Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 424
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Tfee Bureau of* Lamps and Gas has in charge the lighting of the streets.1


Tlie Crofon Aqueduct Department is under a board styled the Croton Aqueduct
Board, consisting of a President, Commissioner, Chief Engineer, and Assistant, appointed by the
Mayor and Aldermen for fire years. It has charge of all structures and property connected with
the supply of Croton water and the collection of water rents, of the underground drainage of the
city, of public sewers, of permits for street vaults, of paving and repairing streets, and of digging
and constructing wells. It has a Bureau of Water Rents, and one of Pipes, Sewers, and Pave¬
ments. The department was organized in July, 1849, under an act passed April 11 of that year.
Previous to this the Water Commissioners were appointed by the Governor and Senate.2

Aqueduct Bridge.
1839; Finished 1848.
Stephen Allen, I
Saul Alley,    ___

sr [

T. T. Woodruff, J

30,575 feet
36,921 “
29.983 «
23^320 “
19,550 “

July to Dec. 1849,
In 1850,









41,324 feet
5,400 “
44,862 «

4,087 “

70 men, the second of 60, and the third of 50. The hook and
ladder companies have each 50 men, and the hose companies
each 30. The number of fires in the year, ending Feb. 17, 1859,
was 261, and of alarms, 160. The loss by fire on buildings was
$593,647, and on stock $514,999,—of which the Crystal Palace,
burned in Oct. 1858, formed a large item. During the last year
two large steam fire engines have been obtained; but, exfcept
in extraordinary cases, they are not used. The city owns about
80,000 feet of hose. The Department elects one Fire Commis¬
sioner annually for a term of 5 years from among exempt fire¬
men. These commissioners form a Board to decide upon the
formation of new volunteer companies, to investigate applicar
tions for admission to companies, to examine into charges
against members, and for cause to suspend or remove them.
The Fire Department possesses a fund derived from special
trusts, donations, festivals, concerts, fines for violation of fire
laws, and other sonrces, the income of which is applied in aid
of the families of deceased and disabled firemen. The report
of 1857 showed an expenditure of $30,567.91 by the trustees of
this fund. Among the items of this expense were 1,978 pairs
of shoes and 500 tons of coal. The invested fund amounts to
$95,250. Twp scholarships for educating the sons of firemen
m the University of New York have been endowed by Myndert
Van Schaick.

t The city gas lights are furnished by three general com¬
panies, as follows:—

The New York Gas Light Company-was incorp. March 26,1823,
with a capital of $1,000,000. It has works on 21st and 22d Sts.,
from 1st Avenue to Bast Biver, and has 6 large gas holders at
that station and 7 others at different parts of the city. It sup¬
plies the lamps s. of Grand St, and has about 130 miles of mains
under the streets.

Manhattan Gas Light Company was incorp. Feb. 26,1830, with
a capital of $4,000,000. It has 2 manufactories of gas,—one on
the Hudson, at the foot of 18th St., capable of making daily

3.000.000 feet, and one on East Eiver, at the foot of 14th St,
capable of making 3,000,000 feet daily. It supplies the city N.
of Grand St., and has about 220 miles of street mains. It
lights 8,000 street lamps and supplies 26,000 stores and dwell¬
ings. In 1857 it made 600,000,000 feet of gas, and in 1859


Harlem Gas Light Company was incorp. Feb. 8, 1855, with a
capital of $250,000. Its works are situated upon Harlem River,
at the N. extremity of 1st Ayenue. There are also several
minor gas works for furnishing light to hotels and private esta¬

2 The Croton Aqueduct is the most extensive and costly work
in America for supplying a city with water; and its magnitude
justifies a somewhat minute account of its origin and subse¬
quent history.

_ In 1741 the General Assembly passed a law (which was con¬
tinued by repeated enactments) for mending and keening in
repait the public wells and pumps of the city. In 1774 Christo¬
pher Colies contracted to erect a reservoir on Broadway, between
Pearl and White Sts.; and the plan was partially carried into
effect before the Revolution. In 1785 schemes were again agi¬
tated, which led to surveys and examinations; and in 1799 the
Manhattan Company was formed, ostensibly to supply the city
with water, but really as a banking institution, with a perpetual
charter and large privileges. Its principal well was at the
corner of Duane and Cross Sts, whence the water was raised by
steam and distributed in pipes; but the supply was limited in
amount and was of very impure quality. During the next thirty
years various schemes were proposed for constructing common
and artesian wells, and open canals from the Bronx and other
streams in Westchester co. and Conn., and several companies
were formed; but no practical steps were taken to secure the
result. An act was passed May 2,1834, which authorized the
dty to supply itself with “pure and wholesome water” and to
issue^ its stock to defray the cost. The Governor and Senate
appointed Stephen Allen, K. M. Brown, Charles Dusenberry,
Saul Alley, T. T. Woodruff, and William W. Fox Commission¬
ers, under whom accurate surveys were made and various plans
and estimates considered, which resulted in recommending
that the water of the Croton be taken near its mouth and
brought in an aqueduct to a reservoir on Murray Hill, 114 ft.
above tide. This plan was approved, March 11, by the Mayor,
and in April, 1835, by the people, by a vote of 11,367 to 5,963.
David B. Douglass was appointed Chief Engineer; but in Oct.
1836, he was succeeded hy John B. Jervis. The work was begun
tn the spring of 1837, and so far completed as to allow the ad-
fnission of water into the distributing reservoir, July 4, 1842.

