Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Middletown

Middletown, New York

Middletown was settled around 1744, incorporated as a village in 1848 and as a city in 1888.

The Village of Middletown built a gravity water system in 1867, but the supply was not sufficient so in 1873 they installed a Holly Quadruplex pump that delivered water from Shawangunk Kill to supplement the gravity supply from Monhagen Lake.  This water was delivered 3½ miles through a 12-inch wood-stave pipeline, which is one of the first used in a public water system.  The village was unable to use this second source for many years due to legal questions about their right to use the water.  Edward M. Madden, a local politician, was held by some to be responsible for this scheme.  A section of the wood stave pipe was removed in 1940 and is now in the Historical Society of Middletown and Wallkill Precinct, which is shown in these pictures:

Click on a picture for a larger image. Thanks for Olivia Spriggens for taking these pictures.

The system was rebuilt and expanded in the late 1880s.

Water is provided by the City of Middletown.

1866 An act to supply the village of Middletown with water for public and private purposes.  April 3, 1866.

1867 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to supply the village of Middletown with water for public and private purposes," passed April third, eighteen hundred and sixty-six.  January 17, 1867.

1867 Building Monhagen Lake Reservoir, 1867, from Middletown:  A Photographic Journey, by Peter H. Laskaris, Middletown Thrall Library

1869 An act to authorize any life or fire insurance, or any trust or loan company or any savings bank, in the counties of Orange, New York or Kings, to invest their funds or deposits in the bonds issued pursuant to any law of this State, by the village of Middletown, Orange county, for the purpose of constructing water works.  April 5, 1869.

1869 "The Middletown Water-Works," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), June 10, 1869, Page 1.  Dispute between water commissioners.

1869 "The Binghamton Water-Works," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), June 12, 1869, Page 1.
The works were constructed by the American Water and Gas-Pipe Company of Jersey City, the same parties who built the Middletown Water-Works.

1869 "The Monhagen - A Temporary Tower Erected," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), June 25, 1869, Page 3.

1869 "Will Water-Works Pay?," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), July 13, 1869, Page 1.  Contract with Erie Railroad.

1869 The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), August 19, 1869, Page 1.
The Mail says that on Friday the mains of the Middletown Water Works were tapped for the purpose of supplying the two Erie Railway tanks at that station, and their hydrant near Knox's crossing is to be erected in a short time.  The Water Commissioners, in making their contract with the Erie Company, reserved the right to shut off their supply at any time upon due notice being given.

1869 "Submarine Operations at Monhagen Lake," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), October 19, 1869, Page 1.

1870 "Middletown Water-Works -- Bursting of the Main," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), June 25, 1870, Page 1. | Another article on same page |

1871 "Water Works," Middletown Evening Press, August 19, 1871, Page 1.

1872 "Our Monhagen Water - It is Wholesome?" Middletown Evening Press, March 9, 1872, Page 1.

1872 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to supply the village of Middletown with water for public and private purposes," passed April three, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, and of the amendment thereto, passed May fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven.  April 16, 1872.

1872 "The New Water Board," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), May 10, 1872, Page 3. 

1872 The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), July 2, 1872, Page 1.
Middletown has voted to issue bonds to the amount of $35,000 to be appropriated in obtaining an additional supply of water for their water works.

1872 "Middletown Water Works," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), July 5, 1872, Page 2. 
Thirty-five thousand dollars appropriated to increased the supply - A harmonious meeting.

1872 "Middletown Water-Works," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), August 23, 1872, Page 3. 
An additional appropriation of $15,000 called for.

1872 "The Water Supply," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), August 30, 1872, Page 2. 
Letters about water project.

1872 "Middletown Water Works," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), August 30, 1872, Page 3.  Description of proposed wooden pipeline.

1872 The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), August 31, 1872, Page 1.
Middletown, on Wednesday night, voted to raise $15,000 to enlarge their water works.

1872 Auburn Daily Bulletin (Auburn, New York), September 11, 1872, Page 4.
The system of water works in use in this city, has recently been adopted by Sacramento, Cal., Norfolk, Va., and Middletown N.Y.

1872 "A Village out of Water," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), October 24, 1872, Page 1.
Middletown is in a bad fix.  The water in the reservoir has become so low as to make it necessary for the Water Commissioners to cut off the entire water supply from every consumer in the village, including manufactories, railroads and private residences.  What little water remains in the reservoir is reserved for fire purposes.

