Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Glens Falls, New York

Glens Falls was incorporated as a village in 1839 and as a city in 1908.

The Glens Falls Waterworks Company was incorporated in 1871, but apparently did not build anything.

The village contracted with the American Gas and Water Pipe Company of Jersey City to built a gravity water system in 1872.  This company built several systems in the 1870s.

Water is provided by the City of Glens Falls.

1863 An act amending the charter of the village of Glens Falls, and empowering the trustees thereof to supply said village with pure and wholesome water.  May 5, 1863

1871 An act to incorporate the Glen's Falls Waterworks Company.  May 10, 1871

1871 "Ticonderoga," The Rutland Weekly Herald, December 21, 1871, Page 6.
The people of Glens Falls are jubilant at the prospect of soon having we have may, can, and must have in Ticonderoga, viz: Water Works
They (the Glens Fallers) have formed a contract with "The American Water and Gas Pipe Company of Jersey," by which the latter agrees to furnish pipes of the rquired diameter, do all the trenching, cover up and complete on the following terms:

1872 The Troy Weekly Times, August 31, 1872, Page 3.
The Glens Falls water works, which are being put in by the American water and gas pipe company of New Jersey, are rapidly approaching completion.  Only about one milre more of pipe remains to be laid and the hydrants to be put in.  It is hoped that water will be let in for use at the coming fair, which will commence Sept. 8.

1872 "The Water Works Completed," The Plattsburgh Sentinel., October 25, 1872, Page 3.

1872 "Glen's Falls - The new water works," The Troy Weekly Times, November 23, 1872, Page 3.
The Glen's Falls water works were tested and formally accepted Friday.The Glenís Falls water work? were tested and
formally accepted Friday, They are a decided success, and work like a charm . throwing water through a one and one-fourth inch muzzle, horizontally, one hundred and fifty-six feet, with five streams from the three hydrants nearest each other, all playing at the same time. With two streams from one hydrant water was forced through two hundred feet of hose with a one inch muzzle to the distance pf one hundred and sixty-five feet, against the wind. Eight streams of water could be brought to bear upon the Rockwell House, which is the highest in the village, any one of which could reach the flag staff on the roof. This trial ends all controversy, and removes all doubt as to the efficiency of the water works as a protection in case of fire, and guarantees to the citizens a full supply of fresh and wholesome water, It is brought from the mountains, about five miles away, and is carried in all its various directions for distribution through over nine miles of pipe.  The contractors were the American Water and Gas Pipe company of Jersey City, and the cost $70,000.

1873 Essex County Republican, August 21, 1873, Page 3.
The main of the Glen's Falls water works was struck by lightning recently and fractured in fifteen places.  The damage has been repaired.

1875 An act to authorize the village of Glens Falls to borrow money, and issue bonds for the purpose of increasing its supply of water and extending its water-works.  April 24, 1875

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

1883 Glens Falls, Engineering News, 10:80 (February 17, 1883)

1885 History of Warren County with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers, by Henry Perry Smith
Page 471-472:  Water-Works. - According to the natural precepts of municipal economy, the water supply of a village or city is always intimately associated, not only with the daily duties of the housewife, but with the sterner and more imperative demands, in emergencies, of the fire department. Glens Falls is not exempt from the action of this law. Through apprehension of possible conflagrations it was that the water-works were ever constructed, and through the action of the same motive power have the continual improvements been superadded until the system has attained almost its maximum approximation to perfection. The primitive water-works, of course, consisted of a village well, just as the primitive fire department consisted of the men and women of the entire village, armed with buckets and home-made ladders.
The first indication discovered of a movement for the building up of a water supply system, is the publication of an item in the Glens Falls Messenger and Advertiser of the 16th of January, 1835, which read as follows: -
"A meeting of the subscribers for making a 'Village Well' is requested at Rogers & Brown's Hotel this evening, to choose a committee to superintend its construction."
On the 11th of June, 1839, at the second meeting of the first trustees of the village subsequent to its assumption of corporate privileges, it was resolved to construct one public well in front of the Glens Falls Hotel, where the public fountain now stands, and one near Allen's tavern. Furthermore, a meeting of the taxpayers was held at the former hotel, on July 20th, when an appropriation of $200 was voted for the purpose. From this time until 1860 the village authorities increased by annual resolutions, etc., the water supply of the place, and prosecuted the construction of cisterns, wells and culverts with aldermanic iteration. In 1861 there had been invested in a cistern "in front of the Presbyterian Church, $250; in three large wells, $400; and in five small wells, $200." In 1864 the trustees were empowered to proceed under the act of the Legislature, passed in 1863, to take steps toward procuring pure water and to Page 472 petition the Legislature for an increase of the sum devoted to the construction of water-works from $30,000 to $60,000. In the following year a surveyor was appointed to ascertain the practicability of obtaining water from Half-way Brook, and $300 voted to make a similar investigation relating to Forge Pond. These ever renewed investigations indicate the state of the public feeling in the matter for years before the consummation of their projects was achieved. In January, 1866, it was voted to build nine cisterns and a reservoir in the rear of Cronkhite's store, at a cost of $2,985.00. The cisterns and the Forge Pond water-works were thereupon immediately constructed. But the system was not yet satisfactory. During all these years the village had been rapidly growing in population, in the number and beauties of its buildings, and in the extent and wealth of its business enterprises and public institutions. Meanwhile, while the number of inhabitants was continually on the increase, the danger from fire, the need of water for domestic purposes, and consequently the demand for a modern and improved water supply system, were increased and multiplied. The call was too imperative to be resisted. In 1871 H. M. Harris was appointed a committee to investigate the Holly Water-Works system, of Peoria, Ill., another committee visited Greenfield, Mass., on a like errand, the conclusion from these and other reports being that a supply of water two hundred and fifty feet above Glens Falls, with pipes of proportionate size, would afford ample protection against fire.
The Glens Falls Water-Works Company was incorporated by legislative sanction May 10th, 1871, with a capital of $100,000. The first members of the company were as follows: Augustus Sherman, Enoch H. Rosekrans, William H. Rockwell, Daniel H. Cowles, L. G. McDonald, Thomas S. Coolidge, Ruliff Kipp, James Morgan, Charles M. Gilchrist, Stephen Brown, Daniel Peck, F. A. Johnson, jr., Stephen L. Goodman, George Conery, Joseph Fowler, and Martin Coffin. The first meeting of this corporation was held in July following. Action was delayed ten days after the beginning of that month to enable the citizens to organize a company, and subscriptions to the stock were obtained to the amount of $21,500. John Salter was employed as engineer at a stipulated salary of $400 a month for all help, etc. In October, however, he was superseded by J. P. Coleman. In November Messrs. Keenan and Lapham were appointed to purchase land, water courses and rights. The work progressed without interruption, and in 1872 rules for the government of the company and the conducting of the works were adopted. At the present time the village is bountifully supplied with pure water, an ample system of mains and hydrants, and a thoroughly efficient organization.

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

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

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

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

1911 "Glens Falls Waterworks Report," Fire and Water Engineering 50(1):5 (July 5, 1911) | also here |

1964 "The Glens Falls Waterworks," by Howard C. Mason, The Post-Star (Glens Falls, New York), February 27, 1964, Page 28.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce