Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Oswego

Oswego, New York

Oswego was incorporated as a village in 1828 and as a city in 1848.

The Oswego Water Works Company was incorporated in 1863, but did not build a system until 1867.  This system used water power to pump water from the Oswego River to an elevated reservoir and began operating in November, 1867.

The company was sold to the city in 1902 for $550,000 and the city built a new steam pumping station to bring water from Lake Ontario.

Water is provided by the City of Oswego.

1863 An act to incorporate the Oswego Water Works Company.  May 4, 1863.

1867 An act to amend an act entitled "An act to incorporate the Oswego Water Works Company," passed May fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-three.  January 10, 1867.

1867 An act to revive and continue in force the charter of the Oswego Water Works Company  February 25, 1867.

1881 "Oswego," from Engineering News 8:480-481 (November 26, 1881)

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

1887 "An exorbitant price," The Buffalo Commercial, July 30, 1887, Page 1.
Demanded by the Oswego Water Works Company for Supplying the City.  Things in bad shape.

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

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

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

1895 Landmarks of Oswego County, New York, by John Charles Churchill
Pages 402-403:  The Oswego Water Works Company was incorporated on the 4th of May, 1863, but work on the construction of its plant was not commenced until the spring of 1867. The original incorporators of the company were Thomas Kingsford, De Witt C. Littlejohn, Delos De Wolf, Samuel B. Johnson, Hamilton Murray, Theodore Irwin, Cheney Ames, John B. Edwards, and Abner C. Mattoon, who also constituted the first Board of Directors. The capital stock was $75,000, which was divided into shares of $100 each. The company was reorganized in 1867, and its capital increased to $229,500, and in November, 1867, the system as then contemplated was completed, and consisted of a pumping station with one set of pumps of 2,000,000 gallons capacity per day, located at the High Dam on the river two miles south of the City Hall; two filtering and distributing reservoirs of 20,000,000 gallons capacity; and about sixteen miles of mains, upon which were 100 fire hydrants, for the supply of which the city was to pay $20,000 annually. Hon. William J. McAlpine was the chief engineer, John McNair was resident engineer, and James McDonald was the builder of the works. The first board of directors under the new organization, elected February 16, 1867, consisted of Delos De Wolf, D. C. Littlejohn, John B. Edwards, Thomas Kingsford, A. C. Mattoon, Samuel B. Johnson, Theodore Irwin, Cheney Ames and Daniel G. Fort, with Delos De Wolf as president and Mr. Fort as secretary and treasurer. In 1883 Thomas S. Mott assumed control of the company, and after his election as president continued to hold that office until his death in 1891. Under his able management the company brought its plant to its present efficient condition, which is more than double the original capacity. It now has two pumping stations equipped with the most modern water wheels and with pumps of over 5,000,000 gallons daily capacity; reservoirs with modern filters; forty-five miles of mains, 244 fire hydrants, and twenty drinking fountains; and the average daily consumption of water is over 2,500,000 gallons. The Board of Directors for 1894 consists of John T. Mott, president; Elliott B. Mott, vice-president and treasurer; Henry H. Lyman, secretary; and Thomson Kingsford, Theodore Irwin, George B. Sloan, J. D. W. Case, Edgar D. Johnson and Henry L. Wright. Thomas H. Bennett is superintendent.

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

1898 "Possible Water Works Trust," The New York Times, March 2, 1898, Page 4.
Extraordinary Powers conferred on an Oswego Company by a bill of Senator Stranahan.

1901 "Offer for Oswego Water Works," Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), February 5, 1901, Page 1.
A New York syndicate represented by C.F. Street has offered $300,000 for the Oswego water-works plant.  The syndicate proposes to install a system by means of which water is to be obtained from Lake Ontario.  The syndicate already controls the electric power and lighting of the city.

1902 An act to amend chapter three hundred and ninety-four of the laws of eighteen hundred and ninety-five, entitled "An act to revise the charter of the city of Oswego", and to authorize the city of Oswego to purchase the water plant and the property and righs pertaining thereto to furnish a supply of water, from the Oswego water works company, and to issue bonds therefor and to provide for payment of the same.  March 4, 1902.  Passed without the acceptance of the city.

1902 "Notice," The New York Times, April 24, 1902, Page 13.
The City has Oswego has purchased the plant of the Oswego Water Works Company.

1904 "Vote to Bond the City," The Buffalo Times (December 23, 1904), Page 4.
Taxpayers approve $200,000 to change source of water supply from Oswego River to Lake Ontario.  The present plant was bought by the city three eyars ago from the Oswego Water Works Company for $550,000.

1912 "The Failure of a Dam at Oswego," Engineering Record 65:401 (April 13, 1912)
Built in 1870 by the Oswego Water Works Company.

1919 "Oswego Water Works," Fire and Water Engineering 65(23):1362-1363 (June 4, 1919) | also here |

1957 "Tunnel blast kills 3 under Lake Ontario," Wilkes-Barre Record, August 19, 1957, Page 1.

Coast Guard Medal, (Wikipedia), The first recipients of the Coast Guard Medal were FN Earl H. Leyda and BM3 Albert Raymond Johnson who were awarded the decoration in March 1958. The citation for the Coast Guard Medal was for actions performed in August 1957 while attempting to rescue trapped workers from the Oswego Water Works Tunnel, under Lake Ontario, in Oswego, New York.

2018 Morris A. Pierce