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Water for Hartford
The Story of the Hartford Water Works and the Metropolitan District Commission
Kevin Murphy

Garnet Books

2010 • 352 pp. 39 illus. 6 x 9"
New England History

$35.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7080-2

$27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7102-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

How three men brought clean water to Hartford, on a massive scale

As good health is inextricably wedded to pure drinking water—and this particular concern looms larger every day—understanding delivery systems is almost as important as the water itself. Water for Hartford chronicles the century-long effort, beginning in the 1850s, to construct a viable, efficient water system. The story of Hartford’s water works is a fascinating one, for it recalls the hard work, great sacrifice, and extraordinary engineering feats necessary to deliver wholesome drinking water to a growing urban center. It also illuminates the ever-changing social, political, and economic milieu in which it was built.

The story of its construction is also the story of three men—Hiram Bissell, Ezra Clark, and Caleb Saville. Readers are transported back in time and given a firsthand glimpse of what these champions of a water system faced on a daily basis: unforgiving geography, venal politicians, and an often-indifferent public. The book culminates in the exhilaration of having built a water works from scratch to deliver clean, safe drinking water to the masses. Water for Hartford is a human story, peopled by men of vision and achievement, who understood that their decisions and actions would affect millions of people for decades to come.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

From the Book:

“Astute businessman that he was, Samuel Colt sensed that the Whigs might attempt some fiscal chicanery and, energized by his extreme hatred of this bunch, he sent a communiqué to the council meeting. To the secret delight—and probable forehand knowledge—of Hiram Bissell, Colt stated that if funding were a problem, he ‘would buy $5,000 [worth of] water bonds at par, or if necessary $10,000, or furthermore if necessary $20,000.’ Stunned by Colt’s sudden involvement, the Whigs turned tail. They may have done some financial studies—although no such records exist—but their latest plot to destroy the water works had failed thanks to Samuel Colt…”

KEVIN MURPHY is a writer whose interest in water systems dates back to fly-fishing trips in the West Branch Valley of the Farmington River—below the Metropolitan District Commission’s Hogback Reservoir. A 1971 graduate of Villanova University, he worked at the Hartford Courant through the 1970s and then ran a successful building business until 2000. Today, he writes full time, but still manages to spend summer afternoons fly-fishing on the Farmington River in and around the tiny village of Riverton. He is also the author of The Crowbar Governor (2010).

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:18:20 -0500