|Introduction||Historical Background||Chronology||Geography||Biography||Technology||Ownership and Financing||General Bibliography|
|Middle Atlantic States||New York||Ithaca|
Ithaca was founded in 1790 and incorporated as a city in 1888.
The first water system was a wooden aqueduct authorized by village trustees in November 1821. A contract was signed with Phineas Bennett and his son to supply water from their mill. The system was troublesome and abandoned at some point.
Henry W. Sage was granted permission to "dig a ditch to lay pipe to bring a supply of pure water to the village." He installed a system using iron pipes with lead service pipes that served customers along Owego (now State) Street. W. H. Brewer [Probably botanist William Henry Brewer] wrote a letter to the Ithaca Journal and Advertiser on April 9, 1851 that evaluated the effect of the water supply on lead pipes.
The Ithaca Water Works Company was incorporated in 1853 by Henry W. Sage, Alfred Wells, Charles E. Hardy, Anson Spencer and Joseph E. Shaw with a capital stock of $40,000 "for the purpose of supplying said village of Ithaca with pure and wholesome water." An 1855 extended the time for forming the company, although it is not certain when that actually happened. Leonard Treman became president of the company in 1864, and along with his brothers and nephew ran the company until 1901. A rotary pump was added around 1865 by John B. Lang.
A second Ithaca Water Works Company was incorporated in 1868 with a capital stock of $75,000, which could be increased to $150,000, by Alonzo B.Cornell, Charles M. Titus, George W. Schuyler, John L. Whiton, George McChain, Elias Treman, Sewell D. Thompson, Edward S Esty, Abel Burritt, Henry J. Grant, Edwin J. Morgan, Henry L. Wilgus, John Rumsey, John H. Selkreg, and Henry R. Wells "for the purpose of supplying the said village of Ithaca with pure and wholesome water." This company was never formed, and was unusual in sharing a name with an existing company.
An 1870 law authorized the village to form a water commission and built works, but it was voted down. The Ithaca Water Works Company then proceeded to expand and improve their system. Leonard Treman, the oldest brother, died in 1888 and his brother Lafayette Lepine Treman became president until his death in 1900, after which his son Ebenezer Mack Treman became president. He had been in the first graduating class at Cornell, where he had met and befriended William T. Morris from Penn Yan. Morris was active in the utility business and convinced Ebenezer to sell him the Ithaca water and gas properties in November, 1901, which he controlled through the new Ithaca Light and Water Company.
Morris began a new round
of improvements, but a severe typhoid epidemic caused by his water ravaged
Ithaca in early 1903. More than a thousand
residents came down with the disease which caused
about 82 deaths, including 29 Cornell
students. The Cornell University campus itself was
supplied by a separate water system from Fall Creek that was built in
1872, and its users did not suffer from typhoid. At the time there
were no dormitories for male students, who lived off-campus in buildings
served by the water works company. Local residents were finally
stirred into voting to buy the water works, which was acquired on December
31, 1904 while condemnation proceedings were underway to set the value of
the property. The final value of $650,000 was higher than the city
anticipated, but they were apparently glad to be rid of Morris at any
price. The city installed chlorination around 1913.
Water is currently provided by the City of Ithaca. Cornell University also maintains a separate water system that serves their campus and some other consumers.
1821 An act to incorporate the Village of Ithaca. April 2, 1821.
1822 American Journal
(Ithaca, New York), September 25, 1822, Page 3.
Notice is hereby given, that a meeting of the inhabitants of the corporation of the village of Ithaca, will be held at the house of Jesse Grant, on Saturday the twenty eighth day of September inst. at 7 o'clock P.M. for the purpose of raising money to complete the aqueduct and for other purposes, in pursuance of the act for incorporating the village of Ithaca. By order of the Trustees. Augustin P. Searing, Clerk.
Journal and Advertiser, April 9, 1851, Page 3.
Since the introduction of water in this village in iron pipes, lead has been generally used to conduct it from the pipe in the street to the place where it is desired, then it is an important consideration to know if this will dissolve lead. W. H. Brewer
1853 An act to incorporate the Ithaca Water Works Company. June 25, 1853.
1855 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to incorporate the Ithaca Water Works Company," passed June 25, 1853. April 3, 1855. Extended the time to form the corporation.
