Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Southwestern States
Missouri Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Water Works in 1887, from Engineering News 18:346 (November 12, 1887)

Kansas City was incorporated as a city in 1853.

A charter revision in 1870 allowed the city to build water works, and the city passed an ordinance on May 24, 1870 to provide $300,000 for a city-owned water works system.  A vote scheduled for June 4th was delayed to July 2d, when it passed.  The election was voided as former Confederates had been allowed to vote.

The Kansas City Water Works Company was organized by James O. Woodruff, Eric Locke and Kersey Coates  January 1871.  Woodruff had earlier organized the Water Works Company of Indianapolis.  The three men received a franchise from the city on March 2, 1871 and incorporated the Kansas City Water Works Company on March 30, 1871.  The franchise was approved by voters on April 4th by a vote of 1,823 to 610, but the company was unable to pursue the project and surrendered their franchise.

Another law passed in 1873 allowed the city to pursue water works with two-thirds of local voters approving at a general election.  Rodman Backus and William H. Knauss of Newark, New Jersey made a proposal to the city in early February and formed the Kansas City Water Distributing Company.  Kersey Coates, Benjamin A. Feineman, Francis R. Long, Amos Green, Howard M. Holden offered a competing proposal and formed another Kansas City Water Works Company.  D. A. McKnight, W. H. Powell and Henry J. Latshaw, members of the local Board of Trade, proposed a city-owned system, which the city council was not interested in.  The city held an election for the two private companies on April 8, 1873, but they split the vote and neither received the necessary two-thirds majority. 

The National Water Works Company of New York had been incorporated in February, 1873 and had been pursuing a franchise in St. Joseph, Missouri.   The company made a proposal to Kansas City and was granted a twenty-year franchise on October 27, 1873, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters on November 15,  1873 by a vote of 2,322 to 74.  Unfortunately there are no on-line Kansas City newspapers from July through December, 1873, so more research will be needed to uncover this company's dealings with the city.  Frank M. Mahan had recently become president of the company.  He was known in Kansas City as he had been a steamboat captain for some time on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers before moving to Memphis where among other jobs he was financial agent for the Memphis Water Company, which had recently completed installation of a Holly system that was designed by Galen W. Pearsons. It is unknown how Mahan became connected with the National Water Works Company, but he and Pearsons both came to Kansas City to construct a system for that city.

The company built a Holly water works system that began service in early 1875.  There was significant personal animosity among some of the local parties involved in the system, but that does not appear to have affected the successful construction of the water system.  

In January, 1886, the National Water Works Company bought the Wyandotte-Armourdale Water Company that served the adjacent city of Kansas City, Kansas on the other side of the Missouri river, and interconnected the two systems.  A new pumping station at Kaw Point opened in October 1887 to serve the combined systems and the Kansas company was shortly thereafter renamed the Kansas City Water Company. 

After a four-year legal struggle, the city bought the Kansas City, Missouri, water system on September 1, 1895 for $3,175,000.

Water is provided by the city of Kansas City.

1870 Act act to revise and amend the city charter of the City of Kansas.  March 16, 1870.
Article XIII.  Waterworks, Location, and of Streets.

1870 "Proclamation for Special Election," Kansas City Journal of Commerce, June 4, 1870, Page 3.
An ordinance providing for the erection of suitable systems of water works, approved May 24, 1870.

1870 "An Ordinance Providing for the Erection of Water Works," Kansas City Journal of Commerce, June 5, 1870, Page 2.

1870 "Water-Works Carried," Kansas City Journal of Commerce, July 3, 1870, Page 2.

1871 Articles of Association of the Kansas City Water Works Company, March 30, 1871
James O. Woodruff, Erin Locke, and Kersey Coates.

1871 Certificate of Incorporation of the Kansas City Water Works Company, March 30, 1871

1871 "Proclamation of General Election," Kansas City Journal of Commerce, March 26, 1871, Page 3.
An ordinance authorizing the erection of water works by the Kansas City Water Works Company, March 2, 1871.

1871 "The City Election," Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 6, 1871, Page 4.
In favor of Water Works proposition 1,823; Against Water Works proposition 610; Majority in favor 1,212.

1871 Atchison Daily Patriot, April 22, 1871, Page 4.
The Kansas City Water Works Company has been thoroughly organized.  Col. K. Coates president and Howard M. Holden secretary and treasurer.  The contract for construction has been awarded to Messrs. Locke & Woodruff.