1872 "Our Water Supply," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), November 1, 1872, Page 3. 

1872 "Water from the Lake Again," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), November 8, 1872, Page 3.

1873 "Report of Water Commissioners," Middletown Daily Evening Press, March 8, 1873, Page 4.
Pipe Account - Paid Hobbie, Ayrault & Co., pipe

1873 "Possible Litigation for the Water Works," Middletown Daily Evening Press, May 26, 1873, Page 1.

1873 "The Water Meeting," Middletown Daily Evening Press, May 27, 1873, Pages 1 & 4.
To vote on the question of issuing $30,000 Water Fund Bonds to complete the Monhagen water works extension.

1873 The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), May 27, 1873, Page 5.
Lawyer retained to contest the right of the Middletown Water Works to draw water from Shawangunk Kill.

1873 "Possible Litigation for the Water Works," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), May 30, 1873, Page 3. 

1873 "Monhagen Lake," Orange County Press (Middletown, New York), September 5, 1873, Page 3. 

1873 The Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York), October 20, 1873, Page 2.
Middletown has made the connection between Shawangunk Kill and Monhagen Lake, and the hydrants and water pipes of the town are all complete.

1874 "Water Commissioners Report," Middletown Daily Evening Press, April 28, 1874, Page 2.

1875 "Water Commissioners Report," Middletown Daily Evening Press, May26, 1875, Page 2.

1875 "Town of Mount Hope," Atlas of Orange County, New York.  Shows Middletown water works pumping station on Shawangunk Kill in Howells.

1875 "Town of Wallkill," Atlas of Orange County, New York.  Shows water works at Monhagen Lake.

1876 "Pumping from Shawangunk Kill," Middletown Daily Evening Press, March 9, 1876, Page 3.

1876 "Monhagen Lake - Fears of the Dam Giving Away," Middletown Daily Argus, April 5, 1876, Page 1.

1876 "Another Injunction," Middletown Daily Press, April 6, 1876, Page 3.

1876 "An Injunction Served," The Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York), April 7, 1876, Page 1.
About two weeks ago it was announced in these columns that an injunction had been granted by Judge Barnard, in the suit of James Norbury vs. the Water Commissioners of the village of Middletown, restraining the defendants from diverting the waters of the Shawanguuk Kill for use in supplying the Middletown water-works. This injunction was granted in the pendency of a suit for damages against the village, on the allocation that the plaintiff's mill property on tho Kill had been damaged by the diversion of the waters of the creek.
Sheriff Hoyt came to Middletown Thursday morning, and served copies of the order of the Court on the Water Commissioners and the village authorities.—Argus.

1876 "Monhagen Waterworks," Middletown Daily Argus, April 29, 1876, Page 4.
Annual report of the board of water commissioners for 1876.

1877 An act to authorize the board of water commissioners of the village of Middletown to grant permits for the taking of ice from Monhagen reservoir.  June 4, 1877.

1878 "Report of the Water Board," Middletown Daily Press, May 8, 1878, Page 2.

1878 "A New Water Main," Middletown Daily Press, August 21, 1878, Page 3.
$20,000 voted by taxpayers for a second water pipe from Monhagen reservoir.

1878 "New Water Main," Middletown Daily Argus, August 21, 1878, Page 3.

1878 "Sealed Proposals," Middletown Daily Press, August 22, 1878, Page 2.
For 11,700 feet 12-inch cast-iron pipe, tested 300 pounds to the square inch, and coated with asphaltum.

1878 Middletown Daily Argus, October 31, 1878, Page 3.
The recent rains have failed to raise the water in Monhagen Lake, which supplies this village with water, and the water is at present very low.  The time is not far distant when the injunction which restrains the village from taking the surplus water from Shawangunk Kill will have to be removed or some new source of supply found. In the meantime the wooden pipe laid between the Kill and the Lake is rotting. The Water Commissioners have a knotty problem before them to work out, but we feel confident that they will prove themselves equal to the occasion.

