Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Centralia

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia was incorporated as a borough in 1866.

The Centralia Water Company was incorporated on March 30, 1866.  The company built a reservoir was built on the side of Locust Mountain and laid wooden mains throughout the town

The company reincorporated under the same name on October 7, 1904, and was acquired by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company on January 1, 1905.

Centralia has been largely abandoned due to a coal mine fire that has been burning since 1962.  It is unclear if there is a public water supply serving the remaining residents.

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

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

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

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

1905 Fire and Water Engineering 38(11):163 (September 9, 1905)
In order to acquire water rights and project the water supply of the Lehigh Valley Rairoad company in the lower Schuylkill region of Pennsylvania, the Blackwood Water Company has been organized, with a capital of $50,000, all owned by the railway company, which has also purchased the entire capital stock of the Centralia Water company, of Centralia, Pa., for $140,000, so as the more fully to project is interests in that town.

1910 Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company to the Stockholders, June 30, 1910.
Page 16:  The many water operations owned and conducted by your Company, originally acquired for the purpose of protecting and maintaining an adequate water supply for the system, have grown to considerable magnitude and importance. In the development of these properties it has been necessary to advance, from time to time, funds for the enlargement and improvement of the several plants. To provide the additional capital required for the future extension thereof a comprehensive financial plan has been adopted. In connection therewith and to effect that economy which results from concentration, the operations have been placed under the management of one Company, viz.: the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Co., the entire capital stock of which is owned by your Company. This has been accomplished by leasing thereto all the property of the various water companies. The Wyoming Valley Water Supply Co. further acquired by purchase from the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company all of the capital stocks of the Hazleton Water Company, Locust Mountain Water Company, Beaver Meadow Water Company, Blackwood Water Company, Centralia Water Company, Citizens Water Company of Tremont, Delano Water Company, Denison Township Water Company, Drifton Water Company, Oneida Water Company, Tomhicken Water Company, and Wright Township Water Company; also $300,000 Bonds of the Hazleton Water Company and $125,000 Bonds of the Locust Mountain Water Company. For the payment thereof the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Co. increased its capital stock from $1,000 to $100,000 and created a First Mortgage securing an issue Of $2,000,000 Fifty-Year Five Per Cent. Gold Bonds, the latter secured by a pledge of all of the real estate, water rights, pumping plants, and pipe lines, owned or hereafter acquired, as well as the stocks and bonds above named. The Water Supply Co. delivered to your Company at par its increased capital stock and $895,000 of its Bonds in payment for the stocks and bonds of the several water companies and for certain advances made to them, not previously reimbursed. The balance of the bonds secured by the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Co. Mortgage will be issued thereunder as additional funds are necessary. The capital stock and bonds received from the Water Supply Co. are in your treasury, the bonds being available for such future needs as may arise.

1915 Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania
Page 203:  Water Supply.  The Centralia Water Company was chartered in 1866, a reservoir was built on the side of Locust mountain and wooden mains laid through the town. The company later became financially involved and the property was sold in 1876 to William Brydon. By this time the mains had rotted and the supply of water was very inadequate. Brydon improved the property and service greatly. After his time the works were successively owned by A. B. Fortner, David C. Black, Edward Williams, A. K. Mensch, O. B. Millard, John W. Fortner, and others.
Owing to the pumping plants of the mines affecting the water supply the Locust Mountain Water Company was formed in 1881 for the purpose of building a dam across Brush Valley run to conserve the supply in a permanent manner. They constructed a reservoir on top of the mountain and laid several miles of mains. This removed the possibility of a water famine.
The fire protection of Centralia consists of a volunteer company and a hose and ladder truck, but poor water pressure hampers the fire fighters greatly.

2019 Morris A. Pierce