Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Lyons, New York

Lyons was incorporated as a village in 1854.

The first water works were built by Martin Van Buren Rowley, who had received a patent for a pump in 1870.  The system served three families by using a windmill to pump water into a tank.

The Lyons Water Works Company was incorporated on March 17, 1886 and built a water works that began service in January, 1887, using a steam engine to pump water into a standpipe.

The village bought the company for $25,000 and built a new water system that began operating on September 1, 1916.

The Wayne County Water Authority was formed in 1987 to provide better water service to local communities.

Water is provided by the Wayne County Water & Sewer Authority.

1870 U.S. Patent 109057, Improvement in Pumps, Martin Van Buren Rowley of Worcester, New York, November 8, 1870.

1874 Advertisements for Rowley Patent Pumps, from Coldwater City Directory, 1874-5.

1875 "Rowley's Patent Force Pump," The Hillside Standard (Hillside, Michigan), November 23, 1875, Page 4.

1882 Lyons, Engineering News, 9:91 (March 18, 1882)

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

1886 "The Lyons Water Works," Newark Union, July 3, 1886, Page 2.

1886 Geneva Daily Gazette, July 16, 1886, Page 3.
Lyons is to have a system of water works.

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

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

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

1892 "Our Portraits," Fire and Water 11(20) (May 14, 1892)
The efficient superintendent of the Lyons (N. Y.) Waterworks Company, E. A. Browere, was horn in Brooklyn, New York, in 1843. His father was an artist, a well known member of the Academy of Design and the American Art Union; but young Browere’s inclinations pointed in a different direction, and at the age of seventeen he shipped on board the old North River steamer Utica as a fireman. He subsequently served upon various steam vessels in private and government employ during and after the war, seeing much hard and trying service as, progressively, fireman, oiler, assistant engineer and chief engineer.
Mr. Browere’s aquatic experiences were brought to a close in 1883. when, after filling the position of chief engineer of the old favorite boat Jesse Hoyt, plying between New York city and Sandy Hook, he was appointed engineer with Edward Shanly, contractor for and builder of the water-works at Catskill. The next year he was made chief engineer of the system, and remained there until 18S9. when he resigned to accept the management of the Lyons Water-works Company. During the three years in which he has been in charge of the system the number of water-takers has doubled and all of the extensions, repairs, etc., have been paid for out of the earnings of the works, a result highly creditable to Mr. Browere’s energetic and judicious management.

1895 Landmarks of Wayne County, New York, edited by George Washington Cowles, assisted by Henry Perry Smith and others
Page 244:  In August, 1884, a franchise was granted Barton, Morgan & Reynolds to lay water mains through the streets and establish a water system, but they failed to comply with the regulations. In June, 1886, a similar franchise was granted the Lyons Water Works Company, of which Cornelius J. Ryan was president; John H. Camp, vice-president; De Witt P. Foster, secretary; Alexander H. Towar, treasurer; and W. S. Parker, chief engineer. Active work commenced August 18, 1886. A well eighteen feet in diameter and twenty feet deep was sunk on the Walrath property on Layton street, a steel stand pipe was erected on the summit of Sturges hill, and the system placed in operation in January, 1887.

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

1899 "Fatal Lamp Explosion," The New York Times, April 2, 1899, Page 17.
LYONS, N.Y., April 1. -- John J. Finnigan, Superintendent of the Lyons Water Works Company died to-day from burns received in a lamp explosion last night.

1904 "Grip's" historical souvenir of Lyons, N. Y, [by Edgar Luderne Welch]
Pages 79-80:  The Lyons Water Works Co. was organized in 1886, and the following year it has completd the present fine pumping system, taking its supply from wells, pumped into a standpipe fifty feet high and twenty feet in diameter.  It uses the Davidson pumps with a capacity of 2,000,000 gallons daily.  The water is distributed through 9 1/2 miles of mains with the average pressure of 80 lbs. and a fire pressure of 100 lbs., the average daily consumption being 375,000 gallons.  There are 57 hydrants.  C.J. Ryan, jr., is president, Daniel Moran vice-president and treasurer, and Elizabeth M. Finigan secretary and superintendent.

1908 Martin Van Buren Rowley (1838-1908) grave

1912 "Lyons Water Works Company Gets Busy," Municipal Journal and Engineer 32(23):875 (June 6, 1912)

1914 "To the Taxpayers!" The Lyons Republican, February 13, 1914, Page 1.
The Lyons Water Works Company has offered to sell its plan and all its physical property and franchise to the Village of Lyons for the sum of $25,000.

1914 Fourth Annual Report of the New York State Conservation Commission
Page 211-: Application of plans for a water supply for Village of Lyons, N.Y.  Approved August 20, 1914.

1916 Annual Report of the State Department of Health for the Year Ending December 31, 1916
Pages 457-459:  Lyons water supply

1987 An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to creating the water district authority of Wayne County. August 5, 1987

2013 Lyons Main Street Program, September 2013
Page 16:  In August 1884, Barton, Morgan & Reynolds placed water mains through the streets and established a water system. In June 1886, a similar franchise was granted to the Lyons Water Works Company. Active work commenced on August 18, 1886. A well eighteen-feet in diameter and twenty-feet deep was sunk on Layton Street, a steel stand pipe was erected on the summit of Sturges hill, and the system placed into operation in January 1887. It used Davidson pumps with the capacity of 2,000,000 gallons daily. The water was distributed through 9 ˝ miles of mains with the average pressure of 800 lbs. and a fire pressure of 100 lbs. The average daily consumption was 375,000 gallons.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce