The proposition to build water works and provide a sewerage system for the city carried by a majority of 7 to 1.
"Medford Items," Oregonian, Portland, June 1, 1888, page 7
Bids are advertised for up to the 25th inst. for constructing the ditch which is to furnish the new water supply for Medford. Everything is in readiness; the right of way was secured through the Gore place this week for $200, and the work will be pushed to completion. The ditch will take the water out of Bear Creek about the Gore place and will be 2½ miles long. In the western suburbs a reservoir will be built, from which pipes will lead over town.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, September 14, 1888, page 3
E. E. Gore to the town of Medford, right of way for water ditch; $200.
"Real Estate Transactions," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 20, 1888, page 3
Work is progressing upon the Medford water ditch, and it is expected that ditch will be finished by the last of December.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, October 19, 1888, page 2
The water ditch is nearly in town.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, March 14, 1889, page 3
The ditch leading from Bear Creek to [Medford], which will furnish our town with a fine supply of water, is nearly completed. It will prove of much benefit to our town.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 14, 1889, page 3
Medford rejoices over the flowing of water through its new irrigating canal, which taps Bear Creek about two miles above the town. The water was turned into the ditch last week for the first time.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, May 3, 1889, page 3
The water ditch has been completed, and the water was turned on for the first time Wednesday. This is a valuable improvement for the town and one that will be of great benefit.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, May 24, 1889, page 2
Medford contemplates bonding the town for a $20,000 water works system. The election will be held next Monday.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, June 27, 1889, page 3
The citizens of Medford will vote next Monday, July 1st, upon the proposition to bond the city for $20,000, to construct water works.
Ashland Tidings, June 28, 1889, page 3
MEDFORD'S FIRE PROTECTION.--The town of Medford, in Jackson County, is to have water works. In reply to a circular sent out by an insurance company to each town in the state, asking what facilities they have for extinguishing fires, the agents at Medford says they have none. The town is putting in a system of water works, and as soon as this is completed a fire company will be organized. The plan proposed is to lay 4000 feet of four- and six-inch pipe through the principal streets, with twelve hydrants, to get a duplex pump and boiler, sink a large well, and put up two tanks of 30,000 gallons each, on towers fifty feet high. In case of fire the water in these tanks is to be used, while steam is being got up in the boiler. A hose cart and 500 feet of 1½-inch hose will also be provided.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, September 5, 1889, page 4
Messrs. Wood and Whiteside began work on the water tank this week. The pipe line has not yet arrived, but everything is in readiness for going on with the work as soon as it arrives.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, November 1, 1889, page 2
Work has been suspended on our water system until more favorable weather.
The ditch has been breaking out of its banks in several places, and considerable work has been done during the past week to repair the breaks.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 30, 1890, page 3
February 27, 1955 Medford Mail TribuneThe new system of water works will be finished about the 1st of May. The large tower, fifty feet high, on which the two huge cisterns, calculated to hold 33,000 gallons each, are to rest, is being pushed to completion as rapidly as possible. Until a larger well can be dug, the water will be pumped by steam from a cistern some 500 feet away, which will be supplied with water from the large ditch dug last year, into the two cisterns from which the water will be carried in pipes all over the city for fire and irrigating purposes only, as the water is not fit for domestic purposes. The town is to be congratulated on its providing means by which it can be guarded against fire. Should a fire start now in the center of the town nothing could save it from utter destruction. But with a well-organized fire company and plenty of water, such as the new system will provide, the place will be perfectly safe and insurance will be greatly reduced.
"Medford Improvements," Oregonian, Portland, April 8, 1890, page 12
The boring of the town well at Goldsmith's corner was found to be a difficult piece of work, owing to the loose gravel formation. The entire well will have to be cased.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 9, 1890, page 3
Adkins & Webb completed the Medford waterworks this week, and have executed their contract in a satisfactory manner. There is a pressure of over 200 feet, which is sufficient to throw the water a considerable distance over the highest house in town. We may well be proud of this system, as it affords much protection against fire.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 16, 1890, page 2
The pumps are working finely at the water works, the tanks leak but little, and the system is proven to be an unqualified success. Medford is well equipped now to fight fire and keep down the dust.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 6, 1890, page 3
The new water works give good satisfaction. The streets can be sprinkled down now, and insurance will surely be reduced in consequence.
"Medford Doings," Valley Record, Ashland, June 12, 1890, page 3
We now have a first-class water system, which is a great protection against fire; hence our citizens feel that the Pacific Insurance Union is not treating them right in not lowering the rates of insurance.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 26, 1890, page 3
The recorder was instructed to procure 150 feet of rope for the use of the city engineer in painting the water tower.
"City Fathers," Medford Mail, March 10, 1892, page 3
To Persons Using Water from the Medford Water Works.
You, and each of you, are hereby notified that unless the water rent for the first half year of 1892 (from January 1 to July 1, 1892) is paid on or before Monday, June 6, the water will be turned off by the marshal and kept turned off until said water rent is paid.
J. H. FARIS, Recorder.
Medford, Ore., June 1, 1892.
Southern Oregon Mail, June 3, 1892, page 3
Fire at Medford.Monday night about 1:30 a.m. the wood pile of A. A. Davis, lying between his flouring mill and the railroad track at Medford, was discovered ablaze. The alarm soon brought Medford's entire population to the scene as well as the hose company. The water supply was so weak that it was of no service and the only water to be had was that pumped from wells, and wet blankets used. The wood, some 220 cords, was consumed by the flares and herculean efforts finally stanched the fire there, after the flames had severely scorched and blistered the flour mill building. It was a miraculous escape, and had the mill once caught fire all the powers of heaven and earth would not have saved the town from complete destruction.
Mr. Davis thinks the fire was started from a spark from the engine of the northbound freight, which passed just before.
Valley Record, Ashland, August 25, 1892, page 3
The recent close call Medford had by fire has stirred up the water supply question in that town. A meeting of citizens was held last week to boom up the artesian well question.
