Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Pacific States
California Stockton

Stockton, California

Stockton was incorporated in 1850.

1857 P.E. Connor built works, now owned by Stockton Water-Works Company.  Sold in 1890 to Stockton Water Company.,

General Patrick Edward Connor

Blue Lake Water Company 1895

1904 the property was absorbed by the California Gas and Electric Corporation, and in 1908 it was transferred to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Purchased by California Water Service Company in 1927.


Water is provided by California Water Services and the City of Stockton.  See service area map.


References
1861 "The Connor Water-works in Stockton," California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences 15(22):172  (August 9, 1861)
The Connor Water-works in Stockton.
The benefits of cold water and good baths are beginning to be appreciated everywhere. In all our cities and principal towns efforts are being made and plans matured by which the citizens can he supplied with an abundance of fresh water. This is as it should be.  Health, safety, and comfort demand this as the sina qua non of a place to live.
When in Stockton recently, after examining the grand artesian well and jet which is such an ornament as well as a triumph, upon the public square, we visited the water-works of Capt. P. E. Connor, opposite the square.  From these works Capt C. is now preparing to supply the entire city with water. He has already one and a-half miles of pipe laid, and the more effectually to complete and perfect his work he will bring into use and to his aid the Hydraulic Ram and the wooden pipes of which we spoke as being used at the Sander's Hotel at Folsom, the success of which has induced Capt. C. to go and examine them, and bring their aid to his use.
Capt. Connor has erected a fine large building forty feet high, of ample dimensions. The tank upon the building will hold 15,000 gallons, and is five feet higher than the Sacramento Water-Works.  The first story will be occupied as a natural bath and swimming school; the space is twenty-four by fifteen feet.  There are also four bathing-rooms for cold baths. The second will be occupied as offices.  Such enterprises accomplish great good, and should receive a generous support from the public.  Everybody should Bathe; Bathe freely ; bathe often.  It is a great promoter of health as it is a great aid to digestion.

1862 "Damages," Daily Alta California, January 12, 1862, Page 2.
The Stockton Water Works were damaged by the fall of a platform on Wednesday night, which broke the iron pipe connecting the reservoir with the distributing pipes.

1867 Sacramento Daily Union, August 5, 1867, Page .
Incorporations.  The Stockton Water Company filed articles of incorporation in the office of the County Clerk on July 31st.  The capital stock of the company is $100,000, divided into 1,000 shares of $100 each.  The Trustees are General Connor, J.M. Kelsey, O.M. Clayes, L. Howard and W.H. Knight.

1868 Sacramento Daily Union, January 1, 1868, Page .
Incorporations - August 3, 1867, Stockton Water Works Company

1870 "Stockton Water Works," Sacramento Daily Union, December 18, 1870, Page .
Preparations are being made in Stockton for raising and putting in place a new iron water column one hundred and two feet in eight and thirty inches in diameter.  The new pump has been placed in position, and will be put into operation as soon as the steamer connections are made.

1872 "Stockton Tank Burst," Sacramento Daily Union,  June 5, 1872, Page 2.
A few minute before 1 o'clock this afternoon a new tank belonging to the Stockton Water Works, on Hunter street, burst, scatting the water in all directions.  A three-story building on which the tank was placed was badly damaged.  The total loss will not fall short of $4,000.  Fortunately no person was in the neighborhood at the time of the accident.

