Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Kennett Square was chartered as a borough on March 13, 1855.

The Pure Spring Water Company was organized around 1842 and built a system that used water power to pump water to an elevated reservoir.  Terra cotta (earthen) pipes were used for at least part of the distribution system.  The company petitioned for incorporation and the Pure Spring Water Company was incorporated in 1846 by the "present members" of the company, including Samuel Martin, Benjamin Pyle, Samuel Jacobs Esq., Lydia B. Miller, Solomon Mercer, Mifflin Pyle, Samuel Jackson Jr. Isaac Brosius, Samuel Pennock, Sumner Stebbins M.D., Joseph Taylor, Elizabeth Dilworth, L. W. Hoopes, John M. Anderson, B. H. Wiley, W. & J. T. Chambers, Caleb, Heald, Margaret Clark, Enoch Passmore, Henry Brosius, James White, John M. Scarlett, Levi Gause, John Darlington, Jesse Pyle, Morton Pennock, Harlan Gause, Jesse Miller, Jesse Pennock, John Chandler, B. L. Moore, Joseph James, John Lamborn, Lewis Sharp, William Commons, Cyrus Chambers, Jacob Plankenton, Joseph Heald and Joshua Taylor.

The Borough of Kennett Square bought stock in the water company in 1856 and purchased the entire company in July, 1867, for $3,000.

Water is provided by the Borough of Kennett Square from its own wells and the Chester Water Authority.

1846 An act to incorporate the Pure Spring Water company of Kennett Square, in the county of Chester.  February 21, 1846.

1846 Resolution supplementary to an act to incorporate the Pure Spring water company of Kennett Square, in Chester county.  February 26, 1846.

1867 An act relative to the borough of Kennett Square, in the county of Chester, enabling said borough to borrow money to erect water works, changing the mode of publishing ordinances, and opening, widening, and straightening streets, in said borough.  March 26, 1867.

1873 An act to authorize the borough of Kennett Square to erect water works and to supply the said borough with water.  April 10, 1873.

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

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

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

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

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

1982 Kennett Square, yesterday and today: A history of the borough of Kennett Square in the county of Chester in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by Henrietta G Bastalick, Janice B. Taylor and Richard W. Taylor.
Pages 30-31: The water supply to the borough came from a basin owned by the Pure Spring Water Company near Linden and Broad Streets. The borough had purchased stock in this company in 1856 but, with inconsistent supplies, decided in July of 1867 to purchase controlling interest to guarantee sufficient water. Rights to the company's assets were purchased for three thousand dollars. John E. Robinson was appointed superintendent of the waterworks and collector of the water tax. On April 10, 1869, a resolution was passed to build a new water basin at the site of the existing one. These improvements also resulted in another increase in the tax rate in 1870 to fifty cents.
Fire hydrants were constructed on the main streets in 1874. In 1872 a decision to find more and purer water resulted in the purchase of the mill of Sharpless Mercer along the west branch of the Red Clay Creek. The west branch was determined to be purer than the east branch.  Cast iron water mains were purchased to take the water from Mercer's mill to the reservoir. A new pump and turbine water wheel were installed in the waterworks and the son of Sharpless Mercer was paid twenty-five cents a day to oil the equipment and keep it in good working order. This plant served the borough until 1876 when the mill property was sold, the pumps and pipes removed and some property from John T. Chambers was purchased for a new waterworks.
Page 43: Relief in the unemployment crisis was aided by other Public Works Administration projects including the construction of a new reservoir in 1934. The reservoir was dug by hand, workmen excavating around the roots of trees and sawing down larger trees.
Page 46: A new forty-five-mile water line from the Chester Municipal Water Authority was laid through Kennett in June of 1950.
Page 47: In an effort to increase revenues and decrease water usage, water meters were installed in 1955 by order of borough council.

2016 Morris A. Pierce