"Pressed Bricks," Valley Record, Ashland, September 1, 1892, page 1
The city water tank pump is kept running day and night now by engineers E. G. Hurt and H. E. Baker. A dam has been placed in Bear Creek, making a headworks to keep a good flow of water in the city ditch supplying the water tank and thus ensuring a fair pressure in the water works in case of a fire these dry times.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, September 8, 1892, page 3
Regarding the water ditch project; It appears now to be a separate deal from the railroad, but, however, both are promised by the same company. Mr. Leadbetter has given out that we will get the railroad anyway, and the idea which occurs to us is that if we get the ditch we will be asked for a subsidy as talked of last winter.
"It's a Sure Thing," Medford Mail, March 31, 1893, page 2
Medford Water and Power Station, Eighth and Riverside.
Six Were "Not in It."At the special election held in Medford last Monday upon the question of issuing $40,000 city bonds to be used as a bonus for the water works and electric power and light enterprises projected by C. H. Leadbetter, the town was almost unanimously in favor of bonding, there being only six votes against it in a town of about 275 or 280.
Mayor W. I. Vawter, when in Ashland Wednesday, replying to the question when the bonds are to be issued, said he didn't know anything about that. The election only gave the city council authority to bond the city if in its judgment it is the proper thing to do. The council will now proceed to consider such proposition as may be issued by Mr. Leadbetter and will not issue any bonds until satisfied by assurances or guarantee that the projects to be subsidized are upon a solid basis of success.
It is understood that Mr. Leadbetter proposes to bring to the town a supply of water for drinking and other domestic purposes, as well as for power; that he will supply water for irrigation of lands on both sides of the valley about Medford and Jacksonville, and will establish an electric lighting system in Medford. Water for city purposes is to be supplied free during continuance of his franchise.
Ashland Tidings, April 28, 1893, page 3
E. G. Hurt, the clever engineer at the water works, has resigned his position and tomorrow will start for his mine in Briggs Valley. It's about this season of the year that the boys at the camp figure on making a "cleanup," and that is the whyforness of Mr. Hurt's visit.
"City Local Whirl," Medford Mail, May 5, 1893, page 3
Charges for hydrants will hereafter be, for irrigating purposes, $12 per year; street, $6; hotels and barber shops with bathrooms, $10; livery stables and butcher shops, $15.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 12, 1894, page 2
The well at the corner of Seventh and C streets has quenched the thirst of many Medford people for a number of years, and it is still prepared to perform this same mission, but someone every few days takes it upon himself to steal the drinking cup. This procedure is becoming monotonous, and if persisted in the parties guilty will be exposed. A new cup with chain fastenings has been attached to the pump, and it is probable there will be no occasion for an expose.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, March 16, 1894, page 3
An Artesian Well.Medford, March 28.--J. T. Flynn of the Pacific Well Drilling Company of Portland has made a proposition to the city council to drill a 12-inch well, 500 feet deep, for $3,500. The council will meet him again Tuesday, at which time the proposition will most likely be accepted and the contract signed, in which case the work will be commenced by April 15 and completed by July 25. Mr. Flynn is strongly of the opinion that flowing water can be obtained at that depth, as the location of the city is very favorable for artesian water. He says if flowing water is not obtained, a well of this depth will furnish about 300,000 gallons of water per day.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 2, 1894, page 3
The contract for the boring of the much-talked-of artesian well has been let to L. P. Denny of Gridley, Calif. for $3,000 for the first 500 feet and $7.50 per foot for each foot after that depth. Only one other bid, that of T. F. Corbett, was received. The latter's bid was for $3,500 for the first 500 feet and $8 per foot thereafter, not more than 2,000 feet to be bored at that rate.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 21, 1894, page 2
There was a noticeable scarcity of water from the city supply last Saturday, occasioned by the dam getting out "whack." The damage has since been made good and the water flows freely again--to the man that pays for it.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, June 22, 1894, page 3
Bids were asked for last week by the city council for pumping water for the city, including the furnishing of fuel for the engine. Four bids were received--C. D. Kellogg, $1150; W. R. Ridenhour, $1110; Medford Electric Light Company, $1075; E. W. Carder, $800. Mr. Carder also submitted a bid of $1200 for the above work and finishings and keeping the water ditch in repair. His $800 bid was accepted by the council. Later: The city council at their regular meeting, Tuesday night, rejected all bids for pumping, Mr. Carder failing to sign [the] contract, in accordance with bid given.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, July 6, 1894, page 3
The city council has awarded the contract for the extension of the city water works to J. Beek & Co., the enterprising hardware firm, for $1332.79. They are to furnish the material and complete the work. There will be 1520 feet of 4-inch pipe added to the system.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, March 28, 1895, page 4
The new boiler for the Medford water works arrived in Medford on Thursday morning's freight, and the work of unloading and setting it up was immediately commenced. Wells & Shearer were awarded the contract for placing it on the ground for $10, and engineer Carder will soon have it set up and in readiness for immediate use. This is a great improvement in our water works system, and the work of pumping will now be accomplished with much greater safety and rapidity. The cost of the boiler was $719 complete.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, May 22, 1896, page 5
The night engineer at the city water works has been laid off, and engineer Carder is now doing the work alone.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, September 11, 1896, page 7
MEDFORD, Jackson Co. (967) Built in '89 by city. SUPPLY.--Bear Creek, by gravity through canal to pumps, then pumping to tank and direct. PUMP.--Cap., 240,000 gals.; Buffalo dup. Wood used; av. cost, $2.94 per cord. TANK.--Cap., 45,000 gals.; wood, 22x16 ft., on timber trestle 80 ft. high. DISTRIBUTION.--Mains, 7½ miles; cost extensions met by city tax. Taps, 169; made by consumer for $2.50. Services, galv. 1.; paid for by consumer. Meters, 0. City can compel use of meters and any consumer may have one. Hydrants, public, 19. CONSUMPTION.--(Gals.) av., 280,000; max., 400,000; min., 80,000. More water is used for irrigation than for any other purposes. PRESSURE.--Ordinary, 40 lbs.; fire, 150 lbs. FINANCIAL.--Cost, $15,900, at 8%. Expenses, $1,996; Operating, $1,200; int., $796. Revenue, two railways, $360; public buildings, $450. No deficits for last two years; when any occurs it is met by general taxation. MANAGEMENT.--Rept. by Supt. and Pump. Engr. E. W. Carder, Aug. 15, '96. SEWERS.--Has storm sewers only.