1868 An act to incorporate the Ithaca Water Works Company. March 25, 1868. This company was never formed, although it is unusual that it was given the name of an existing company.
1870 An act to supply the village of Ithaca with pure and wholesome water. April 1, 1870. Defeated by a vote of 431-88 on May 17, 1870.
Ithaca Journal, April 12, 1870, Page 1
The water-works already existing here will of course be depreciated–in fact destroyed in value–by this enterprise, if it is inaugurated.
1870 The Ithaca journal, April 19, 1870, Page 1. Several articles on Ithaca water works vote.
1871 The Ithaca journal, December 12, 1871, Page 1. Water works company purchases Buttermilk Falls.
Ithaca Journal, December 17, 1872, Page 1
The University water works are well forward toward completion. The turbine wheel and pumps are in their places and the pipes are laid through the McGraw and Sibley buildings.
daily journal, May 17, 1873, Page 1
Resolved, That the village of Ithaca contract to pay the Ithaca Water Works company $75 per Hydrant for the use of water for Corporation purposes, for such number of hydrants as have already been ordered or may be ordered the present year, the contract to be for two years, the said village to purchase said hydrants at the end of that period, or to renew the contract at equitable terms. Adopted.
daily journal, September 5, 1873, Page 4
The Ithaca Water Works. A Card from the President.
daily journal, October 18, 1873, Page 4
The Trial of Our Fire Steamers and Water Works.
daily journal, September 15, 1874, Page 4
The Ithaca Water Works Company are constructing a reservoir on South Hill.
of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, and Schuyler Counties, New York: With
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men
and Pioneers, [by D. Hamilton Hurd]
Page 411: About the year 1814, Judge Buell conveyed the mill or mills to David Woodcock and Daniel Shepard; and they, Sept. 29, 1818, to Phineas Bennett and Phineas Bennett, Jr. Besides the mills the Bennetts purchased land west thereof, with it front of five rods on the turnpike.
Page 429: Sept. 20, 1821, a tax was voted of $200, of which a part was to pay for "ringing the bell," and the rest to be expended in " bringing water into the village to extinguish fires." A public well was first dug in the fall of that year, which did not answer the intended purpose, so a contract was made with the Messrs. Bennett, Sept. 2, 1822, to construct an aqueduct from the Six-Mile Creek, near their mills, to the corner of Owego and Tioga Streets, September 28, $150 more was voted, and the aqueduct extended to Geneva Street. This aqueduct was a wooden tube or conduit a foot square, laid three or four feet under ground, with penstocks and "vats" at the corners of the streets. The penstocks were liable to injury, through accident or design, and gave the "City Fathers" a deal of trouble.
Page 431: WATER-WORKS.
The question of a supply of water to the village by means of pipes has from time to time been uppermost, now as a private, and again as a public enterprise.
By an act passed June 25, 1853, Henry W. Sage, Alfred Wells, Charles E. Hardy, Anson Spencer, and Joseph E. Shaw were named as incorporators, who, with their associates, comprised the "Ithaca Water-Works Company," with a capital of §40,000.
This company was the first to put the system in practical form, and furnished water from a spring, or springs, on the East Hill, north of Buffalo Street, through iron pipes laid in many of the streets of the village. The supply of water proved eventually insufficient, and after a resort to pumping and other expedients, on a limited scale, with little better success, the works were sold to a new company, who continued operations under the old charter, amended to cover the increased requirements.
By this company new and heavier pipe has been laid, and the lines much extended. The company also acquired rights on Ten-Mile (Buttermilk) Creek, and in 1875 erected a crib-dam between the rocky buttresses of the ravine and near the base of " Pulpit Rock," whose tinkliug, silver tongue is thus made to preach that virtue which is next to godliness, even in the streets of " Sodom," and at the doors of the people. From this dam the water is supplied to the village, and to a reservoir on South Hill of 1,250,000 gallons capacity, through a mam eight inches iu diameter, and two miles in length, with a head of 215 feet, or about 93 pounds pressure per square inch.
