By Carl Smith

ISBN-10: 022602265X

ISBN-13: 9780226022659

A urban is greater than a massing of electorate, a structure of constructions and streets, or an association of political, fiscal, and social associations. it's also an infrastructure of rules which are a aid for the ideals, values, and aspirations of the folk who created the town. In City Water, urban Life, celebrated historian Carl Smith explores this idea via an insightful exam of the advance of the 1st winning waterworks structures in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago among the 1790s and the 1860s. by way of interpreting where of water within the nineteenth-century recognition, Smith illuminates how urban dwellers perceived themselves through the nice age of yankee urbanization. yet City Water, urban Life is greater than a historical past of urbanization. it's also a clean meditation on water as a need, as a source for trade and undefined, and as an essential—and central—part of the way we outline our civilization.

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Extra resources for City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago

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The young town of Chicago’s first small step in constructing a water supply ignored both the river and the lake.  It was at this time that Chicago’s population began to climb very rapidly, from a few hundred people in 1833 to 4,170 by 1837, when the town was incorporated as a city. The numbers kept rising, approaching 30,000 by 1850, 110,000 a decade later, and 300,000 only ten years after that. Water needs grew even faster, making Lake Michigan—rather than the small, sluggish, and, by this point, filthy Chicago River—the obvious choice for meeting them.

The other was to entrust Boston’s needs to a private company whose main source would be Spot Pond, about ten miles north in Stoneham. Both sources were at a higher elevation than Boston, so no pumping would be necessary, though each would require the construction of an aqueduct to carry its water to the city. Near the close of 1844, the City Council, backed by yet another report, determined that a city-owned system drawing on Long Pond was the only acceptable choice, mainly because of its larger capacity (the consultants judged the purity of Long and Spot Ponds to be of comparably high quality).

Well aware of the worsening situation, the Chicago water commissioners passed a resolution in March 1860 asking Chesbrough to propose how the city might secure clean water. He submitted five alternatives: extending the intake pipe a full mile out into the lake and presumably beyond the reach of contamination, building an intake tunnel of the same distance under the lake’s clay bottom, moving the intake about twenty miles north to a point near the lakefront suburb of Winnetka, constructing a system of filtering beds, and erecting a subsiding reservoir to allow the water to clear before it was pumped to users.

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City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago by Carl Smith


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