1878 "Testing the Water Works Extension - Bursting of the Pipes,"  Middletown Daily Argus, November 23, 1878, Page 3.
In 1872 and 1873 the water works of this village were extended at a cost of $64,000, the intention being when there was a scarcity of water in Monhagen Lake to obtain a supply by pumping from the Shawangunk Kill. Expensive hydraulic pumps were purchased and placed in position at the kill and 12-inch wooden pipes laid from the kill to Moahagen Lake to conduct the water.  Before, however, any practical benefits were derived from the extension Mr. Norbury, a mill owner on the Kill, obtained an injunction forbidding the Commissioners from taking water. The result has been that the works have laid idle ever since.
A few days ago the Commissioners obtained the consent of Mr. Newbury to start the pumps for the purpose of testing the pipes. Everything was got in readiness and the pumps were started this morning. At first a small Stream was forced through and emptied itself into the lake, but it suddenly stopped, and an examination into the cause led to the discovery of several breaks in the wooden pipe. The largest leakage was at a point at Howells Depot, where a stream of water as large as a man’s body forced itself through the surface of the ground, and flooded cellars in the village. The pumps were stopped, and men are now engaged in repairing the breaks. The pipe, at Howells, was found to be rotted away, but whether any great portion of the line is in a similar condition remains to be seen. The commissioners have been given but three days in which to take water from the Kill. Should the result of the test prove that all the pipe is rotten the idea of ever obtaining water from the kill will probably be abandoned; if, on the other hand, the pipe is still in working condition, an effort will be made to have the injunction removed, or to effect a compromise with Mr. Norbury whereby the Commissioners can divert the surplus water of the kill into the Lake. One thing is certain the water in the Lake is very low and some new source of supply will have to be sought ere long.

1878 Tri-States Union (Port Jervis, New York), December 24, 1878, Page 1.
Middletown's water-works seem to be a valuable feature of the village.  The Argus calculates it would damage the place $2,000 a day to stop them, as factories paying out that amount of money daily would be closed.

1879 The New York Times, February 9, 1879, Page 12.
Compensation for water taken from Shawangunk Kill.

1879 An act further to amend chapter three hundred and forty-seven of the laws of eighteen hundred and sixty-six, entitled "An act to supply the village of Middletown with water for public and private purposes."  March 13, 1879.

1879 "Report of the Water Commissioners," Middletown Daily Press, May 14, 1879, Page 2.

1879 "Mr. Madden's Nomination," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), October 28, 1879, Page 4.
The disastrous failure of Middletown's water works extension, which cost the village $60,000, without a single benefit in return, and for which he is largely responsible, is a case in point.

1879 "Driven Wells," Middletown Daily Argus, November 12, 1879, Page 3.

1879 The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), November 15, 1879, Page 1.
The insurance companies are alarmed about the condition of Middletown since the water works there have become useless.

1880 "A New Move on Shawangunk Kill Litigation," Middletown Daily Argus, April 2, 1880, Page 3.

1880 In the Matter of the Application of the Village of Middletown for the appointment of Commissioners to take Water, etc., 82 N.Y. 196, September 28, 1880, Court of Appeals of the State of New York.

1881 "Annual Report of Water Commissioners," Middletown Daily Argus, May 3, 1881, Page 3.

1881 "The Shawangunk Kill Award," Middletown Daily Argus, November 18, 1881, Page 3.
Total damages $1,400 paid to mill owners.

1882 "The Condition of the Village Reservoir," Middletown Daily Argus, June 9, 1882, Page
Shawangunk Kill pumps started up, the object being to discover whether or not the wooden pipes leading from the Kill to the Lake were fit for service.

1882 Middletown, Engineering News, 9:356 (October 14, 1882)
In 1875 there was a deficiency in the supply, and a pump of 12-in. bore and 20-in. strove, driven by water-power, was erected by the Holly Manufacturing Company, taking a supply from the Shawangunk Kill, 3½ miles from and about the same level as the reservoir, to which the water is conveyed through a 12-in. wooden pipe made in 15 ft. lengths of white pine staves, 2¾-in. thick, banded with strap-iron and coasted on the inside with coal tar.  After the pipe was laid it was found that the town had no right to use the creek water, and six years of litigation followed before the new works could be used, resulting in the payment of $1,400 for the right to use surplus water flowing over the dam on the stream when the mills were supplied.  The pipe follows the surface, descending at one place 475 ft. below and the reservoir and at another rising 25 ft. above it.  When tested, after lying unused for six years, only three lengths of it burst. 

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

1884 "Condition of Monhagen Lake," Middletown Daily Argus, February 19, 1884 Page 3.