The aqueduct of masonry is continued from the bridge 2 ml.
to the ManhattanYalley, a depression which is 4,171 ft. wide and
102 ft. deep. This is crossed by an inverted siphon of iron pipes
4,180 ft. in length, with a gate chamber at each end. The
masonry is then resumed, and the aqueduct is carried
mi. to the receiving reservoir in the Central Park, crossing in
this distance the Clendening Yalley, 1,900 ft. across and 50 ft.
deep, on an aqueduct, with archways for three streets, each of
which has 30 ft. span for carriage way and 10 ft. span on each
side for foot passengers.

The receiving reservoir in the Central Park is 1,826 ft. long,
836 ft. wide, covers an area of 3,505 acres, and has a capacity of
150,000,000 gallons. The banks are of earth, 18 ft. wide at top,
and rise 9 ft, above the level of the water. The pipes pass
through brick vaults. A new reservoir is now under construc¬
tion adjacent to the former ones, and also upon Central Park.
It will cover an area of 106 acres, and will be surrounded by an
earth bank of irregular outline, which will constitute a broad
promenade. The distributing reservoir at Murray Hill, between
40th and 42d Sts. and 5th and 6th Avenues, is a stone structure
in 2 divisions, designed to contain 36 ft. or 20,000,000 gallons.
Its surface is 115 ft. above mean tide.

The cost of the work was $8,575,000, including water rights and
land, besides $1,800,000 for distributing pipes. The expense came
within 5 per cent, of the estimate of Mr. Jervis, the Engineer.
The annual interest, amounting to $665,000, is paid by direct
water taxes and by some indirect taxes; and a sinking fund is
provided for the final liquidation of the debt. The construction
of this work has lowered the annual rates of fire insurance about
40 cts.on every $100 insured. Sing Sing Prison is supplied from
the aqueduct as it passes near that place.

The amount of pipe laid in different years has been as follows,
up to 1859:—

Its completion was commemorated by a grand civic celebration
Oct. 14 of the same year.

This aqueduct is a covered canal, of solid stone and brick
masonry, arched above and below, 8 ft. 5J in. high, 7 ft. 5 in.
wide at the widest part, and 40£ mi. in length from the dam to
the distributing reservoir. It has a descent of 47.9 ft., or 13
in. to a mi., and a capacity of supplying 60,000,000 gallons of
water per day. At intervals of 1 mi. are openings through
small towers for ventilation. The flow of water is generally 2
to 3 ft. in depth, or 27,000,000 gallons a day. It is covered below
the reach of frosts; and the surface works are carefully guarded
by fences from injury by cattle. It passes through 16 tunnels
in rock, varying from 160 to 1,263 ft., with a total of 6,841 ft.
In Westchester co. it crosses 25 streams 12 to 70 ft. below the
line of grade, besides numerous small brooks furnished with cul¬
verts. Harlem Eiver is crossed upon High Bridge in two 48 inch
mains, 12 ft. below the level of the grade of the aqueduct, and
furnished with gate chambers at each end. This bridge is of
granite, 1,450 ft. long, 21 ft. wide between the parapets, 100 ft.
above the surface of high tide to the crown of the arch, and 114
ft. to the top of the parapets. It rests upon 15 arches, 8 of
which are of 80 ft. span and 7 of 50 ft. Upon one of the piers
is inscribed the following record of the construction of the

John B. Jervis, Chief j
Allen, Princ. Assist, j Engi-
P. Hastie,
Resident f nrers,
E. H.
Tracy, Assistant J

George Law, I ,,  ___

’ (Contract-

. ’j 0RS.

Previous to 1854,





Previous to 1849,1,024,051 feet.

Samuel Roberts,
Arnold Mason,

Total 1,388,380 ft.
or 262 ml. 5,020 ft
The amount of pipe of different sizes (internal diameter) laid
up to 1859 has been—

9,472 feet.
930,816 «

14,978 “

A survey of the CrotoD Yalley was begun in 1857, with the


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