1871 The Leavenworth Times, November 26, 1871, Page 2.
The Kansas City Waterworks Company, surrendered its franchise to the city on Monday, refusing to proceeding further in the erection of waterworks.

1873 "Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 5, 1873, Page 4.
Another Proposition to Supply Kansas City from Backus and Knauss of Newark, N.J., January 27, 1873.

1873 "Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 7, 1873, Page 1.
Conference with Backus and Knauss, of Newark, New Jersey.

1873 "Water," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 8, 1873, Page 4.
The Prospecting Party Takes a Look Around Town.

1873 Certificate of Incorporation of the Kansas City Water Works Company, February 12, 1873
Amos Green, Francis R. Long, Thomas W. Maslen

1873 "Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 15, 1873, Page 4.
A New Proposition and Plan of Organization Submitted by Messrs. Backus and Knauss.
R. Backus and William H. Knauss, Kansas City Water Distributing Company.

1873 "Water Works - The Figures," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 22, 1873, Page 4.
Evaluation of the Backup & Knauss proposal.

1873 The Sedalia Democrat, February 24, 1873, Page 2.
Kansas City is proposing to have water-works, costing $800,000, with a capacity to furnish 5,000,000 gallons of water daily, from two engines.

1873 "Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, February 25, 1873, Page 4.
A Proposition from the Home Company.  Another Proposition from Messrs. McKnight, Powell and Latshaw.  The Council Adopt an Ordinance on the Subject.

1873 The Western Spirit (Paola, Kansas), February 28, 1873, Page 3.
Kansas City has three propositions before it for water works.

1873 The St. Joseph Gazette, March 1, 1873, Page 2.
Kansas City is deeply agitated on the subject of water works.

1873 "Correspondence.  Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, March 1, 1873, Page 2.
Wherein the Home Company's Proposition is Better than that of Backup and Knauss.

1873 "A 'Biling' Water Meeting," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, March 2, 1873, Page 4.
The "Citizens" Assemble and After Deliberation Follow the Good Advice of the Journal.  Water Works to be Constructed as Soon as We Understand what is Needed.  A Vast Deal of Unnecessary Palaver.
That portion favoring the proposition of Messrs. Backup & Knauss, to build water works in Kansas City.

1873 "Editorial Comment," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, March 8, 1873, Page 2.
Backus & Knaus were consummate fools for offering to build them for $800,0009, as he demonstrates that it cannot be done for less than $1,863,860.52.

1873 "Water-Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, March 11, 1873, Page 4.
The Subject again Before the Board of Trade - An Able Paper from Col. Octave Chanute.

1873 An act concerning Waterworks, and a supply of water for the City of Kansas. March 24, 1873.

1873 "Water-Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 2, 1873, Page 4.
The Question Assuming a Tangible Shape.  Amos Green, a member of the home company.

1873 "Proclamation for an Election on the Question of Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 8, 1873, Page 3. 

1873 "An Ordinance the erection of Water Works in the City of Kansas," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 8, 1873, Page 3.
Granting franchise to the Kansas City Water Works Company, a corporation organized under and pursuant to the statutes of the state of Missouri. 

1873 "An Ordinance Concerning Water Works by The Foreign Company," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 8, 1873, Page 3.
Granting a franchise to the Kansas City Water Distributing Company.

1873 "The Results on Water Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, April 11, 1873, Page 4.
All Propositions Defeated.
Home Company 768
Foreign Company 1,592
No company named 2
Against Water Works 274
Whole number of votes cast 2,636; necessary to adopt, 1,756.

1873 Western Home Journal (Lawrence, Kansas), April 17, 1873, Page 6.
At the late election in Kansas City, all propositions for water works were voted down.  The citizens don't go much on water anyhow.

1873 Certificate of Incorporation of the Kansas City Water Distributing Company, September 3, 1873
D. W. Hendrickson, H. Knauss, R. Backus

1873 An Ordinance authorizing the National Water-Works Company to construct operate and maintain Water-Works in the City of Kansas.  October 27, 1873.

1873 Memphis Daily Appeal, November 16, 1873, Page 4. | Part 2 |
Private dispatches received from Kansas City last evening, announce the ratification of a twenty years' contract with the National Water Works company of New York, by a vote of twenty-five hundred to eighty.  This is the result of a recent visit to Captain F. M. Mahan to that city.