The Manual of American Water-Works 1897, M. N. Baker, ed., page 552
The city council of Medford struck the key note of popular favor when it decided to put down that well at the water works. Sentiment was with the board when it was decided to save money, fuel and time by putting in that feed ditch from the main ditch, but when it was found by digging a reservoir that a pretty good supply of water could be had from the reservoir, or well, itself there was encouraging words given the board, and their decision on the matter of extending tunnels as feeders to the well was met with general approval. When it can be made possible to get good water for all domestic use from this well the expense of keeping the ditch in repair will be cut off--and the ditch and right of way can be sold to someone at a good figure--the water from it being a valuable article for irrigating.
Medford Mail, April 23, 1897, page 2
Work on the improvements at the water tank is progressing finely, since the large pump has been hitched to the water in the cistern. The cistern has been curbed, and the ditch leading to it is pretty nearly completed. The contract for putting in a fifty-foot tunnel has been let to Eugene Amann and Bert Brandenburg at eight-five cents per foot, in town warrants. Carpenters are now at work getting out timbers, and work will commence on the tunnel at once. While the water which is now coming into the cistern is not nearly equal to the required amount, it is thought the tunnel will add to the supply to an extent which will meet the requirements for at least six months of the year.
"A Grist of Local Haps and Mishaps," Medford Mail, April 30, 1897, page 7
The city council has awarded the contract for operating the water works and also lighting the streets with electricity to R. A. Proudfoot. Part of the members are opposed to the scheme. This proceeding has caused considerable comment, and there is talk of applying to the circuit court for an injunction to restrain its consummation.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 7, 1898, page 3
Medford's water system has been enlarged--by 600 feet of 6- inch pipe and 3000 feet of 4-inch pipe. This is a necessary improvement.
Mrs. John Hickler, whose husband is interested in the dredger being built near Tolo, was thrown from the buggy in which she was riding a few days ago. The team she was driving, formerly owned by Fred. Fredenburg of Central Point, became frightened by the whistle of the water works blowing and ran away. The lady sustained painful injuries, while the vehicle, a new one, was considerably damaged.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 11, 1898, page 3
A mass meeting was held on the 4th to discuss the proposition of enlarging the water system. On account of the small amount of snow in the mountains last winter there is a scarcity of water for city and fire purposes. A commission was appointed to report on the proposition of building a reservoir on the bank of Bear Creek and a tunnel under the creek, to strike the under strata of water.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 8, 1898, page 3
A well 20 feet in diameter is being dug on a lot purchased by the city from W. S. Barnum on South A Street. The object is to secure all the water necessary for city purposes, and it is to be hoped that the required depth can be reached. Councilman Woodford is superintending the work.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 29, 1898, page 2
Medford--The town council last Tuesday bought the pumping plant formerly used at the Tolo mine, and will put it on the bank of Bear Creek to furnish water for city purposes. A large reservoir is being built, and a tunnel will be dug under the creek to get the lower strata of water. Should there prove to be enough good water to supply the city the present pumping and electric plant will probably be moved to the same location.
"Oregon State News," Daily Capital Journal, Salem, September 10, 1898, page 2
When the well, which is being dug by order of the city council just south of where W. S. Barnum's planing mill stood, is completed, it will be operated by the pumping plant formerly used by the Tolo Mining Co.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 15, 1898, page 3
Work on the town well has been suspended for a few days. Operations cannot proceed satisfactorily until the steam pumping outfit has been adjusted, the small hand pump proving inadequate to the demands. As soon as the new order of things is inaugurated the work will be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 30, 1898, page 7
The old boiler, formerly used for pumping water at the city works, has been taken to the new well house and placed in position for use in pumping water from the well which is now being put down. The new pump is in position, and very soon work on the well proper will be resumed. It is the intention of the board, should a sufficient amount of water be secured, either from the well or a tunnel under the river, or both, to lay pipe to the tanks on West Seventh Street, and this pipe to intersect the mains on South C and South G streets, and by this intersection the pump will be pumping directly into the mains at all times when running and when not running the surplus water in the tanks will supply the demands of the mains. There are about twenty feet of water in the well at present, and it is the intention to go eight or ten feet deeper.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 14, 1898, page 7
Work is still progressing on the big well that the city is building to give the town a better supply of water during the summer time.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 27, 1898, page 2
Work on the city well has been taking a few days' rest this week because of the fact that piping which had been ordered did not arrive. The tunnel has been driven about eight feet, and from it there comes more water than was secured by digging the well. This tunnel is to be extended fifty feet toward the river, and the end of it farthest from the well will be eighteen feet below the bed of the river. Councilman Woodford, who has the work in charge, is confident that when this tunnel is completed the full fifty feet that there will be secured all the water the pump can handle even in the driest seasons. The water now coming in is not from the creek, but it would appear that the vein from which so many of our best wells feed had been struck.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 11, 1898, page 7
The contract for furnishing the water pipe to lead from the new town well to the pumping plant was awarded to Arthur & Co. of Portland for $2,055.75 for 1925 feet. The only other bid was that of Boyden & Nicholson of Medford, for $2,185.50.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 5, 1899, page 2
Medford's water system will be extended across Bear Creek, to supply those who were embraced in the corporation by act of the last legislature. Bids for 2270 feet of 4-inch pipe have been called for.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 10, 1899, page 2
The eight-inch water pipe is being removed from the city park and will be used for gutters under the street crossings.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 24, 1899, page 3
The city council at its meeting last week let the contract for furnishing 2270 feet of four-inch pipe for East Medford to J. M. Arthur & Co. of Portland for $1074. Only one other bid, that of John Norris for $1965, was offered.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 17, 1899, page 3
The ditch for the water pipes in East Medford is completed and the pipe is on the ground, ready for laying. Contractor Lyons expects to have it in position this week.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 15, 1899, page 3
Medford is, at last, in a fair way to have pure mountain water at a reasonable expense. Williams & Belser, capitalists of San Francisco, have been looking over the ground with a view to bringing the waters of Little Butte Creek to Medford, and have submitted two propositions to the city. They do not ask for a bonus, simply a guarantee of patronage. They will build the canal necessary to bring the water and furnish the citizens of the town with water, provided they will use as much as in 1899, or will furnish the city authorities with so much water, to be disposed of by the citizens. At a mass meeting of the citizens held last week a committee was appointed to investigate matters and lay their findings before the city board.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 5, 1900, page 3
The Medford Water Enterprise.C. B. Williams and J. H. Belser, of the firm of Williams & Belser, capitalists and contractors of San Francisco are considering the advisability of constructing a water ditch from the forks of Little Butte Creek to a point three miles east of Medford, for the purpose of furnishing that city and country through which it passes, with water and power. If constructed, the ditch will be 24 miles in length, with an average depth of six feet and an average width of ten feet.