The reservoir gives a head of 146 feet, equal to a pressure of 03 pounds per square inch. The gates are so arranged that water may be taken either from the dam or the reservoir, as desired. About nine miles of pipe are now laid.
An act was passed May 25, 1868, in which Alonzo B. Cornell, Charles M. Titus, George W. Schuyler, John L. Whiton, George McChain, Elias Treman, Sewell D. Thompson, Edward S. Esty, Abel Burritt, Henry J. Grant, Edwin J. Morgan, Henry L. Wilgus, John Ramsey, John H. Selkreg, Henry R. Wells, and their associates, were named as a body corporate by the title "Ithaca Water-Works Company." Capital, $75,000, with power to increase to $150,000. No organization took place under this act.
In 1870 an act was passed by which Henry B. Lord, Rufus Bates, and Charles M. Titus were constituted commissioners for the construction of water-works to be owned by the village, and providing for a tax, not exceeding $100,000, to pay the cost thereof; subject first, however, to a vote of the tax-payers. When put to vote, the project was defeated.
1882 Ithaca, from Engineering News 9:429 (December 16, 1882)
1888 "Cornell University," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
1888 "Ithaca," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.
Partially Flooded," The Saint Paul Globe, April 6, 1890,
The dam of the upper reservoir of the Ithaca Water Works company, holding 20,000,000 gallons, burst during the night, and when the water plunged through the cliff-bound chasm below the dam itw as a terrific torrent thirty-five feet deep.
1890 "Cornell University," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
1890 "Ithaca," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.
1891 An act to amend chapter four hundred and sixty-five of the laws of eighteen hundred and fifty-three, entitled "An act to in corporate the Ithaca Water-works Company," as amended by chapter one hundred and fifty-one of the laws of eighteen hundred and and fifty-five. March 25, 1891. Amended the 1853 charter and 1855 amendment. Authorized to issue bonds and raise capital stock to $200,000.
1891 "Ithaca," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.
of Tompkins County, New York: Including a History of Cornell
University by W.T. Hewitt, edited by John H. Selkreg
Page 129: In September, 1821, two hundred dollars were voted, a part of it to be paid for ringing the bell, and the remainder for “bringing water into the village to extinguish fires." A public well was dug in that autumn, but it was not sufficient, and in September, 1822, a contract was made with Messrs. Bennett to construct an aqueduct from Six Mile Creek, “near their mills,” to the corners of Owego, Aurora and Tioga streets. In the same month a further sum of one hundred and fifty dollars was voted to extend the aqueduct to Cayuga street. It was a wooden tube about a foot square, laid under ground, with penstocks and tubs at street corners. This was the inception of public water supply in Ithaca.
Pages 158-159: Ithaca Water Works Company.- A brief reference has already been made to the first attempts to supply the village of Ithaca with water. It is sufficient to state that those attempts were largely abortive, and not until 1853 was a systematic effort made towards accomplishing the object. An act passed the Legislature June 25, 1853, under which Henry W. Sage, Alfred Wells, Charles E. Hardy, Anson Spencer and Joseph E. Shaw were named as incorporators, and they and their associates constituted the Ithaca Water Works Company. The capital was $40,000. This company furnished an inadequate supply of water from springs on East Hill, north of Buffalo street, and laid iron pipes in some of the streets. The supply proved insufficient and the works were subsequently sold to a new company, which continued operations under the old charter amended to meet new requirements. In 1875 the company acquired rights on Buttermilk Creek and erected a crib dam in the ravine, from which water is supplied to the city and to a reservoir on South Hill of 1,250,000 gallons capacity. The head from the dam is 215 feet, and from the reservoir 146 feet. The officers of the company are L. L. Treman, president; E. M. Treman, secretary; and these, with Elias Treman, R. R. Treman, and Leander R. King, are the directors. Under the present administration liberal extensions have been made of pipes in all the principal streets of the city, and the public supply is furnished through 101 hydrants. (There are also fourteen cisterns in use in the city).