1886 "A Freshet in the Shawangunk Kill,"Middletown Daily Argus, January 5, 1886, Page 3.
The Dam of the Middletown Water Works was washed out...

1886 Middletown Daily Argus, February 24, 1886, Page 3.
The new dam in the Shawangunk Kill is now finished and the pumps have been put into operation.

1887 "20th Annual Report of the Board of Water Commissioners," Middletown Daily Argus, March 26, 1887, Page 4.

1888 An act to incorporate the City of Middletown.  June 9, 1888.
Title XII. Of the Board of Water Commissioners of Said City.

1888 "Middletown Water Works," Middletown Daily Argus, June 18, 1888 Page 3
History of the water works.

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

1889 "Annual Report of the Water Commissioners," Middletown Daily Press, March 20, 1889, Page 3.
The twelve-inch wood pipe on the pump house line has occasioned quite an amount of trouble and expense by reason of breaks and leaks.  Seventy-two feet of twelve-inch cast iron pipe was laid on this main during the past year, and it is more than probable that a large amount of pipe will have to be replaced on said main the coming year.

1889 "The City's Water Supply," Middletown Daily Argus, June 12, 1889, Page 3.

1889 "Supplying its Own Water," The Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York), November 21, 1889, Page 1.
Erie Railroad's artesian well.

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

1891 Middletown Daily Argus, October 22, 1891, Page
The Board of Water of Commissioners of the city of Middletown have on hand and for sale about seven hundred feet of iron bound six-inch wood pipe, in sections eight feet long, and in the best of condition, which will be sold for a low figure. Enquire of I.F. VanDuzer, Superintendent

1891 "Taxing its Resources," Middletown  Daily Press, December 22, 1891, Page 3.
I suggested to President Canfield the advisability of getting the pumps at Shawangunk kill in order so if a rain set in they could just be started.  Just how much repairs would be necessary to use the wood pipe heading to the reservoir can only be ascertained by a test. 

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

1892 "The Water Supply," Middletown Daily Press, May 7, 1892, Page 3.
Some Interesting Facts About the Shawangunk Kill Pumping - When the Pumps May Run - The Record of Five Years.

1892 "The Water Question Again," Middletown Daily Times, May 7, 1892, Page 3.
Supt. Van Duzer Does Not Favor Going to Shawangunk Kill for a Supply Some Pertinent Figures.

1892 "No More Water From the Old Reservoir," Middletown Times, August 17, 1892, Page 7.

1892 "Five Breaks," Middletown Daily Press, September 12, 1892, Page 3.
Two Strong Pressure Causes the Old Cement Pipe to Give Way.

1893 "Water Board in Session," Middletown Daily Press, July 5, 1893, Page 3.
About 200 feet of the old wood pipe is still in on West Main Street west of Hanford street, and the Board will have this taken up and cast iron pipe relaid.

1893 "The Common Council," Middletown Daily Press, July 9, 1893, Page 3.
Water Commissioners Recommend a Pipe Line, Four Miles Long, to Shawangunk Kill, and will want $150,000 to Build it.

1893 "The Water Supply," Middletown Daily Press, July 22, 1893, Page 3.
An important letter from Civil Engineer Smith.  He suggests a plan by which he thinks the city may save $65,000.

1893 "Our Water Supply," Middletown Daily Argus, July 22, 1893, Page 4.

1893 "Water Commissioners Meet," Middletown Daily Times, September 5, 1893, Page 33.
All work as laid out has been completed except the permanent improvements on East Main street, and the removal of the wood pipe on West Main Street.

1893 Middletown its representative business men, and points of interest, by {W.F. Bailey]
Page 15. WATER-WORKS. Middletown's water supply comes from the springs and brooks of Western Wallkill. Two large reservoirs are well filled nearly the year round, and additional supply has been secured by sinking artesian wells in the Ogden farm, just outside the corporation limits. The water runs from the reservoirs through iron pipes to nearly every street in the city and these lines are being extended each year. The water is clear and pure and does not require filtering.

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

1900 Thirty-third Annual Report of the Water Commissioners of the City of Middletown for the year ending January 31, 1900.

1900 "A Model Water System," Fire and Water 28:236 (December 22, 1900)

1901 Thirty-forth Annual Report of the Water Commissioners of the City of Middletown for the year ending January 31, 1901.