Engineer McRea of San Francisco and four surveyors of Medford left Monday to make a preliminary survey of the route.
Valley Record, Ashland, March 15, 1900, page 1
Water Rates Established.
At the last session of the city council the following schedule of prices was established for the use of city water. These charges are in addition to those previously established for the use of water for irrigation:
Bath tubs each, per month . . . . $ .25
Steam or hot water heater, per month . . . . .25
Water closets . . . . .50
HOTELS, BOARDING AND LODGING HOUSES.
Each bedroom for guests, per month . . . . .10
Water closet, per month . . . . 1.00
Each additional closet, per month . . . . .50
Urinal, per month . . . . .50
RESTAURANTS, OYSTER AND LUNCH COUNTERS.
Window jets, per month . . . . .20
Washing dishes, etc. . . . . .29
Jets for soda fountains . . . . .20
Water closets, per month . . . . 1.00
Urinal, per month . . . . .50
Water closets, per month . . . . .50
Each additional, per month . . . . .25
Urinal, per month . . . . .25
OFFICES AND BANKS.
Same as stores.
Base rate . . . . . .25
Watering one horse, per month . . . . .05
Each additional, per month . . . . .05
Each cow, per month . . . . .05
Washing one buggy, per month . . . . .05
Each additional, per month . . . . .05
Medford Mail, March 16, 1900, page 6
The city council has ordered 2180 feet of four-inch water pipe, which is to be laid from Seventh Street north on B to Third, then east to A Street. The council has also ordered 350 feet of the same-sized pipe for an extension on South C Street.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 23, 1900, page 7
The laying of water pipe on North B Street was commenced Monday. The pipe being put down is four-inch--which takes the place of the two-inch put down several years ago, which is now inadequate to supply the demand.
"Additional Local Items," Medford Mail, April 20, 1900, page 6
It's the same thing over again this summer with regard to the use of city water. There seem always to be several, more or less, users of city water who persist in violating the town ordinance in this matter, but this season the disposition to violate seems more prevalent than ever before. R. B. Lawton, superintendent of the pumping station, has a notice elsewhere in this issue, in which he warns violators to desist at once or suffer the consequences. There seems just grounds for the enforcement of this ordinance, in that during the past week the tanks have been nearly emptied of water during the night. If a fire should occur at a time when the tanks were empty, the result would prove very disastrous to the town.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 25, 1900, page 7
The authorities of the city of Medford have made a contract with Mr. Williams, representing the Southern Oregon Irrigation and Power Co., to furnish the city with water from the Butte Creeks at the rate of four cents per thousand gallons for the first 250,000 gallons, two cents per thousand for the next 350,000 gallons, and 1½ cents per thousand for any amount above those quantities. It is said to be the intention of the company to commence work on the ditch very soon. The enterprise will prove quite important in more ways than one.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 16, 1900, page 3
Medford's Proposed New Ditch.Medford, Aug. 27.--The Oregon Irrigating & Power Company entered into a contract with the city of Medford to furnish a minimum supply of 250,000 gallons of water per day of a rate of 4 cents per 1000, this rate to be reduced 2 cents per 1000 for an additional 350,000 gallons and a further reduction as the requirements of the city increase to 1½ cents per 1000. Present plans of the company, of whom C. M. Williams of San Francisco is the head, are to begin work upon the ditch Sept. 1. The ditch originates near the junction of the north and south forks of Butte Creek, in Jackson County, and traverses in its course to Medford a large area of land that may be brought to a high state of cultivation by irrigation. It is proposed to irrigate 50,000 acres of such land.
The present survey represents the ditch to be 45 miles long, with a width of 10 feet at the bottom and 16 feet at the top, and a depth of 5½ feet. It is calculated that a sufficient volume of water will be carried to supply all demands upon it to its ultimate terminus, which is supposed to be on the west side of the valley, plans being to cross near the town of Talent. The undertaking is an important one in the history of this section and is hailed with delight by all classes and has the substantial support of all people interested in the development of Oregon.
Valley Record, Ashland, August 30, 1900, page 3
August 28, 1900 Oregonian
At a special meeting of the Medford city council, held Tuesday evening, for the purpose of regulating the price of city water, a rate of $40 per month was established for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and the term of use at this price was placed at five years. Several years ago a rate of $20 per month for the company was established. This contract expired November 14, 1900. The increase of train service on the line and the additional use of water at the depot was thought to about double the amount of water now used over the amount used when the $20 rate was made.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, December 14, 1900, page 7
The Southern Pacific Company could not stand the raise in the price of water made by the city council, and a pumping plant has been installed with which water will be supplied by the tank for engine use from a nearby well, which was in use several years ago.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, January 4, 1901, page 7
The S.P. company's pumping station recently put in at this place for the purpose of pumping water for their engines is said not to be a success. One hour's work is said to be sufficient to exhaust the supply.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 6
The Medford city council is, in strict parlance, "up against the real thing." At the regular session of the board, held on Tuesday evening of this week, some astounding facts were disclosed. Treasurer Strang's report was read, and from it it was learned that the town was about $69,000 in debt, and that during the last two years the town's indebtedness had increased $19,000. This increase was mainly due to the purchase of the electric light plant and the putting in of the sewerage system. The board also found that the electric light plant was $500 in debt; that its operation since the purchase of the plant last April had been $1000 in excess of the income from lights. Five hundred dollars of this deficit had been transferred from the general fund, which leaves the plant, as above stated, $500 in debt. When to this amount is added the six percent interest on the light plant purchase price, it is found that the plant has actually cost the town $1500 during the last ten months. The council also found that the receipts for water rents during the past year had been $1400. The amount paid for wood for the water system during this time was $1800, engineer's salary, $480. Besides these items there are the repairs made and the oil used. The water committee has estimated that the expenditures have been at least $1000 in excess of receipts. Having arrived at the condition of the town's finances the present board of councilmen propose to remedy matters, if this be possible--and it must be made possible if the town hopes to thrive and offer inducements to prospective property purchasers. No definite plans of procedure has been decided upon as yet, nor will they be until the several committees have made a thorough investigation of all detail matters. That the price charged for lights and water will be raised seems inevitable, but the necessary raise has not as yet been decided upon. Both the light plant and the water system must be put upon a basis of self-support or the town will in a few years be irretrievably bankrupt. Since the above was put in type we are informed that over $700 of water rents were collected during the first part of January and after the recorder had closed his books, from which the above report was made. This would bring the water receipts up to very nearly $2200.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, February 8, 1901, page 7
The big new boiler for our water and light plant, which councilman Wilson purchased in California recently, is being put in position. As a consequence the city is without electricity at present.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 16, 1901, page 5
To Water Consumers.