1873 "Water Works," The St. Joseph Gazette, November 29, 1873, Page 1.
Kansas City. The president and chief engineer of the National Water Works company of New Yor, to which corporation a charter was voted two weeks ago by this city, arrived to-day and will at once begin active operations.

1873 "The National Water Works," letter by by F. M. Mahan, President, The St. Joseph Gazette, December 10, 1873, Page 4.
Includes city of Kansas City Clerk's Certificate that "a copy of the certificate of Incorporation of the National Water Works company, of New York, duly authenticated and certified by the secretary of state of the state of New York under the state of the state of New York" has been filed in his office.

1874 "Water-Works," The Kansas City Journal of Commerce, January 17, 1874, Page 4.
The Ground Purchased for the Reservoirs.  President and Other Officers Leave to Contact for Piping.  The Work to Begin Early in the Spring.

1874 "Waterworks," The Wyandotte Gazette, January 23, 1874, Page 2.
The President of the National Water-works Company reached Kansas City yesterday.  He had been East, contracting for the engines and machinery, which are already in process of construction.... K.C. Times, Jan. 16, 1874

1874 Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri: From Articles Contributed by Prominent Gentlemen in Each County of the State, and Information Collected and Collated from Official and Other Authentic Sources, by Robert Allen Campbell, June, 1874.
Pages 272e-272f:  Water Works, are being built by the National Water Works Company of New York, the construction being in charge of F. M. Mahan, president, and G. W. Pearsons, engineer. The great difference in the elevation of different parts of the city, made the question of supply a difficult one, and has resulted in one of the finest displays of engineering and mechanical skill in the country.
These works are a combination of the "Reservoir" and "Holly" systems, which secures the advantages of both. The engine house on the bottoms at the southwest corner of the city, is a substantial building 50 by 94 feet, 3 stories, 70 feet high to the top of the tower. It contains 5 engines, rated at 500 horse power, and 10 pumps. The water is raised from the Kansas River through mains 1200 feet long and 24 inches in diameter, to the subsiding reservoir (covering about 4 acres) and having a capacity of 7,000,000 gallons, filtered through gravel, raised to the distributing reservoir, whence it flows through the city by gravity. In case of fire it can be returned to receive additional force, when 25 streams 100 feet high can be thrown at one time.
The upper reservoir is elevated 234 feet above low water mark, is massively built, covers about 3 1/2 acres, is about 25 feet deep, and will at no distant day be enclosed by a beautiful park. About 17 miles of pipe are now being laid, and 240 fire hydrants are located.

1875 Report of the Chief Engineer and Committee of Construction of the Waterworks, constructed by the National Waterworks Company, of New York, at Kansas City, Missouri, for the year 1874 and up to April 15, 1875.
Officers:  F. M. Mahan, President; G. E. Taintor, Vice President; G. B. Voorhes, Secretary; R. W. Donell, Treasurer.
Kansas City Organization:  John L. Mastin, Financial Agent; Amos Green, Attorney; B. F. Jones, Secretary.

1876 "Kansas City Water Works," Engineering News 3:77 (March 4, 1876) | 3:84-86 (March 11, 1876) |

1877 "Report of the Kansas City Water Works," Engineering News 4:94-95 (April 21, 1877)

1878 "Those Water Bonds," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 21, 1878, Page 2.
Account of the National Water Works Company and its financial affairs.

1879 "The Way for the City to Get Even With the Water Works Fraud," The Weekly Pioneer (Kansas City, Kansas), January 25, 1879, Page 4.

1879 Kansas City in 1879: Sketches of the Trade, Manufacturers and Progress of the City: Including a List of Buildings Erected in 1878, a Sketch of Local History, and a View of Its Future Prospects, by John McEwen and Dillenback
Page 36:  Gas and water works

1881 Kansas City, Engineering News, 8:263-264 (July 2, 1881)

1881 "Report of the Commission of Experts on the Condition of the Kansas City Water-Works," Engineering News 8:316-319 (August 6, 1881)

