Documentary History of American Water-works

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

Kittanning, Pennsylvania

Kittanning was incorporated as a borough in 1803.

The Kittanning Water Company was incorporated on March 12, 1868 and built a system that pumped water from the Allegheny River using a steam engine.  It  began service in January, 1872..

The Armstrong Water Company was incorporated on August 27, 1886 and built a system that began operating in 1887. 

The Armstrong Water Company leased the plant of the Kittanning Water Company in 1888, and bought it in August, 1891.

The Armstrong Water Company was bought by the American Water Works and Electric Company in November, 1927.

Water is provided by Pennsylvania American Water.

1861 An act to incorporate the Kittanning water company.  April 27, 1861.  No copy of this charter has been found.

1862 An act extending the time for paying the Enrolment Tax of the Kittanning Water Company.  April 5, 1862.

1866 An act to incorporate the Kittanning water company.  March 12, 1866.

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

1883 History of Armstrong County Pennsylvania, by Robert Walter Smith.
Page 149:  WATER WORKS. By act of March 12, 1866, a charter was granted to the Kittanning Water Company for the purpose of introducing pure water from any stream in this county into this borough. The capital stock is $50,000, divided into shares of $50 each. The company was to be organized, managed and governed as provided by the general act of March 11, 1857, providing for the incorporation of gas and water companies. The charter gives this company the right to enter upon and take possession of any lands or inclosures, streams or water within this county for effecting its purposes, on filing bond as required by that general act to cover all damages assessed therefor. The company is also authorized to borrow any sum of money not exceeding $20,000 and issue bonds at such rates of interest as may be agreed upon between the parties, each one not to be for a less sum than $100. Letters patent were issued May 17, 1871, and the company was organized June 7, next following. Within the ensuing seven months the water works were completed and the water was turned into the pipes January 10, 1872. The number of paying consumers is 354. The reservoir, with a capacity of 35,717 barrels, is located in the upper part of the field east of the street and road extending past the court-house and jail into Valley township, 190 feet in hight above Water, Jefferson and McKean streets, giving a pressure of eighty pounds to the square inch, to which water from near the bottom and middle of the Allegheny river, through a pipe extending from along the bed of the river beneath the public alley between and parallel to Arch and Vine streets, by steam pumps located on lot No. 58, on the south side of that alley and adjacent to the southern bend in Truby's Run. The reservoir, if empty, can be filled in forty-five hours. The main pipes are iron, four-six, and ten inches in diameter, and laid from three and one-half to four feet below the surface along all the streets, their aggregated length being four and one-half miles, besides 3,500 feet of six-inch rising main extending from the pumps to the reservoir and 600 feet of ten-inch suction main extending from near the middle of the river to the pumps, which, with the engine, are in a brick structure erected therefor.

1887 Charles Beck, v. Kittanning Water Company, 8 Sadler 237, October 31, 1887, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

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

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

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

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

1900 Armstrong Water Company v. Rayburn Water Company, March 7, 1900, Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas
On Aug. 6, 1888, the Armstrong Water Co. leased the plant of the Kittanning Water Co., extended the system of water works constructed by it, and operated the said plant by virtue of its charter, under said lease, up to the summer of 1891. On Aug. 28, 1891, the Armstrong Water Co. purchased from the Kittanning Water Co., by deed dated Aug. 28, 1891, “its water plant and appurtenances, property real and personal, property rights and franchises, said property consisting especially of the pump station, reservoir, mains and distributing pipes, situate and being in and about the borough of Kittanning. in the county of Armstrong and state of Pennsylvania, together with all real estate and rights of way unto said plant and corporation thereunto belonging."

1914 History of Armstrong County Pa, Her People, Past and Present. Volume 1
Page 110:  A charter was granted the Kittanning Water Company in 1866, and in 1872 it commenced to supply the town with water from the Allegheny. In 1886 the company was reorganized under the name of Armstrong Water Company, to whom a charter was granted giving exclusive rights in the town. But in the following year this charter was revoked by the State and a new one granted, which did not contain the objectionable monopolistic clause. The plant of the company has been gradually increased in size since the time of commencing operations and is at present ample to supply the borough. Two reservoirs, an old and a new one, are located near the town of Wickboro, just above the line of Kittanning. The only trouble the company has to contend with is the difficulty of obtaining a pure supply of water in the dry seasons when the Allegheny is low. Great expense would be incurred in damming the Cowanshannock, and there is always danger of contamination by the mines and mills of this vicinity. The problem will, however, be worked out in the coming years.

1918 Fire and Water Engineering 64(11):195 (September 11, 1918.
The Armstrong Water Company of Kittanning, Pa., holds to the terms of its first offer to sell its holdings to the borough for $270,000. The town has offered $150,000, which is refused by the company.

1927 "Armstrong Water Company Sold," The New York Times, November 24, 1927, Page 37.
The American Water Works and Electric Company has purchased the Armstrong Water Company, which serves Kittanning, Pa., and now controls and operates thirty-eight water-works properties in sixteen states.  Kittanning has 10,700 population and is about forty-five miles from Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River.

© 2019 Morris A. Pierce