1902 Thirty-sixth Annual Report of the Water Commissioners of the City of Middletown for the fiscal year ending November 30, 1902.

1902 "Middletown Water Works," Fire and Water 31:21 (January 18, 1902)

1902 "The Water-Works System of Middletown, N.Y.," Municipal Engineering 22(3):140-144 (March, 1902)

1903 "The Middletown Plant," Fire and Water Engineering 33:22 (January 10, 1903)
Recent Improvements for Increasing Water Supply.

1904 "Middletown and Its Water Supply," Fire and Water Engineering 35:171 (April 23, 1904)
Description of its new storage reservoir.

1905 "The Copper Sulphate Treatment for Algae at Middletown, N.Y.," by James M. Caird, Engineering News 53:33-34 (January 12, 1905)

1905 "Water Supply of Middletown," Fire and Water Engineering 37:128-129 (March 18, 1905)
Description of Plant and Filtration System.

1908 Goshen, NY-NJ USGS Quadrangle Map, shows Middletown, Monhagen Lake, and Shawangunk Kill

1908 The History of Orange County, New York, edited by Russel Headley
Pages 329-330:  Little Shawangunk Kill.  Heretofore it has been said that the little Shawangunk Kill, in this town, was of such little importance that historians declined to mention it, yet this stream, lying practically all in the town, was at one time the scene of five thriving saw-mills in operation, but which have since disappeared. Yet the city of Middletown in 1890 saw a basis of great water works in this stream, and just from the line at the headwaters of this kill in the town of Wallkill, erected a reservoir which was known as Highland Lake, containing about 500,000,000 gallons of water. On April 22, 1901, just below Highland Lake and in the town of Mount Hope, the city of Middletown decided to erect another lake, and the contract was let to Charles Sundstrom of the city of Middletown, who, by the erection of what was known as Shawangunk, Greenleaf and Steward dams, impounded a large quantity of water, which was to form a part of the Middletown system.
This work was at the cost of something like $57,000, and was connected with Monhagen Lake by a twenty-inch conduit, and also a twenty-four-inch conduit was extended in a westerly direction to a point in the Shawangunk Kill, above Mount Hope, from which it was intended to take water at high times, and conduct it to what was called Shawangunk reservoir.
This reservoir when full contains over 434,000,000 gallons of water, and has an acreage of about 102 acres, on what was formerly known as the Greenleaf farm. It will be observed that Highland Lake had been erected some fourteen years, but since Shawangunk Lake was erected, litigation sprang up from the mill owners on the big Shawangunk Kill, as far north as Pine Bush, and all the farmers on the line of the little Shawangunk Kill were brought into proceedings for condemnation, and the payment of damages for the taking of this water, and this litigation, which continued some two or three years, was finally settled in the year 1907, when all water rights to both kills were finally determined, but the city of Middletown had paid in expenses and damages something like $25,000.
Page 425:  Town of Wallkill. Middletown has a most complete water system supplied by three reservoirs, located in the towns of Wallkill and Mount Hope, and named respectively, Monhagen, Highland and Shawangunk. All water for domestic use is thoroughly filtered before being conveyed to the city.

1921 "Additions to a Water Filtration Plant Middletown, N. Y.," by John A. Korschen, Commissioner of Public Works, Middletown, N. Y., American City 25(3):214-216 (September, 1921)
Adds Filters, Chemical Control Apparatus, Clear Well and Chlorine Control Apparatus

1927 "New Reservoir," by F.B. Williams, Middletown Daily Herald, May 19, 1927, Page 4.

1927 "An Interview With Korschen on Water System," Middletown Times-Herald, December 28, 1927, Page 1. | Part 2 |

1930 "The Development of the Middletown, N.Y., Water Supply," by J. A. Korschen, Journal of the American Water Works Association 22(5):655-662 (May, 1930)

1930 "A Statement to the Water Consumers of Middletown," Middletown Times Herald, October 25, 1930, Page 5.

1940 "Wooden Pipe to Reservoir Found," Middletown Times Herald, January 4, 1940, Page 1.
A sixty-seven year-old wooden pipe line that once augmented Middletown's water supply by carrying from the Shawangunk kill to the city's first reservoir, Monhagen lake, is being unearthed by excavation shovels.  The pipe, made of eight foot logs, wrapped with iron banding after a twelve inch hole had been bored through the middle, appears little damaged by the passage of time.

