Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Garden City, New York

Garden City was incorporated as a village in 1919.

New York dry goods magnate Alexander Turney Stewart developed the planned community of Garden City.  The community included a Holly water works system that was demonstrated on November 9, 1876 to a large crowd.

The New York Times, November 5, 1876, Page 11.

Stewart had died on April 10, 1876 and his estate owned and operated the system until 1893, when the Garden City Company was organized to own and manage its affairs. 

The village bought the water system on August 21, 1923.

Water in most of Garden City is provided by the Village of Garden City, with some areas served by the Garden City Park Water District and the Water Authority of Western Nassau County.

1876 "Public Exhibition of A. T. Stewart's Garden City Water Works," New York Daily Herald, November 5, 1876, Page 1.
Thursday, November 9, 1876.

1876 "Water," Kings County Rural Gazette (Brooklyn, New York), December 2, 1876, Page 1.
The Holly System at Garden City,

1876 "Garden City Water Works," Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland), December 12, 1876, Page 4, | Part 2 |

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

1883 "Garden City," from Engineering News 10:101 (March 3, 1883)

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

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

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

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

1920 Annual Report of the State Department of Health of New York for the Year Ending December 31, 1920
Pages 211-212:  Village of Garden City water supply.

1923 Grimshaw v. Garden City Co., 199 N.Y.S. 167, 120 Misc. Rep. 273, February, 1923, Supreme Court, Nassau County

1923 The Garden City News, September 26, 1923, Page 9.
On August 21st, 1923, the Village of Garden City acquired by purchase the water and sewer systems formerly owned and operated by the Garden City Company.

1932 In the Matter of the Application of the INCORPORATED VILLAGE OF GARDEN CITY for Approval of Its Acquisition of a Source of Water Supply. Water Supply Application No. 698. Water Power and Control Commission, August 4, 1932.

1963 History of Garden City, by Mildred Hesse Smith
Pages 27-28:  The great well and Holly water works

1980 History of Garden City, by Mildred Hesse Smith.  Revised edition.
Pages 27-28:  In 1876, the Great Well, the largest on Long Island at that time, was built north of the Hotel where Cherry Valley and Hilton Avenues meet. As The South Side Signal of that year expressed it: "Garden City is to have a mammoth well, 45 feet in diameter. Unlimited water supply is the prospect." Sixty years later, in reporting on the well, which "was a wonder and amazement" in those days, The Nassau Daily Review Star describes the methods used in building this colossus: "A huge wooden ring was built off Cherry Valley road and workmen started to build a stone wall on top of this wooden ring.  After a few courses of stone had been laid, they sent pick and shovel men to work, digging out the sand and gravel inside the ring. By the weight of the stones, the ring sank as the men dug, and as the ring sank, additional stones were placed on top of it at ground level. Eventually the Great Well went down to about 40 feet, although in those days it wasn't necessary to go much further than 14 feet down to get good water. "
An event as exciting as the completion of the well called for a celebration. Accordingly a brass band was imported to the little village from New York; residents and five volunteer companies from Hempstead's fire brigades paraded; dinner was served to guests at the Hotel; and Mr. Hinsdale held open house, with plenty of liquid refreshments for the firemen, at his "estate" office.
Next to the Great Well, a brick building called the Garden City Water Works was built to house the Holly pumps which pumped the water directly into the seven miles of mains running through the Village. Besides the pumping machines, there were three 37-horsepower boilers, which furnished the steam for heating purposes. A brick house to the rear of the building housed the three engineers. The Great Well, with its Holly System, lived up to all expectations and was the sole source of water supply for the Village for twenty years. After that, when the more modern battery of wells was sunk, it continued to serve as a storage reservoir for water pumped from artesian shafts, until it was filled in and its superstructure torn down in 1956.
Page 113:  A second purchase was forced on the new Village in 1923, when the three Property Owners' Associations took joint action against the Garden City Company in an effort to prevent an advance m water and sewer rates, and lost their case. Acquiring the two systems was obviously a necessity, and the Village that year assumed a bonded indebtedness of nearly a million dollars to cover their purchase and modernization. The disposal system was brought up to date soon afterwards.  The water system, always a source of great pride to Garden City, was able to carry itself as a self-sustaining unit from the first.

1990 An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to creating the water authority of Western Nassau county district.  July 25, 1990

1998 Garden City, Long Island, in Early Photographs, 1869-1919, by Mildred H. Smith
Page 32: Picture of Holly water works and celebration November 9, 1876

2018 Morris A. Pierce