Other attempts have been made to furnish a water supply, but they were not successful. An act was passed May 23, 1868, in which Alonzo B. Cornell, Charles M. Titus, George W. Schuyler, John L. Whiton, George McChain, Elias Treman, Sewell D. Thompson, Edward S. Esty, Abel Burritt, Henry Grant, Edwin Morgan, Henry L. Wilgus, John Ramsey, John H. Selkreg, Henry R. Wells, and their associates, were named as a body corporate by the title “Ithaca Water Works Company." Capital, $75,000, with power to increase to $150,000. No organization took place under this act.
In 1870 an act was passed by which Henry B. Lord, Rufus Bates, and Charles M. Titus were constituted commissioners for the construction of water works to be owned by the village, and providing for a tax, not exceeding $100,000, to pay the cost thereof; subject first, however, to a vote of the tax-payers. When put to a vote the project was defeated.
1897 "Ithaca," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.
1900 Report Upon Propositions of the Ithaca Water Works Co. to Sell Their Plant Or Contract to Supply the City for a Long Term of Years, February 21, 1900, by Ithaca (N.Y.). Common Council. Finance Committee
1900 "Water Supply," from Annual Report of the Mayor to the Common Council of the City of Ithaca, February 28, 1900.
Electrician 29:313 (November 9, 1901)
The Ithaca Light and Water Company has been incorporated at Ithaca, N.Y., with a capital stock of $400,000. The incorporators are G. S. Shepard, T. W. Summer, and W. T. Morris.
History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America: With the
Related Families of Mack, Dey, Board and Ayers; Being a History of
Joseph Truman of New London, Conn. (1666); John Mack of Lyme, Conn.
(1680); Richard Dey of New York City (1641); Cornelius Board of
Boardville, N.J. (1730); John Ayer of Newbury, Mass. (1635); and Their
Descendants, Volume 1, by Ebenezer Mack Treman
Pages 97-102: Leonard Treman (June 18, 1819 - May 15, 1888) President of Ithaca Water Works Company 1864-1888.
Page 103-110:Lafayette Lepine Treman (April 3, 1821 - April 27, 1900) President of Ithaca Water Works Company 1888-1900.
Pages 110-125: Elias Treman (December 9, 1822 - October 1, 1898) Secretary and Superintendent of Ithaca Water Works Company
Page 199: Ebenezer Mack Treman (December 13, 1850 - December 31, 1915) Secretary and Superintendent of Ithaca Water Works Company, President of the Ithaca Water Works Company 1900-1901 and 1904
Standard, August 05, 1902, Page 6.
Ithaca's Water Supply. Six-Mile Creek to be Dammed to Form a Reservoir.
Journal and Republican, February 26, 1903, Page 1.
Students Ask Pure Water. Cornell University Trustees Reject Their Request. Six of the Trustees are Interested in the Ithaca Water Company; which Supplies the Polluted Water that Caused the Typhoid Epidemic in Ithaca.
1903 "Typhoid Fever at Cornell University," The Christian Advocate 78(10):390 (March 5, 1903)
1903 "The Typhoid Epidemic at Ithaca," The Journal of the American Medical Association 40:781-783 (March 21, 1903) | Part 2 40:848-851 (March 28, 1903) |
1903 "The Responsibility at Ithaca," The Journal of the American Medical Association 40:852-853 (March 28, 1903)
1903 "Typhoid Fever in Ithaca," New York State Journal of Medicine 3:118-119 (April 1903)
1903 "The Recent Epidemic of Typhoid Fever in Ithaca, New York," by Mervin T. Sudler, Ph.D., M.D., The Philadelphia Medical Journal 11:632-633 (April 11, 1903)
1903 An act to establish and maintain a water department in and for the city of Ithaca. April 15, 1903.
1903 "A Mechanical Filter Plant for the Ithaca Water Works Company," The Engineering Record 48:237-240 (August 29, 1903)
1903 "Ithaca Epidemic of 1903," by Luzerne Coville, B.S., M.D., of Ithaca, N.Y., American Medicine 7(2):67-70 (January 9, 1904) Read before the New York State Medical Society, at the Second Annual Meeting, New York Academy of Medicine, October 14, 1903.
1903 Eleventh Annual Report of President Schurman 1902-1903, Cornell University, November 1903. Includes many references to the typhoid epidemic.
1904 "Lack of Pressure on First Fire Test," Press and Sun-Bulletin, April 24, 1904, Page 6.
