Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Settlements of Friends’ Meetings in New Jersey

by Jerseyman ©2011

I have extracted the following article on New Jersey Friends’ Meetings from the weekly journal, The Friend. This publication serially ran the text of this historical account in several issues during 1889, but listed no author. To illustrate many of the meetings discussed, I have interspersed historic post card and photographic views.

Nota Bene: while the text below provides some interesting reading, the author fails to discuss Friends Meetings in Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland counties.


The Province of New Jersey being largely settled by Friends, their meetings were generally the first places of worship established in their neighborhoods, and in many of the Towns and Hamlets so settled, “the meeting-house” was the only public building for many years, (except the school-house) and served a variety of purposes beside a place of worship, such as Town Hall, Court of Justice, and Legislative Hall, &c., or as the poet has expressed,

“One house sufficed for gospel and for law.”

Around some of these, many historic facts and precious memories linger. In order to preserve these, and some account of the early establishment of meetings, in a somewhat connected form, the following compilations and extracts have been made, in the hope that they may possess some interest for the readers of “THE FRIEND.”

The history and early settlement of the Society of Friends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and the establishment of their meetings, is so intimately connected with both Provinces, that it is not easy to separate them, although that of New Jersey preceded the latter by several years.

The first settlement made by Friends south of Long Island was at Shrewsbury, in 1664, or thereabout. One account says, “About 1670 a meeting was settled at Shrewsbury, being the first settled meeting in these Provinces. Near the same time a Monthly and General Meeting was also held there, and they were soon regularly established. It is probable that meetings for worship were held at private dwellings prior to this date.

   
The first meeting-house was built in 1672, which was replaced by another in 1719.

The first settlement of Friends in West New Jersey, was undoubtedly that made by John Fenwicks colony at Salem, in 1675; theirs being the first English ship to come so far up the Delaware River, or that landed passengers upon its shores.

They first held their meetings for worship at each others’ dwellings, and a meeting was established at the house of Samuel Nicholson, which was continued for some years; they sometimes joined with a few Friends at Upland, (now Chester, Pa.,) meeting at the house of Robert Wade, at or near that place.

The first meeting-house of Friends in West Jersey was at Salem. In 1681, Samuel Nicholson and Ann his wife, conveyed to the Trustees of Salem Meeting his sixteen acre lot, whereon stood his dwelling-house, for the purpose of a meeting place for Friends; an addition was built to this house, making it when completed, 40 feet in length by 16 feet in depth,—partly of brick, and partly frame,—it was provided with a large open fire-place at each end, windows with 4 panes of thick “bulls eye” glass, 7 by 9 inches in size, benches or forms without backs, and “a good clay floor.” It was thus used until about the year 1700.


In the early part of the year 1677, many Friends who had become proprietors in West Jersey, left the shores of old England to settle on their newly acquired possessions.

“The ship ‘Kent’ sailed from London with 230 passengers, consisting of two companies of Friends, one from Yorkshire, and the other from London; after a tedious passage the ship anchored safely in the waters of the Delaware, in the Sixth Month, 1677.”

The Commissioners who were on board, and were also Friends, proceeded up the river to the place where the city of Burlington now stands, in order to treat with the Indians about the land; for, be it known, that not one foot of the soil of the State of New Jersey was ever taken from the Indians, except by purchase.

The number of Friends who emigrated to the new colony during this year and the following one, are said to be about 800; and up to the year 1681, at least 1400 persons had found their way to the Province.

Although the country was a wilderness, they did not forget the assembling of themselves together as was their wont in the land of their nativity, in order to worship the Almighty, whose protecting hand had followed them in the perils of the deep, and now delivered them from the savage people among whom their lot was cast.

The first account that we have of a place of public worship of Friends at Burlington, was of a tent made of the sails taken from the ship in which they had crossed the ocean. Under it they assembled for at least a year after their arrival, or until the house of Thomas Gardiner was built, which was the first dwelling house erected within the town limits, and although built of logs, it was more commodious than those of his neighbors. Meetings were regularly held here, and at the house of John Woolston and others, until the building of the meeting-house in 1685, when the meeting had outgrown the capacity of any private house.

The first Yearly Meeting of Friends in New Jersey which sat four days, was held Sixth Mo. 28th, 1681, at the house of Thomas Gardiner, aforesaid, as was also the Monthly Meeting. By a minute of that meeting, held 5th of Twelfth Month, 1682, we find “It is ordered that a meeting-house be built according to a draught of six square building, of forty foot square from out to out.” This building was completed in 1685, and was called the “great meeting-house,” which must have been very singular in appearance, being as indicated, hexagonal in form, with a roof of steep pitch, surmounted by a sort of cupola, corresponding in shape with the main building. It was a frame structure, and found to be too cold for use in the severe winters to which the settlers were subjected.


In 1696, an addition was made to it for a winter house, built of brick, 30 feet long, and of equal width and height with the other; provided with a large open fire place, and a “double wooden floor,” wainscoted and plastered walls. This house stood for a century, and was replaced by the present substantial brick structure.

The house known as the “new meeting-house” was built for the better accommodation of the Yearly Meeting, in 1716, on ground given by Thomas Wetherill for that purpose.


Burlington Monthly Meeting was first organized “ye 15th of ye Fifth Month, 1678,” and consisted of “Friends settled about the Falls (near Trenton, &c.,) and the Particular Meetings of Ancocas, Shackamaxon and Upland (Chester, Pa.); also the Hoarkills and New Castle, Del.,” and the Friends on Long Island, who, in 1681, desired to be considered members of this Monthly Meeting.

In 1680, it issued an epistle to London Yearly Meeting, on the subject of certificates being furnished to the Friends who emigrated, &c. It was the first official communication received by that meeting from any body of Friends in America.

(The Friend 1889:220-221; Vol. LXII, No. 28, Seventh-Day, Second Month 9, 1889, John S. Stokes, Publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)

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The Friends settled on the Rancocas or “Northampton River,” very soon set up meetings for worship at their dwellings, as follows, viz: “A six weeks meeting was held at Joshua Paine’s on Northampton River; a meeting was also held at the house of Daniel Wills in the forks of said river. Another was very early settled at the house of Daniel Wills, (‘not that in the forks’ of the river.”)

“Meetings for worship on First and Fourth-days, were also settled at Northampton, to be held at the house of Thomas Harding,” &c, as is shown by the following minutes of Burlington Monthly Meeting. “It is agreed that the meetings on Ancocas (or Ankokas) be held at the house of Thomas Harding.”—1681.

“The meeting that used to be kept at Thomas Cline’s, and John Woolman’s, is now ordered to be kept at Daniel Wills’ house, weekly.”—1687.

