Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States New York Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge, New York

Suspension Bridge was incorporated as the village of Niagara City in 1845 and was consolidated with the City of Niagara Falls when it was incorporated in 1892.

The village built a Holly water works system driven by water power that was completed on August 1, 1876.  Water was sold to the adjacent village of Niagara Falls starting in July, 1877.

Water is provided by the Niagara Falls Water Board.

1878 History of Niagara county, N. Y., with illustrations descriptive of its scenery, private residences, public buildings, fine blocks, and important manufactories, and portraits of old pioneers and prominent residents
By general consent the credit of the conception and realization of the idea of water-works for the village is accorded to O. W. Cutler, a prominent and well known resident of the place. In 1872 or 1873 a special bill was introduced in the Legislature to enable the village to avail itself of the advantages accruing from the improvement mentioned, which was defeated in the interest of certain corporations paying heavy taxes in the town of Niagara. In 1875 the general act was passed, enabling villages to supply themselves with pure and wholesome water ; and soon afterward a public meeting of the citizens of the village was called at Colt's Hall, where a sentiment was declared in favor of the project, and a subsequent meeting of the tax-payers resulted in a majority favoring the prosecution of the enterprise. The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, through its attorneys, procured an injunction on account of alleged irregularities. New proceedings were instituted, which, in November, 1875, prevailed in spite of much strenuous opposition. In the spring of 1876 the work was begun, and completed August 1st of the same year.
The following particulars with respect to the description and extent of the works will be of interest : The Holly system was adopted. The pumps of the Suspension Bridge works are at the hydraulic basin at Niagara Falls, the water-works company of that village using them as a source of supply, and paying for the privilege thirty per cent, of their gross receipts. There are in Suspension Bridge four and one-half miles of pipe, and twenty-seven double-discharge fire hydrants.
The advantages following the introduction of the water-works have been many, among them the reduction of rates of insurance from fifteen to one hundred per cent., and a radical change in the organization of the fire department, with a reduction of expense in its maintenance. It is said that before the system had been in operation a month there was a fire in McMann's block which was extinguished with a saving of a sufficient amount of property to nearly pay the expense of .the improvement, which amounted in the aggregate to about $60,000. The village was bonded to raise the required amount, the first payment falling due in 1881, and $3,000 each year for twenty years thereafter. Strong as was the opposition of some parties to the water-works at first, time has demonstrated their practical utility to the satisfaction of the great majority of the tax-payers of the village. The annual revenue is fast increasing, and it is confidently believed that the day is not far distant when they will not only be self-supporting but profitable to the corporation, not alone for their great convenience, but in a business point of view.

1881 "Suspension Bridge," from Engineering News 8:520 (December 24, 1881)

1882 Middletown, Engineering News, 9:356 (October 14, 1882)

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

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

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

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

1897 Landmarks of Niagara County, New York, by William Pool
Page 222:  Under the general act of 1875, enabling cities and villages to supply themselves with water, a public meeting was called at Colt's Hall to discuss the subject of establishing water works in the village. The matter was favorably considered and at a later meeting a majority of the tax payers favored the project. After some opposition on the part of the New York Central Railroad work was begun in the spring of 1876 and the plant on the well known Holly system was completed in August of the same year. The cost was about $60,000, to raise which the village was.bonded for $3,000 annually for twenty years. This system still supplies that part of the city of Niagara Falls with water, and has cost to the present time about $250,000. There are twenty-one miles of mains and I75 hydrants. H. A. Keller has been superintendent since I889. 

2018 Morris A. Pierce