Catskill Aqueduct and Earlier Water Supplies of the City of New York

Catskill Aqueduct and Earlier Water Supplies of the City of New York With elementary Chapters on the Source and Uses of Water and the Building of Aqueducts, and an Outline for an Allegorical Pageant

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The Mayor’s Catskill Aqueduct Celebration Committee New York 1917 GIFT OF The Catskill Aqueduct and Earlier Water Supplies of the City of New York With elementary Chapters on the Source and Uses of Water and the Building of Aqueducts, and an Outline for an Allegorical Pageant By Edward Hagaman Hall, L. H. D. The Mayor’s Catskill Aqueduct Celebration Committee New York 1917 "1 will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh^my help." Psalms, CXXI, 1. Contents FAGE INTRODUCTION 5 CHAPTER I. THE USES AND SOURCE OF WATER 9 Necessary for life Food and drink Health Sanitation Fire protection Industry Commerce Source of water Religious ceremonies. CHAPTER II. AQUEDUCTS AND WHY THEY ARE BUILT 17 Definition Reasons for building aqueducts Early aque- ducts Roman aqueducts Comparisons with Catskill Aqueduct. CHAPTER III. MANHATTAN’S PRIMITIVE WATER SUPPLY 26 Era of pumps and wells Tea Water Pump Primitive fire department Great fires and epidemics. CHAPTER IV. EARLY PIPE LINE PROJECTS 42 Colics’ water-works Projects of Ogden, Livingston, Rumsey and others Manhattan Co.’s water-works First municipal water-works of 1829 Croton aqueduct decided upon. CHAPTER V. THE CROTON AQUEDUCT 58 Old Croton dam High Bridge Yorkville reservoir Murray Hill reservoir Lake Manahatta New Croton aqueduct New Croton dam Extent of Croton system. CHAPTER VI. OTHER BOROUGH WATER SUPPLIES 70 Borough of Brooklyn Borough of Queens Borough of the Bronx Borough of Richmond. CHAPTER VII. THE CATSKILL AQUEDUCT . .77 Evolution of the project Catskill Mountains Prelim- inary exploration Ashokan reservoir Humanitarian work Types of aqueduct construction From Ashokan to the Hudson Hudson river crossing From the Hudson to Kensico Kensico reservoir From Kensico to Hill View Hill View reservoir New York City tunnel Crossing the Narrows Silver Lake reservoir Measur- ing water Cost of aqueduct Distribution of water. CHAPTER VIII. A PAGEANT OF WATER 115 An allegorical pageant for celebrating the completion of the Catskill Aqueduct. CHAPTER IX. THE MAYOR’S CATSKILL AQUEDUCT CELEBRATION COMMITTEE 125 Names of members, officers and chairmen of sub-com- mittees of the Citizens Committee appointed by Mayor Mitchel. ILLUSTRATIONS. PAGE Map of the Catskill aqueduct 8 Ruins of ancient Roman aqueducts on the Campagna at Rome … 15 Ancient water-courses of Manhattan still flowing in Central Park . . 21 View of Broad street and Federal Hall in Wall street in 1797, by George Holland, showing street pumps 27 Engineer Stoutenburgh’s sketch of one of the first two fire "Ingens", 1732 , 33 Hand pump fire-engine of period of 1732 39 " Double-decker " fire engine, period of 1840 39 Horse-drawn steam fire-engine, period of 1865 45 Self-propelled steam fire engine, period of 1917 45 The Manhattan Company’s reservoir in Chambers street in 1825. . 51 Laying the large Croton aqueduct main on High bridge in 1861 . . 57 High bridge to-day 57 New Croton dam 63 Ashokan reservoir: Looking westward across the reservoir 69 Ashokan reservoir: View westward from middle dike 75 Ashokan reservoir: Ashokan bridge, dividing weir and gate chambers 81 Ashokan reservoir : Dividing weir bridge 87 Bonticou grade tunnel, typical of other grade tunnel work 93 Rondout pressure tunnel, typical of other pressure tunnel work . . 99 Crossing under Hudson river between Storm King and Breakneck mountains 105 Kensico dam at Valhalla in Westchester county in Laying 3o-inch flexible pipe line across the Narrows of New York Harbor 117 Mount Prospect laboratory in Brooklyn 123 South street high pressure fire station in Manhattan 123 Introduction The Catskill aqueduct, the construction of which was begun ten years ago, is now in full operation, delivering to the City of Xew York water brought from the Catskill mountains, one hun- dred and twenty miles away. Acting upon the request of representatives of some of the leading commercial bodies of the city, the Hon. John Purroy Mitchel, Mayor, has appointed a committee of citizens to ar- range a public observance of the completion of the aqueduct, and plans are being formulated for a suitable celebration beginning on October 12, 1917. The completion of this great engineering feat is deemed worthy of commemoration for several reasons. In the first place, when it is remembered that only three or four years ago, in a season of drouth, the city counted by days how long its reserve supply of water would last, it is a cause of inexpressible relief to the municipal authorities, and should also be to the citizens at large, that this increased supply, upon which the very life of the people depends, is now at their doors and that the necessity of "rationing" water has been averted. This is the first reason for popular congratulation ; and it has been brought about so quietly that unless there is some public demon- stration, few people comparatively will realize what a great bless- ing has come to them and the important lessons involved. It is an occasion also for unreserved pride in American genius which has achieved a stupendous engineering triumph. Starting at an elevation of 610 feet above tide level in the Catskill moun- tains, and creating four large lakes on its way, the aqueduct bur- rows under valleys, tunnels through mountains, dives under rivers to a depth of 1,114 feet below sea-level, bores through the solid rock of Manhattan Island, and delivers pure mountain water to every borough of the city. It is 120 miles long and is capable of delivering 500,000,000 gallons of water a day. The greatest of the famous Roman aqueducts was only half as long as this one, and in technical difficulty was, in comparison, like building houses with children’s "blocks." The Catskill aqueduct is three times as long as the Panama canal,* and involved problems and * The Panama canal is 41 1 /2 miles long from shore to shore. Extension by dredging to deep water makes the nominal length of the canal about 50 miles. 6 Introduction difficulties unheard of in the canal’s construction. Ex-Mayor McClellan, in an article published March 7, 1917, said: "The great Catskill waterway . . . is in itself certainly the great- est piece of water supply engineering, if not the greatest engi- neering achievement of any kind, in the world. I think that Gen. Goethals will agree with me that the Panama canal, while more spectacular in character, did not offer the engineering problems which had to be met and overcome in bringing an underground river all the way from the Catskills to … New York City." Back of these physical achievements there were important moral and civic forces at work which the Mayor’s Committee deems it highly profitable, from the standpoint of the public wel- fare, to emphasize in the celebration. The construction of the Catskill aqueduct, covering a period of ten years, affords a model of honest, clean and efficient municipal government in which every citizen should take pride. It is being finished within the original estimate of expense and is a commendable example of municipal economy.* It has been completed within contract time without a labor strike, and is a tribute alike to the Commission which directed the work, the contractors who carried it out, and the workmen who labored faithfully to build it. In its inception it was fostered by citizen bodies having the public interests at heart, and in its execution it had their invaluable support. It is a testi- mony of what distinterested civic spirit in co-operation with faith- ful public officials can accomplish. The celebration, therefore, while giving an opportunity for a merited tribute to the builders of the aqueduct, is also and chiefly an opportunity for teaching important civic lessons. It is hoped that the celebration as a whole will cause the people of New York to realize more fully than heretofore the value of their wonderful water supply. There are other and smaller cities which have as good water, and as much in propor- tion to their needs, as New York ; but the problem of supplying with water a city of nearly 6,000,000 inhabitants situated like New York is unique. There is nothing to be compared with it. If, by some evil magic, New Yorkers were compelled for a day to dig in the sand and wait for a few pints of water to ooze up, or to bring their water in jars from distant springs, or laboriously to pump it out of wells, they would appreciate the yalue of what Mayor McClellan broke ground for the aqueduct on June 20, 1907. * The aqueduct has cost to date about $140,000,000. Introduction 7 they have when the spell was over.* But human nature is prone to take as a matter of course blessings which come regularly and without individual effort ; and it is to be feared that too few Xew Yorkers appreciate the great foresight and constant watchful- exercised by the guardians of their welfare, the infinite pains and labor bestowed, the vast amount of money expended, and the wonderful scientific skill displayed, in bringing into their homes that priceless fluid upon which their very lives depend, and which they draw from a faucet by a mere turn of the hand. If the celebration shall cause the citizens of New York to pause for a moment in their ordinary affairs, and, from the con- templation of the great work just completed, derive an adequate conception of this one of their many blessings, it will have served its not least useful purpose. In furtherance