In 1703, a meeting-house was built upon ground given by John Wills, called Northampton Meeting-house; the meetings before alluded to were then discontinued. This house, which stood quite near the present burial ground, was replaced by another upon nearly the same site, in 1722, which continued until the new brick house was erected in 1772, about half a mile north of it, which was enlarged as it now stands in the village of Rancocas. 

 
 
Rancocas Friends Meeting

CHESTERFIELD.


A meeting for worship, held on First-days, was continued from the first settlement by the English (1677) at the house of Thomas Lambert, until the building of the meeting-house and settlement of the Meeting at Chesterfield, about 1680, at which time the Monthly Meeting was established, but it was not always held there as is shown by the following minute:

“At our Monthly Meeting at Francis Davenport’s house, near Crosswicks Creek, the place now called Chesterfield, ye 2nd of ye 8th month, 1684. It is agreed that a week day meeting be kept every 4th day of ye week at ye house of Matthew Watson.”

The meeting-house at Crosswicks was built in 1692, and the first Monthly Meeting held in it 6th of Eighth Month, 1693. Meetings were held here until 1706, at which time a new and more commodious house was erected near the former one. This house was of brick, and enlarged in 1753. Another account says, “About 1738-9, it was found desirable to have a larger meetinghouse, and a large brick building was built upon land given by Samuel Bunting; this house was enlarged in 1773.” This building was occupied as barracks by the American troops in 1778, and a cannon-ball was lodged in its walls. On First-days, however, the benches were arranged and meetings held in it as usual.

In 1831, a frame meeting-house was built near this, which was occupied until 1853, when a brick structure succeeded it.

OLD SPRINGFIELD.
   
Lower Springfield (Copany) Friends Meeting

1682.—“It is ordered that Friends at Esiskunk Creek have a meeting at the house of Thos. Barton, on First-days, for the winter season.”

1687.—“A meeting for worship was set up at Esiskunk Creek, and held by turns at the houses of Thomas Barton, John Day, and John Curtis.”

“A three weeks meeting for worship was established to be held circularly at Old Springfield and at Burr on the Rankokas.”


1694.—“It is agreed that the meeting-house of Springfield be built on the hither side of Mattacopany bridge.”

The meeting-house was built in 1698, on ground given by Richard Ridgway.

MANSFIELD.


1731.—Mansfield Meeting was settled in 1731, and a meeting-house built the same year on ground of Francis Gibbs. It was a long narrow frame building, and was replaced by a more modern brick structure, upon the same site, in 1812.

MANSFIELD NECK.

1753.—A meeting was allowed to be held near William Folwell’s on First-days, once in three weeks during the winter. In 1783, it was established with the privilege of a Preparative Meeting.

UPPER SPRINGFIELD.

Upper Springfield Friends Meeting

As respects the origin of this meeting we find the following minute:

“A meeting for the winter season hath been for several years past, held in part of Upper Springfield, at a house provided for the purpose, nigh Shreeve’s Mount.” In 1728, the meeting of Upper Springfield was established, and their meeting-house built the same year upon ground of Joshua Shreeve.

In 1783, the Monthly Meeting was organized, being parts of Burlington and Chesterfield Monthly Meetings, and was composed of the Meetings of Mansfield, Arneytown, Upper Freehold and Upper Springfield.

MOUNT HOLLY (or Shreeve’s Mount.)


In 1704, a Meeting was settled at Restow Lipincoats (Restore Lippincott’s) to be held for the winter season, which was discontinued as the following minute of Burlington Monthly Meeting shows.

1716.—“Whereas there was one little meeting kept at two places, one at Restore Lippincott’s, and one at Daniel Wills’, which hath been for a considerable time; but now there is a meetinghouse built at Mount Holly for the accommodation of those two meetings.”

The Mount Holly meeting-house was built upon ground given by Nathan Cripps, on the northern slope of the mount, and on the site of the Cemetery on Wood Lane. It was standing in 1776, and used by the British troops as a stable.

1742. —“The Friends at Mount Holly, alias Bridgeton, requested of this meeting to hold a First-day evening meeting in Bridgeton, for the winter season, which is allowed by this meeting.” (Burlington M.M.)

1743. —“The Meeting having considered the application of sundry Friends belonging to the upper part of Mount Holly Meeting, do consent that they hold a meeting according to their request.” (B. Mo. Meeting.)

In 1762, a new meeting-house was built in the more central part of the town, for an afternoon meeting. It was used by the British during the Revolutionary war, as the head-quarters of their Commissary department, and the benches for cutting meat upon; the hacks and marks of both cleaver and knife are still to be seen upon them, as well as the marks of the British musket barrels upon the floor.

Mount Holly Monthly Meeting was constituted in 1776, by a division of Burlington Monthly Meeting, and was composed of the Meetings of Mount Holly, Shreeve’s Mount, Old Springfield and Upper Springfield.

VINCENT TOWN.

Vincentown Meeting

1765.—“A written proposal from sundry Friends, for keeping an afternoon meeting during the summer at a school-house lately erected near William Bishop’s, was now read and agreed to.” (Min. Burlington Monthly Meeting.)

A meeting was afterwards established at Vincent Town, and a meeting-house built; but the meeting has been discontinued some years.

(The Friend 1889:227-228; Vol. LXII, No. 29, Seventh-Day, Second Month 16, 1889, John S. Stokes, Publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)

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STONY BROOK.


1710.—This was a meeting indulged by Chesterfield Monthly Meeting, to be held once in three months, and it was afterwards at the house of Joseph Worth and others.

In 1724, a committee for the purpose, reported that “a (meeting) house may be built of stone, 34 by 30 feet.”

In 1726, the meeting-house was built on ground given by Benjamin Clark for the use of Friends, and the Meeting was established there the same year.

The Preparative Meeting was laid down in 1878, and the members joined to Trenton Meeting.

“TRENT TOWN.”


1734.—We find the following minute of Chesterfield Monthly Meeting: “Our Friend Isaac Hannam, with other Friends, requested liberty to keep a meeting for worship at Trent Town on First-days,” which was granted.

In 1740, the meeting-house at Trenton was built, and a meeting for worship settled there. The week-day meetings were established in 1756, and the Preparative Meeting opened in 1786, but was closed for some time, and re-opened in 1797, and again laid down in 1836, and reestablished in 1848.

BORDENTOWN.


The Meeting at “Bordens Town” was settled in 1740, and a meeting-house built the same year on ground given by Joseph Borden.

The week-day meetings were established in 1759, and the Preparative Meeting set up in 1804.

AMWELL.

In 1727, a meeting was allowed to be kept every First-day, at the house of John Stephenson, at Amwell, which appears to have been discontinued in 1786.

