Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States New Hampshire Manchester

Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester was incorporated as Derryfield in 1751 and was renamed Manchester in 1810.

The largest impetus for water works in Manchester was the works of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company along the banks of the Merrimack River.  The company bought most of the land that later became the city of Manchester and was closely involved with the growth of the community.  The company appears to have built its first fire protection system after an 1840 fire.  An 1875 history mentions an 1853 fire during which a gate valve failed on a water pipe installed in 1842.  Between 1851 and 1853 the company, built what became known as the Amoskeag Reservoir at the top of a nearby hill, to which water was pumped from the mill.

The Manchester Aqueduct Company was incorporated in 1845 by John A. Burnham, Moody Currier, Daniel Clark, Luther Farley, Hiram Brown, Elijah Hanson, Isaac C. Flanders and Samuel D . Bell for the "purpose of supplying the village in Manchester with water."

The Manchester Aqueduct was incorporated in 1853 by E. A. Straw, Mace Moulton, David Gillis, Walter French, William P. Newell, Moody Currier, Hermon Foster, William C. Clarke and S. D. Bell for the "purpose of bringing fresh water into the compact part of the city of Manchester in subterraneous pipes."

Another Manchester Aqueduct was incorporated in 1857 by Isaac Riddle, Moody Currier, Nathan Parker, J. T. P. Hunt, B. F. Martin, Frederick Smyth, Samuel D. Lord, E. A. Straw, Herman Foster, and John Kidder for the "purpose of bringing fresh water into the compact part of the city of Manchester in subterraneous pipes."

The City Aqueduct was incorporated in 1865 by Waterman Smith, Samuel K. Bell, E. A. Straw, Benjamin F. Martin, Phineas Adams, Moody Currier, Frederick Smyth, Samuel D. Lord, James A. Weston, Joseph B. Sawyer, William L. Killey, for the "purpose of bringing fresh water into the compact part of the city of Manchester, in subterraneous pipes."  This company engaged local engineer Joseph Bartlett Sawyer (1823-1897) to prepare a report on the potential water supply and distribution network.

After all of the private companies had failed to deliver a water system, the city proceeded on its own and built a system that pumped water from Massabesic Lake into an elevated reservoir.  This system began service on July 4, 1874.

Water is provided by the City of Manchester


References

1845 An act to incorporate the Manchester Aqueduct Company.  June 23, 1845.

1850 Map of the City of Manchester, surveyed and drawn by A. M. Chapin.  This map shows reservoirs at Merrimack and Hanover Squares.

1853 An act to incorporate the Manchester Aqueduct.  January 7, 1853.

1854 Annual Report of the City of Manchester for the fiscal year ending January 31, 1854.
Page 56:  Reservoirs. Paid for Labor.  E. G. Haines for building 1900 ft. brick water  pipe, $390.84

1856 Annual Report of the City of Manchester for the fiscal year ending January 31, 1856.  Includes the first mention of the city's water works.

1856 An act to authorize the city of Manchester to take stock the Manchester Aqueduct.  July 11, 1856.

1856 The History of Manchester, Formerly Derryfield, in New Hampshire: Including that of Ancient Amoskeag, Or the Middle Merrimack Valley; Together with the Address, Poem, and Other Proceedings, of the Centennial Celebration, of the Incorporation of Derryfield; at Manchester, October 22, 1851, by Chandler Eastman Potter
Pages 614-616: On Monday tho l2th day of August, 1844, the new Town House was destroyed by fire.
A town meeting was called immediately, to be held on the 30th of August, to take into consideration the subject of rebuilding the Town House; and other matters for the protection of the town against fires.
Another committee was raised consisting of Messrs. Samuel D. Bell, John A. Burnham, Walter French, Ezekiel Blake, E. A. Straw, Isaac C. Flanders, and Moody Currier, to examine the different sources from which water might be obtained for the purpose of extinguishing fires.
The committee upon water. examined the various sources from which water might bo obtained for the purpose of extinguishing fires, and made a report on the 17th of September, that a full supply of water could not be obtained short of bringing the water of the Massabesic Lake into the town by an aqueduct.
While this committee were making the necessary surveys, as a basis for their report, the fact had transpired, that water could not be furnished the town by aqueduct, short of an amount of money entirely beyond its means. It had been supposed that Ray, Christian, Mile, and Amoskeag brooks, one or all, might be brought into the town, at a comparatively trifling expense, and thus an abundant supply of water could be furnished, but surveys and inquiry established the facts, that those brooks were not high enough to supply water only to a small portion of the town, and that all combined, they could not afford a supply of water only through a portion of the year.
Under these circumstances, another town meeting had been called, to take place on the same day to which the meeting of the 30th of August stood adjourned ; and in the warrant calling the same, such articles were introduced as would enable the town to act upon the subject of securing an abundant supply of water, in case of fires, and for that purpose only. Accordingly on the 17th of September, the Committee made their report; it was accepted, and the meeting was dissolved. Upon its dissolution, the new meeting was organized, and the following votes were passed; viz: "Voted, that the board of Fire-Wards be authorized to construct a new reservoir on Pine street, near the Culvert, and a reservoir on Lowell street, near the School House, to complete the reservoirs now commenced on Union street, to deepen and improve the reservoir in Concord Square, and to make necessary arrangements to render the Pond which is expected to be made by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company on Merrimack street, useful in case of fire."
"Voted that the sum of one thousand dollars be appropriated for the foregoing purposes, and that the Selectmen be authorized to hire the sum, on the credit of, and to give notes in the name of the town."
"Voted, that the fire-wards be authorized to procure if possible, the land necessary for a reservoir on Union street, of such height that the water may be distributed thence to other reservoirs in the Village, and make report at the town meeting to be holden in November next, with an estimate of the expense necessary for that purpose."

1857 An act to incorporate the Manchester Aqueduct.  June 27, 1857.

1858 Map of Hillsboro County, New Hampshire, this map shows the Amoskeag Reservoir.

1860 An act to authorize the city of Manchester to take stock the Manchester Aqueduct.  June 30, 1860.

1865 An act to incorporate the City Aqueduct.  July 1, 1865.

1865 Journey of the Common Council of the City of St. Louis to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Manchester, N.H. Although this group inspected water works in other cities in visited, the report does not mention any water works in Manchester.

1869 Preliminary report on the water supply for the city of Manchester, made to the directors of the City Aqueduct Company, Nov. 23, 1869, by Joseph B. Sawyer, civil engineer.

1871 Report on the water supply for the city of Manchester, by William J. McAlpine, civil engineer, made May 27, 1871.

1871 An act to enable the city of Manchester to establish water-works.  June 30, 1871.

1871 Report on Sources of Water Supply, with Estimates of Cost, by John Thomas Fanning.

1871 Annual Report of the City of Manchester for the fiscal year ending December 31, 1871.  Includes the Mayor's report on the progress of the new water works.

1872 First Annual report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Manchester, N.H. for the year 1872. | Map |

1873 Second Annual report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Manchester, N.H. for the year ending December 31, 1873 | Also here |

1874 Third Annual report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Manchester, N.H. for the year ending December 31, 1874.

1875 Fourth Annual report of the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Manchester, N.H. for the year ending December 31, 1875.

1875 "Water Works," from Manchester: A Brief Record of Its Past and a Picture of Its Present, Including an Account of Its Settlement and of Its Growth as a Town and City; a History of Its Schools, Churches, Societies, Banks, by John B. Clarke.

1876 "A Water Conduit under pressure," by John T. Fanning, read March 30, 1876. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 6:69-73 (January - June, 1877)

1881 "Manchester", Engineering News, 8:287 (July 16, 1881)

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

1885 "The Water-Works," by J. T. Fanning, C. E., in History of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd.

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

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

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

1892 Map of the city and town of Manchester, N.H., by D. H. Hurd & Co.  This map shows the Amoskeag and City Reservoirs as well as the city's pumping station.

1895 "The New High-Service Water Supply of Manchester, N. H.," Engineering News 34:148 (September 5, 1895)

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

1902 "The Water Supply of Manchester," by William Blake, read before the Manchester Historic Association, September 17, 1902, in Manchester Historic Association Collections, Volume III, 1902-1903.

1895 "The New High-Service Water Supply of Manchester, N.H.," Engineering News, 34:148 (September 5, 1895)

1915 The Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. of Manchester, New Hampshire: A History, compiled by George Waldo Brown
Page 151:  In 1851-1853 the Company constructed what became known as the Amoskeag Reservoir, which is situated between Oak, Russell, Harrison and Blodget Streets in Manchester. It is 484 feet long by 232 feet wide, and 17 feet deep, capable of holding 11,000,000 gallons. There are three pipe lines, leading down Brook Street to the pump house and mills, three-fourths of a mile distant. The pump house on the Northern Division has four double cylinders, and is run by water power, having a capacity of 2,000,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. An electric motor in No. 8 engine room on the west side, pumps into the system, with a capacity of 3,000,000 gallons in twenty-four hours.

1918 "The Past and Present Pumping Equipment of the Manchester Pumping Stations," by James R. Mendell, read March 13, 1918, Journal of the New England Water Works Association, 32(1):169 (March, 1918)

1959 "The Manchester Water Works," by Clarence L. Ahlgren, Ast. Supt. Manchester Water Works, Water & Sewage Works, 106(10):427-430 (October, 1959)

2015 The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company: A History of Enterprise on the Merrimack, by Aurore Eaton
Page 84:  The use of the reservoir was discontinued by 1950, and homes were built on the property.
Page 247:  1840. March 14, the Island Mill destroyed by fire.
1844.  August 12, first town house destroyed by fire.
Page 248:  1848. January 12, deeds were given the city for the land comprising Merrimack, Concord and Tremont squares.
Page 249:  1855.  July 15, fire occurred in Manchester Mill No. 1, causing a damage of $240,000.  At the same time a fire burned the buildings between Manchester and Hanover streets.

Annual Reports of the City of Manchester  at the University of New Hampshire Digital Collections






2015 Morris A. Pierce