A RELIC OF NEW YORK CITY IN 1776.
An old-time city treasury note was received last week—one of those issued at the time of the first efforts of this city to establish a municipal water plant. It was sent by Samuel P. Avery, of No. 4 East Thirty-eighth street. At the office of the city chamberlain it was said that several of this issue are still extant, and persons still drop in occasionally to redeem them, only to learn that they are worthless, except, for their historical value.
At the present time, when the need of a larger water supply is becoming more and more imperative, a glance at the history of the city at the time this note was issued is interesting. The note is one of an issue of 1776, aggregating the sum of £2,500, or about $25,000. This money was raised for tile purpose of building a rAervoir east of Broadway, between Peart and White streets. The reservoir was to he filled with water pumped from the Collect pond, at Centre and Leonard streets. While this undertaking was being accomplished, a crisis came in the Revolutionary war; the British took possession of the city; and the work was stopped. After hostilities were ended the system was extended by means of pipes made out of hollowed logs, so as to supply residents as far north as Pearl street, then the northern limit of the city. The city granted a franchise to the president and directors of the Manhattan company in 1799 to sink wells at the corner of Elm and Reade streets and to lay pipes as far as Bleecker street. In 1815 the wooden pipes were replaced in some places with iron tubing, hut the system was not enlarged to any extent, and soon became inadequate.
It was not until 1821 that the city authorities began to look outside of Manhattan island for its water supply, and then it was that the common council ordered an investigation of the Bronx river and Rye pond. These water sources were regarded, however, as inadequate, and in 1832 the city authorities asked the legislature for the right to investigate the Croton watershed. This investigation was followed in 1834 by an act of the legislature authorising the construction of the Croton aqueduct, and on October 14 the opening of the aqueduct was celebrated with appropriate ceremonies. Since that time the Croton system has been extended and enlarged, but the water that the resident of the island 01 Manhattan drinks today comes from the same shed which was first tapped in 1832.