About this time (1727) there was also a meeting held at Allentown, under the direction of Chesterfield Monthly Meeting. The Preparative was opened in 1797, and called “Robins’ Meeting.” In 1804, it appears in the Minutes of the Monthly Meeting as “East Branch.” It was laid down in 1833, and the members joined to Crosswicks Meeting.

ARNEY’S MOUNT.


1739.—From the minutes of Chesterfield Monthly Meeting we learn that “Isaac Foreman, Joseph Arney and others, requested liberty of this Meeting to keep a meeting every First-day at Joseph Arney’s house, and this meeting gave consent that they have liberty to keep a meeting for one year.”

1740.—“This Meeting gives liberty to the inhabitants near Thomas Woodward’s to make application to the Quarterly Meeting for a meeting-house, according to their request.”

The Meeting at “Woodward’s,” held at Joseph Arney’s house was settled in 1742, and the meeting-house built the same year on ground given by Joseph Arney.

BETHLEHEM.

In 1746, the meeting-house at Bethlehem was built, but a meeting for worship was settled there some years before, and the Monthly Meeting was first held in 1744. The meeting-house being accidentally burned; it was rebuilt in 1752.

GREAT MEADOWS.

The meeting-house at the Great Meadows was built in 1751; but their meetings for worship were held at each others’ houses from the time of Friends first settling there, about 1740.

A meeting for worship was held at Amboy from 1680 to 1689, during which time a Monthly Meeting was established there.

A meeting was held at Woodbridge, and alternated with that at Amboy, every third First-day, until 1704, when, by direction of the General Meeting at Shrewsbury, it was ordered to be held at Woodbridge, where the meeting-house was built in 1709.

A Meeting was early settled at Manasquan; Friends met at each others’ houses until 1730, when their meeting-house was built: it was of frame with shingled sides, and stood until about 1885.

Old Squan Friends Meeting

A meeting-house was built at Freehold about the year 1683; but the meeting being chiefly established through the influence of George Keith, who then resided there, by the same influence it ceased upon his defection from Friends.

UPPER FREEHOLD.

“In 1739-40, a small number of Friends being seated together in Upper Freehold, built a meeting-house nigh Moses Robins, where a meeting was sometimes held.”

PLAINFIELD.


“A meeting was held at the house of Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, in Woodbridge, Ninth Month 16th, 1704, and continued to be held there until 1713, when reference is made to a meetinghouse.”

In 1721, John Laing of Plainfield, on behalf of himself and the Friends settled near him, requested leave of the Monthly Meeting of Woodbridge to hold a meeting for worship among themselves at his house, which was granted them for three months.

In 1725 they had liberty to hold a meeting weekly, which was thence continued till 1731, when they built their meeting-house on land given by the said John Laing. “Said house not to exceed 24 foot square and 14 foot between joynts.” Which was occupied until 1788, when the house was replaced by another, which is still standing.

About 1750, the Monthly Meeting was transferred from Woodbridge, and held alternately at Rahway and Plainfield.

Meetings were held at Rahway, at the house of William Robertson, in 1707, and in 1742 at the request of Friends of Rahway, leave was given by the said Monthly Meeting (Woodbridge) to hold a meeting for worship on the first days of the week, at the house of Joseph Shotwell, for three months in the year, which was continued till 1745, when it was ordered that a meeting should be held on First and Fourth-days for the winter season.

LITTLE EGG HARBOR.

Little Egg Harbor (Tuckerton) Meeting

Little Egg Harbor Meeting was first settled in 1704, at Tuckerton. In 1708, Edward Andrews conveyed to Friends two acres of land, on which a meeting-house was built, and completed the following year (1709), and stood for over 150 years; it was hip roofed, with shingled sides, there were four windows about four feet square with nine panes of glass 7 by 9 inches. The original windows were imported from England, the panes were small, and diamond shaped, and the sash was of lead; during the Revolutionary war the windows were concealed to prevent their appropriation by the army, and the lead being run into musket balls. This venerable structure was taken down in 1863, and replaced by a more modern building. It was believed to have been the first-meeting-house along the Jersey coast, and was known far and near as “the Egg Harbor Meeting-house.”

In 1714, the Preparative Meeting was opened, and in 1715, the Monthly Meeting was established.

The Yearly Meeting was first held there in 1729, and continued for some years. John Churchman, in his journal, speaks of attending it in 1772, where he says there was a large concourse of people.

A Meeting was settled at Barnegat in 1767, and a meeting-house built the same year.

Barnegat Friends Meeting

At an early date Friends built a meetinghouse in Bass River Neck.

Burlington Quarterly Meeting was established Ninth Month 29th, 1681-2. The first meeting was held at the house of William Biddle at “Mount Hope” on the Delaware River, opposite Biddle’s Island, and near what is now Kinkora. It continued to be held there until 1712, when it was removed to Burlington, and after a few years held alternately at Burlington and Chesterfield (now Crosswicks). In time it was settled permanently at Burlington.

Mount Hope, Biddle Homestead

In 1681-2, Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting, which had previously belonged to Long Island, was annexed to Burlington Quarter.

(The Friend 1889:235-236; Vol. LXII, No. 30, Seventh-Day, Second Month 23, 1889, John S. Stokes, Publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)

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In 1681, a number of Friends settled on Newton Creek, in Gloucester County, near Arwamus, or what has since become Gloucester City.

In the same year, a meeting was allowed by the Burlington Friends, to be held at Pine Point on the Delaware, (now the City of Camden), as appears by the following minute:

“At a Monthly Meeting held at the house of Thomas Gardiner, the 5th of Seventh Month, 1681,—It is ordered that Friends at Pine Point have a meeting on every Fourth-day, to begin at the fourth hour, at Richard Arnold's house.”

In 1682, there was a meeting set up, and kept at the house of Mark Newbie, on Newton Creek, which soon increased so much that a meetinghouse (of logs) was built in 1684. In 1715-16, a meeting-house was built at Gloucester.

NEWTON.

In 1801, Friends removed from the old meeting-house on Newton Creek to the present location; the brick house was built upon land given by Joseph Kaighn. The old Newton Meetinghouse was burned in 1817.

“At a General Meeting held at Salem in the Province of West Jersey, the 11th of Second Month, 1682, it was ordered that Friends at Arwamus and those' at Shackamaxon do meet together once a month; the first meeting to be at William Cooper’s at Pine Point, at Arwamus,” to which were joined the Friends settled on Woodbury and Cooper’s Creeks.

The Friends of Salem and Newton Monthly Meetings constituted a Quarterly Meeting in 1686, as is shown by the following minute:

“At a Yearly Meeting held in Burlington the 8th of Seventh Month, 1686—Friends of this meeting ordered that the Monthly Meeting of Salem, and the Monthly Meeting of Newton make up one Quarterly Meeting, called Gloucester and Salem Quarterly Meeting, to be held at Gloucester and Salem, alternately.”