The city council passed an ordinance on the 14th day of May, 1901, increasing the water rate after June 30, 1901, to all consumers of city water, hoping thereby to make the service self-supporting. No water will be furnished after June 30th to irrigate any lawn or garden, except through a meter. If you want water for your lawns or gardens, you will have to buy a meter and have the same attached to your water pipe before the 1st day of July next.
Water will be furnished for business property if desired, at a flat rate, and on such property a meter will not be required.
On and after July 1, 1901, the water will be shut off on all residence and suburban property, unless you cause a meter to be attached to your supply pipe before that date.
If you expect or desire to use city water after June 30th, you should at once buy a meter and have it installed.
If you wait until July 1st to buy your meter, your water will be shut off before you can get it installed.
The city recorder will take your order for a meter at any time, and will send for it for you.
The city will not exact any profit from you for supplying you with a meter, but will supply and install the same at actual cost.
Meter rates for city water will be only eight cents per 1000 gallons. When you have a meter you can irrigate all day or at any hour you please. You pay for what you get, but no more than you get. You can make it cost yourself [as] much or little as you please.
The cost of a meter and the installing of it will be $8.75. ORDER YOUR METER AT ONCE so that your water supply will not be stopped on July 1st.
J. W. LAWTON,
Dated May 15, 1901.
Medford Mail, May 17, 1901, page 2
Family rates for drinking, cooking or washing 25 cents per month, bath tubs 50 cents. (All rates noted are by the month.) For sprinkling sidewalks and washing windows, 25 cents for each 25 feet; stores 50 cents; jets for soda fountains ;50; photograph gallery, minimum rate $1; printing offices, minimum 50; bakeries, $1.25; private stables, one stall for horse or cow, 25, each additional 10; livery stables $5; blacksmith shops 50; hotels and lodging houses, family rate 75, each bedroom 10, bath tub $1, each additional tub 50, water closet $1, additional water closets 50, urinal 50, bar $1; barber shops 50, bath tub $1; restaurant $1.25; saloons bar rate $1, water closets $1; building purposes:--for each 1000 brick laid 15, wetting each barrel of lime 10, wetting each barrel of cement 10, for mortar, laying rock, per perch 05. In most cases above given the council reserve the right to compel the use of meters should it decide so to do.
The minimum rate per month for meters is 50 cents, and for each 1000 gallons 8 cents.
"Special Meeting City Council," Medford Mail, May 17, 1901, page 2
A Southern Pacific carpenter crew was in Medford last week for the purpose of installing their meter, as per contract with the city council. The company is now using city water, after an experience of several months in supplying their own water from a well near the water tank--an experiment that proved not altogether successful.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, June 14, 1901, page 6
City Puts in Water Meters.
MEDFORD, Or., July 1.--Medford for the past few weeks has been putting in meters over its entire water system. This is done at the expense of about $8.50 per meter, and is required to be paid by each patron. This money will be refunded when the meter is returned. Commencing today patrons of the water system will pay 8 cents per 1000 gallons, so that anyone who is without a meter will be shut off from the supply of water until he has one put in.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 2, 1901, page 4
Last Monday was the date upon which the meter system for using water for irrigating purposes went into effect. Recorder W. T. York reports that seventy-odd meters were in operation July 1st, and that since that date over forty more have been ordered.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 5, 1901, page 7
Councilman Willeke has asked us to say to water users of the city that when a fire alarm is turned in they should at once stop using city water and see to it that all standpipes are closed. This he asks of them that the fire company may have use of all the water in the mains in their efforts to save endangered property. When a number of pipes are open the force is much less, and ofttimes there is scarcely enough water to effectually play on the flames.
"Medford's Narrow Escape," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 2
Edwin Russ is putting in a private water supply for his residence on C Street, between Tenth and Eleventh. He has put in a pump which will be operated by a wind wheel and a big tank to be used as a reservoir. He expects to have water enough for household purposes and an ample supply for irrigation of his yard and garden.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 6
At the special meeting of the city council on Tuesday evening steps were taken to put the electric light and water system of the city on a meter basis. Ordinances creating a superintendent of light and water, under the general control of the light and water committee of the city council, reducing the salary of the city recorder, and attaching the reduction to that of the city electrician (who is now superintendent of lights and water), together with duties pertaining to his new office formerly performed by the recorder and providing for the abolishment of the present flat-rate system were passed.
The new office of light and water superintendent carries with it the care and control of the city's electric light and water plant, the supervision of all employees in that department and responsibility for their acts, also the making out and collection of bills for light and water, and all other duties pertaining to the running of the plant. His salary is fixed at not more than $80 per month, and in addition he receives 10 percent of the net income of the plant at the end of the year. By net income is meant what is left after the running expenses of the plant, including salaries of superintendent, employees, fuel, repairs, light and water furnished the city, etc. As the plant has been barely paying expenses so far, the percentage the superintendent will receive will probably be not large, unless he is able by more efficient management to reduce expenses and increase the income.
