Documentary History of American Water-works

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

New York Mills, New York

New York Mills was incorporated as a village in 1922.

Benjamin Walcott and Samuel Campbell built mills along Sauquoit Creek and established a thriving company town.  The company built a water works system for fire protection that also provided domestic water supply to the worker's houses.  The water system was related to Mill #3, which was built in 1842, but it is unclear when the water system was established.  More research is being done to determine that.

The New-York Mills Fire Company was incorporated in 1830 by Benjamin S. Walcott, Abraham Camp, James N. Austin, and George Peocock "for the purpose of procuring one or more fire engines and other implements for extinguishing fires in the said town of Whitestown.

The Whitestown Water Works Company was incorporated in 1899 and installed 22 miles of mains that serves Whitesboro, Oriskany, Yorkville, and New York Mills.  This company was acquired by the Consolidated Water Company of Utica on April 1, 1906.  The City of Utica purchased the company in 1938 for $7.9 million.

Water is provided by The Mohawk Valley Water Authority, which was created in 1994 as the Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board.  

1830 An act to incorporate the New-York Mills Fire Company.  April 20, 1830.

1840 An act to extend the charter of the New-York Mills Fire Company.  March 21, 1840.

1848 Sketch of New York Mills Main Plant, December, 1848, showing force pumps, hydrants, and water pipes.  From "New York Mills Company, 1807-1914; a study of managerial attitudes and practices in industrial relations," by Ernest J. Savoie.  Master's Thesis, Cornell University, 1955, page 44.

1861 An act to revive and extend the charter of the New-York Mills Fire Company.  March 26, 1861.

1874 Map of Whitestown, Oneida County, New York, with inset showing New York Mills

1874 New Hartford, Oneida County, New York, showing upper mills of New York Mills

1881 History of the Town of Paris, and the Valley of the Sauquoit, by Henry C. Rogers

1888 "New York Mills," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "New York Mills," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1895 "Perfectly Protected Mills," Fire and Water Engineering 18(5) (August 8, 1895)
The additions to the system of fire protection at the New York Mills, near Utica, N. Y.,will cost $25,000 and will be as nearly perfect as possible.
Six turbine wheels at each mill will pump the water from the Sauquoit creek by rotary friction pumps and steam pumps of the most improved construction. The plan calls for a 1,000-gallon underwriters’ pump. There are also three large soft water reservoirs filled by springs and rain water from the roofs, each having a capacity of 160,000 gallons.
The system which is being put in is a combination of the hydrant and sprinkler systems. The two systems will be entirely separate from each other, excepting at one point, where there is to be a connection through a gateway and check valve. In each mill yard there will be constructed a water tower over a hundred feet high with a 10,000 gallon tank on top. From these tanks 4 and 6-inch pipes lead to the pipes in the buildings, which carry the water to the sprinklers. These sprinklers are of the Grinnell automatic pattern. Over the end of the pipe, which opens under a concave disk, is metal stopper which is firmly held in place by two lead straps. When the temperature of the room reaches a certain point, 165 degrees F. ordinarily, the lead straps melt, allowing the stopper to loosen. The water from the pipe shoots upwards and is spread into a thick spray by the concave disk. In case a tank becomes exhausted water can be pumped into the tank or directly into the sprinkler pipes. Six and eight inch pipes supplied with water by the pumps lend up to the hydrants. These hydrants will be located at a sufficient distance from the buildings to prevent any accident to them from excessive heat or falling walls. They will also furnish protection to the tenement houses and store houses.
In mills Nos. 3 and 4, 100 tons of outside hydrant pipe, 25 tons of sprinkler pipe, 1,400 sprinkler heads, an iron pipe water tower 115 feet high, and a new steam pump are being placed. In mill No. 2 there will be put in 700 sprinkler heads with outside hydrants and pipes to correspond, a now fire pump, and a water tower. In No. 1 there will be put in 1,200 sprinkler heads, a 100 foot skeleton water tower, and about the same amount of outside hydrants. The old stone building at No. 2 mill is to be raised one story and a flat roof constructed in place of the double slant roof. The water tower will be built up so as to give a pressure of fifteen feet above (be highest sprinklers.

1908 Map of New York Mills, from "An Architectural Survey of New York Mills from 1808 to 1908," by Stephen B. Jareckie, M.A. Thesis, Syracuse University (1961)

1955 "The New York Mills Company 1807-1914. A study of Managerial Attitudes and Practices in Industrial Relations," Ernest J. Savoie, M.S. Thesis, Cornell University, September, 1955

1961 "An Architectural Survey of New York Mills from 1808 to 1908," by Stephen B. Jareckie, M.A. Thesis, Syracuse University

1997 "Story of a Village," by Wanda Misiaszek B.Finkle
Benjamin Walcott and Samuel Campbell were very successful in their endeavors and both accumulated substantial fortunes. which are now the village’s legacy. Both built gorgeous brick, identical mansions overlooking the mills. The original Walcott home was set back on the hillside overlooking the middle mill, where today are recently built homes between Wadas Drive and Pleasant street. Identical to this home was one  built for Samuel Campbell. The Campbell home was also built on a hill set way back, about an eighth of a mile from the main road. In front of this home were two ponds built as reservoirs to provide an endless supply  of fresh water for the mills and the surrounding company houses.

2005 New York Mills: The Evolution of a Village, by James S. Pula and Eugene E. Dziedzic

2013 New York Mills, by Eugene E Dziedzic and James S Pula

"Did you know?"  New York Mills Public Library
That Walcotts and Canpbells built five mansions, 124 company homes and 3 large boarding houses for housing.
That the middle Mill #2 was built in l825 and Mill #3 was erected by the same builder in l842. A new building at Mill #3 was built in l868.
That Mill #3 was devoted mostly to the manufacture of colored fabric. It employed 450 employees.
That the beautiful two circular ponds in front of the present Twin Ponds golf course once served as reservoirs for the lower mills and the company homes nearby.
That the upper mill #3 had spring fed reservoir on the south side of Burrstone road and that the water was piped to furnish drinking water for the mill and the Company homes nearby.

© 2018 Morris A. Pierce