1904 Yates County Chronicle, May 18, 1904, Page 1. Ithaca water works sold by William T. Morris to E. M. Treman
1904 "The Epidemic of Typhoid Fever at Ithaca, N. Y.," by George Albert Soper, presented September 15, 1904, Journal of the New England Water Works Association 18(4):431-461 (December 1904)
1904 The Epidemic of Typhoid Fever at Ithaca, N. Y., by George Albert Soper (reprint of the above article)
Ithacans: Comprising Sketches and Portraits of the Forty-four
Presidents of the Village of Ithaca (1821 to 1888) and the First Eight
Mayors of the City of Ithaca (1888 to 1903), by Thomas W.
Page 37: Amasa Dana - Eleventh President. A proposition to the Board was made by the Water Works Company for fire protection, and referred to a committee consisting of Trustees Jacob M. McCormick, Horace Mack, sr., and William Andrus. [These men were in office in 1839, but there was no known "Water Works Company" at that time.]
Page 67: Frederick T. Deming - Nineteenth President. H. W. Sage was granted permission to "dig a ditch to lay pipe to bring a supply of pure water to the village." 
Page 74: Anson Spencer - Twenty-First President. In 1853 he was a charter member of the first water works company in the village, with Judge Wells, Henry W. Sage, Charles E. Hardy and J. E. Shaw.
Page 191-193: John B. Lang - Sixth Mayor. In 1861 Mr. Lang removed to Pittsfield, Mass., to take charge of the machinery of a large factory that made blue cloth for the use of Union soldiers and remained there until the Civil War was ended and the demand for blue clothing had decreased to small proportions. In March, 1865, he made a visit with his wife to her brother James Patterson in Ithaca. Mr. Patterson induced him to visit and inspect the village machine shops with a view to purchasing an interest in one of them. The inspection and urgent advice of Mr. Patterson resulted in a partnership between James Reynolds and Mr. Lang to be put into operation in the latter part of the year.
When he first entered the Reynolds & Lang partnership a contract was made with Judge Wells, who owned the village waterworks. A rotary pump was affixed by the firm to an artesian well that existed about at the southeast corner of the present Blood building, now occupied by John E. McIntosh as a billiard hall, No. 109 North Tioga street. The water from the well was pumped into the water mains and distributed to the people who depended upon it for a water supply. After two years the pump was removed to the Hollister shops where the Driscoll Brothers & Company’s planing-mills and carpenter-shops now stand.
Page 197: William C. Elmendorf - Seventh Mayor. He advocated the purchase by the city of the water works plant for $350,000, the price agreed upon by President E. M. Treman and the Common Council (The taxpayers defeated the proposition by 18 when submitted to them at a special election). [Company made offer on February 16, 1900, election was held on March 6, 1900.]
Page 203: William R. Gunderman - Eighth Mayor. A ten-year contract with the Water Works Company was entered into by the Common Council in 1902, but was not approved by Mayor Gunderman until important concessions were cheerfully granted by the company at his request and added to the contract adopted by the aldermen. The company immediately began to enlarge and improve its water plant and install 100 extra street hydrants for fire-fighting purposes, at reduced rates, but with improved service and increased hydrant pressure on East Hill where hundreds of houses and business buildings were being erected outside of the old water works zone, a district that demanded extraordinary and very expensive additional pumping power.
In 1902 a second well organized and enthusiastic movement was made by the advocates of municipal ownership of public utilities to have the city own its water works system. The public water and gas plants had been sold by their owners. The new owners opposed the sale of the water plant to the city, influenced by people who opposed the placing of the control of the plant in the power of certain leaders of the municipal ownership party. It was asserted that those leaders had importuned and secured an offer of sale of the plant in 1900 for $350,000 and then reversed their position and vehemently opposed the purchase when it was submitted to a vote of the taxpayers. The defeat of the proposition to purchase for $350,000 by the small majority of 18 was credited to them and remained a very bitter memory. The new water company was joined by hundreds who had voted for the sale during Mayor Elmendorf’s administration and they, added to the opponents of municipal ownership and of further bonding the city, gave a majority of 135 against the proposition to purchase in 1902. The price paid for the plant by the new company was said to be much larger than $350,000, and the people believed that they could not purchase it for $400,000 in 1902. They charged the failure to purchase at $350,000 upon the leaders who first drew the city into the exciting contention.
