Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania  Hazleton

Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Hazleton was founded by the Hazleton Coal Company in the 1830s, incorporated as a borough in 1857 and as a city in 1891.

The first water works was built by the Hazleton Coal Company to supply their coal works around 1860.  The company was also willing to provide water to the town, which was authorized by an 1862 law.   The company changed their name to the Hazleton Railroad Company in 1865 and was merged into the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1868.   A bill was introduced in 1871 to incorporate the Hazleton Water Company, but did not pass.

The Hazleton Water Company was incorporated in 1895 by James I. Blakesee, Mauch Chunck:, James F. Schaperkotter, Philadelphia; T. W. Haime, Mount Holly, N. J.; Madison M. Meredith, Philadelphia, and David G. Baird of Beverly, N. J.  This company owned and operated the Hazleton water supply.

The Wyoming Valley Water Supply Company was incorporated on April 30, 1900 as a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company. 

The Hazleton Water Company was incorporated in 1937 to own six water companies that had previously been owned by the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Company.

The Hazleton Water Company was sold to the Hazleton City Authority for $3.3 million on April 19, 1943.

Water is provided by the Hazleton City Authority, which has a page with the organization's corporate history, which is summarized here:
The Hazleton City Authority got its beginnings on Nov. 1, 1938, when it was organized under the Municipal Authorities Act of 1935. The authority was initially founded as an industrial authority to purchase a portion of the Duplan Silk Corporation’s building along Diamond Avenue and Cedar Street in order to keep jobs in Hazleton.
After Duplan closed its Hazleton facility in 1953, HCA’s industrial arm continued to recruit employers to the building for the next 25 years until the City of Hazleton took over the building in 1978. The Duplan building was sold to Sargent Art in 1985.
Meanwhile, HCA acquired the Hazleton Water Company on April 19, 1943. The Hazleton Water Company had been incorporated on Dec. 31, 1937, as a merger of six local water companies. Those water companies and their service areas were as follows:
    Beaver Meadows Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying water in Banks Township, Carbon County.
    Delano Water Company, incorporated November 13, 1901, and supplying water in Delano Township, Schuylkill County.
    Diamond Water Company of Hazleton, Pa., incorporated June 24, 1887, and supplying water particularly in the Diamond addition of Hazleton (annexed by Hazleton, then a borough, in 1885) but also to Hazleton and the vicinity in general.
    Drifton Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying Hazle Township, Luzerne County.
    Hazleton Water Company, incorporated January 8, 1895, and supplying Hazleton with the exception of the Diamond Addition.
    Tomhicken Water Company, incorporated June 19, 1893, and supplying Black Creek Township, Luzerne County.
Until the merger, these six companies were operated by the Wyoming Valley Water Supply Company, a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.

1860 Weekly Miners' Journal (Pottsville, Pennsylvania), April 21, 1860, Page 3.
Terra-Cotta Pipe Agency!  Stone Pipes, for conveying water to colleries or dwellings, and as discharge pipes for carrying water off.  The subscribers have on hand, and are prepared to furnish stone pipes from 2 to 12 inches in diameter--with elbows and connections for connecting at any angle. 

1862 An act providing for the introduction of water into the borough of Hazleton.  March 8, 1862.

1863 Report of the Board of Directors of the Hazleton Coal Company, to the Stockholders. February 19, 1863.
Page 10.  A legislative act for the protection and security of the water works, was obtained last winter.

1871 Harrisburg Telegraph, February 17, 1871, Page 2.
Legislature. Senate. Bills in Place.  One to incorporate the Hazleton water company.

1871 Harrisburg Telegraph, February 28, 1871, Page 1.
Legislature. Senate. Reports from Committees.  Judiciary General with a negative recommendation, an act to incorporate the Hazleton water company.

1873 An act granting additional rights, powers and franchises to the Rock Spring Water Company, heretofore incorporated by the court of common pleas of Luzerne county, authorizing the said company to enter upon lands and streams for the purposes of the said company, and to furnish a supply of water to the citizens of the borough of Hazleton in said county.  March 28, 1873.

1873 Guide Book of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, by William H. Sayre
Page 138:  Hazleton.  The town is well supplied, from works owned by the railroad company, with pure spring-waer from an adjoining hill.

1880 History of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming Counties, Pa: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers
Pages 282-283:  Hazleton Borough.  The borough is abundantly supplied with pure spring water by the Hazleton Water Company.  The water is obtained upon one of the hills southeast of the town and conveyed in terra cotta pipes.  The altitude of Hazleton, the purity of the air and water, with the perfect system of sewerage and the enforcement of strict sanitary measures, make it one of the exceedingly healthy towns of the state.  The water company has in course of construction an artesian well, which when completed will add largely to the water supply.

1881 Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company to the Stockholders, January 18, 1881.
Page 14:  The water supply at Hazleton is each year becoming more uncertain and precarious.  Early in the year an eight-inch hold was sunk through rock six hundred feet to the red shale, with the hope of obtaining a large supply of water.  This was only a partial success, although it has been of great service during the past dry summer, as we obtained by pumping from it twenty-four hundred gallons an hour.  Some further provisions ought to be made to insure a constant and adequate supply of water at that place.

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

1887 Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Page 581. Charters of Corporations.  Diamond Water Company, June 24, 1887, Capital $200,000.  Supplying waer to the public of the diamond addition to the Hazleton borough particularly, and to the public of Hazleton and vicinity generally.

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

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

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

1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Selections, Volume 1, by Henry C. Bradsby
Pages 522:  Two different water works supply the place with the greatest abundance of the staff of life.
Pages 528-529:  Until the Diamond Coal company erected their water works to supply their addition, the only water company was that of the Lehigh Valley railroad, their works erected in 1862; the facilities they can furnish in case of fire are not adequate to the emergency that might arise. The two reservoirs have a capacity of over 7,000,000 gallons.
The Diamond water works were erected in 1887. Already the demands require that they double their capacity, and at this time (June, 1892) work has commenced enlarging their reservoir.

1895 Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, January 11, 1895, Page 1.
The Hazleton Water Company made application to-day for a charter.  The subscribers are James I. Blakesee, Mauch Chunck:, James F. Schaperkotter, Philadelphia; T. W. Haime, Mount Holly, N. J.; Madison M. Meredith, Philadelphia, and David G. Baird of Beverly, N. J.  The capital stock of the corporation is $50,000.

1895 Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Page a113. Charters of Corporations.  Hazleton Water Company, January 8, 1895, Capital $50,000.  Said corporation is formed for the purpose of supplying water to the public in the city of Hazleton, in the county of Luzerne, State of Pennsylvania (excepting the Diamond addition to Hazleton), and to such person, partnerships and corporations residing there in or adjacent thereto as may desire the same.

1896 Annual report of the Board of Directors of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company to the stockholders. January 14th, 1896.
Pages 19-20:  The continued drought of the past summer entailed great expense in hauling water for the use of our shops, locomotives, and collieries. We were also obliged to haul water to augment the supply of the city of Hazleton for a period of many weeks. For several weeks we hauled upwards of 800,000 gallons every 24 hours, using 10 locomotives for this service exclusively. We also found it necessary to erect pumps at Black Creek Junction, Weatherly, and other points, but notwithstanding this several of the collieries tributary to our road were unable to work, and it was necessary to largely restrict the use of water for domestic and manufacturing purposes in Hazleton, and to make arrangements to flush the sewers with mine water. We also suffered from lack of sufficient water supply for our locomotives on our Mountain Cut-Off, making it necessary to reduce the number of cars in all east-bound trains, thereby causing great increase in transportation charges, as well as delay in the movement of freight and coal over the Wilkes-Barre Mountain. Active measures have been taken to overcome this difficulty.

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

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.

1914 Souvenir History of Hazelton, Pennsylvania: The Power City of the Anthracite Coal Region. Issued in Connection with the Elks' State Reuion, August 25th, 26th, 27th, 1914, by J.F. Harlan

1915 Wilkes-Barre Times, November 19, 1915, Page 22.
Hazleton Water Co. Sells its Interest.  The Wyoming Valley Water company today purchased the interests of the Diamond Water Company of Hazleton.  The two companies attempted to merge some time ago, but the Public Service Commission blocked the deal.  The corporations got around the objections of the service board by having the Wyoming Valley company purchase the interests of the Diamond company and electing new officers.

© 2016 Morris A. Pierce