Steady Growth of New England Association
With Small Beginning, Necessity for the Organization Was Quickly Demonstrated by Many New Members—Healthy Increase Followed—Wide Influence for Good in Its Field
THE history of the New England Water Works Association is one not only of steady growth but also contains a record of practical service of usefulness to the water works superintendents and their departments and consequently to the cities and towns of which they form a part. From a very small and modest beginning the association has spread out in membership and influence until it is represented in thirtyeight states and in many foreign countries.
Small Beginning in 1881
It was in the year 1881 that James W. Lyon, of Salem, Mass., suggested to some friends the project of forming a water works association. The proposition was quickly accepted, and early in 1882 Frank E. Hall, Horace G. Holden, R. C. P. Coggeshall and H. W. Lawrence met in Lowell and decided to proceed with the organization. On June 21 a meeting was held in Young’s Hotel, Boston, at which by-laws and a constitution was adopted. Since that time the association has gradually worked its way up, each year showing material progress in membership and in the class of papers prepared for reading and discussion at the annual conventions and winter monthly meetings in Boston.
Increase in Membership
As showing the great increase in the roll of members, it may be stated that there were 27 present at the first meeting in 1882, while this figure rose to 153 in 1886, 414 in 1893, and in June, 1921, the roll showed 783 members, twelve honorary members and 71 associates, a total of 866. This year a considerable increase may be expected in these figures. Thus it will be seen that steady progress has been made from year to year in the association until it has reached an important position among the technical associations. This success may be attributed to many causes, one of which is the fact that its officers have always worked as a unit, and thus accomplished important results. The active members, too, have always been enthusiastic in pushing its interests, especially in the matter of procuring papers on such diversified subjects that not only are the actives kept interested, but the manufacturers as well.
Eighth Annual Meeting an Important One
The eighth annual meeting held at Fall River in 1899 was an important one, and it is interesting to note that Professor W. T. Sedgwick, afterward president during 1906, then furnished a paper on “Recent Progress in the Biological Analysis of Water,” a subject that was then just becoming recognized as of great importance. In the above year Messrs. Coggeshall, Darling, Hall, Nevins and Batchelder were the moving spirits in the organization, and it was by their good work that such real progress was shown later on.
Growth in 1893
Down to 1893, when the meeting was held in Worcester, the membership had increased from 275 to 414. which was then considered a remarkably fair showing. At that time, Dexter Brackett and Walter H. Richards accepted the senior and junior editorships of the association, and George A. Stacy was placed on the executive committee. The influence of these gentlemen soon became apparent, and when the next convention was held it was seen that a new impetus had been infused into the management. The association had been very conservative as to the places selected for holding its annual conventions. The New England territory was closely adhered to until the larger towns in its States were pretty well used up, so the ambitious members of the executive committee decided to try other fields, and Montreal and New York received attention.
Goes Outside of New England for Convention
In 1905 the twenty-third meeting was held at the Murray Hill Hotel, New York City, and the records showed that it was one of the most successful in the history of the association. The active and associate members held preliminary meetings and made complete and liberal arrangements for entertainment and this, coupled with the fact that September was a good month to select, brought together an attendance of over 600, including guests. This number comprised over 140 active members, of which 50 came from Massachusetts and 26 from the State of New York. There was also the good representation of 30 civil engineers and 73 associate members included in the list. Thus it was seen that the action of the committee was a wise one, as it added a considerable number of new members to the roll of the association.
Conventions in Boston and New York
One of the most successful of the recent conventions of the association was the thirtythird, at which time F. A. McInnes, division engineer, public works department, Boston, Mass., was president. This convention was held in Boston, Mass., September 9 to 11, 1914.
For the thirty-fourth annual convention the association again went out of the New England States and held its sessions for the second time in New York City on September 8 to 10, 1915. Leonard Metcalf, of Metcalf & Eddy, Boston, Mass., being the president. The entertainment of this convention consisted of the taking of the whole party by special train to Valhalla, N. Y., where the members and guests visited the Kensico reservoir of the Catskill system, the dam of which was then nearing completion.