1904 Poughkeepsie Eagle, December 02, 1904, Page 6. Condemnation proceedings
1905 "Typhoid: An Unnecessary Evil," by Samuel Hopkins Adams, McClure's Magazine 25(2):145-156 (June 1905)
1905 "The Luxury of Typhoid Fever," Medical Record 68(4):143-144 (June 22, 1905)
1906 The City of Ithaca v. Ithaca Water Works Co., et al.; brief for the defendants submitted to the commissioners December 13, 1906, by Nathan Matthews and Mynderse Van Cleef, of Counsel for the Defendants.
1908 "Operating Results of the Water Purification Plant at Ithaca, N.Y." by E. M. Chamont, Engineering Record 57:672-676 (May 23, 1908)
1908 "The Ithaca Epidemic," Typhoid Fever, by George Chandler Whipple
1910 Schuyler County Chronicle, February 10, 1910, Page 2
1911 "The Improvement of the Water Supply of the City of Ithaca, N. Y.," by Donald F. McLeon, C. E., '07, City Engineer of Ithaca, N. Y. from The Cornell Civil Engineer 19(9):357-373 (June 1911)
1914 A Survey of the Public Health Situation, Ithaca, New York, by Franz Schneider, Jr., Sanitarian, Department of Surveys and Exhibits, Russell Sage Foundation.
1916 "The Great Typhoid Fever Epidemic," A Story Historical of Cornell University: With Biographies of Distinguished Cornellians, by Murray Edward Poole
by Henry Edward Abt | also here
Page 52: Other laws required the removal of rubbish; that buildings have leather buckets for fire protection; and the
construction of a wooden aqueduct from Six Mile Creek to the corner of State and Tioga Streets. The aqueduct and the bucket ordinances were Ithaca's first civic attempts to combat fires.
Page 73: The village elections went Whig in 1849 and Frederick Deming, one of the pioneers in the Fall Creek industries,
was elected president for that year. His administration, continuing the progressive policy of the previous two years, gave to Henry W. Sage permission to bring pure water into the city.
Pages 76-77: The action of the board of trustees in 1849, permitting Henry W. Sage to bring pure water into the village, bore fruit in 1853 when Henry W. Sage, Alfred Wells, Joseph E. Shaw, Charles E. Hardy, and Anson Spencer incorporated as the Ithaca Water Works Company. They delivered into the valley an inadequate supply of water from springs near Buffalo Street. Both the gas company and water works later passed into the hands of the Treman and King families.
Page 122: The water company built a new reservoir on South Hill in 1875.
Page 134: In 1900 William T. Morris of Penn Yan, having purchased the gas and water works, bought the electric light interests of E. G. Wyckoff, whose major interest was in the street railway and real estate developments.
Pages 135-136: William T. Morris and his associates sold the water works on December 18, 1904, to the City of Ithaca. This transfer came at the end of a most unfortunate controversy in which the management of the water system had been severely criticized.
Since 1872 the Ithaca Water Works Company had supplied water from Buttermilk Creek. The "Scott" or upper dam had been built in 1875, and water diverted thence to the South Hill reservoir, where the Morse Industries Building is now located. The Van Natta Mill on Six Mile Creek was purchased in 1892, and the mill dam was used to create an additional water supply. A pumping station was built at that site the following year.
For some time, however, the citizens had been dissatisfied with this service. In 1894 a typhoid fever epidemic, the cause of which was said to be in the water, stimulated further criticism of the system. Several times it was suggested in the common council that the municipality should purchase the works but in each instance, until March, 1903, the proposal failed to obtain a majority. When the council finally voted for the purchase, no agreement as to the price could be reached. That year Mr. Morris and his associates erected a new filtration plant.
In 1903 a second severe typhoid fever epidemic swept through the city. Hundreds of individuals, from the Inlet to Cornell Heights, were infected and a large number of deaths resulted. Bitterness against the water company was high, and a committee of one hundred citizens led the movement to have artesian wells opened in the Ellis Hollow Valley and in the valley of the Cayuga Inlet.
