|Introduction||Historical Background||Chronology||Geography||Biography||Technology||Ownership and Financing||General Bibliography|
|New England States||Massachusetts||Lawrence|
Lawrence was incorporated as a town in 1847 and as a city in 1853.
The Lawrence Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1848 by John Tenney of Metheun, Alfred Kittredge of Haverhill and Daniel Saunders of Lawrence, but the proposal to bring water from Haggett's pond was deemed impractical.
In 1851 the Essex Company and Bay State Mills built a one million gallon reservoir on Prospect Hill and connected it by proper pipes with pumps operated by the mills; a company was subsequently formed under the name of the Lawrence Reservoir Association, and operated by associated corporations. Although designed solely for the benefit of the mills, the company generously allowed pipes and hydrants in several of the principal streets to be used exclusively in case of fire, and they also allowed the use of water without charge for the pond on the Common.
The city of Lawrence built a water system that began service in December, 1875 pumping water with steam engines into an elevated reservoir.
Water is provided by the
City of Lawrence
1848 An act to incorporate the Lawrence Aqueduct Company. May 10, 1848.
1852 Report presented
to the stockholders of the Essex Company at their annual meeting.
May 25, 1852.
Page 6: A reservoir of the capacity of one million gallons, which may readily be doubled, has been built at the joint expense of the Essex Company and the Bay State Mills. The water stands at the level of about 100 feet above the canal. Its whole cost, including pipes, was $15,486,03; of which the proportion paid by this Company was $4554.72.
1853 Map of Lawrence, shows 1851 reservoir.
register of the city of Lawrence
Page 146: The facilities for extinguishing fires have been greatly increased by the extension in Jackson street of the water pipe connected with the reservoir on Prospect Hill. This work has been completed at an expense of $3,412.37.
1872 An act to supply the city of Lawrence with water. March 12, 1872.
1875 Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Water Works on the examination of the reports and estimates of the water commissioners. Made to the City Council, March, 1875.
1876 Lawrence Water Works: Reports on the Trial of Duty and Capacity of the Pumping-engines, May, 1876. Built by I.P. Morris, designed by E.P. Leavitt, Jr.
1876 Final report of the Water Commissioners of the city of Lawrence to the City Council, May 9, 1876.
1876 First Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1876
1877 "The Lawrence Water Works," by B. C. Mudge, B.S. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil Engineering. Mudge would become a developer of New England water works in the 1880s.
1877 Second Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1877
1878 "The Lawrence, Mass., Water Works," Engineering News 5:283-284 (September 5 1878) | 5:291-292 (September 12, 1878) | 5:300-301 (September 19, 1878) |
1878 Third Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1878
Rules and Orders, and Laws Relating to City Affairs, City of Lawrence
Pages 138-149: Water Board and Water Works. Includes water rates on pages 146-149.
1879 Fourth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1879
of Lawrence, Massachusetts: With Portraits and Biographical Sketches
of Ex-mayors Up to 1880 and Other Distinguished Citizens, Including
Many Business and Professional Men Now Living, by Hammon Reed
Pages 137-141: Water Works. The Legislature of 1848 incorporated John Tenney, of Methuen, Alfred Kittredge, of Haverhill, and Daniel Saunders of Lawrence, and their associates, as the Lawrence Aqueduct Company, with a capital of $50,000, empowering them to take water from Hackett's pond in Andover, and convey it for distribution and use in Lawrence. The scheme was found to be impracticable and abandoned. The subject of a water supply continued to be more or less agitated, but nothing was done till 1871, when a number of citizens petitioned the City Council to take some steps to provide the city with a supply of pure water. The petition received favorable action, and Mayor S. B. W. Davis, Alderman James Payne, and President A. C. Stone, H. J. Couch, and Cyrus Williams of the Common Council were appointed a committee to make investigation of the subject matter, have the results arrived at recorded for the benefit of a future city government. The committee visited Lowell and Providence, made extended inquiries and decided that the water supply of Lawrence must either come from Haggett's Pond, North Andover Pond, Policy Pond in New Hampshire, or the Merrimac River, and the committee unhesitatingly recommended the latter.