The Monthly Meeting of Gloucester or Newton, was held alternately at Newton, and at the house of Thomas Shackle, (near Haddonfield) from 1695 to 1721. In that year Elizabeth (Haddon) Eastaugh, procured from her father John Haddon, (in England) a deed for one acre of ground for the use of Friends, on which the meeting-house was built in the early part of that year. It was of logs, and stood near the King’s Road.

In 1732, John and Elizabeth Estaugh conveyed one and a-half acres of land adjoining the meeting-house lot to Friends.

In 1760, a brick meeting-house was erected upon the same site, and the old log house removed across the “Ferry road,” and used as a stable.

After nearly a century of service, that house was taken down, and the bricks used to enclose the burial ground. It was very inconveniently arranged, especially so for holding a large Quarterly Meeting. It had probably been built at two different times.


The present commodious meeting-house at Haddonfield was erected upon an adjoining lot, in 1851.

CHESTER.

In 1685, a meeting was established with the consent of Burlington Friends, at the house of Timothy Hancock, at “Penisauken,” which was held on alternate First-days with one at the house of John Kay, on the north branch of Cooper’s Creek, for the accommodation of Friends at Penisauken and Evesham, and those on Cooper’s Creek.

CHESTER, (at Moorestown.)

About the year 1700, the Meeting at Chester was established, and was called the Adams’ Meeting from its being located upon their land.

By a deed of James and Esther Adams, dated 9th of Fourth Mo. 1700, we learn that a meeting-house already stood there, viz: “To the Trustees of the Religious Society of Friends, for one acre of land lying and being on the west side of the King’s highway, with all that house or building now erected, and being upon said acre of land, called the Quaker Meeting-house.” It was of logs, and was destroyed by fire. In 1721, a house built of stone succeeded it, and was located in what is now the burial ground near the large buttonwood tree on the north side of Main Street, in Moorestown, (or Chester Town, as the place was formerly called.)

The present substantial brick structure, on the south side of the street, was built in 1802.


The frame building in the same yard, built in 1837, and enlarged in 1884.


Chester Monthly Meeting was established with the consent of Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting, First Mo. 1st, 1804, composed of Chester and Westfield Preparative Meetings.

WESTFIELD.

This was an indulged meeting for some years, and held in a school-house from 1794 to 1801, at which time the large stone meeting-house was built, which was destroyed by fire in 1859, it has been succeeded by a substantial brick building.

The frame building standing about half a mile south of the above, and occupied by our Friends, was built in 1848.

EVESHAM.


The first account we have of meetings at Evesham, is of one held at the dwelling of William Evans, in 1694—his wife Elizabeth was a minister.

A meeting-house was built in 1698, which was replaced by another, in 1760, of stone, this was enlarged in 1798, and formed the present venerable-looking structure, which stands as a monument to the liberality of Friends of that day.

The Preparative and Monthly Meetings were established in 1760, as appears by the following minute: “Agreeable to ye direction of ye Quarterly Meeting held ye 3rd day of ye 9th month, 1760. Friends of Evesham and Chester held their meeting at Evesham on ye 9th of 10th month, 1760.” Evesham and Chester composed one Monthly Meeting until 1804.

In the Third Month, 1793, the Monthly Meeting of Evesham proposed to the Quarterly Meeting held at Salem, that there be a division of that Monthly Meeting, viz: that Friends of Upper Evesham and Cropwell Particular Meetings become a Monthly Meeting, which was united with, and the Monthly Meeting of Upper Evesham organized First Mo. 1794.

Upper Evesham was an indulged meeting from 1760 until 1774. In 1775, the meeting place was enlarged, which was built in 1759. The present commodious brick structure was erected in 1814, to replace the small frame building above alluded to.


The Preparative Meeting was established in 1783.

CROPWELL.


The Meeting at Cropwell was first established in 1786, as appears by the following minute of that year:

“A request by direction of the Preparative Meeting of Evesham in favor of holding a meeting for worship in a school-house lately erected near Cropwell Creek, was united with.” The present brick meeting-house was built in 1812.

EASTON.

Easton Meeting, Mount Laurel Township

1803.—“Friends who live in the vicinity of Easton school-house request that two meetings a month be held at that place, which is allowed.” The Meeting was regularly established; and the Preparative Meeting organized in 1810, and the meeting-house built the same year. It is a branch of Evesham Monthly Meeting.

GREAT EGG HARBOR.

“The first convincement of Friends about Great Egg Harbor was about 1702. Since which time Meetings have been settled and houses built.” Egg Harbor Monthly Meeting established.

The first Yearly Meeting held at Egg Harbor was in 1754.

HADDONFIELD QUARTER.

In 1794, Gloucester and Salem Quarterly Meeting proposed to the Yearly Meeting to constitute two Quarterly Meetings in their limits: one of Evesham and Haddonfield, Great Egg Harbor, and Cape May, called Haddonfield Quarterly Meeting; to be held at Haddonfield and Evesham alternately, which was approved, and meetings held accordingly from that time until 1831, when the meeting circulated more generally, and was held once a year at Haddonfield, Evesham, Upper Evesham, (Medford) and Chester, (Moorestown) as at present.

(The Friend 1889:243-244; Vol. LXII, No. 31, Seventh-Day, Third Month 2, 1889, John S. Stokes, Publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

“And Wait to Watch the Water Clear, I May”

[from Robert Frost, The Pasture (1914)]

The City of Burlington’s Insatiable Need for a Clean and Dependable Water Supply

by Jerseyman ©2011

Like many urban centers, the history of public water distribution in Burlington, New Jersey, is a fascinating historical subject. Prior to 1804, all Burlingtonians obtained their domestic water supply from individual wells behind each resident’s house or place of business. The wells were often shallow and presented a very real threat of contamination and disease from runoff and from nearby outhouses and domestic garbage middens. In an early effort to counteract the growing contaminant problem, the city constructed public wells along High Street, including one near the Burlington County Courthouse at the intersection of High and Broad streets. In October 1804, the state legislature approved an act to incorporate the Burlington Aqueduct Company:





NJPL 1805:363-367
Beginning in 1803, the City of Philadelphia contracted to replace its wooden water-pipe system with cast-iron pipe. The new aqueduct company in Burlington acquired the cast-off wooden piping from the Quaker City with plans to reinstall it as a water distribution system in the streets of Burlington. Workmen excavated a long trench beginning at the High Street wharf and extending all the way out High Street to the springs that create Sylvan Lake, located in today’s Burlington Township. East Broad Street also received a portion of the wooden conduit.