1883 Stockton, Engineering News, 10:259  (June 2, 1883)

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

1890 An Illustrated History of San Joaquin County, California
Pages 125-126: ARTESIAN AND GAS WELLS. This subject comes more appropriately in this chapter than elsewhere in this work, as it concerns the rural community everywhere equally with the towns and cities. From V. M. Peyton and the Stockton Independent of April 4, 1877, the following facts are obtained.
In 1854, when agriculture in the San Joaquin valley first began to assume importance, those who had undertaken to farm the lands of the surrounding country, felt the necessity of irrigation.  While there was an abundance of water running to waste in the rivers that rose in the perennial snows of the Sierras, and flowed through the plains on their way to the sea, the construction of canals from these streams seemed too great an undertaking for them.  Artesian wells had been sunk in the Santa Clara valley with good success, good streams of flowing water having been obtained at a depth of eighty to 100 feet.  It was considered that the same results might possibly be obtained in the San Joaquin valley, and if it could be demonstrated that flowing water could be reached at that depth, it would prove an inestimable boon to the farmers, as it would thus be possible for every farmer to have water upon his farm.  In order therefore to make a test of the matter, the city authorities joined with the county supervisors and each donated $1,000, to pay the cost of making the experiment. Work was begun in the summer of 1854, and the well was bored to the depth of 200 feet without striking water.  The funds were exhausted and work was suspended. There was a general desire manifested, however, to continue boring, but the supervisors refused to contribute further, until the matter had been in a measure ratified by the people. It was made a public question at the county election in the fall of 1854, and supervisors were elected and pledged to the support of the project. Mr. Peyton was the principal man to push the enterprise, being secretary and treasurer of the "Artesian Well Board of Trustees."
The people having thus manifested their desire to go ahead with the well, work was again begun in 1856, the city and county contributing $2,000 each for that purpose. The contract was let to L. A. Gould, of Santa Clara County, who furnished tools and men for $18 a day. An attempt was made to prosecute the work on the old well. The old pipe was removed, new double eight-inch pipe put in, and the tools put in for boring, but, after expending several hundred dollars, it was found that some malicious person had dropped a cannon ball or hard stone in the well, which it was impossible to bore through. The well had therefore to be abandoned and a new well was started twenty feet east of the old one. By December 1, 1856, the new well had been sunk to a depth of 466 feet, of which 340 feet was lined with double nine-inch iron pipe, the remaining distance being lined with the same quality of pipe eight inches in diameter. At the point of quitting work, 1,002 feet down, the water rushed up fifteen feet above the surface of the ground.  The first 400 feet cost $1,200 to dig, besides the pipe, which cost $720.  From the depth of 400 feet it cost $6.25 per foot to bore the well, increasing 25 cents per foot at every 25 feet to a depth of 600 feet, after which it increased 50 cents per foot at every 25 feet. The total cost of the well was $10,000, of which the city and county contributed each one-half. The expense of boring artesian and gas wells at that period is in great contrast with what it is nowadays, when companies in the Eastern States often bore down through 1,000 feet of rock for $1,000 or less.
October 14, 1857, the city council voted $500 to continue the work and asked the supervisors to contribute the same amount, which request was promptly complied with, as the work was soon afterward completed.
During the progress of the State fair, in August, 1857, work was suspended, and a zinc reservoir was built around the fountain made by the flowing water, adding materially to the attractiveness of the fair grounds, which were then on the square surrounding the well. On the 16th of February, 1859, a contract was let to P. Edward Conner, founder of the City Waterworks, for the exclusive use of the water for twenty years. The terms of payment were $700 a year, Mr. Conner agreeing to furnish all water wanted for city and county purposes.  For a number of years after the completion of the well, the water was allowed to overflow the top through a perforated tube, forming a beautiful fountain ; but when the requirements of the growing city commanded the use of all the water, the fountain was shut off. At the first county agricultural fair held August 30, 1860, the pavilion, a large tent, was erected over the fountain.
At a meeting of the Natural History Society of Stockton, a paper was read by C. D. Gibbs, who, in connection with Dr. J. B. Trask, of San Francisco, had been investigating the properties, force and volume of the well, which contained the following facts in connection therewith:
"The depth of the well is one thousand and two feet. The temperature of the water as it issues from the surface is seventy-seven degrees, the atmosphere being sixty degrees Fahrenheit.
"The water rose eleven feet above the surface of the plain, and nine feet above the established grade of the city, and it is probable, if the pipes were properly connected and made perfectly tight, that it would rise several feet higher.
"On a superficial examination the water was found to be charged with two gases, supposed til be carbonic oxide gas and carbonic gas. It will, however, require a proper analysis, and a more extended examination than a few hours to determine the properties of the water and gases.
"With a properly constructed vessel for securing the gas as it issues from the pipe, and obtaining a pressure, the water may be forced up high enough to be carried into the second stories of the buildings; but it will have to be determined by experiments.
"As a consequence of the presence of carbonic acid gas, the water must not be conveyed from the main conduits in lead or copper pipes, if used for drinking or culinary purposes; great danger would result to the health and lives of the community."
The flow of water amounted to half a million gallons per twenty-four hours. Considerable gas arose with the water, but the citizens did not think of utilizing it. Of late years the well has become choked up, thus materially diminishing the flow.
As already stated in Chapter I, the strata gone through were thin alternations of sand, gravel and clay of various colors. Gold was found at a depth of eighty-two feet, in a mixed stratum; at a depth of 340 feet, in a stratum of coarse sand, was found a redwood stump, and from this point the water ascended to within three feet of the surface. At 560 feet a vein was tapped that arose five feet above the surface of the ground.
In 1878 W. L. Overhiser put down four artesian wells for irrigating purposes, ten feet apart and 135 to 144: feet in depth. The water, however, has not an "artesian flow," and the proprietor pumps the water up to a higher level with steam power. This was the first experiment of the kind attempted in the county.
Page 149:  City Water Works.  The water supply of the city of Stockton comes from three artesian wells, at the eastern limits of the city, and sixty common wells.  The water is of excellent quality. During the summer months about 1,500,000 gallons of water are used per day, the citizens paying for it by the month. The Stockton Water Works Company was first organized in 1859. The present president is H. O. Southworth, and superintendent and secretary M. S. Thresher. The city owns the sprinkling apparatus that is used upon the streets.