In 1872 an act was obtained from the Legislature authorizing the city to take water from the river at any point in Lawrence or Methuen, and convey it through pipes into and about the city. The act was submitted to the voters of Lawrence, and was accepted by a vote of 1298 to 830, wards one and six giving majorities against it. A joint special committee on water was appointed from the City Government, consisting of Aldermen James Payne and James A. Treat, and President L. D. Sargent, H. J. Couch and George W. Russell from the Common Council to obtain surveys, plans and estimates of the cost of works needed to furnish the city with a suitable supply of pure water. This committee was allowed $8000 or less. Mr. Payne was made Chairman of the Committee. Mr. L. F. Rice of Boston, was engaged to make a preliminary survey. The committee reported that the advantages of the Merrimac for a water supply were so obvious that the passage of an ordinance creating a Board of Water Commissioners was warmly recommended.
In April 1873, Mayor Tarbox approved an ordinance creating a Board of Water Commissioners, and on the 8th of May, Wm. Barbour, Patrick Murphy, and Morris Knowles were created Water Commissioners. Mr. Barbour was made Chairman and Mr. Murphy Secretary. The Commissioners gave their attention as to the best system of distribution. The Holly or direct system had many friends and gave much satisfaction. The Commissioners finally decided to combine the Holly system and the Reservoir system, the former for fire purposes, and the latter for all general purposes of supply. Walter F. McConnell, of Boston, was engaged- as Chief Engineer, and Baldwin Coolidge and Charles H. Littlefield as Assistants. James P. Kirkwood, of Brooklyn, was engaged as Consulting Engineer. Surveys were at once begun on the farm of Samuel Ames, where the Pumping Station and Filter Galleries are located, and on Bodwell's Hill where is the Reservoir.
The lowest bid for constructing the reservoir was from J. B. Dacey & Co. of Boston, and Patrick Kiernan of Chelsea, and they were given the contract, breaking ground November 12th, 1873. But little was done that winter, but in the March following work was resumed. The contract called for the completion of the reservoir by the first day of October, 1875, but it was not quite completed at that time.
The water is pumped from the river by two of I. P. Morris & Co's engines, and is discharged into a force main thirty inches in diameter laid in the center of Ames street, extending to the reservoir, a distance of five thousand feet. Emery's Hill was tunnelled for a distance of 900 feet, the north end of the tunnel being a few feet south of Lowell street. The tunnel is six feet high, seven feet wide, egg shaped, with flattened bottom, and is built of hard burned brick laid in hydraulic cement, with a well or man-hole at either end to give free access, and to enable pipe to be lowered, should repairs be necessary. The force main is carried across Haverhill street just east of the house of Asa M. Bodwell, and enters the reservoir bank at the northwest corner. It goes through this bank to a point opposite the centre of the middle bank, where it turns and is carried along the middle bank to the overfall where it is turned upwards and the water is discharged, the stream being turned at will into either basin of the Reservoir. The Reservoir is of rectangular form, 730 feet long and 411 feet wide, and has a total capacity of 40,000,000 gallons when full. It is twenty-five feet deep. Each basin is 263 feet by 300 feet, measured on the bottom on the line of the skewbacks.
The street mains are all of cast iron pipe, and range from six to thirty inches in diameter. The main line of distribution is in Haverhill street, where a thirty inch pipe is laid to Broadway, then a twenty-four inch pipe to Hampshire street, and thence one of twenty inches to the Common, where it is still further reduced to sixteen inches, and at Jackson street the pipe is further reduced to twelve inches as far as the Spicket Bridge, where a ten inch pipe is used in Beach street till it meets the ten inch main in Prospect street. This is the main line of distribution, but there is another by which the water may be taken from the Reservoir through Ames, Canal, Water and Lawrence streets.
Besides the duplicate Reservoir distribution, the plan of direct pumping is added as a perfect guaranty of unbroken water supply, and for the purpose of extinguishing fires. The latter feature, however, has not as yet been tested. It is not known at this writing whether the mains would bear the strain of forcing water through them directly from the pumps with a pressure supplied for fire purposes, though the Reservoir pressure alone is sufficient in most places to enable the fire department to do good service with hose directly attached to the hydrants; in the future they will be more fully developed. The Lowry hydrant is in use. It is a flush hydrant, and is set, wherever practicable, in the streets directly over the main, and in fact is a part of the main. The salaries of the commissioner who put in the works and the pay of the inspectors, laborers, engineers and staff amounted to $63,128.54; travelling expenses, $4,264.41; cost of distributing reservoir, $275,151.44; pumping station, $161,923.30; engines and boilers, $116,851.51; pipe laying, $76,480.17; pipes, etc., $374,558.23; tunnel, $22,357.88; furniture, rent, etc., $1,998.78; engineers' instruments, $1,462.71; legal expenses, $585.00; stationery, $506.60; drawing materials, $502.22; printing and advertising, $1,449.89; house services, $10,191.02; land damages, $27,000; general construction, $20,940.05; maintenance, $4,719.34. Some unpaid bills swelled the total cost to $1,192,967.84.