When the aqueduct company completed its work, only little more than a trickle of water moved through the pipes, since the system relied on a gravity-feed arrangement without the benefit of pumps to enhance water pressure. The supply provided neither enough water for livestock nor for fighting fires. Despite the initial failures, the aqueduct company continued delivering what water it could from the lake, which had an elevation of more than 30 feet above the city, but stood approximately two miles south from the High Street wharf. Writing about the what service the aqueduct company provided, Major E. M.Woodward stated,

The supply obtained was insufficient for anything beyond the merest domestic service, and such a measure as fire protection therefore would be entirely out of the question, but nevertheless a few fire-hydrants of a rude pattern were placed on these lines.



Baths were a luxury few could enjoy. Those even who had means to pay and leisure to wait for a flow into bath-tubs, must be sufficiently lowly-minded to content themselves with bathing in the lower stories of their houses, while some found it expedient to use their basements for that purpose.


The rules of the Aqueduct Company were necessarily rigid regarding the use and waste of water; and so exclusive were the privileges given, and so stringent their regulations, that great care was required to avoid a violation of them, and once a prominent citizen, an inn-keeper, was fined five dollars for giving drink to a horse from a pail. (Woodward 1883:138)

Competition arose in circa 1843 when the aqueduct company could not supply Thomas Dugdale, owner of a steam-powered grist and saw mill on the banks of the Delaware River, with water to his dwelling on Pearl Street. This failure provided Dugdale with the impetus to establish his own system of piping. He acquired a pumping engine for his mill complex and began drawing water from the river. He distributed the water through small-bore iron pipe, which, similar to the aqueduct company, could not deliver a high-pressure supply. Nonetheless, it was better than the trickle found in the wooden pipe. The aqueduct company protested Dugdale’s actions, but his improved water supply met with great public approval. City council passed an ordinance to permit Dugdale to lay piping along other streets with the caveat that he furnish 25 fire hydrants gratis to the city. No sooner did Dugdale begin to distribute water to his customers then his mill burned during December 1844. Reconstruction occurred early in 1845, including a tall brick tower containing seven iron reservoir tanks, which added pressure to the distribution system. In 1847, Burlington artist John Collins (grandson of Burlington printer Isaac Collins) published a portfolio of lithographs depicting city scenes, including one of the “Burlington Steam Mills and Water Works.” Here is a colorized version of that artwork, which clearly depicts the tower containing the iron reservoir tanks:


By 1848, the public's demand for a reliable water supply had exponentially increased. After turning a profit in his water business, Dugdale approached the Burlington Aqueduct Company with an offer to purchase all of it property and coveted franchises for pipe routes. Writing in his 1883 history, Woodward notes, “[Dugdale]…succeeded in making such terms as led to his sole proprietorship of the same” (Woodward 1883:138). In his history of Burlington published in 1927, William E. Schermerhorn states, “A few years later Mr. Dugdale acquired the Aqueduct Company’s franchise” (Schermerhorn 1927:339). Dugdale took control of the aqueduct company and worked with the city to improve operations. On 5 June 1855, the Burlington City Council approved an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance empowering the President of the Burlington Aqueduct Company to raise by Loan, Money to be applied to the payment of the liabilities of the Company and the purchase of such materials and real or personal estate in, or near, the City of Burlington, N.J., as shall be requisite for their use.” As a result of this loan authorization, Dugdale, acting in his capacity as company president, issued bonds like as the one below:

Courtesy of the Absecon Historical Society

In 1858, Liscomb R. Titus, one of the major bondholders in the Burlington Aqueduct Company, brought suit in the New Jersey Court of Chancery against the company for default on interest payment. Most likely the national financial panic of 1857 played a major role in the company’s lack of cash flow. In December of the same year, Barker Gummere, attorney for Titus, published a legal notice that the court had issued a subpoena for Thomas Ridgway, Samuel Grant, Charles Lennig, Christopher Fallon, and John Fallon, all holders of mortgage bonds in the water company that lived outside of New Jersey, to appear in court to answer questions concerning their investments:

Trenton State Gazette 28 December 1858:4
Titus held a $100,000 bond and the company failed in its responsibility to pay the requisite installments on that bond. Although the case file for this proceeding remains unexamined, it appears the chancellor appointed Robert Pitman as a trustee for the Burlington Aqueduct Company to handle its financial affairs and to sell “…all their real and personal estate, franchises and works…” (NJPL 1859:532).

To facilitate the court-directed sale, the state legislature approved an act to reincorporate the aqueduct company as the Burlington Water Company in March 1859 (ibid.):


NJPL 1859:532-533
 Under a writ from the Court of Chancery, the Burlington County Sheriff advertised a sale of the aqueduct property and franchies. The sale occurred on 11 June 1860:

Trenton State Gazette 8 June 1860:3
The sale occurred, but no report could be found on the results. Likewise, no information could be located on the management of the new Burlington Water Company, except that Burlingtonian George Albert Allinson, an architect and builder by trade, served as the firm’s superintendent and treasurer (Lee Vol. II, 1910:506-507).

As early as February 1873, the state legislature considered a bill to authorize the city to purchase the Burlington Water Company and its holdings:





NJPL 1873:332-336
The city failed to take advantage of this state act, and the Burlington water supply remained in private hands. In April 1876, state lawmakers passed a more general act concerning municipal water works and the legislature amended the act in March 1877:







  
City of Burlington Common Council 1879:40-52
Early Sunday morning on 11 December 1876, a bad fire struck Burlington and a lack of pressure and adequate supply of water caused great peril to the city and those fighting the fire:

Trenton State Gazette 13 December 1876:2
This was not the only fire endured during the Burlington Water Company’s tenure, but it was certainly the worse blaze the city ever suffered. Writing about the water supply situation in his 1883 history, Major Woodward notes,

As the growth of the city demanded a greater supply of water, the inadequacy of that furnished by the old system became more and more apparent and embarrassing. Complaints became common against the company, until, after a succession of losses by fire, due mainly to the want of water with which to extinguish them, culminating in the disastrous conflagration of Dec. 10, 1876, the spirit of the citizens became sufficiently aroused to take such action…. (Woodward 1883:138)

The December 1876 conflagration convinced city council to move forward with expediency in acquiring the assets of the water corporation. Rather than use the terms of the 1873 act, the city fathers applied the provisions contained with the more general 1876-1877 acts. Schermerhorn indicates the sale took place under a new state law passed to enable “…cities to obtain ‘a supply of pure and wholesome water,’” a direct quote from the legislative act (Schermerhorn 1927:339-340). Within two months of the fire, council members established its new water commission and authorized it to construct a new water works and modernize the distribution system, based on an ordinance approved on 7 February 1877:




City of Burlington Common Council 1879:203-208
Following the approval of this ordinance and the appointment of the city’s water commission, the Burlington Water Company sold their facilities to the city for $25,000 in March 1877. The first board consisted of Alexander Martin, James O’Neill, Henry S. Haines, Richard F. Mott, and Caleb G. Ridgway. Mr. Haines served as board secretary and as the superintendent at the water works. Woodward states,

…after several public meetings, [the city adopted]…the provisions of the act which the Legislature had passed, enabling cities to obtain a supply of pure and wholesome water. Several plans for the accomplishment of this end were devised, but it was finally thought expedient to purchase from the Burlington Water Company all their property and rights, and to improve and extend their works in such a manner as to meet the wants of the town. This was accordingly done, and March 22, 1877, a deed was executed and delivered to the city treasurer, granting all the possessions held by said company under their charter, inclusive of the rights and leases in the lands furnishing the spring water from the hills, for the sum of $25,000, the issue of bonds to the amount of $65,000 having been previously authorized for these purposes by a popular vote. (Woodward 1883:138)

The new commission wasted no time in planning a more modern water pumping and distribution system. Major Woodward writes:

During the first year of the public administration it became apparent that steps must be taken at once for obtaining a greater flow of water through the public mains, and after delays and difficulties it was determined to lay new mains through most of the streets, and to purchase a new engine and pump, which was done, and the new engine began its regular duty on the 2d day of March, 1878. The completion of the new building and the new machinery made possible the demolition of the unsightly structure formerly containing the old boiler, and enabled the commissioners to erect a neat little building about the stack, and to improve that part of the grounds formerly covered by the old building. Notwithstanding this improvement in the appearance of the property, its narrowness on the front next to Pearl Street, and the obliquity of the west line, adjoining the African Methodist Episcopal Church, lessened its beauty and utility to such an extent that it was thought proper to recommend to Council the purchase of a strip of ground from the church. This was done at a cost of three hundred and twenty-five dollars, after which a neat iron fence was built along the entire front. Substantial and sightly fences of wood were built on either side, the lawn was laid in grass, the front was paved, and young shade-trees were planted in front and on the side next to the river. On the river front, the proximity of the cemetery belonging to the church mentioned, and the dilapidation of its inclosures, led the commissioners to erect a substantial stone wall around the north and east sides thereof; and a dock owned by Mr. Joseph Vandegrift in immediate contact with the wharf property belonging to the works was purchased, at a cost of four hundred dollars, and measures were taken to strengthen the reservoir building. (Woodward 1883:138)

To prepare for the upgraded piping and appurtenances, city council passed a supplement on 3 September 1878 to the original February 1877 ordinance, providing the Board of Water Commissioners with regulatory powers:
  
City of Burlington Common Council 1879:208-209
The old mill buildings and engine house came down during 1880-1881 and the board replaced them with a new brick building. The commission ordered boilers to be installed during construction of the new building and contracted with the Holly-Gaskill Company, of Lockport, New York, for high duty pumping engines at a cost of $6,000. Invented by Harvey F. Gaskill in 1881, the type of engine became a fixture in many water works. As designed, the engine mounts horizontally and was a rotative beam non-receiver compound type. Here are some engravings to illustrate the appearance of the engine:


 
A post card view depicts the Holly-Gaskill engine and the attending engineer at the water works:



After the Holly-Gaskill Company completed the installation, the renowned hydraulic engineer Henry P.M. Birkinbine ran the engine trials at Burlington to ascertain contract compliancy. He then published a report detailing his findings. Here is the initial portion of the text, which firmly expresses Birkinbine’s opinion that the Board of Water Commissioners ordered an engine too small for its purpose:

BURLINGTON, N. J.

OCTOBER, 1884.

REPORT OF HENRY P. M. BIRKINBINE, C. E.


The engine on which the following test was made was of the Gaskill Compound type, but of the smallest size built, and with unjacketed steam cylinders; and the duty obtained is considered by the builders as all that could be expected from so small a machine operating at so slow a piston speed. The shortness of the trials was due to the fact that at the time they were made the supply of water was not sufficient to allow of a longer continuous run. This the engineer states to be the case in his report.

The pumping engine furnished by The Holly Manufacturing Company, of Lockport, N. Y., for the Burlington Water Works, was submitted to a test for duty and capacity October 28th and 29th, 1884.

The manner of proceeding was not as precise and accurate in every detail as could have been pursued, yet the results may be taken as sufficiently correct to enable a practical decision as to the ability of the pumping apparatus to fulfill the contract.


At the commencement of the test the engine was in operation, steam up to working pressure and the fire in a fair condition. This, the engineer of the works, Mr. John Crook, was directed to observe carefully, and also to so conduct the firing as to leave it in as near the same condition as practicable when the tests were concluded.


While there may have been a possibility of error in the judgment of your engineer as to the condition of the fire, at the beginning and close of the test, yet from his long experience as an engineer it may be accepted as practically correct.


All the coal supplied to the fire during the test was carefully weighed, the height of the water in the boiler marked on the gauge, and the water pumped into it was passed through a meter and the quantity measured.


The test could not be continued as long as it was desired, on account of the new connection with the river not being completed. The supply of water for the pumps had to be taken from the old pump-well, and this was several times interrupted by reason of the screen becoming choked by floating matter.


The results, however, are so far above the contract guarantee that these matters of possible error may be dismissed. By the terms of the contract the Commissioners could demand a continuous test of six days. This was not thought advisable, as it would have made it necessary to allow at least 1,250,000 gallons to be wasted each day, and would have required a corresponding waste of coal. If there were any doubt of the ability of the machinery to fulfill the demands of the contract, this long test might be insisted upon, but with the large margin in favor of the engine it was not deemed necessary. (Birkinbine 1884:65)

As the contractor built the new water works, gangs of workmen opened city streets and begin the long task of running new mains and laterals, a project finally completed in 1885, but not before a battle in city council and the pointing of a revolver at a councilman. Here is that story, as Henry Bisbee told it in 1978:

The new commission decided to lay new water mains. A contract was awarded (too quickly, some said) to Andrew McNeal to furnish and lay our larger mains. Some on City Council didn’t like the appointment.


Andrew McNeal [owner of the pipe foundry in East Burlington] had made his bid under the name of the McNeal Pipe Laying Company. Offices were on West Union street. There was no evidence that such a concern existed. William E. Schermerhorn, in his History of Burlington, implies that the Water Commissioners “had not come with clean hands.” Many decided that there was something “fishy” about the whole deal. Half of City Council agreed as they were divided six to six on the question of accepting McNeal’s bid. Hot debates flew in Council chambers.


