Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Medina

Medina, New York

Medina was incorporated as a village in 1832.

The village installed a "Hawley pump" for fire protection in 1860, which was probably a Holly pump manufactured by the Holly Manufacturing Company in Lockport.

The Medina Water-Works Company built a system that began service on March 17, 1893.  This company may have been bought by the Consolidated Water Supply Company, which was incorporated in 1894 to operate water systems in Brockport, Clyde, Holley, Medina, and Palmyra.  The company had difficulty providing acceptable water service to the village, and was in receivership twice.  Finally in 1905 the Village decided to buy or build it own water system, which was authorized for a law passed that year.  After awarding contracts for a new system, local residence voted to buy the water company.

The village connected to the Niagara County Water District in 1959.

Water is currently purchased from the Niagara County Water District and distributed by the Village of Medina.

References and Timeline
1859 New York Evangelist, December 22, 1859, Page 3.
A disastrous fire occurred in the village of Medina, Orleans county, Sunday morning.  The flouring-mill of Messrs. Hill, Whalen & Co., was destroyed, together with $20,000 of grain.  The total amounts to $60,000, on which there was an insurance of $36,000.

1871 Auburn Daily Bulletin (Auburn, New York), February 23, 1871, Page 1.
A severe fire occurred at Medina, N.Y. yesterday, in which five frame and two brick buildings were destroyed, involving a loss estimated at $33,000.  The hydrants were frozen, and the firemen had great difficulty in getting water.

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

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

1891 "Medina," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.  | Also see projected works |

1894 Landmarks of Orleans County, New York by Isaac Smith Signor
Page 353:  For a long time engines were supplied with water directly from the canal or race, but after some years a water main with hydrants was placed in Shelby street through the business part of the village. This main was supplied with water when necessary by pumps driven by the power in Becker's flouring mill, near the railroad. In 1874 the pumps were changed to the Bignall works, and the mains were extended on Center street to Orient street on the east and Catherine street on the west. By the use of these pumps and mains water could be thrown directly from hydrants on fires in their immediate vicinity, or supplied to engines at some distance through hose.
Pages 355-356:  Water Works.—The lack of an ample supply of pure water for domestic and fire extinguishing purposes was felt in Medina many years before the present works were established. The village had suffered from several disastrous fires, one on September 19, 1869, causing a loss of about $100,000; another December 26, 1870, destroying the Presbyterian church and other property, besides numerous others, and public spirited citizens finally determined to inaugurate a better condition of affairs in this respect. A public meeting was called July 15, 1889, to consider the subject and decide upon the most feasible plans. On October 14 of that year a meeting was held at which authority was voted to the trustees to contract with parties for water works, and on the 17th of the same month John J. Neagle, of Washington, D. C, and Frederick Collin, James H. Costello, P. H. Dempsey, Lewis M. Smith, John B. Stanchfield, and P. J. Neagle, of Elmira, submitted a proposal to organize a company with a capital of $70,000, and establish water works for the village, to be supplied from wells or springs in the southwest part of the village. This application was granted, but the action was rescinded on November 25. Resolutions were afterwards adopted to publish in the local newspapers proposals for bids to establish a water system, bids to be delivered to E. L. Pitts on December 17, the works to be built according to contract and specifications on file in his office. Several bids were offered, among them that of Bassett Brothers, of Buffalo, who proposed to build the works, put in eighty hydrants, and supply the village for $3,000 annually. Their bid was accepted, and work was begun by driving wells and experimenting, continuing through the summer of 1890, without satisfactory results. They then proposed taking water from Fish Creek and were granted an extension of time to complete the works. After further abortive experiments, their time was again extended to the spring of 1891 ; but the unsatisfactory outlook for the whole enterprise led to its transfer to the Medina Water Works Company, as it is at present organized, and on February 3, 1892, the Board of Trustees resolved to contract with this company, cancelling the former action. The company were to take the water supply from the Ross farm near Knowlesville, and this source of supply was approved March 18, 1892. The plant was promptly established, including a large standpipe on the high ground in the southwest part of the village, the streets laid with pipe, hydrants set and every facility provided to give the people a splendid supply of pure water and the authorities an ample supply under sufficient pressure to extinguish fires at any point in the village. The officers of the company are: William F. Ross, president; Thomas A. Smyth, vice-president; James L. Bruff, secretary; Charles F. Pond, treasurer.

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

[1900?] A History of the Alert Hose Company and the Fire Department of Medina, by George Albert Newell.  No copy of this has been found.

1905 "Medina Water Works Company," Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), April 6, 1905, Page 7.

1905 An act to amend chapter thirty nine of the laws of eighteen hundred and seventy-four, entitled "An act to reorganize the village of Medina," in relation to establishing or acquiring a system of water works for said village, and the issuance of bonds therefor.  April 12, 1905.

1905 "Medina Will Own Water System," The Buffalo Enquirer, April 20, 1905, Page 11.

1905 Buffalo Evening News, May 13, 1905, Page 4.
Shelby, May 13.- Nearly 100 Italians arrived here Thursday, and have began work for the Media Water Works Co.

1905 "Voted to Purchase Medina Water Plant," Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), May 23, 1905, Page 4.
Special Election Held Yesterday - Price Agreed Upon was $70,000.

1905 "Medina Water Company's Stock," Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), July 1, 1905, Page 3.

1907 "Medina's Successful Water Plant," Bulletin of the League of American Municipalities 7(6):176 (June, 1907)

1916 Thirty-Seventh Annual Report of the State Department of Health of New York for the year ending December 31, 1916.  Volume II.  Report of Sanitary Engineering.
Page 475.  Medina.  The water supply is controlled by the municipality and was put into operation in 1905.

2014 Medina Fire Department, Area 10.  The Historical Marker Database
Medina's first water works was installed for fire protection during the 1860's along Shelby (Main) Street. Pipes were laid along the east side of the street, from the railroad to Pearl Street, with the raceway providing water. This early hydrant system was later upgraded with larger pipe, more hydrants and greater coverage. Water for this system came from Oak Orchard Creek with a water wheel for pressure located at the Bignall Foundry. Crude though it was, the system provided protection until the installation of a village water system in 1892.

© 2017 Morris A. Pierce