Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States New York Dansville

Dansville, New York

Dansville was incorporated as a village in 1845.

The village built a gravity water works system for fire protection that began service on November 19, 1873.  The Wyckoff wood stave pipes were provided by Hobbie, Ayrault & Co.of Elmira, New York.

Laying Pipe For Dansville's First Water Works (1873)
Dansville; historical, biographical, descriptive (1902), page 48.

The village built a second, larger gravity system to provide domestic service and fire protection that was accepted on May 3, 1897.

Water is provided by the Village of Dansville.

1873 An act to authorize the village of Dansville to create a debt for the purpose of bringing water into said village for protection against fires, and to amend the charter of said village.  April 24, 1873

1873 "The Elmira Water Pipe," Dansville Advertiser, August 21, 1873, Page 3.

1873 "Dansville Water Works," Dansville Advertiser, September 11, 1873, Page 3.

1873 "Fluid In The Air," Dansville Advertiser, November 20, 1873, Page 3.
Water works rampant and triumphant.  Great Excitement.

1874 "A Local Coup d'Etat" and "President Whitehead and Water Works," Dansville Advertiser, January 22, 1874, Page 2.
Includes the text of the August 29, 1873 contract for the wood stave piping between Hobbie, Ayrault & Co. and trustees of the village of Dansville.

1874 "Wood Pipes for Water Works," Dansville Advertiser, June 18, 1874, Page 2.

1882 Dansville, Engineering News, 9:158 (May 20, 1882)

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

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

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

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

1902 Dansville; historical, biographical, descriptive, edited by H.O. Bunnell, compiled by F.H. Quick
Pages 48-49:  Although in 1846 the village trustees voted to raise $800 by tax to purchase a fire engine, hose, hooks, and ladders, dig cisterns and reservoirs and provide pumps, when the great fire of 1854 came and the two great fires of 1859, it was the lack of means for coping with them which made them so disastrous.
Engine Company No. 1, was organized in 1846, and in 1857, three years after the fire of 1854, Phoenix Fire Company No. 1 was organized. The next company was Canaseraga Engine Company organized in 1863, and the next Genesee Fire Company No. 3, organized in 1864. The great fires and an occasional small one finally aroused the business men of the village to a sense of their danger from lack of water, suitable fire apparatus and an efficient fire department.
The first need was water, and to obtain this, agitation began in 1872 and was continued in varying keys there being strong opposition until on July 22, 1873, the tax-payers, by a vote of 156 for, to 112 against, voted that water works for fire purposes should be built. These consisted of banded wood pipes down Main street, from Little Mill creek near the California house, with branches on side streets, east and west. The fall was sufficient to produce powerful streams over any building within hose reach of a hydrant, and the spirit of organization for an efficient fire department became active.
Dansville's water works were completed, after a long and hard fight, in November, 1873, A large faction under the lead of influential men had opposed them and put every possible obstruction in the way of their construction. J. C. Whitehead was then president of the village, and perhaps the chief credit for the authority and means which brought them to a successful completion should be accorded to him, because of the firmness and persistence which he exercised in his official position. The first public test was made on November 2(1, 1873, at the corners of Main and Ossian streets, when streams were sent a horizontal distance of 156 feet. At last, after three-quarters of a century, Dansville had the water and power in pipes along its streets with which fire could be successfully fought, and the fear of such calamities as the conflagrations of 1854 and 1859 was at an end.
Page 95: There was another considerable fire March 1, 1877, on Exchange street which burned Perry Blank's livery stable with 130 feet of sheds, Noble, Stout & Bradley's carriage manufactory and blacksmith shop, a part of Bradley & Pfuntner's marble works building, and part of Mrs. Margaret Toles's dwelling house. In preventing the spread of the flames the new water works and fire department were found most serviceable. The comment of the Advertiser on the water works, which it had fought for, four years before, was: "These works, costing less than $25,000, unquestionably saved to the village fully $200,000 on Friday night. That is, in one night they paid for themselves eight times over." The losses amounted to nearly $15,000, and the insurance covered less than $2,000 of them.
Page 127:  July 22, 1896, the taxpayers of Dansville decided to have new water works, for domestic as well as fire purposes, by a vote of 268 to 43.
Pages 135-144:  The Water Works, by E. A. Sprague, Superintendent

2018 Morris A. Pierce