city.  A solid building of brick, forty by eighty feet in dimensions, supports at the height of forty-two feet from the ground a reservoir capable of containing 150,000 gallons of water. The building stands on the corner of D and Fourth streets. Part of the lower floor is used for an office, the remainder, including the whole of the second story, is rented. Adjoining is a smaller building, of brick, within which is the engine.  The latter is of twenty horse power, amply sufficient for the work it has to do, and of course it is kept in shining and perfect order, as is everything about, the establishment.  But the well and the pump are the chief attractions.  These are under the building.  You descend, if you are of an investigating turn, into a shaft six or eight feet in diameter, and probably twenty-five feet deep.  This is the pump room, and at the bottom, well braced and supported, is placed the novel and ingenious piece of mechanism which does the work of filling the reservoirs.  An elaborate description is unnecessary, and would perhaps not be intelligible if given.  In simple terms, it is a quadruple-acting  pump, forcing two heavy continuous streams into the discharge pipe.  Each stroke of a 24-inch piston (one for each side) works two valves in the pump box, and thus, alternately, a double stream is kept up.  This pump, together with all the machinery of the Water Works, was cast in the Marysville foundries.  Heavy belting, extending from the engine rooms into the shaft, carries on the operation of pumping with but very little jarring and noise.  The suction pipe extends under an arched excavation ten or twelve feet from the pump room, and enters the mouth of the well. Now the diameter of this well is twelve inches only, which fact will help, you to an appreciation of the enormous quantity of water it must discharge to supply the city.  Yet it has never faltered once, either in the dryest or the wettest of seasons.
The diameter of the suction pipe is ten inches, and that of the delivering pipe is eight inches.  The mains in the principal streets are eight inch, and the smallest six inch diameter.  There are two miles of main pipe now laid.  The reservoir consists of three tanks, well and neatly made of boiler iron.  They will hold each 50,000 gallons, and are so arranged that they can be drained and cleaned without difficulty.  The water when it leaves the well is strongly impregnated with sulphur, but by a process of aeration carried on by distributing it over a broad platform, before it drops into the reservoir, it is very effectually freed from its sulphurous properties.  Independent of these the water is delicious, clear as crystal, and so soft as to have won the hearts of all the women, and stripped washing-day of its traditionary terrors to amiable husbands.  The city consumes about 300,000 gallons per day, including the sprinkling of the streets, to provide which the pump is in operation from two to three hours in the morning, and the same length of time in the afternoon.  The cost of running the engine (which is the only expense besides the salary of an engineer) does not amount to one-fourth of that expended in furnishing the daily supply of water from the Sacramento Works.  The rates at which the company sell to the city inhabitants are about the same.  The total cost of the Marysville Works has been between $80,000 and $90,000.
From this imperfect sketch of the operations of the Marysville Water Company; the citizens of Sacramento may derive encouragement in the midst of their perplexities on the water subject. The mountains are but little nearer Marysville than your city, and the formation of the valley bed at the two points can hardly be dissimilar.  If the attempt to sink artesian wells has never been fairly and persistently made, as I am informed is the case, it would seem to hold out still the best and readiest method of supplying your city with what it has so long needed, viz.: clear and pure water.

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

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

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

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

1924 History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present, by Peter J. Delay.
Page 143:  On September 19, 1887, a large hole was burned out of the heart of the business section of Marysville. About 12:20 a. m.. Police Officer John Colford discovered what appeared to him to be but a bundle of shakes burning in the driveway of the Union Lumber Company's yard, which then was located at the southwest corner of Fourth and C Streets. Before Colford could summon the fire department, the lumber yard, which covered the space now occupied by the Marysville Water Company's attractive park, was a seething mass. Despite the work of the fire laddies, the flames crossed the alley now known as Oak Street and ignited a frame barn on the west side filled with hay, and also a dwelling occupied by Mrs. Wiscotschill and her daughter. Soon the fire was carried by the night wind to the row of then frame structures occupied by Joseph Brass as a grocery and tobacco store, the shoe shop of Joseph Bowen, the office of George Merritt, the tailor shop of H. Voss, and the fruit stand of William Hoffart. At the same time the fire attacked the Louvre Saloon, the Ben Bigelow gun store, and B. F. Oilman's Red House. These, like the frame stores to the north, were gutted, and the Meyer bakery and the stores of Kertchem & Corley, both in the Odd Fellows' Building, were threatened. At the north end of the block, the flames ate into the water works building and destroyed the underpinning of the large tanks carrying the water with which the fire was being fought. In a short time the tanks collapsed with a roar, spilling their waters into D Street, where they were almost knee-deep. 

1927 "Water Company Purchase Loses in Marysville," The Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1927, Page 18.
At a special election here today held by the City Council on its own initiative, a plan for the city to purchase the Marysville Water Company was defeated by 927 to 433.  The property was valued at $372,500.

1929 "Marysville Water Co. Shares Sold," Woodland Daily Democrat (Woodland, California), November 22, 1929, Page 1.
The Federal Water Service corporation Friday acquired 75 per cent of the Marysville Water company's stock for $344,250.  The new owners will transfer Marysville holdings to the California Water Service company which operates in Oroville, Chico, Willows, and elsewhere.

1999 Marysville Historic Commercial District, National Register of Historic Places
Section 7 Page 17:  327 -31 D Street (APN 010 242 016)  Contributing Building, 1888
This brick building, originally the home of the Marysville Water Company, has three stories and a flat parapet. Plain pilasters separate the third-story windows, which have semi-circular transoms topped by pronounced keystones. Below a string course are semicircular arched windows in wide hoods that rest upon pilasters. On the north elevation first floor openings are also arched, and a bracketed canopy tops a centered doorway. A fabric awning tops the two storefronts on the west elevation. Both have been altered with new display windows and brick facing. The building appears to be missing a cornice but has actually lost its fourth story, which was very similar to the second. The fourth story (and earlier the third story) held the water company's three huge tanks. The story was added ca. 1910 and removed ca. 1955. Despite the alteration, the building contributes to the historic character of the district.

2007 Marysville, by Tammy L. Hopkins and Henry Delamere
Page 31:  Marysville Water Company (329-331 Fourth Street), Francis W.H. Aaron hired an architect by the same of Patton and builder Swain and Hudson to construct a water building and reservoir for the residents of Marysville.  A fire forced remodeling in 1888, and a larger water tank was added in June 1911.  The building, located at the southeast corner of Fourth and D streets, is listed in the National Register of Historical Places.

The evolution of Marysville (CA) Fire Hydrants, by Willis Lamm,

2018 Morris A. Pierce