It is expected that the abolishment of the flat rate will stop many leaks in both the electric light and water systems, and by enabling the city to collect for the goods furnished, and giving the consumer what he pays for, will be more satisfactory all around.
Another new feature will be the all-night light services, which is expected to cause many people to use lights who do not now do so under the midnight system.
The council expects to be able to change to the new regime within thirty days and expect to by this means place this department on a paying basis.
"Electric Lights and Water," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
The following additional ordinances were introduced and passed:
Fixing the salary of city recorder at $240 per annum, payable monthly.
Creating the office of superintendent of light and water, to have jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to same, subject to the light and water committee, and fixing his salary at $80 per month and 10 percent of the net proceeds of the light and water plant at the end of the year.
"City Council Proceedings," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
Light and Water Notice.
After this date, all light and water bills must be paid ON OR BEFORE THE 10TH DAY of each month, AT THE CITY HALL. No bills will be presented or notices given to consumers FOR YOU KNOW THAT YOU OWE THESE BILLS.
The Superintendent of Light and Water will be found daily at the city hall, from the 1st to the 10th day of each month, to receive payment of your light and water bills. On the 11th day of each month he will commence and turn off all lights and water that have not been paid for. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE TO FAVOR ANYBODY.
If you are shut off for nonpayment, there will be additional charges to pay before you can get any more light or water.
With the increasing population of the city, it has been found impracticable to present every month a bill to every consumer of light and water. Hence this change had become an imperative necessity.
DON'T FORGET when to pay, where to pay and whom to pay, every month.
By order of the city council.
WM. S. CROWELL, Mayor.Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 2
October 1, 1902.
The damage done by the big slide which took away considerable of the Fish Lake Co.'s ditch not long ago, not far from Brownsboro, has been repaired. A substantial flume, about 250 feet long, replaces it. Work on the main line is progressing nicely.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 30, 1902, page 1
HOW ABOUT A BETTER WATER AND SEWERAGE SYSTEM?
The time has come when the people of Medford must begin to figure on ways and means for a water supply for drinking and domestic purposes outside of that furnished by wells, and a system for carrying off surplus water and sewerage other than that afforded by natural drainage. The town now has 2,500 inhabitants or over and is rapidly growing in population. Situated as it is the gradient toward Bear Creek is not sufficient for the water falling during the winter season to drain off readily, nor the character of the soil such as to quickly absorb it. In many places depressions exist which are filled with water by every rain, and this water stands until it disappears by evaporation, a menace to the health of everyone in the vicinity. Nor is this all. The water supply for domestic purposes in this town comes from wells. None of these wells are deep--from twelve to twenty-five feet--and consequently are dependent upon surface water to a great extent for their supply. One can imagine the purity of that water when it reaches those dwelling in the lowest parts of town after having filtered through all the barn yards and other premises above them. The prevalence of typhoid fever this fall in Medford is direct proof that this condition of affairs is something which requires attention. Much of it is due to impure water, and a noticeable fact is that the majority of cases have appeared in the thickly settled portion of town east of the S.P. railroad, while the more thinly settled and elevated portions of the city have been comparatively free.
In some way these conditions must be remedied. Some means must be found within the next few years to secure an adequate supply of pure water for domestic use for the city.
The Mail has no suggestion to offer at present as to ways and means of securing this water supply, but is ready and willing to do all in its power to secure the success of a feasible scheme to permanently relieve the situation.
Medford Mail, October 31, 1902, page 2
E. D. Lewis, the gentleman who has established a steam laundry in Medford, reports that he is doing a fairly good business, notwithstanding the fact that this line of business has made a couple or three failures in the city. Mr. Lewis can see no good reason why a laundry cannot be made to pay here--and he is going at it with a determination to make it pay. The principal trouble experienced by other laundrymen here has been the securing of water suited for washing purposes. They have always used Bear Creek water, but Mr. Lewis thinks he can overcome this trouble by using well water. He has had a great many years' experience in California, and he is very sanguine as to his success here. The quality of work turned out surely indicates that his is a master hand at the business.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, November 7, 1902, page 7
D. E. Morris, superintendent of the Fish Lake Ditch Co., spent a few days in Medford this week. He is inaugurating operations for the season and wishes to employ some men.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 1, 1903, page 3
A Water Famine.
Wednesday evening the pump which supplies the boilers with water at the electric light plant broke down, and the town was without lights during the night and without water until noon Thursday. After the first breakage another pump was secured, but it refused absolutely to operate, by that time the water had become so low in the boilers that it was necessary to fill them by the slow process of carrying water and pouring it into them. This took until nearly noon, and caused considerable inconvenience. The Iowa Lumber & Box Co., which depends upon the city for water to supply its boilers, was compelled to shut down, and the hotels, saloons, etc., were without running water. Immediately after Supt. Loder found that he couldn't run the plant the supply of water in the tank was cut off, to be used in case of fire.
Medford Mail, July 8, 1904, page 1
By this time next week the steam engines and boilers at the pumping station will likely be out of commission, and the plant will be operated by electricity. After a long delay the big transformers, that have been "on the way" for several months, are in position, and this week the new pump is being connected with the water mains and the motor. Several days will likely be required to do this work, but it is expected to have everything in readiness by the first of next week.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, March 31, 1905, page 5
A Citizen:--"I wish The Mail would call the attention of the city councilmen to the condition of the old water ditch. There is standing water in it in many places, and as warm weather approaches there is danger of disease germs lurking therein."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, June 16, 1905, page 1
PURE MOUNTAIN WATERLooking back over the nearly forty years I have had contact with the various water systems of the city of Medford, I am wondering at the patience the people of that city have shown through the years. When I first landed in Medford in the fall of 1908, one of the first things I saw was a huge water tower on West Main Street in the block west of the city park where the city library now stands. It was a wooden tower with a very dilapidated appearance. When I inquired as to where the city well was I was told that there was no well but that the city water was pumped from Bear Creek. The pumping plant was on the banks of the creek a short distance above the bridge not far from where Valentine's Cafe now stands [at 5 South Riverside].