1881 The History of Jackson County, Missouri
Page 490:  1869.  There was also much discussion of the water works question, and a company was formed to build the works.
Page 495-496:  1870.  Water-Works.  The necessity of water-works was much discussed during the early part of the year, and finally took shape in a determination on the part of the city to build them. For this purpose the council adopted an ordinance providing for raising $300,000, and it was submitted to the people and adopted by them on the 2d of June. It was soon ascertained, however, that there was some informality in the election people being allowed to vote who had not registered, as required by law which made the bonds of doubtful validity, and the scheme was abandoned, but not until after much discussion and too late in the year to inaugurate another enterprise.
Pages 499-500:  1871.  Water-Works, again.  The city continued to agitate the construction of water-works, as it still felt the need of a better supply of water. In April the City Council adopted an ordinance authorizing their construction by a company, and soon afterward a company of citizens was organized for that purpose. Colonel Coates was President of this company, and H. M. Holden, Esq., Secretary and Treasurer. A contract was let to Messrs. Locke & Walruff, to build the works, and it was expected that work would soon begin. Indeed, the terms of the ordinance under which the company was organized required that it should begin within six months. Nothing was done by the contractors, however, until the time had expired, and the charter was forfeited.
There continued much agitation of the matter. In the winter of 1872-3 an act was passed by the Missouri Legislature, authorizing the city to contract with a company for the purpose of building works, and in pursuance thereof, two different propositions were voted upon, and defeated by the people in the spring of 1873. In November of that year, a contract was entered into with the National Water-Works Company of New York, which was approved by the people; and that company, in 1874 and 1875, constructed the works, consisting of two reservoirs, two Holly engines, about sixteen miles of street main, and two hundred fire hydrants. By the terms of the contract, the city guaranteed to the company net earnings to the amount of $56,000 annually, until that sum should be received from rents, after which the guaranty was to cease. In the winter of 1875 the company reported its works complete, and demanded that their rents for fire purposes and the guaranty should begin ; but at this point there arose a dispute between the company and the city authorities, which was made use of for electioneering purposes that spring and the spring of 1876, and the matter was not adjusted for several years.
Page 523:  1873. The Water-Works.  The subject of water-works presented itself again early in 1873, the Legislature was induced to pass a bill specially authorizing Kansas City to make a contract for the construction of water-works. This bill was passed March 24th, and was regarded as having conferred upon Kansas City such powers as would enable her to offer acceptable terms to some party of capitalists. The National Water-Works Company, of New York, soon became an applicant for the contract, and on the 27th of October, after the matter had been much discussed, the city council adopted an ordinance which became a contract between the city and the National Water-Works Company. The company began the work early in 1874 and completed them in 1875.

1881 The History of Kansas City: Together with a Sketch of the Commercial Resources of the Country with which it is Surrounded, by  William H. Miller.  This is an excerpt from the above History of Jackson County.

1882 National Water-Works Co. v. School-District No. 7, 48 Fed. 528, May, 1882, Circuit Court, Western District of Missouri.

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

1885 George B. Wood v. The National Water Works Company of New York, 33 Kans. 590, January Term, 1885, Kansas Supreme Court

1885 Amos Green v. Thomas Corrigan, 87 Mo. 359, December 19, 1885, Supreme Court of Missouri | also here |

1886 The National Water Works Company of New York, Appellant, v. The City of Kansas, Respondent, 20 Mo. App. 237, Jan. 5, 1886, Kansas City Court of Appeals.

1886 The Wyandott Herald, January 7, 1886, Page 3.
The National Water Works Company have purchased the Wyandott-Armourdale Water Company's works in this city, and our neighbors across the Kaw will soon be supplied with pure Missouri river water.

1886 Engineering News 16:79 (July 31, 1886)
The National Water-Works Company, of New York City, are spending $800,000 in improvements and extensions of their Kansas City works. The former suburbs of Kansas City, Mo., comprising Kansas City, Kan.: Wyandotte, Riverview, Armstrong, and Armourdale have been consolidated under the name of Kansas City. Kan.,and under one municipal government; the National Water-Works Co. now owns the water-works franchise for Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Ram, and hence the expenditure of the above large amount in providing the necessary water supply for the two places.
The improvements in progress call for 7.000 tons of pipe, part of which forms 4 miles of 30-inch conduit and 2 miles of 30-inch; there is a series of settling basins - four in number - to be built, with a capacity of 50,000,000 gallons; two pumping engines, of 10,000,000 gallons capacity for low service, and two similar engines for high service; there are also two steel bridges of 420 feet and 132 feet length respectively; the excavation is in clay and amounts to 90,000 cubic yards; the masonry is 14,000 cubic yards. The earthwork and delivery of stone is let by contract: the masonry is being done by the company by days work.
The engineer to design and superintend the construction oi the entire work and purchase the pumping engines, is Mr. Geo. W. Pearsons, Mem. Am. Soc. C. E., well-known as a successful hydraulic engineer.

