Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
North Central States
Illinois Town of Lake

Town of Lake, Illinois

The Town of Lake was incorporated as a town in 1865 and annexed to the city of Chicago on July 15, 1889.

The village of Hyde Park contracted to build a water works in 1873 and allowed the neighboring Town of Lake to participate by owning half of the pumping station.  The jointly-owned Holly water works plant was demonstrated on September 2, 1874 using a steam-driven Holly Quadruplex pump.

Water demand outgrew the capacity of the plant and in 1881 Hyde Park sold their half of the plant to the Town of Lake for $48,000.

Both communities and their water works were annexed to Chicago in 1889.

Water is provided by the city of Chicago.

1874 "Hyde Park," The Chicago Daily Tribune, January 29, 1874, Page 4.
Our High-Toned Suburb Joins Lake in the Water Works Scheme.

1874 "Lake," The Chicago Daily Tribune, February 6, 1874, Page 3.
Water-works agreement with Hyde Park.

1874 "Hyde Park," The Chicago Daily Tribune, August 30, 1874, Page 4.
The public test of the Holly Water-Works is arranged to be made Wednesday, September 2, and the following is the agreement made.
The Hyde Park Water-Works are located near the lake shore, on Sixty-eighty street.
Since the contract was first made by the Village of Hyde Park the Town of Lake has been admitted to an equal partnership in the works.

1874 "Hyde Park," The Chicago Daily Tribune, September 3, 1874, Page 8.
Satisfactory Trial of the New Water-Works.

1877 "Hyde Park Water Works," The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1877, Page 7. | Part 2 |

1882 "Town of Lake," from Engineering News 9:114 (April 8, 1882)

1882 The revised ordinances of the town of Lake, comprising the laws of Illinois relating to the town of Lake, and the ordinances of the Board of Trustees
Pages 149-155:  Water, including rates

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

1883 Report on Town of Lake Water Works, June 11. 1883.  Cited in Chicago's Pride: The Stockyards, Packingtown, and Environs in the Nineteenth Century, by Louise Carroll Wade (2002), Page 327, note 9.

1884 History of Cook County, Illinois: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Alfred Theodore Andreas
Page 660:   Town of Lake Water Works

1887 The revised ordinances of the town of Lake: comprising the laws of Illinois relating to the town of Lake and the ordinances of the board of trustees, revised and compiled by Frank D. Thomason. | also here |
Pages 134-146:  Water

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

1892 "Notes from the Great Fair," Scientific American, 67:343 (December 3, 1892)