May 9th, the term of office of the commissioners expired and they made a final report to the City Council. The care of the works is now vested in a Water Board consisting of Milton Bonney, President, R. H. Tewksbury, N. P. H. Melvin, Albert R. Field, David T. Porter. The Superintendent is Henry W. Rogers, Registrar, Geo. A. Durrell.
1880 Fifth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1880
1881 Lawrence, from Engineering News 8:285,287 (July 16, 1881)
1881 Sixth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1881
1882 Lawrence, from "The Water-Supply of Certain Cities and Towns of the United States," by Walter G. Elliot, C. E., Ph. D.
1882 Seventh Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1882
1883 Eighth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1883
1884 Ninth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1884
1885 Tenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1885
1886 "Lawrence Water Works," by H.W. Rogers, Journal of the New England Water Works Association 1(2):6-9 (December, 1886)
1886 Eleventh Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1886
1887 Twelfth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1887
1888 Thirteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1888
1888 "Lawrence," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of
Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Volume 1, compiled under the
supervision of Duane Hamilton Hurd.
Pages 880-881: Lawrence Fire Department. In 1851 the Essex Company, the Atlantic and Bay State Mills, for still further protection, built a reservoir on Prospect Hill, holding one million gallons, and connected it by proper pipes with pumps operated by the mills; a company was subsequently formed under the name of the Lawrence Reservoir Association, and operated by associated corporations. The reservoir was designed for the benefit of the corporation solely, not being of sufficient capacity for general use; but the company generously allowed pipes and hydrants in several of the principal streets to be used exclusively in case of fire, and they also allowed the use of water without charge for the pond on the Common. Edward B. Herrick, of the Bay State Mills, was agent for the company from the beginning till his death, November, 1878; he was succeeded by Mr. Rollins, who served till June, 1879, when the care of the reservoir was placed in the hands of Mr. Rogers, the agent of the City Water Works.
Water-works.— As early as 1848 a plan was formed for supplying the town with water, and a charter was granted that year to John Tenney, of Methuen, Alfred Kittredge, of Haverhill, Daniel Saunders, of Lawrence, and others, under the name of the Lawrence Aqueduct Company. The plan of introducing water from Haggett’s Pond was found impracticable and the enterprise abandoned. In 1858 a petition from prominent citizens was laid before the city government, requesting that steps be taken for a supply of water. The formidable expense that would be incurred led the government to consider the petition as premature, and nothing was done.
In 1871-72 the subject was again agitated, and with good reason; in twenty-five years of rapid growth large numbers of the wells had become mere cesspools, and the water unfit for drinking or culinary purposes, especially in the compact portions of the city. A petition to the Legislature resulted in an “Act to supply the city of Lawrence with water" was passed and approved by the Governor March 8, 1872. This act was accepted by the legal voters, twelve hundred and ninety-eight voting in favor and eight hundred and thirty in opposition. In June a joint committee, consisting of Aldermen James Payne and James A. Treat, and L. D. Sargent, Henry J. Couch and George W. Russell, of the Common Council, was appointed to obtain estimates of cost, etc. An engineer, L. Frederick Rice, of Boston, was consulted, the committee made an elaborate report, and in April, 1873, an ordinance was passed providing for the election of water commissioners, and in May the Board of Commissioners was organized, with William Barbour chairman, Patrick Murphy clerk and Morris Knowles.
Walter F. McConnell, of Boston, was appointed chief engineer and James P. Kirkwood, of Brooklyn, N. Y., consulting engineer.
The water is taken from the Merrimac River at a point about three-quarters of a mile above the dam, where, in a building of brick, are placed two pumping engines, built by I. P. Morris & Co., of Philadelphia (Leavitt‘s patent), capable of forcing two hundred thousand gallons per hour each, from the river to the reservoir on Bodwell’s Hill, about a mile from the centre of the city, the water being conveyed in a pipe thirty inches in diameter and about five thousand feet in length.
The reservoir is constructed in two divisions, either of which may be used independently of the other — both having a capacity of thirty-nine million gallons. From this reservoir cast-iron pipes convey the water to the various parts of the city, on both sides of the river.
