A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912

THE CITY OF HOUSTON, TEXAS 17
water supply, both for drinking and for fire protection
purposes. Soon after the beginning of his
second term Mr. Wilson sent a special message to
the council, drawing attention to the great need of
water works. The city had no money to build such
works, but was prepared and willing to deal most
liberally with any private company or corporation
that would undertake the work. Nearly a year later
such a company was formed, and some months later,
in August, 1879, the company actually constructed
the first water works on the north side of the bayou
near what was called "Stanley's brick yard," where
they have remained ever since. The service, however,
was abominable and pleased no one. The company
built a dam across the bayou so as to shut off
tide water and secure as pure water as possible from
the upper bayou. It was totally unfit to drink and
no one ever thought of using it for that purpose.
In the early nineties it was discovered that an
abundant supply of the purest artesian water could
be obtained anywhere in Houston, and the waterworks
company sank several artesian wells. That
gave Houston an abundant supply of pure drinking
water. However, the stand-pipe was too small,
or for some other reason the company claimed they
could not supply the city with both drinking water
and water for protection against fire, and every
time a fire occurred they would pump bayou water
into the reservoir, with the result that the water became
unfit to drink for some time after every fire.
The people complained, but that did no good. Finally,
in 1906, under the administration of Mayor

Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/. Accessed June 30, 2015.