Dexter Brackett Memorial Adopted in 1917
The thirty-fifth annual convention was held at Portland, Me., the president being William F. Sullivan, president and manager of the Pennichuck water works, Nashua, N. H. A committee having been formed at the 1915 convention to consider some form of memorial for the late Dexter Brackett it was decided to raise $1,000 by subscriptions from members of the association. The interest on the sum is spent every year for a medal to be awarded the author of the best paper prepared for the association. The conditions state that any original paper, presented to the association by a member during the calendar year for which the medal is to be awarded shall be open to the contest provided that such paper, or an important part thereof, shall not have been previously contributed to any other society, nor have appeared in print prior to its presentation, nor have been published in the Journal in any previous year. The medal shall be awarded for the paper which is judged to be most meritorious, bearing in mind its applicability to general water works problems. No fitting testimonial to the memory and fidelity of one of its most valued members could have pleased him more, as being an incentive to the efficiency of the organization.
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The 1917 convention was held at Hartford, Conn., Caleb M. Saville. general manager of the board of water commissioners of that city, being president. Mr. Saville was awarded the first Dexter Brackett memorial medal at that convention.
No Convention in 1918
Owing to war conditions it was decided that no annual convention be held in 1918, but a “Win-the-War Meeting” was held in Boston on September 11 and 12, which took the place of the convention. This meeting, at which the president of the association for that year was Carleton E. Davis, chief of the water bureau of Philadelphia, Pa., developed a remarkable spirit of patriotism among the members, the sessions being largely devoted to utterances of loyalty by the speakers. The fuel situation, which was exceedingly acute during that year, came in for considerable discussion at this meeting.
Peace Brings Successful Convention at Albany
With the advent of peace and prospects bright for increased prosperity the convention of the association held in Albany, N. Y., on September 30, October 1, 2 and 3, was an excellent one, well attended and showing the association in good condition, both as to membership and finances. The president of this convention was Samuel E. Killam, superintendent of pipe lines, Metropolitan Water System, Boston, Mass.
The thirty-ninth annual convention was held in Holyoke, Mass., on September 7 to 10, 1920, the president being H. B. Macksey, superintendent of the Framingham, Mass., water works. Last year’s convention was held in Bridgeport, Conn., and was one of the best that the association ever held. The president was Charles W. Sherman, consulting engineer of Metcalf & Eddy, Boston, Mass.
Many Old Time Faces Now Missing From Meetings
Of the old guard of the association there are now many faces missing from the meetings and conventions. Only a few of the early members survive but these veterans are faithful in their attendance and make up for the lack of numbers. However, to the newer members the work of the association is now entrusted, and to their careful attention to the interests of the body must be attributed its present prosperous condition.
Association Has Had Six Treasurers
The first treasurer of the association was Edwin Darling, who served from its beginning to 1887. He was followed by Albert S. Glover, who served from 1887-89; Hiram Nevins, 1889-94; George E. Batchelder, 1894-99, and L. M. Bancroft, who has had the longest term of service, twenty-three years, from 1899 to 1922, when the present incumbent, Frederick I. Winslow, Framingham, Mass., was elected, Mr. Bancroft declining a re-election.
Much Work Devolves Upon Secretaries
Upon the secretaries the principal work has fallen, so that the selection of these men must be made according to their experience and adaptability for the position. That the association was very fortunate in securing the services of such men as Albert S. Glover and R. C. P. Goggeshall is very apparent. The latter served as secretary for nearly one-third of the existence of the association and certainly established a precedent in the work of his office that could scarcely be equalled for care, persistency and efficiency. Mr. Glover served 1884-87, between the two terms of Mr. Coggeshall, namely. 1882-84 and 1887-95. Mr. Coggeshall was succeeded by Joint C . Whitney, who served from 1895 to 1899. Willard Kent was elected in 1899, after the resignation of Mr. Whitney and his efforts and those of the present incumbent, Frank J. Gifford, who took office in 1920, have been largely responsible in the bringing up of the membership to its present high figure and putting the financial standing of the association where it cam comfortably meet obligations, even should they amount to thousands of dollars. The present secretary, Mr. Gifford, takes much pride in his work, of which he trusts many details to his very competent and affable assistant. Miss Joan Ham.
The Prospects Bright for 1922 Convention
The prospects for the 1922 convention, which is to be held on September 12 to 15 at New Bedford, Mass., are of the brightest. The convention city is accessible and has many interesting points to attract visitors. The program printed in last week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING is an attractive one both from the standpoint of practical articles and discussions and from that of the entertainment features. The people of New Bedford have evidently laid themselves out to see that the delegates enjoy themselves and from present indications there should be a large attendance of superintendents from many parts of the country at this convention.