FROM BUTTE CREEK FOR MEDFORD
A Project Now Being Promoted Which Will Supply Medford
an Abundance of Big Butte Creek Water
A. W. Shearer has located a water right on Big Butte Creek, at a point where that stream passes through the south half of the southwest quarter of section fourteen, in township thirty-four south, of range one east. This right gives Mr. Shearer the privilege of taking 15,000 miner's inches of water from Big Butte Creek, or practically all the water that flows in the stream at this season of the year, but even though all the water is taken out no person will be injured, as there are no riparian rights between that point and where the stream empties into Rogue River.THE WATER QUESTION
The above bit of news would not, under ordinary circumstances, create any particular or especial interest among Medford people, but when we say further that it is the intention of certain Medford persons, and others not of Medford, to bring that Big Butte Creek water to Medford in a pipe, laid underground, we at once get interested.
In a nutshell the proposition is this: A. W. Shearer, John F. White and B. J. Trowbridge and a couple or more parties, who live in Portland, have organized themselves into a company, the sole purpose of which will be to supply Medford, Central Point and Phoenix with pure mountain water, and so sanguine are they of the success of the project that they have said this:--"You may say to your readers that this is no hot air proposition. It is based upon good, sound business calculations of the demands of a now densely populated community, and the still greater demands which are sure to follow. It is barely possible that we may not able to carry out the plans in every detail, but so feasible is the project that it will not be a difficult matter to secure aid when it is needed."
The distance from Medford to the point where the water right has been filed is twenty-seven miles, two and one-half miles up Big Butte Creek from its confluence with Rogue River. The elevation at this point is 325 feet above Medford, but as the water does not flow swiftly right at this place, it is proposed to build an open ditch for a distance of six or seven miles along a mountainside, where a drop of 200 feet may be had, thus giving a velocity to the water that otherwise could not be given it. Here a bulkhead will be put in and the water will enter a five-foot pipe. This pipe will be laid underground, and the water will travel all the distance to Medford through this buried pipe, thus avoiding the danger of frosts in winter, the unpleasantness of warm water in the summer and the nuisance such a pipe would be if laid above ground.
It is proposed to run two lateral pipes from the main line, one each to Central Point and Phoenix. The water will reach Medford with 150-foot pressure. This pipeline complete will cost approximately $1,000,000. From a point five miles above Eagle Point the pipe will be laid in an air line to Medford. About ten miles of the distance traversed by the pipe will be over an arid tract of land, and it is not thought that a right-of-way over this orchard land will be difficult to secure. While it is true that for a few miles this water will run in an open ditch, it is the intention of the company to fence the ditch and before the water enters the pipe it will be put through a filter.
The need of better water for use in Medford has always been a subject of much comment, and this season the need of more water, such as it is, has been apparent. Bear Creek, our only source of supply, is nearly dry, while the well from which water is pumped for city use has been emptied a number of times this season, and the pumps have been compelled to shut down until it filled again. The especially good feature of this pipeline is that we get water absolutely pure and direct from the mountains--such as every person could and would want to use for domestic purposes.
Medford Mail, August 4, 1905, page 1
Owing to the dry season the water has fallen so low in Bear Creek that the supply has been considerably curtailed. In former years the pumping plant has been able to furnish an adequate supply of water for irrigating and other domestic purposes, but with the growth of the city and the increased use of water from Bear Creek above Medford, the supply grows more and more inadequate each year. The city has grown to such a size that the water supply for drinking purposes must be drawn from some other source than wells--either open or closed. Of course at present this mode of securing water is entirely adequate. The well water in Medford is generally pure and cool, but the city is growing. Time will come when other means must be found for a water supply. It is always best to take "time by the forelock," and not wait until necessity compels us to act. A number of plans have been advocated of late tending toward supplying the city with pure, mountain water. They all appear all right in theory, but have not been demonstrated in practice as yet. However, we believe that the solution of the matter of a good gravity water system will be found by the time the growth of the city demands it and that it will not be very long. Any gravity system, coming from either east or west, will cost in the neighborhood of $500,000; one system, now being surveyed, is estimated by its projectors to cost $1,000,000, but, when once established, it will be worth all the money.WILL LAY WOOD PIPE FROM RESERVOIR TO CITY
Excerpt, Medford Mail, August 25, 1905, page 1
A FIRE AND THE HORSEA small residence on C Street belonging to the Rev. W. E. Goode of the Free Methodist Church caught fire at about 10:30 this morning and was entirely consumed. It was unoccupied [at] the time. The Medford Fire Department responded promptly at the first alarm, but when they arrived at the scene [they] could only watch the building burn, the nearest source of obtaining water being at a neighboring pump. By hard work a nearby cottage occupied by F. F. Anderson was saved. Fortunately no wind was blowing at the time or this, as well as several more, would have been in grave danger.
Small Blaze in the West End
BIG HORSE EN ROUTE
Dwelling House Burned--No Water on Hand--
City Waits for Big Fire Before Getting Water Supply
The most thrilling incident of the fire occurred when one of the hose carts was fastened to the tailboard of a delivery wagon and the driver urged the team to full speed. That is, he tried to, but one of the horses objected to the load and instead of hiking out for where the fire fiend was getting in his best licks, the animal stopped and kicked. As a high kicker that horse was a success. He kicked himself free from the vehicle and then deliberately backed up to the side of the wagon and proceeded to get busy.
Now, the hose cart men had piled into that wagon, and were just commencing to draw long breaths and indulge in a vision of an easy run for the balance of the way. Awakened from their pipe dream by the menacing hoofs of the enraged brute, they stumbled over the opposite side with some degree of alacrity. One or two were not quite quick enough and were assisted to terra firma by the horse. The firemen then attached themselves to the hauling rope and made the balance of the way by hand.
There being no water mains in that vicinity, the conclusion reached is that the hose carts were taken along as evidence of good faith only.
Someday when the wind is in the right direction a fire will break out and the city of Medford will be burned.
Then and probably not till some such catastrophe has happened will the people of Medford make some provision towards securing an adequate water supply.
