Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Danville

Danville, Pennsylvania

Danville was incorporated as a borough in 1849.

The Danville Water Company was incorporated in 1867, but did not build anything.

The borough was authorized to build water works in 1872, and built a Holly system that was demonstrated on September 11, 1873.  The system used steam engines to pump water from the upper branch of the Susquehanna River.  The system included two engines of each one hundred and fifty horse-power, two powerful rotary pumps and a gang of twelve piston pumps.

The Danville Municipal Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1951.

Water is provided by the Danville Municipal Authority

1867 An act to incorporate the Danville Water Company.  March 26, 1867.

1869 A supplement to an act to incorporate the Danville Water Company, approved March twenty-sixth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven.  April 14, 1869

1872 An act to enable the borough of Danville, in the county of Montour, to establish water works.  March 22, 1872.

1873 A supplement to an act, entitled "An Act to enable the borough of Danville, in the county of Montour, to establish water works," approved March twenty-third, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two.  April 10, 1873.

1873 "Danville Items," Northumberland County Democrat (Sunbury, Pennsylvania), August 22, 1873, Page 2.
Fire. About ten o'clock A.M., on the 21st inst., the large planing mill belonging to Levi Berger was discovered to be on fire.  Two hand engines and a steamer were soon on the ground, but the flames spread so rapidly that all efforts to save the property were fruitless.  The new Holly Water Works have not been fully completed yet, but Mr. Holly started a fire under the boiler and in 12 minutes had the works in operation.  The hose belonging to the hand engines was attached to the street plugs and soon five immense streams were playing on the fire.  This, with the efforts of the engines, prevented the flames from spreading.  The fire was the work of incindinary.  It was insured in the Lycoming, but for what amount we did learn.

1873 Northumberland County Democrat (Sunbury, Pennsylvania), September 12, 1873, Page 3.
There will be a test of the new Holly Water Works at Danville on Thursday, Sept. 11th.

1881 Danville, from Engineering News, 8:394 (November 12, 1881)

1881 Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania: A Collection of Historical and Biographical Sketches, by D. H. B. Brower
Pages 150-152:  Water Works. The question of supplying Danville with water was long and earnestly debated, and various plans or systems were proposed. Some favored a reservoir on York's Hill and forcing the water from the river by a powerful, stationary engine. Others favored a reservoir, but insisted on bringing the water from Roaring creek in pipes passing under the river bed; others again were inclined to a connection with the water works at the asylum. Some ten years ago, a company was chartered, as the "Danville Water Company;" but it never got beyond a formal organization. In 1871 some pamphlets were sent to this place, explaining the character and success of the "Holly system," recently introduced by the Holly firm at Lockport, New York. The town council took up the subject, and whilst all urged a water supply the council was about equally divided between the Holly system and a reservoir. Finally a committee, consisting of George W. Reay, J. W. Sweisfort, William Buckley, and M. D. L. Sechler, was appointed to investigate the subject.
In the later part of April, 1872, the committee went to Elmira, Buffalo, Binghampton, Rochester, Auburn, and other cities where the various plans are in operation. It is worthy of note that a majority of the committee was opposed to the Holly system, but after a full investigation they unanimously reported in favor of the Holly works. Previous to this an election was held at the court house to ascertain the popular sentiment. There was a large majority in favor of water, but owing to some informality the result was not satisfactory. After a warm contest the Holly system was adopted by the casting vote of Burgess, Oscar Ephlin, and a contract was accordingly made with the Holly Company at Lockport, New York. The final vote on adopting the Holly system was as follows: For the Holly works, George W. Reay, William Buckley, Jacob Schuster, George W. Miles, J. W. Sweisfort, M. D. L. Sechler, and Oscar Ephlin, Bur- • gess. Against the Holly works; George Lovett, Samuel Lewis, James L. Riehl, Henry M. Schoch, and Hickman Frame.
The water works are located on the river bank in the First ward. The engines and pumps are a model of beauty and of power. A filterer was constructed some distance out in the river, and the water from thence forced through metal pipes through every portion of the town, not only supplying the citizens but proving a great safety in case of fire. These works have a capacity of two millions of gallons in twenty-four hours, but can be procured of any desired capacity. In the works here, there are two engines of each one hundred and fifty horse-power, two powerful rotary pumps and a gang of twelve piston pumps. There are ten miles of pipe laid and there are about one hundred fire hydrants. The pipe was laid by S. Krebs & Co., under a contract for $87,500. The contract for the engines and pumps, with the Holly Manufacturing Company, at Lockport, New York, was for $36,000. In 1880 the council had a well sunk on the river bank, fifty feet in length, five feet wide, and ten feet deep. The works are now perfectly satisfactory; the wretched filterer in the river having been a source of constant trouble. It is proper to say that the wells as now constructed, belong to the Holly system. The people of Danville, notwithstanding the consequent debt, fully appreciate the great value of the Holly system of water supply, and would on no consideration exchange their magnificent works for any mud-hole of a reservoir that ever sent its doubtful essence through a city, burdened, and yet deprived of pure, wholesome water. We now have an abundance, and the safety these works afford in case of fire as well as the economy in supporting a fire department is alone worth more to Danville than their cost. In point of convenience, purity, cleanliness, health, and safety from fire, the Holly system of water works, so far as our experience with the testimony of other cities extends is superior to all others.
The water works are managed by a board of three commissioners, appointed by the town council. A superintendent, secretary, and other employees are appointed by the commissioners.
The present board of water commissioners consist of John H. Grove, James Cruikshanks, and Doctor R. S. Simington.
Superintendent, James Foster.
Clerk, Charles M. Zuber.

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

1887 History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania: Containing a History of Each County, Their Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, Churches, Industries, Etc., Portraits of Representative Men, Biographies, History of Pennsylvania, Statistical and Miscellaneous Matter, Etc., by J. H. Battle
Part III - Page 115:  Water Works. With the growth of the town and its factories came the important question of a supply of good water. The subject received general consideration as early as 1867 and the more it was discussed the more determined became those citizens of spirit and enterprise to devise some way to meet the long felt want. The water in the town wells, found at a depth of twenty to twentyfive feet, or at the strata of rock forming the river bed, which was never first rate, was growing positively bad. In 1871 the Danville Water Company was formed, but it seems it ceased to live after its formal organization. A committee was appointed in 1872 consisting of George W. Reay, J . W. Sweisfort, William Buckley, and M. D. L. Sechler, which visited several cities for the purpose of investigating fully the subject. Upon their recommendation the present place was adopted and the water works constructed, the Holly Company’s system being deemed the best and cheapest. The works are located on the bank of the river just below the bridge, a filter is constructed some distance in the river and the water forced by powerful engines through the pipes to all parts of the city, there being nearly twelve miles of water mains, costing about $100,000 ; the engines and pumps costing $36,000. The works give entire satisfaction in their operation and such is their capacity and facilities that upon a few moments’ notice they can increase the force of the water sufficiently to drown almost any conflagration that might occur.

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

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

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

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

1915 Tenth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Pages 125-158: Typhoid Fever in Danville State Insane Asylum and in the Borough of Danville, Montour County

1915 Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania, Containing a Concise History of the Two Counties and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Representative Families, Volume I.
Pages 370-372:  Waterworks.

© 2019 Morris A. Pierce