1886 National Water-Works Co. of New York v City of Kansas, 28 Fed. 921, October 22, 1886, Circuit Court, Western District of Missouri

1886 The Commerce of Kansas City in 1886: With a General Review of Its Business Progress
Pages 120-130:  The Water Works

1887 "National Water Works," The Daily Gazette (Kansas City, Kansas) October 18, 1887, Page 1.
The Combined Cities Supplied with Missouri River Water - The Even Appropriately Celebrated.

1887 "Kansas City, Mo," Engineering News 18:319-320 (October 29, 1887)
The new water supply, which was turned on Oct. 18. was inaugurated with considerable ceremony.  The first water-works were built in 1874-75, and began operating in 1877 with about 300 consumers, 15 miles of pipes, and a consumption of less than 500,000 galls. daily.

1887 "The Water Works of Kansas City," by G. W. Pearsons, Chf. Eng. National W.W. Co., Engineering News 18:328 (November 5, 1887) | 18:345-346 (November 12, 1887) | 18:380 (November 26, 1887) | 18:400-402 (December 3, 1887) | 18:437 (December 17, 1887) | 18:454-455 (December 24, 1887) |

1888 An ordinance in revision of the ordinances governing the city of Kansas: to which are prefixed the city charter of 1875, an act concerning water-works and a supply of water for the city of Kansas, approved March 24th, 1873; contract with the National Water-Works Company of New York, with amendments thereto; an act creating a board of police commissioners, and authorizing the appointment of a permanent police force for the City of Kansas, approved March 27th, 1874, with amendments thereto, and the official register of the city; rules of the Common Council are appended, compiled and arranged by L.H. Waters and Jos. J. Williams.

1888 History of Kansas City, Missouri: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers
Page 14:  Water Works
Page 83:  The Old Water Works Fight
Pages 87-88:  The Kansas City Water Works
Page 106-108:  Water works
Page 424:  Water works election
Page 427:  Water works
Page 503: 
Page 527:  Water works trouble
Page 563:  Galen W. Pearsons
Page 623: 

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

[1890] National Water Works Company of New York at Kansas City, Missouri, Advertisement, page 11, from an unidentified publication showing Giles E. Taintor as president..  The engraving was published in Engineering News 18:346 (November 12, 1887)

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

1891 Baughman v. National Water-Works Co., 46 Fed. 4, March 23, 1891, Circuit Court, Western District of Missouri

1891 "Some details of valves and other apparatus in use by the National Water-Works Company at Kansas City, Mo.," by Frederick E. Sickels, Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 24:385-388 (May, 1891)

1891 Report of Commission of Hydraulic Engineers, to the Board of Public Works of Kansas City, Mo.

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

1892 "The Kansas City Case," Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the American Water Works Association 12:89-108 (May, 1892)

1893 "Kansas City Water Fight," United States Investor 3(47):14 (November 25, 1893)

1894 "Ask for a Receiver," Omaha Daily Bee, March 29, 1894, Page 9
Bondholders Forcing National Water Works Company Litigation to a Close.

1894 "A New-York Company's Suit Decided; Kansas City, Mo., Must Buy a Plant from the National Water Works Company," The New York Times, April 21, 1894, Page 8.

1894 National Water Works Co. v. Kansas City, 62 F. 853, July 2, 1894, Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

1895 National Water Works Co. v. Kansas City, 65 Fed. Rep. 691, February 12, 1895, Circuit Court, Western District of Missouri

1895 "Death of Mr. F. E. Sickels, The Famous Inventor and Engineer," Kansas City Journal, May 9, 1895, Page 3.
Frederick E. Sickels, an inventor of world wide fame, and for the last seven years the chief engineer of the National Water Works Company, died very suddenly yesterday afternoon at 2 o'clock in a small adjoining, the office of Major B. F. Jones, the superintendent of the company. Mr. Sickels was at the office as usual yesterday morning and appeared in good health.