1892 "World’s Fair Water Supply," Fire and Water Engineering 12(27):  December 31, 1892,
A correspondent in Chicago writes to The Scientific American on the water supply, drainage and sanitary arrangements of the World’s Fair.
The requisite supply of drinking water is accomplished by installing two pumping engines, each having a capacity of 12,000,000 gallons per day, in the Sixty-eighth street (Hyde) Park) water-works. The water is drawn from Lake Michigan at the two mile crib, and from the water-works passes through a thirty-six inch main to Machinery hall, from which point it is carried throughout the grounds in pipes of lessened capacity, ranging down to eight inches, and distributed by laterals into every building and to each exhibit wherever desired.
This lake water will be supplied free of charge from 300 ornamental fountains, located at various points about the grounds, and from thousands of single faucets within the buildings. Each fountain will have four or more three-eighth faucets and twelve metal cups, thus accommodating at least 1200 thirsty visitors at one time at the fountains alone. This lake water is contracted and paid for by the exposition officials, and may be used for all purposes within the grounds.
Hygeia Water.—For drinking purposes, water is also supplied that is piped direct from the Hygeia springs, at Waukesha, Wis., a distance of 102 miles, where the overflow capacity of the springs exceeds 650,000 gallons a day. Steam pumps will force the water into a reservoir that is being built on a high ridge 200 feet above and eight miles distant from Waukesha, and ninety-four miles from and 416 feet above the level of the exposition grounds, and from this reservoir it is expected that the water will flow by gravitation through a six-inch Maltby coated steel pipe, at the rate of 50,000 gallons a day, to the cooling reservoir located between the Transportation building and the grand passenger depot. This great cooling tank has a capacity of 100,000 gallons, and will be covered by an ornamental structure 80 x 40 feet in size, containing a full refrigerating plant that will furnish too tons of ice daily. From this reservoir the water will be forced by a small pumping plant through the refrigerating coils to the twenty-five miles of three-inch distributing mains and the small connecting laterals extending into each exhibit, from the faucets of which it will probably be drawn, at a temperature of about thirty-eight degress F.; a water meter registering the amount drawn. In addition to the private faucets, there will be 250 fountains erected, within ornamental booths built to harmonize with the different forms of architecture of the buildings to which they are attached, where a half pint glass of Hygeia may be secured from one of the many female attendants at the cost of a penny a glass.
The water supplied to these fountains will be kept in circulation, so that an evenly cold temperature will practically be maintained. While the capacity of the main supply is 50,000 gallons daily, it can be largely increased by pressure, though it is believed that the demand on the Exposition grounds will not exceed 30,000 gallons, or 500,000 drinks of half a pint each, daily. At one cent each this alone will give the Hygeia Company an income of $5000 daily, to say nothing of the advertising effect of this great enterprise. This plant is a concession controlled by the Hygeia Company, who pay a portion of the gross receipts to the Exposition.
The Sewerage.—What becomes of the waste water is almost as interesting to many as where the supply of water comes from. Thus, it is worthy of note that one system of piping carries all the storm water from the roofs of the various buildings into the lagoons, while a second system of piping carries all the surface water from the many catch basins, so it will not foul the lagoons, into two wells, from whence it is pumped into the lake by centrifugal pumping plants, consisting of Gould’s pumps belted to line shafting driven by electric motors.
The construction department found the problem of how to quickly, economically and effectually dispose of the discharges that will flow from toilet basins, closets, sinks, etc., not an easy one to solve. It was essential that a system should be adopted that would not only prove efficient as an odorless sewerage system, but also include a method by which the entire outflow could be chemically treated and both fluids and solids rendered inert.
The Shone hydro-pneumatic sewerage system was adopted by W. S. McIIarg, chief of the department of water and sewerage, and forms the main sewerage system of the World’s Fair grounds.
As installed at Jackson park, the system consists of twenty-six ejector stations containing fifty-two Shone ejectors, there being a pair in each station, thus affording ample reserve capacity. The ejectors in service have a capacity of from sixty to 600 gallons each, and a total receiving and ejecting capacity of 17,000,000 gallons per diem. These ejectors are placed in cemented pits sunk to a depth of about fourteen feet below the surface of the ground, and are placed either under the main buildings or at various points about the grounds. Thus under the Electricity building there is one pair of ejectors of 180 gallons capacity each, while under the Manufactures building there are two pairs, each of the four machines having capacity of 600 gallons.
Each ejector has an inlet and outlet pipe for the sewage and an automatic valve for the compressed air by means of which the machine is operated. Through the inlet pours the waste water and other matter from basins, closets and sinks, till the machine is full, when a float automatically opens the compressed air inlet, and the pressure of the inrushing air (fifty pounds to the square inch) instantly closes the inlet flap valve and ejects the contents into a branch pipe directly connected with the main discharge pipe. As the last of the fluid passes out the compressed air valve is automatically closed, and the ejector expanded down to atmospheric pressure through a muffler box, then the back pressure in the branch pipes closes the flap valve on the outlet, and, the pressure being released, the inlet flan valve opens, allowing the liquid washes to again flow in. This system was installed under contract by Urban H. Broughton, engineer and manager of the Shone HydroI’neumatic Sewerage and Water Supply Con oany of Chicago. When the Exposition is well attended it is exp*-led that each of these ejectors will fill and be emptied at the rate of about once a minute, and as the contents are ejected into the branch pipe the displacement of a similar quantity from the main discharge pipe flows into tanks, where it is treated with sulphate of aluminum or other chemicals, which throw down the solids and leave the water comparatively innoxious.
The water, separated from the solids by filtration, flows from the tanks through pipes into the lake, while the solid matter, having passed through a Bushnell filler press, operated by compressed air, and been formed into small cakes, is burned under furnaces. This press consists of a series of round iron plates hung on rolls on the press rods, with filter cloths placed between the plates, thus forming chambers into which the material to be filtered is pumped through a centre channel in the machine, when the application of pressure (about 700 pounds to the square inch) forces the liquid through the cloths to the surface of the plates, and thence through grooves or pipes into a receiver. The pressed cakes are then removed, thrown into furnaces and burned.
Toilets and lavatories.—Each principal building on the grounds will have from one to four apartments devoted to toilet purposes, and placed in the most easily accessible portions of the structure. The total number of closets on the grounds will exceed 3000. of which 1000 are free, and 2000 are subject to the charge of five cents. There will tie nearly 1000 public lavatories, any one of which may be used on payment of five cents, this sum covering charge for a sufficient quantity of powdered soap, an individual towel, comb and mirror. The lavatories now being fitted up for women are as perfect as can be desired, and include a private room finished in English white enamel and containing chair, rug. towels powdered soap, brush, comb and long plate glass mirror, all arranged to afford the utmost privacy and convenience, for which a charge of but five cents is made, including the service of a matron, and no room is to be used a second time till thoroughly cleansed by the attendant. This concession is controlled by J. B. Clow & Son of Chicago, who will pay a portion of their receipts to the Exposition. The same firm also controls the only advertising on the grounds, namely, the interior wall space in the rooms devoted to lavatories and closets. This was one of the first concessions granted, and the World’s Fair officials have since endeavored to repurchase it, in order to prevent advertising of any nature whatever on the grounds. Some idea of the value of this advertising space may be inferred from the statement that one house pays $25,000 for space in each room and another firm $12,500.

1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Volume 16
Sheet 86 shows Town of Lake Water Works adjacent to Hyde Park Water Works.

1909 History of Cook County, Illinois--: Being a General Survey of Cook County History, Including a Condensed History of Chicago and Special Account of Districts Outside the City Limits; from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2, edited by Weston Arthur Goodspeed and Daniel David Healy
Page 324:  Town of Lake.  One of the first improvements made by the town of Lake were works buid to secure pure water.  The engine, etc., were located at Sixty-eighth street and the lake, in 1873.  At that date Lake and Hyde Park constructed these works as a joint improvement.  In 1880 the town of Lake became the sole owner of the improvement and later Hyde Park constructed its own water system.: 

1987 Chicago's Pride:  The Stockyards, Packingtown, and Environs in the Nineteenth Century, by Louise Carroll Wade

2008 "Annexations and Additions to the City of Chicago," from Encyclopedia of Chicago.  Shows boundaries of Town of Lake.


© 2017 Morris A. Pierce