Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania Shamokin

Shamokin, Pennsylvania

Shamokin was incorporated as a borough in 1864.

The first water works in Shamokin were built around 1850 when William and Reuben Fagely laid a line of pine logs with two-inch bore on Sunbury street. Several years later a line of similar construction was laid on Shamokin street from a spring on the mountain to the railroad crossing, where there was a public fountain from which the United States and National Hotels and private dwellings in that vicinity derived their supply. This was probably constructed by the Philadelphia and Sunbury Railroad Company. Iron pipe was first introduced in 1858, when William and Reuben Fagely laid a line on Liberty street from Cameron to Sunbury, and on Sunbury street from Orange to Shamokin, and in 1865 Stephen Bittenbender constructed a line of similar material on Pearl street from Dewart to Sunbury; thence on Sunbury street to Shamokin, and on Shamokin street to the railroad crossing.

The Shamokin Water Company was incorporated on March 12, 1866 with Stephen Bittenbender, Mathias Eiues, John Caldwell, Richard B. Douty, J. J. John, W. P. Withington, Reuben Fagely, John B. Douty, Franklin A. Clark, William H. Marshall, Daniel Weaver, Daniel Everet, William Roth, David N. Lake, Charles P. Helfenstein, and John J. Esher appointed as commissioners to sell stock..  Although several of these men were involved in building earlier water works, they were unable to move the project forward.

The Shamokin Water Company was incorporated, August 7,1872, with a  capital of one hundred thousand dollars, by William H. Marshall, W. R. Kutzner, Daniel Yost, W. M. Weaver, F. J. Anspach, Reuben Fagely, Daniel S. Miller, Isaac May, Sr., John B. Douty, Matthias Emes, John Rosser, Thomas Rosser, and Withington Lake.  This company built a gravity system that began service in 1873.

The Roaring Creek Water Company was incorporated on November 11, 1884 and built a large reservoir that supplied the Shamokin Water Company through a ten-mile long pipeline.  This company later leased and then in 1930 purchased the Shamokin Water Company.

The Roaring Fork Water Company bought the Shamokin Water Company, Bear Gap Water Company and Anthracite Water Companies in November, 1930.

Consumers Water Company bought the Roaring Fork Water Company on December 31, 1985.  The Philadelphia Suburban Corporation acquired Consumers Water Company on March 10, 1999.  Philadelphia Suburban was renamed Aqua America in 2004. 

Water is provided by Aqua Pennsylvania.


References
1866 An act to incorporate the Shamokin Water Company.  March 12, 1866.