In 1875 an ordinance was passed establishing rates and providing for the permanent management of the works; and a Water Board was appointed, consisting of Milton Bonney, Robert H. Tewksbury, N. P. H. Melvin, William Barbour and James Payne — one member retiring each year.
The total cost of the water-works was not far from one million five hundred thousand dollars. The works have proved of great value to the city in furnishing an abundant supply of water for domestic purposes, and in the protection afforded against fire. On January 4, 1886, nearly five hundred hydrants had been placed (Lowry pattern), seventeen drinking fountains established, fifty-two miles of main pipe laid, and a supply of water furnished to about thirty-five thousand persons in families and boarding houses.
1889 Fourteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1889
1890 Fifteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1890
1890 "Lawrence," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
1891 Sixteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1891
1891 "Lawrence," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.
1892 Seventeenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1892
1893 Eighteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1893
1894 Nineteenth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1894
1895 Image 1 of Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts. Shows pumping station, reservoir, and details of distributing mains..
1895 Twentieth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1895
1896 Twenty-First Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1896
1897 Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1897
1897 "Lawrence," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.
1898 Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1898
1899 Twenty-Fourth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1899
1900 Twenty-Fifth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1900
1901 "The Lawrence, Mass., City Filter: A History of its Installation and Maintenance," by Morris Knowles and Charles Gilman Hyde, Presented June 5, 1901. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 46:258-378 (December, 1901)
1901 Twenty-Sixth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1901
1902 Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1902
1903 Twenty-Eighth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1903
1904 Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1904
1905 Thirtieth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1905
1906 Thirty-First Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1906
1907 Thirty-Second Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1907
1908 Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1908
1909 Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1909
1910 Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Lawrence Water Board for the year 1910
1912 Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Mass. in 1912. Senate Documents Vol. 31, 62d Congress, 2d Session.
History of Essex County in Massachusetts, Volume 2,
Editor-in-Chief Benjamin F. Arrington
Pages 503-504: For more than a quarter of a century after Lawrence was platted as a town, it depended upon wells and cisterns for its water supply, save for fire extinguishing and power purposes, which, of course, was obtained from the Merrimack river. The first attention toward a water supply by artificial means was in 1848, when the Lawrence Aqueduct Company was chartered. This corporation was formed by John Tenney of Methuen, Alfred Kittridge of Haverhill, and Daniel Saunders of Lawrence, with their associates. The project of bringing water from Haggett's pond, now the source of supply for the town of Andover, was deemed impracticable. This company was chartered with a capital of $50,000.
In 1851 the Bay State Mills and the Essex Company, dividing the cost of construction, built a reservoir of a million gallons capacity on Prospect Hill. Water was pumped from the canal, and was supposed to stand on a level of 152 feet above the crest of the Merrimack dam. This was owned and operated by associated companies. For twenty-four years, pipes and hydrants in corporation yards and principal business streets were supplied from this source. In the early seventies municipal water works were agitated. An act was passed by the legislature, March 8, 1872, providing for a commission of three members of the city council to execute and superintend the direct work. This commission made its report April 18, 1873, and an ordinance was passed calling for the election of a board of water commissioners. Such commission was as follows: William Barbour (chairman), Patrick Murphy (clerk), and Morris Knowles. The present pumping station was constructed in 1874-75. On October 19, 1875, water was first forced into the reservoir. In 1893 the original filtering plant was finished—the first filtering system in the country eliminating bacteria. It has an area of two and one-half acres. In 1907 the capacity of this filtering plant was increased by the construction of a covered filter west of the first plant. In 1916 work was started on the reconstruction of the east unit of the open filter. At present, the reservoir has a capacity of forty million gallons, and the pumping capacity at the station is five million gallons each twenty-four hours. This applies to the old pump, while the turbine pump has a capacity of two million gallons each twenty-four hours. The Barr pump also forces water to the amount of 1,500,000 gallons daily. A high service water tower was built in 1896, 102 feet high and thirty feet in diameter. At one hundred feet an eight-inch overflow pipe conveys the overflow back into reservoir. The stand-pipe holds 520,000 gallons. The first cost of this water system was $1,363,000. The cost today, with the various improvements, is estimated to be $2,421,000. For a number of years this plant has been more than self-sustaining.
2014 "Water System Profile: Lawrence Water Works, City of Lawrence, Massachusetts," Journal of the American Water Works Association 128(3):242-247 (September, 2014)
Lawrence, Mass., Water Dept., records, 1871-1970s.
Service Water Tower and Reservoir
© 2018 Morris A. Pierce