of the various objects of the celebration, this pamphlet has been prepared. With a view to educational use, the first two chapters have been devoted to the elements of natural physics, hygiene, and sanitation, and the reasons for building aqueducts, addressed more particularly to the youthful under- standing; and the seventh chapter contains an outline for an allegorical pageant appropriate to the general subject. Washington’s Birthday, in 1913, when President Taft broke ground in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, for a National Indian Monument, to be erected under the auspices of the National American Indian Memorial Association, many Indians took part in the ceremony. After the Indians had been shown the sights of the city, one of them, who came from an arid section of the West, was asked what he considered to be the most wonderful thing in New York ; and he pointed to a faucet, from which water could be drawn at any time. *^ ASHOKAN RESERVOIR"* JjjV’Lafr’ CTN G ISLAND n f i: .1 Map of Catskill Aqueduct The Aqueduct is 120 miles long from Ashokan Reservoir to Staten Island and supplies all five Boroughs of the City of New York Chapter I. The Uses and Source of Water Necessary for Life Nothing can live without water. Where there is no water there can be no life of any kind, vegetable or animal. There is no water on the moon, therefore no living thing can exist there. If there were no water on the earth, there would be no trees, plants, or vegetables of any sort ; no food to eat ; nothing to drink, and therefore no human beings or lower animals. Everything would be a vast desert of rocks or sand.* Necessary for Food and Drink One reason why rain makes the crops grow and why we "water" plants is that they cannot take up from the earth and absorb in solid and dry form the food on which they live. The particles of earth which form their food must be dissolved in water so that the nourishing fluid can be sucked up by the little tubes in the roots and other parts of the plants. In the same way bodies of human beings and other animals cannot live and grow on solid dry food. Food must be mixed with water so that the little particles, carried by the fluid, will pass through the organs, arteries and veins and reach every part of the body to nourish it. Water not only serves the mechanical purpose of carrying food in plants and animals but it also helps the chemical changes in the food which make it nourishing. About two-thirds of the weight of the human body is water. When there is not water enough in the body for its functions, one feels thirsty : and when one feels thirsty there is nothing so wholesome and satisfying to drink as water which Nature has provided for this purpose. The use of intoxicating liquor instead of water is not only bad morally, but it is bad for the health and should be avoided. Probably without the water of crystallization, the surface rocks would turn to dust. io The Uses and Source of Water Necessary for Health As water is necessary for life, so it is necessary for health. And this is so in many ways. When a person eats and drinks, the food is digested and changed in the body; the useful part goes to nourish the body and the useless part is carried off. The useless and unhealthy particles are carried away by the aid of water just as the good particles are distributed in the body by the aid of water. Sweat, or perspiration, is one means by which the body gets rid of this unhealthy matter.* There are about 2,000,000 pores in the skin of an average person, and sweat is always coming out through them, whether it can be seen or not. Evaporation of sweat cools the body ; that is one reason why fanning, or a breeze, makes one feel cool. When sweat evap- orates, it leaves on the skin and in the clothing the solid particles which the body has rejected. Unless the body is washed, this accumulated matter not only makes a disagreeable odor, but it clogs the pores, interferes with their operation, and injures the health. Keeping the body clean also reduces the danger of com- municating disease to, or catching disease from others. For similar reasons it is as necessary to wash the clothing as the body. Necessary for Sanitation Water is necessary for health in another way. Just as it serves to carry useless and unhealthy matter out of the body, so it serves to carry the dirt and filth out of the house and city through the sewers. There could be no sewer system without an adequate water supply. Without sewers and a water supply there could be no sinks or water-closets in our houses ; the streets could not be washed ; filth would accumulate ; and disease and death would be the result. Great epidemics, causing the death of thousands of people, have been caused by lack of proper water supply and >cv

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