1895 "Kansas City Water Fight," United States Investor 6(35):795-796 (August 31, 1895)
A Settlement at Last Reached - The Eastern Syndicate Fails to Obtain the Bonds - Offer of the National Water Works Company.

1895 "National Water Works Company of New York," United States Investor 6(35):807 (August 31, 1985)
Possession of the plant of this company has passed to the city.  The bonds of this company have become payable.  August 26, 1895.

1895 National Water Works Co. v. Kansas City, 71 F. 751, September 2, 1895, Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

1896 National Water- Works Co. v. Kansas City, 78 Fed. Rep. 428, December 1, 1896, Circuit Court, Western District of Missouri

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

1896-1910 Annual report of the Department of Water Works of Kansas City, Missouri for fiscal year ending

1902 Report on the Kansas City Water Works, February 5, 1902.

1904 Armour Packing Co. v. Metropolitan Water Co., 130 F. 851, June 27, 1904, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

1907 "Mr. Pearsons' Death," The Kansas City Gazette, August 20, 1907, Page 1.

1908 Kansas City, Missouri: Its History and Its People 1808-1908, Volume 1, by Carrie Westlake Whitney
Pages 280-281: Water works

1921 Centennial History of Missouri: (the Center State) One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921, Volume 5, Walter Barlow Stevens
Pages 387-389:  George Elliott Simpson.  The death of Mr. George Elliott Simpson was occasioned by an accident while returning from the Quindaro pumping station in a buggy with Charles A. Jones. The horse became frightened, the vehiclewas overturned and the injuries which Mr. Simpson sustained caused his death on the 11th of April, 1893.
In 1892 Mr. Simpson severed his business connections in the east and returned to Kansas City, where he became the vice president of the National Water Works Company and so continued to the time of his demise.

1916 Report of the Board of Fire and Water Commissioners

1921 Reports on the water supply of Kansas City, Missouri | Also here |

1930 "The Water Supply System of Kansas City, Missouri," by T. D. Samuel, Jr., Journal of the American Water Works Association 22(9):1236-1246 (September, 1930)

1930 A Civic history of Kansas City, Missouri, by Roy Ellis

1962 "Kansas City," from Public Water Supplies of the 100 Largest Cities in the United States, 1962, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1812, by Charles Norman Durfor and Edith Becker

1967 "Biographical Sketches of William C. Stripe, Founder, and Benjamin F. Jones, Fifth President, of AWWA,"
by Ellsworth L. Filby, Journal of the American Water Works Association 59(2):259-266 (February 1967)
Page 266:   In Nov. 16, 1893, the National Water Works Co. of New York deeded its Kansas properties, including the sources of supply for Kansas City, Mo., to the Metropolitan Water Co. of West Virginia, a company with practically the same executive officers.
The town of Kansas, Mo., in June of 1870 voted to issue $300,000 in bonds to install a municipal water system. These bonds, however, were held invalid because ex-rebels had voted, although they were barred by statute from voting. Missouri was a southern, or slave state, which may be why a major of the Confederacy was se- lected to manage a New York-owned water property. In 1873, the 20-year franchise was voted by the city council and affirmed by the voters, 2,497 to 64. According to the franchise, the company was to furnish "pure, well-settled and wholesome water" and fire service through 300 fire hydrants rented to the city at $125 per annum each. This rental was later reduced to $80 and then to $40 per hydrant per year. Constructed in 1873-74 at a cost of about $800,000, the system went into service with 300 customers in 1874.
The court held that Kansas City, Mo., could purchase the property un- der the procedure set up in the fran- chise even after the franchise had ex- pired and had not been renewed. In September 1895, the city paid $3,175,000 for the property and exhausted its bonding capacity but owned a utility with an average demand of 9 mgd. There were no filters and "the 60 deaths per year from typhoid fever were not abnormal.

1978 K.C.:A History of Kansas City,  Missouri, by A. Theodore Brown and Lyle W. Dorsett

1993 A Slice of the Times: Kansas City 1875-1880, by Brad Finch

2008 "Amos Green, Paris, Illinois: Civil War Lawyer, Editorialist, and Copperhead," by Peter J. Barry, Journal of Illinois History 11:39-60 (Spring 2008)

2014 "'Fraud All the Way Through': The First Kansas City Waterworks," by Peter J. Barry, Missouri Historical Review 108(2):123-140 (January 2014) | pdf |

2020 Morris A. Pierce