The controversy continued for months. McNeal’s people contended that he had properly filed his bid and that the contract had been awarded fairly to the lowest bidder. His opponents claimed he intended to “farm out” the contract, that he was an irresponsible middleman and that the award had been illegal. They claimed that not enough public notice had been given. Angry debates continued in Council as charges and countercharges were hurled by Council.


As members of Council were leaving City Hall after a particularly hectic session, Andrew McNeal blocked the way of Councilman William H. Kimball. The infuriated contractor pointed a revolver at Kimball. A quick-witted bystander grabbed the revolver while others closed in on McNeal. No shot was fired. The situation would have been amusing if it had not been so serious. In the crowded corridor of City Hall the revolver was tossed from hand to hand like a hot potato. Someone finally pocketed the revolver. McNeal was arrested. When the defendant was brought before the Justice of the Peace the judge was forced to free the contractor. No weapon could be found. The evidence had disappeared.


For several weeks after the revolver incident, Council remained dead-locked six to six. Neither side would budge. Then the opposition discovered that one of the Councilmen had moved his residence to Philadelphia, but still kept his seat. Joseph R. Flanigan had supported McNeal. The opposition group had a writ served demanding that Flanigan show cause for keeping his seat. This broke the dead-lock. The case was taken to court, which ordered the contract to McNeal be voided. New bids were then advertised. R.D. Wood Company of Florence was the successful bidder. (Bisbee 1978:3-4)

The Sanborn Map Company depicted the water works in its January 1886 atlas of fire insurance maps for Burlington:

Sanborn Map Publishing Company 1886:2
By 1891, the commission had ordered a plate-iron standpipe reservoir from Morris, Tasker & Company of Philadelphia and had it erected on the water works property to increase system pressure. The 129-foot-high vertical reservoir had a maximum capacity of 286,000 gallons of water. It is shown on the 1891 Sanborn map:

Sanborn-Perris Map Company 1891:5
This early twentieth-century post card provides context for the standpipe's placement:


The water works continued to derive its water from the Delaware, but the river became increasingly polluted with industrial waste and raw sewage from upriver communities like Trenton. The Board of Water Commissioners tried repeatedly to stop the state capital from dumping its raw sewage into the Delaware, but the commissioners finally gave up as no convening authority could stop Trenton from its routine river dumping (The Philadelphia Inquirer 26 April 1891:1).

In preparation for an addition to the existing water works building, the water commission ordered the unused tank house removed, which was the portion of the building closest to Pearl Street. The 1896 Sanborn depicts the boiler room and pump house shorn of the tank house:

Sanborn-Perris Map Company 1896:5
This map detail shows the small office structure, once attached to the tank house, now freestanding on the water works property. The yellow building depicted at the bottom left-hand corner of this map detail is the coal shed for the works. This first appears on this 1896 map.

A reconstruction of the main water works occurred in 1897, including a major addition to the extant pumping station, complete with decorative terra cotta friezes featuring bas relief hydrants and the date “1897” above the windows on the gambrel dormer and the words “Water Works” across the front over the entrance door. The work included installation of a modern filtration bed in an attempt to deal with increasing contamination in the Delaware River. The 1897 edition of The Manual of American Water-Works published the following information about the Burlington water facilities:

BURLINGTON, Burlington Co. (7,264.) Now owned by city; built In ’04 by an aqueduct co.; In ’43 Thos. Dugdale laid pipe and in ’48 bought aqueduct co.’s works; In ’60 works passed Into hands of Burlington Water-Works Co., and In ’77 were bought by city. SUPPLY.—Delaware River, pumping to stand-pipe. PUMPS.—Cap., 2,000,000 galls.; 1,500,000 Holly-Gaskill hor. high duty and 500,000 Worthington comp. cond. Anthracite pea coal used; av. cost, $2.35 per short ton. STAND-PIPE.—Cap., 282,000 galls.; 20 x 120 ft., on stone. FISCAL YEAR CLOSED Mar. 1. DISTRIBUTION.—Mains, 11½ miles; cost extensions met by consumers. Taps, 1,780; made by city for $1.50. Services, lead and Iron; paid for by consumer. Hydrants, 115. CONSUMPTION.—(Galls.) av., 450.000; max., 550,000; mln., 350,000. PRESSURE.—Ordinary, 56 lbs. Steam fire engines are sometimes used. FINANCIAL.—Cost, $115,000. Bonded debt, $53,500, at 4%, due 1906. Expenses, $6,040: Operating, $4,000; Int., $2,040. Op. exp. and Int. consumes 40% of revenue, new construction 10%, balance goes for redemption of bonds. Revenue, $10,000. MANAGEMENT.—Chn., Jno. A. Vandegrift; Secy., Geo. Womsley; Treas. and Supt. Geo. A. Allison. Rept. by Treas., July 11. SEWERS.—None. REFERENCE.— Eng. News, Jan. 21, ’82. (Baker 1897:149)


The 1902 Sanborn illustrates the recently completed addition to the waterworks:
 
Sanborn Map Company 1902:4
 The little office building disappeared during construction, but the addition now housed two offices: probably one for the commission and one for the works’ engineer. A post card depicts the finely finished handsome addition with its terra cotta detailing:


This view shows the chimney projecting vertically from the boiler room:


A wider view of the building illustrates the grounds surrounding the water works:


The grove of trees to the left of the building featured benches and picnic tables as amenities on the grounds for local residents. The view from the riverbank and the stone fountains added to the pleasant experience for those visiting the water works property:


In the 1909 Burlington City Year Book, the Board of Water Commissioners published their 32nd Annual Report for the year ending 31 December 1908:


City of Burlington Common Council 1909:23-25
A wide variety of pollutants continued to foul the Delaware River in an ever-increasing quantity, causing great concern to the citizenry of Burlington about their water quality. Many municipalities turned to drilling artesian wells as an answer to the need for fresh water. The city engaged the services of New Jersey State Geologist Cornelius Vermeule to investigate the question of artesian wells for Burlington. Even before Vermeule turned in his preliminary report, however, the Burlington City Council rejected such an undertaking, presumably due to the cost. In March 1908, the council voted to disapprove drilling wells and instructed the Board of Water Commissioners to issue an Request For Proposals to construct filter beds to remove the pollutants from the river water prior to distribution in the city:

Trenton Evening Times, 5 March 1908:5
Despite city council’s plans to employ filter beds, the residents still maintained a sense of uneasiness about their water supply. In his annual message delivered 1 January 1909, Mayor C. Taylor Rue echoed these concerns:

I presume that no one subject has engaged the thought and attention of our citizens during the year just closed more than that of the water supply. There is nothing more necessary than water and no effort should be spared in getting an adequate supply of the best that can be had, and with least delay. Cost alone should not be the controlling element in determining the nature of the supply. I have followed your proceedings with great interest and beg leave to express my satisfaction with what appears to be an approach to a solution of this important matter. I believe that the large majority of our people are convinced that the time has passed when the water of the Delaware River can be safely used without some form of purification. The increase of population above us and the continued contamination of the water renders it unfit for use. Even some of our own citizens persist in draining into the River, and in some cases not far from the present intake.