Meanwhile condemnation proceedings were instituted against the water works and a long period of litigation ensued. The company offered to sell its property for $605,000, but the city considered that price exorbitant. The law suit grew to be extremely expensive and the Morris group finally agreed to surrender the works to the city. The price was to be set by an impartial commission which was to be guided by expert appraisers. If the amount named was below that which had been asked by the company, the latter would pay the expense of employing the commission and experts. If the price was above $605,000, the city was to pay the costs. The water works were surrendered to the municipality on December 31, 1904.
The city paid a good price for its water system. The properties were appraised at $658,000. The cost of law suits, the commission, and the witnesses aggregated over $100,000 more and additional money had been wasted in boring "dry" artesian wells. But the water works were at least municipally owned.
Page 146: A new impounding water reservoir with a capacity of 300,000,000 gallons was built in 1912 on Six Mile Creek, above the reservoir established by the old water works company. At the same time a new pumping station was built at Van Natta's Dam. The old South Hill reservoir was then abandoned. A silt catching basin is being constructed on Six Mile Creek, upstream from the new reservoir.
Page 197: Ithaca's most frequent preventable causes of death were typhoid fever and malaria, the former occurring because of the privies on the banks of Six Mile Creek which was the source of Ithaca's water. Malaria was due to the swampy conditions of the mosquito-ridden flats in the northern part of town.
Then, in 1903, during a period of less than three months, thirteen hundred and fifty patients suffered from typhoid fever. An appeal by the health commissioner brought to Ithaca Dr. F. C. Curtis of Albany, who spent a day investigating the situation, blamed the water supply, and advised Ithacans to boil their drinking water. But the epidemic continued to spread. Dr. Daniel Lewis, state commissioner of health, came to the city and urged wide spread disinfection. On March 4 the state department sent Dr. George Soper of New York City to take charge of the situation.
Dr. Soper quickly organized the citizens and the officials to combat the epidemic; an intensive campaign against it was raged and they were rewarded with success. At the request of the Ithaca board of health, Dr. Soper stayed on until September as an expert adviser to the board of health. After the epidemic the citizens and council generally heeded the health officer. During Dr. Soper's stay unprecedented advances were made in local hygiene. About 1,300 privies were cleaned and disinfected; over 900 well water analyses were made; and more than thirty percent of the wells were condemned; dairies and other sources of food supply were inspected and standards were firmly established. New methods of street cleaning and refuse disposal were inaugurated.
1956 "History of Ithaca's Water and Sewer Systems," City of Ithaca, Department of Public Works, Water and Sewer Division (August 1956) | Also here |
1962 A History of Cornell, by Morris Bishop
Families, Ithaca, New York: Their Houses and Businesses, by
Carol U. Sisler
Page 17: In 1853 the Ithaca Water Works Co. was organized with Henry Williams Sage and Charles E. Hardy, Josiah B. Williams', father-in-Jaw, amongst the incorporators. It supplied an inadequate amount of water to the city from springs located near Buffalo St. The Tremans gradually gained control of it with Leonard being elected president in 1864. Buttermilk Creek was dammed in 1875 and the water shunted to a reservoir on South Hill. This was supplemented with water from Van Natta's dam on Six Mile Creek, which was purchased in 1892. Lafayette became president in 1888. In 1894 there was a typhoid epidemic but by the time of the dreadful epidemic in 1903, the Tremans had sold the company to William T. Morris of Penn Yan. The city purchased the water works in 1904. The Treman owned properties along Buttermilk Creek and Six Mile Creek were later given to the state and city to become parks.
1997 "Sending Their Sons Into Danger: Cornell University and the Ithaca Typhoid Epidemic of 1903," by Heather Munro Prescott, New York History 78(3):273-308 (July 1977)
Epidemic: A Collision of Power, Privilege, and Public Health,
by David DeKok | Also here
(subscription required)| Ithaca
typhoid patients and victims, 1903, by address |
2013 Treman Family Guided Region Toward the Future For Two Centuries, by Cassandra Palmyra
Hecht's Scanned Images for Tompkins County
© 2016 Morris A. Pierce