Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States Massachusetts Milford

Milford, Massachusetts

Milford was first settled in 1662 and incorporated in 1780.  Hopedale split off from Milford in 1886.

The first aqueduct in Milford was built by Adin Ballou of the Hopedale Community in 1844 to distribute water from an elevated reservoir "for sundry public and private uses."

The Milford Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1855 with authority to hold real and personal estate to an amount not exceeding $20,000.  Aaron Claflin, Royal Southwick, Horace B. Claflin and Samuel Daniels "for the purpose of supplying the village of Milford with pure water" and "may take, hold and convey into the streets of said village the waters of the springs situated on the lands of the corporators about two hundred rods north-westerly of said village." It is uncertain if this company built as a system.  An 1875 report from the State Board of Health states that Milford had no public water supply, while the 1881 charter of the Milford Water Company authorizes the company to buy the existing aqueduct system in the town. 

The Milford Water Company was incorporated in 1881 with a capital stock not to exceed $100,000 by Moses Joy, junior, Charles W. Shippee, John P. Daniels, Ephraim L. Wires, and Charles F. Claflin "for the purpose of furnishing the inhabitants of Milford with pure water for the extinguishment of fires, and for domestic and other purposes."  This company built a Holly water system taking water from a reservoir.

The Town of Hopedale split off from Milford in 1886 and in 1948 bought the portion of the Milford Water Company that served Hopedale, which then built its own water system.

The Town of Milford is currently exploring purchase of the Milford Water Company, and may vote on the purchase in September, 2017.

Water is provided by the Milford Water Company, which has a history page.

1855 An act to incorporate the Milford Aqueduct Company.  April 27, 1855.

1872 An act to authorize the town of Milford to take and convey water to Vernon Grove Cemetery.  March 12, 1872.

1875 Annual report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts.
Page 104:  Milford (population 9,818) is a town of considerable importance; has no water-supply or sewerage.

1881 An act to incorporate the Milford Water Company.  March 9, 1881.
Section 7. Said corporation may purchase from the owner or owners of any aqueduct now used in furnishing water to the inhabitants of said town of Milford, his or their whole water right, estate, property and privileges, and by such purchase shall become entitled to all the rights and privileges, and subject to all the liabilities and duties, appertaining and belonging to such owner or owners.
Section 12. This act shall take effect upon its acceptance by a vote of a majority of the legal voters of said town of Milford, present and voting at a meeting duly warned for that purpose.

1881 "Milford. The Water Question," Worcester Daily Spy, March 18, 1881, Page 4

1881 "Milford. Town meeting," Worcester Daily Spy, March 22, 1881, Page 4

1881 "Milford. The Water Works," Worcester Daily Spy, August 4, 1881, Page 4

1881 "Milford. Excavations for the pipes," Worcester Daily Spy, August 19, 1881, Page 4

1882 An Act to authorize the Milford Water Company to take certain real estate in the town of Hopkinton.  April 29, 1882.

1882 Milford, from Engineering News 9:131  (April 22, 1882)

1882 "Milford. Water Works Trial," Worcester Daily Spy, June 29, 1882, Page 4

1882 History of the town of Milford, Worcester county, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1881, by Adin Ballou
Page 384:  Since the above was written, the Milford Water Co. has been organized under a special act of General Court. This Water Co. originated in a Reservoir Co., formed in June, 1880, for the benefit of Charles river mill-owners, and to protect Milford against loss by fire. Subsequent changes developed it into its present importance.  It has a chartered right to issue capital stock to the amount of 100,000, and to bond the works to the amount of the actual cash paid in. Moses Joy, jun., has contracted to build and complete the works on or before July 1, 1882. The enterprise is in rapid process of execution, and is one of great promise.
It was organized in March, 1881, with Moses Joy, jun., C. W. Shippee, John P. Daniels, E. L. Wires, and Charles F. Claflin, as directors; Moses Joy, jun., as president; J. P. Daniels, treasurer; and Charles W. Shippee, secretary.

1888 "Milford and Hopedale," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1889 "Water Supply of Milford and Hopedale - Milford Water Company," Examinations by the State board of health of the water supplies and inland waters of Massachusetts. 1887-1890
Page 227: Company. Description of Works. Population of Milford (including Hopedale) in 1885, 9,343. The town of Hopedale was set off from Milford in 1886. The population of Hopedale in 1887 was estimated to be about 1,200. The works are owned by the Milford Water Company and were built in 1881. The average daily consumption in 1887 was 450,000 gallons. The sources of supply are three wells in Milford on the right bank of Charles River above the town, supplemented in emergencies by water from the river. The wells are each 30 feet in depth and 14, 21 and 23 feet respectively in diameter; they are connected and are roofed over to exclude light. There is a direct connection between the well nearest the pumping station and the river. The company also owns a storage reservoir on the river above the wells. This reservoir is 90 acres in area and its maximum depth is about 25 feet. Its drainage area is generally woodland and is uninhabited. The water in the river beside the wells is kept at a constant height by means of a small dam. Water is pumped directly into the mains, no reservoir or tank being used. Distributing mains are of cast iron. Service pipes are of lead.

1890 "Milford and Hopedale," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 Report of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Page 34:  Commonwealth ex rel. Commissioner of Corporations vs. Milford Aqueduct Company. Failure to make returns, under section 54, chapter 106, Public Statutes. Petition for dissolution. Dissolution decreed.  February 7, 1890.

1891 "Milford and Hopedale," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "Milford and Hopedale," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1897 History of the Hopedale Community: From Its Inception to Its Virtual Submergence in the Hopedale Parish, by Adin Ballou
Page 130:  Affairs in 1844 - A lead pipe aqueduct was laid from a reservoir on the northerly high land of our territory, a fourth of a mile away, into our young village, for sundry public and private uses.

1903 "The Echo Lake Dam, at Milford, Mass.," by Leonard Metcalf, Journal of the New England Water Works Association, 17(2):146-157 (June, 1903)

1919 "Re Milford Water Company," October 1, 1919, Massachusetts Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners

1922 An act to amend the charter of the Milford Water Company.  March 4, 1922.

1948 An act to authorize the town of Hopedale to acquire certain property of the Milford Water Company.  June 13, 1948.

1980 History of Milford, Massachusetts, 1780-1980, by the Milford Historical Commission
Page 140:  January 16, 1882 - Milford Water Company was established.  The rates announced in June were $6.00 per year for the first faucet; $2.00 for the second; Toilet and bath $3.00 each and a lawn hose was $4.00 and $5.00.

2015 An act relative to the Milford Water Company.  January 7, 2015.

2016 "Town Agrees to Buy Milford Water Company for $63 Million," Milford Patch, by Charlene Arsenault Updated December 20, 2016
The town has long had the option to buy the company, and agreed on a purchase agreement this week.

Reservoir Company Was Formed in Milford for Mill Fire Protection, by Gordon E. Hopper

Milford Water Company Articles from

2017 Morris A. Pierce