Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
New England States Rhode Island Westerly

Westerly, Rhode Island

Westerly was incorporated in 1669.

A gravity system was built in 1876 by a private company. No further information has been found about this system or company.

The Westerly Water Works was incorporated in 1886 and built a system using steam engines to pump water into a standpipe.

After extensive litigation, the town of Westerly bought the Westerly Water Works on September 1, 1897 for $175,000.

Water is provided by the Town of Westerly.

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

1886 An act to incorporate the Westerly Water Works. May 28, 1886.

1887 Authorizing the Westerly Water Works to supply water to Pawcatuck. March 31, 1887.

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

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

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

1896 "Westerly's Water Litigation," Fire and Water 20:407 (August 22, 1896) | also here |
Judge Carpenter, of the United States Circuit Court, has handed down a decision granting an injunction against the town of Westerly, Mass., prohibiting it from proceeding with the erection of town water works. In 1885 the town made a contract with the Westerly Water Works, a private corporation, for a supply of water for town and domestic use. Soon after these water works were completed the town authorities came to differences with the water company, which resulted in the failure to supply the town with hydrants adequate for fire protection, and the town commenced to agitate the construction of town water works to be the rival and competitor of the works erected by the private corporation. This caused the private corporation to offer to supply the town with adequate hydrant service at a price acceptable to the town council ; but the feeling ran so high that the town meeting rejected the proposal, although it was made at the low price of $25 annually per hydrant. Soon after litigation was commenced by tax payers in the State court which seemed to result in favor of the opinion that the town had a right to build town water works to compete with those owned by the corporation. Actions were brought in the United States court by the stockholders and bondholders of the private corporation, and the gist of Judge Carpenter's decision is that the town must not build independent works to compete with those owned by the corporation. Judge Carpenter granted an injunction restraining the town from proceeding with the project of building town water works. The insurance companies should now insist on the town making a contract with the private water company to put in an adequate number of hydrants for fire purposes or should greatly increase the rates. It may be that the town will appeal from Judge Carpenter's decision and take the matter to the Supreme court at Washington. But that means a delay of several years, in which Westerley may have disastrous fires, such as it has had several times during the years past, in which the opportunity for "r adequate water supply has been neglected because of the differences existing between the town and the water company. From the report of the proceedings before Judge Carpenter and the text of his decision the Westerly Water Company appears to have been for many years willing to do everything requisite for adequate fire protection at a very low price.

1896 Town of Westerly v. Westerly Water Works, 80 Fed. Rep. 611, October 23, 1896, United States Circuit Court.

1897 An act authorizing the town of Westerly to hire the sum of two hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of purchasing, acquiring, or constructing a system of water works or of improving or adding to the same.  May 26, 1897.

1897 The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illlinois), July 18, 1897, Page 20.
Litigation between the town of Westerly and the Westerly Water-Works Company.

1897 "Buys its Water Works," The Boston Globe, July 31, 1897, Page 8.
Terms by which Westerly, R.I., Secures its plant.

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

1899 Confirming to the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, certain privileges sold to it by the Westerly Water Company.  June 20, 1899.

1899 Orlando R. Smith et al. vs. Town of Westerly et als., 19 R.I. 437, Supreme Court of Rhode Island

2018 Morris A. Pierce