Oldest Water Works to be Demolished

Oldest Water Works to be Demolished

It is expected that what is said to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, water works plant in the United States, that of Bethlehem, Pa., will be torn down to accommodate a new bridge, which, it is expected, will be built in 1924. The buildings of the water works date back to 1754. The original stone building is a story and a half structure and the plant was the outgrowth of efforts by the pioneers in this section to find an easier way of supplying the community with water than carting it from a spring upon the hill, a method first employed. John Boehmer, a missionary to the West Indies and one of the early settlers of Bethlehem and Hans Christiansen, a millwright worked out the plan. Hemlock trunks were floated down the Lehigh River from Gnadenhuten and these were made into pipes. Christiansen worked to produce the pump needed. A building was erected near the river bank for the purpose of supplying power for the first experiment and Christiansen then demonstrated the feasibility of this project to the townsmen by forcing water as high as the tops of the houses around the town square. The machinery then was perfected, a waterwheel was built, pipes laid, a water tower constructed and the plant put in operation.

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