1940 "Historical Society Gets Sections of Old Wood Pipe," Middletown Times Herald, January 31, 1940, Page 2.
Historical Society Seeks Data on Old Water Mains.

1940 "VanDuzer Home Formally Opened by Historians," Middletown Times Herald, June 15, 1940, Page 7.
Wooden water pipes recently uncovered at Howells.

1959 Brave Men and Bright Machines: The Story of the Middletown Fire Department, Middletown, N.Y., by Charles L. Radzinsky
Pages 11-12:  The Water System.
The fireman's first concern, when answering an alarm, is for the occupants of the burning building. His next concern is water. With this, in mind, we present the available facts about our water supply.
A committee, appointed by the Village Trustees, some time before, to investigate the building of a water system, gave its report in October 1866. It named four possible sites: a Monhagen Brook dam above the Village limits, the McQuoid springs, the George E. Cox place and the John Carey and Josiah Mapes farm. The Cox farm, which was nearest to the village, was finally approved and purchased for $8,750. The citizens authorized the Trustees to bond the Village for $75,000, the amount needed to complete the project.
The first Water Commissioners were, E. M. Madden, H. R. Wilcox and J. M. Matthews, and it was suggested that in their honor the reservoir should be called "Lake Mad-Wil-Mat". This idea was laughed at and the lake soon acquired the name, Monhagen Lake.
On December 31, 1867, water, to be used for fire purposes only, was turned into the pipes of the Water Works. The mains, being of concrete, often broke and proved to be neither durable nor satisfactory. The first hydrant to be turned on at a fire was located at the corner of West Main Street and Henry Street. The fire was located in some oil tanks on an Erie Railroad car near the depot.
In 1872, the Water Board tried out pinewood piping of eight inch bore. A thousand feet was laid on Hanford Street, 507 feet on East Main Street and 770 feet on Cottage Street.  From the large wooden plugs used to close the taps in the wooden pipes came the term "plug" or "fire plug", used in referring to hydrants. Engraved firemanic certificates of this period show the hydrants to be covered by a six-sided wooden enclosure.
An attempt was made in 1872 to enlarge the water system.  A wooden pipeline was extended to Shawangunk Kill and a pumping station installed. In 1874, however, this operation was stopped by an injunction obtained by one of the owners of land along the Kill. The Village got along as best it could under this reduced supply until a water famine in 1879 made it necessary, for fire protection, to shut the mains to private consumers.
In 1889, the City, Middletown having been incorporated as such in 1888, again voted $75,000 to enlarge the system and Highland Lake was added as a storage plant. In 1891, a new iron pipeline was built from Monhagen Lake to the City.
The voters in 1900 approved a third bond issue, this one for $190,000, to build a much needed third reservoir, Shawangunk Lake, with a capacity of 434,000,000 gallons of water. Highland Lake water was diverted into a separate high pressure water system. A filter plant, later enlarged, was also completed.
These improvements, together with the acquisition of additional watershed land, the planting of a municipal forest and the raising of the dam of Shawangunk Lake in 1926, has placed the water system in its present splendid condition. It has been necessary, however, to place stringent sprinkling regulations on the householder in recent years. This has been done, not because of a shortage of water, but because of a serious drop in water pressure during certain hours, particularly in the higher and more remote sections of the City.
Page 15:  The new reservoir and water works provided pressure sufficient to outmode the hand pumps and for some time the Phoenix and Eagles used the jumpers belonging to their 1851 engines to cart hose.
Page 103:  The rating history for the City of Middletown shows a steady decrease, not only in the number of points of deficiency, but also in the basic insurance rate. Obviously, this has been made possible only by continual improvements in the city's fire defenses.
The first reference to this fact was contained in a news item of May 5, 1925, which announced "a reduction in the base rate of insurance from 40 to 35 cents per $100 capitalization by recent action of the New York Fire Insurance Rating Organization.  This was made possible by an improved water system and a revised building code. A savings of $10,000 in fire insurance premiums was thus effected".

1969 "Water Crisis Ended with Firing of Chiefs," Middletown Times Herald Record, June 18, 1969, Page 54.

Thanks to Alyssa Masotto with the Local History Department of the Middletown Thrall Library for searching and scanning several of the above articles from local newspapers.

© 2017 Morris A. Pierce