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

1885 Shamokin, from Engineering News, 14:108 (August 15, 1885)

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

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

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

1891 History of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania: Including Its Aboriginal History, the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods, Early Settlement and Subsequent Growth, Political Organization, Agricultural, Mining, and Manufacturing Interests, Internal Improvements, Religious, Educational, Social, and Military History, Sketches of Its Boroughs, Villages, and Townships, Portraits and Biographies of Pioneers and Representative Citizens, Etc., Etc., by Herbert Charles Bell
Pages 625-627:  Prior to the opening of the mines there were a number of fine springs on the mountain north of Shamokin and others at various places within the limits of the borough, thus obviating for many years any necessity for an artificial system of water supply, the first introduction of which occurred about the year 1850 when William and Reuben Fagely laid a line of pine logs with two-inch bore on Sunbury street. The boring was done by Michael Hoffman, a pump maker of Ralpho township in the vicinity of Elysburg. Several years later a line of similar construction was laid on Shamokin street from a spring on the mountain to the railroad crossing, where there was a public fountain from which the United States and National Hotels and private dwellings in that vicinity derived their supply. This was probably constructed by the Philadelphia and Sunbury Railroad Company. Iron pipe was first introduced in 1858, when William and Reuben Fagely laid a line on Liberty street from Cameron to Sunbury, and on Sunbury street from Orange to Shamokin, and in 1865 Stephen Bittenbender constructed a line of similar material on Pearl street from Dewart to Sunbury; thence on Sunbury street to Shamokin, and on Shamokin street to the railroad crossing.
The works mentioned were entirely the result of private enterprise, and, although crude in design and construction, they doubtless proved a means of public utility and convenience. It became evident, however, that an adequate supply could be obtained only by corporate agency, and in 1869 an effort was made to organize a water company. A meeting of citizens was held at the office of Reuben Fagely, corner of Sunbury and Shamokin streets; William H. Marshall was elected president and Dr. J. J. John secretary, but the project never developed beyond the incipient stage.
The Shamokin Water Company was incorporated, August 7,1872, with a  capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The corporators were William H. Marshall, W. R. Kutzner, Daniel Yost, W. M. Weaver, F. J. Anspach, Reuben Fagely, Daniel S. Miller, Isaac May, Sr., John B. Douty, Matthias Emes, John Rosser, Thomas Rosser, and Withington Lake.  Their first meeting was held, August 9, 1872, W. H. Marshall presiding; the first election of directors occurred, August 19, 1872, resulting in the choice of John B. Douty, William H. Marshall, Isaac May, Sr., Reuben Fagely, F. J. Anspach, W. R. Kutzner, William Brown, Matthias Emes, and Conrad Graeber. At a meeting of the directors, August 23, 1872, Isaac May, Sr., was elected president of the board; John B. Douty, vice-president; F. J. Anspach, secretary, and William H. Marshall, treasurer. The works were constructed under the supervision of F. J. Anspach as engineer, with Trout run as the source of supply; a reservoir was constructed on that stream, and the water passed by gravity through a twelve-inch wooden main to a tank near the corner of Sunbury and Eighth streets, whence it was pumped through a sixteen-inch iron main to a wooden tank on the side of the mountain near the culm bank of the Cameron colliery, thus obtaining sufficient pressure for distribution to all parts of the town. Water was first supplied for public consumption in 1873. In 1875 a new route was laid out for the main pipe to a point thirty-nine hundred feet further up the run, thus giving sufficient vertical height for a gravity service and doing away with the expensive and irregular pumping system. The present plant includes four reservoirs, one of thirty-five million gallons, the others of one million gallons each, situated in Brush valley three miles from the borough, the largest at an altitude of one hundred forty feet above the level of Sunbury street at the intersection of Shamokin. There are about thirty miles of mains, extending to every part of Shamokin borough and the adjoining portions of Coal township, and a daily consumption ranging from two to two and one half millions of gallons. The present officers are as follows: president, W. C. McConnell; secretary, George O. Martz, and treasurer, C. Q. McWilliams.
The Roaring Creek Water Company was incorporated, November 11, 1884, with a capital of one hundred forty-eight thousand dollars, and organized, October 1, 1884, with the following officers: president, D. B. Kulp; secretary, W. C. McConnell; treasurer, C. Q. McWilliams; directors: John Haas, W. C. McConnell, C. Q. McWilliams, D. B. Kulp, and H. M. McClure. The rapid increase in the population of Shamokin in the decade immediately following the organization of the Shamokin Water Company created a demand for which Trout run was inadequate as a source of supply; hence the formation of this company, for the purpose of extending the receiving mains to Roaring creek, a distance of ten and one half miles.  The work of construction was begun in 1886, under the supervision of A. B. Cochran as engineer, and a line of sixteen-inch pipe was laid from Roaring creek to the headwaters of Trout run, a distance of twenty-seven thousand nine hundred fifteen feet, involving the opening of two tunnels, one forty-five hundred, the other nine hundred feet in length. The waters of Rearing creek were first turned into Trout run on the 2d of September, 1886, and on the 2d of October a continuous flow from Rearing creek to Shamokin was established. The reservoir is situated in Mt. Carmel township; it has a superficial area of five acres, and an altitude of two hundred eighty feet above the level of Shamokin street at the railroad crossing. In June, 1887, the mains of this company were connected with those of the Shamokin Water Company by a line of fourteen-inch pipe four and one half miles in length, thus making a continuous line of pipe ten miles in length, and consummating one of the most extensive engineering projects ever attempted in connection with the water supply of an inland town. It has been attended with results that amply justify the work. Adequate provision is made for a practically inexhaustible supply of pure water sufficient to meet the demands of the consuming community for years to come. The watersheds of both the Trout run and Roaring creek reservoirs are owned by the respective companies, which are thus enabled to guarantee absolute freedom from contaminating influence. The elevation of the reservoir gives sufficient pressure to afford protection in case of fire; and the abundance of the supply constitutes one of the most important of the many advantages offered by Shamokin as a manufacturing site.
The Anthracite Water Company was organized, April 15, 1885, with the following directors: president, D. B. Kulp; secretary, W. C. McConnell; treasurer, C. Q. McWilliams; H. M. McClure, and George H. Neff, who, with John Haas, were the corporators, and received a charter, May 18, 1885, with a capital of eight thousand dollars. The company supplies Coal township, and its plant was constructed in 1888. A reservoir on Trout run is the source of supply.
The Bear Gap Water Company was organized, December 17, 1888, and incorporated, January 15, 1889, with a capital of forty thousand dollars, since increased to one hundred thousand. The first officers were George O. Martz, president, W. C. McConnell, secretary, and John Haas, treasurer, who, with C. Q. McWilliams, John H. Fulton, and George H. Neff, were the original members of the company, which was formed for the purpose of supplying Mt. Carmel township with water from Roaring creek. A dam is now in course of construction on that stream five miles below the dam of the Roaring Creek Water Company. At this point a Worthington high-duty pumping engine will be placed; the capacity of this engine will be sufficient to pump one and one half million gallons of water every twenty-four hours through forty-two hundred sixty feet of ten-inch pipe to the mountain top north of Hickory Ridge, a vertical height of seven hundred sixty-four feet. Here two reservoirs with a capacity of one million gallons each will be constructed, from which ten miles of distributing mains will lead to Locust Gap, Locust Summit, and the principal collieries and villages in Mt. Carmel township.

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

1985 "Consumers Buys Roaring Fork Water Company," NAWC Water 27(1):36 (Spring, 1986)
December 31, 1985




2019 Morris A. Pierce