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

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

1895 "Better Stockton Water," The San Francisco Call, July 13, 1895, Page 3.
It will shortly be supplied by the Blue Lakes Company.

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

1905 Report of the National Board of Fire Underwriters by its Committee of Twenty on the City of Stockton, Cal.

1910 "History of the Stockton Water Company," by J.W. Hall, Journal of Electricity, Power, and Gas 24(25):568-569 (June 18, 1910)

1922 "Stockton Water Plant is valued at $1,400,000," Oakland Tribune, November 23, 1922, Page 28.
P.G. & E. figures of $2,555,185 not allowed; City to take over property.

1923 History of San Joaquin County, California : with biographical sketches of leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present, by George Henry Tinkham
Page 36:  In 1858, before establishing the city water works, 256 windmills were counted in the city. Now the farmers and gardeners use gasoline engines, and extensive irrigation is carried on by this means.

1927 "Stockton cited for water system debt," The Los Angeles Times, September 22, 1927, Page 15.
City to show cause why it should not be required to pay for condemnation proceedings brought by the city in 1922 to acquire the water system from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  The city of Stockton then failed to purchase the system, and it was acquired by the California Water Services Company.

1938 Soldiers of the overland : being some account of the services of General Patrick Edward Connor & his volunteers in the old West, by Fred Blackburn Rogers
Page 13:  Captain Connor established the city waterworks in 1858.  When an artesian well was completed at the court house in 1859, he obtained a contract for the exclusive use of water for twenty years, agreeing to pay $700 a year and to furnish all water needed for city and county purposes.  It is said tha this income at that time was over $8,000 a year.

1966 "Patrick Edward Connor, 'Father' of Utah Mining," by William Fox, MA Thesis in History, Brigham Young University
Page 7:  Connor and his wife made their home in Stockton, California while at Stockton from 1854 to 1861.  Connor engaged in many aspects of community life he held offices of public trust such as Postmaster, Secretary of the State Fair and Treasurer of the San Joaquin Agricultural Society.  His business ventures which were highly successful, included the construction of the city water works from which he received a twenty-year lease on the water from an artesian well completed in 1859, and a contract to build the foundation of the state capitol at Sacramento.

2001 Forgotten Pioneers: Irish Leaders in Early California, by Thomas F. Prendergast
Page 263.  General Patrick Edward Connor.  In 1858, Captain Connor established the Stockton city water works, and on completion of an artesian well at the county court house in 1859, he obtained an exclusive contract for supply the city with water for a term of twenty-five years, he agreeing to pay $700 a year for the privilege and to furnish all water necessary for the city and county purposes.




2018 Morris A. Pierce