A careful examination of the reports of Hazen and Whipple, and of Henry S. Haines City Engineer, published in the City Year Book for 1908, as well as the preliminary reports since presented by Mr. Cornelius C. Vermeule, C.E., appear to show a unanimous conclusion that “it is better for the City of Burlington to get ground water rather than to filter the water of the Delaware River or of the Assiscunk Creek.” These gentlemen are all among the most eminent in hydraulic engineering in this Country, and in view of their opinions, supplemented by the data submitted by them, it would seem idle for us as laymen to differ with them. I await with interest the expected final report of Mr. Vermeule, and I sincerely trust that he may propose a plan which will meet with approval, and that immediate steps be taken to accomplish the result desired. Certainly, the time has arrived when this subject can be determined, wholly on its merits, and public officials who have any duties or responsibilities in the matter should be allowed to exercise a sound discretion, based on the advice of competent engineers, and without the constant reproach and criticism which characterized the discussion in its earlier stages. (City of Burlington Common Council 1909:5-6)

As noted in the mayor’s address above, the City of Burlington engaged the services of Civil Engineer C.C. Vermeule during 1908. Here are scans of Vermeule’s reports:









 
 

(City of Burlington Common Council 1909:73-93)

In September 1909, the New Jersey State Board of Health approved the filtration plans for the Burlington Water Works: 
Trenton Evening Times, 9 September 1909:5
As the years passed by and technology advanced, the Board of Water Commissioners made improvements to their system. In 1927, these changes included new boilers, rebuilt pumps, new redundant electric pumps, and calibrated chlorination equipment:
 
Trenton Evening Times, 17 April 1927:8

During he same year, the Burlington Township community of Springside expressed the desire to receive water service from the City of Burlington, providing an expansion of the distribution system:

Sunday Times Advertiser, 11 December 1927:38
The Board of Water Commissioners finally determined it would move ahead with drilling its first artesian well in 1943, a mere 35 years after Cornelius Vermeule first recommended it:

Trenton Evening Times, 8 April 1943:7

Trenton Evening Times, 5 August 1943:6

Still, the water works continued to derive the majority of the water pumped into the distribution system from the Delaware River.

One and one-half years after the Second World War ended, the city’s water distribution system expanded again eastward into Burlington Township to the Stevens Station section:


Sunday Times Advertiser, 30 March 1947:8

In 1952, consultants finally identified a new source of water for the city—artesian wells drilled on Burlington Island:

Trenton Evening Times, 18 July 1952:2
The work to drill the five artesian wells on the island and change over the water source to just these wells required two years and the expenditure of almost $500,000. The new water supply arrived at the water works in a 20-inch main laid between the island and water works across the back channel. When the new wells came on line in 1954, the steam pumping engine fell silent as the entire water works used electricity to power the pumps and other equipment. The boilers reportedly remained on standby for a time, in case a large fire demanded a boost in pressure, but the electric pumps soon proved their adequacy and the engineer banked the fires in the boilers for the last time. As a young man, I visited the old water works building several times during 1966. Through the fog of memory, I think I recall the old steam pumps and boilers still in place, but I cannot be certain. To demonstrate all of the modernization to the city’s residents, the Board of Water Commissioners held an open house at the main building:

Trenton Evening Times, 19 November 1959:10

In an effort to streamline operations at the water works and make the system more accountable to city council, the elected officials voted to abolish the city’s Board of Water Commissioners:

Trenton Evening Times, 19 December 1962:20
By the 1970s, the old water works had outlived its usefulness and could no longer accommodate the rapid advancements in water treatment and distribution technology. The city made plans to develop a new water works facility closer to the island and its artesian wells. Construction of the new water works just west of the old McNeal Pipe Foundry began in 1977-1978. Upon its completion, the old city water works building closed. In more recent years, several entrepreneurs have sought to open a restaurant there, but finances and/or remonstrances from the adjacent Bethlehem AME Church have prevented any further progress on such activities, far removed from the water works building’s original purpose.


As the sun sets over the standpipe and the pumping station in this vintage view, hopes are high that an appropriate adaptive reuse plan can be formulated for this lasting monument to the City of Burlington’s need for clean water.

References:

Baker, M.N., editor
1897     The Manual of American Water-Works. Fourth edition. The Engineering News Publishing Company, New York City, New York.

Birkinbine, Henry
1884     “Burlington, N.J. October, 1884. Report of Henry P.M. Birkinbine, C.E.” Published in Official Reports of Various Duty Trials of the Gaskill Pumping Engines. Holly Manufacturing Company, Lockport, New York.

Bisbee, Henry H.
1978     “Burlington’s Water System.” Published in The Burlington Story. Vol. 8, No. One. [The Colonial Burlington Foundation], Burlington, New Jersey.

City of Burlington Common Council
1879     Charter of the City of Burlington, with the Ordinances; Revised and Printed by Order of the Common Council. S.S. Murphey, Printer, Burlington, New Jersey.

1909     Burlington City Year Book for 1909. n.p., Burlington, New Jersey.

N.J.P.L. (New Jersey Pamphlet Laws)
1804     Acts of the Twenty-Ninth General Assembly of the State of New Jersey. James J. Wilson, Trenton, New Jersey.

1859     Acts of the Eighty-Third Legislature of the State of New Jersey, and Fifteenth under the New Constitution. Tunis & Stout, Freehold, New Jersey.

1873     Acts of the Ninety-Seventh Legislature of the State of New Jersey, and Twenty-Ninth under the New Constitution. Vance & Stiles, Steam Power Book and Job Printers, Morristown, New Jersey.

Sanborn Map Company
1902     Insurance Maps of Burlington, Burlington Co., New Jersey. Sanborn Map Company, New York City, New York.

Sanborn Map Publishing Company
1886     Burlington, New Jersey. Sanborn Map Publishing Company, New York City, New York.

Sanborn-Perris Map Company
1891     Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey. Sanborn-Perris Map Company, New York City, New York.

1896     Insurance Maps of Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey. Sanborn-Perris Map Company, New York City, New York.

Schermerhorn, William E.
1927     The History of Burlington, New Jersey. Enterprise Publishing Company, Burlington, New Jersey.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
1891     “Little Ones from Jersey.” Published in the 26 April edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Microform edition. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Woodward, Major E.M.
1883     History of Burlington County, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Everts & Peck, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.