Medford Daily Tribune, July 31, 1906, page 1
A special meeting of the city council was held on Saturday evening of last week with view to taking preliminary action in the matter of providing a more adequate water supply for the city of Medford. An ordinance was passed providing for the services of competent engineers to examine into and report upon the source and plans for obtaining the necessary supply of pure water. Col. Willard Young and Frank C. Kelsey, two expert engineers of Portland, were engaged to do the work as prescribed by ordinance and report within twenty days. These gentlemen come well recommended and will no doubt render good service.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, February 1, 1907, page 4
Foreman T. W. Green has started up his work in drilling the [municipal] artesian well, the trouble in procuring fuel having been obviated by H. C. Garnett, who guarantees to provide plenty of coal from the nearby mines for carrying on the important operations. Much credit is due Mr. Garnett for taking such magnanimous action, for those in a position to know are positive that the daily hauling of the five tons of coal in itself costs more than the fuel is worth. But it will enable the good work to go on, and an anxious public will be greatly interested in the outcome.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, April 19, 1907, page 5
MEDFORD VOTES WATER BONDS
City Plans Improvement Costing $200,000--Reddy Made Mayor [sic].
CITY WATER PROBLEM SOLVED
Pure Water at Less than Present City Rates
(By Shorty Garnett)
To the Public--I have a well 18 feet deep, nine feet across at the bottom, making a basin to hold about 700 gallons of water. In the attic of my house 23 feet from the ground, I have a 400-gallon galvanized tank. I have a double-acting Maud S. force pump connected to a one-fourth horsepower electric motor, the motor connected to city wires, the same that light my dwelling. This outfit cost, outside of the well, less than $100. By keeping tab on the cost of running I fill my 400-gallon tank in 20 minutes, or I get 1925 gallons of water for 10 cents worth of electricity and get pure water. My range, tank, sink lavatories and bath are connected with the 400-gallon tank, which is much cheaper than city water. Call and see Shorty Garnett, he has it.
Medford Mail, June 28, 1907, page 2
Last week the Mail published an article on watering places for horses, which we wish to call attention to again, as something of that kind would not be out of place here. There used to be one at the corner of A and 7th streets, but it has been removed, and the only place a farmer can water his team now in the city is at the creek. It would not be much expense to establish watering troughs at convenient places and would be of inestimable benefit to thirsty animals, which, after a drive of several miles through the dust to the city must stand in the sun for several hours and then make the return trip without water.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 19, 1907, page 5
Two weeks ago the Mail called attention to the need of watering troughs in the city--and now we have them, four of them. Whether this action was due to this paper calling attention to the matter, or whether it was contemplated before, the fact that the troughs are there is sufficient. The troughs are located in different parts of town, one at the corner of C and 8th, another at the corner of 7th and A, another on D and 6th, and the fourth on Seventh and G. These troughs will be a great convenience to the traveling public and will no doubt be duly appreciated by their animals.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 9, 1907, page 5
T. H. Farrar, superintendent of Medford's water and light plant, is having put in a cutoff that will furnish an ample supply of water for city use and afford protection against fire. Bear Creek will furnish a sufficiency of water if it is properly utilized, and when properly filtered will be perfectly pure.
Medford Daily Tribune, October 25, 1907, page 1
NEW CITY WATER RATES
At a recent meeting of the city council the following new water rates were made. These are the minimum rates per month:
Barber shops--One chair, $1, more than one chair, first chair, $1, each additional chair 50¢, bath tubs, $1.25.
Restaurants, coffee and chop houses--$3.
Lodging houses--12½¢ for each bed, in addition to family rates.
Boarding houses--15¢ per head for each boarder, in addition to family rates.
Saloons--$3.50, including one toilet.
Horse and carriage 50¢, each additional horse 25¢.
Livery stables--$5, including carriage washing.
Feed yards and stables--$2.50.
Soda fountains--50¢, each jet $1, each tumbler washer 50¢.
Persons slacking lime, mortar or cement--20¢ per barrel, wetting brick, 20¢ per thousand.
Bottling works, breweries, etc.--$1.50 per month.
Dwellings, tenements, flats and other apartments, occupied by more than one family, $1.
All other consumers not herein or thereinafter especially provided for, including business houses, offices, etc., $1.
All consumers are required to use meters, at the discretion of the council, and when the meter readings are in excess of the minimum rate these readings shall be the basis for computing cost. The water rate was raised from 10 to 15 cents per 1000 gallons.
Medford Mail, January 3, 1908, page 1
Messrs. Merrick, Wortman, Osgood and Eifert, a committee of Medford citizens, stopped here on Monday of last week on their way to the headwaters of the Butte creeks looking for a supply of water that could be piped to Medford so that the citizens of that thriving city could have an abundant of supply of pure water for domestic use, and the reader can be assured that if they succeed in procuring a supply from that source or from Rogue River they will have an abundant supply of as good water as there is to be found in the state.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, February 21, 1908, page 3
WATER MAINS TO BE LAID SOON
The work of laying the water mains on Seventh Street is soon to be started, according to a discussion by members of the city council held on Monday afternoon. The water committee will start the work as soon as more pipe reaches Medford. Three carloads of pipe were shipped on Monday, Recorder Collins being notified to that effect by telegraph.
The work of putting down the pipe on this street is to be hurried, so as to be out of the way of the bitulithic contractors, in order to have the street paved, as is essential before the rainy season of next year opens.
One matter regarding the laying of the pipe is bothering the council, and that is the fact that after the pipe is laid the ground must be thoroughly packed by hand before paving starts. If this is not done the filled places will settle, and the city will experience the same difficulty as Seattle is having at present. In the latter place the pavement has sunk in many places, making it necessary for the pavement to be torn up and relaid. Every 25 feet on Seventh Street a branch line must be put in, and if the dirt covering the pipe is not thoroughly tamped by hand the pavement will not be much smoother than the street is at present.
The councilmen were all of the opinion that the work must be rushed in order to get the pavement in by fall.
Considerable of the pipe which has arrived for the city is defective and is to be sent back to the firm furnishing it. Considerably delay will be experienced in this regard, but the city is determined to have what it ordered.
Medford Mail, March 13, 1908, page 1
GROUND BROKEN FOR NEW SYSTEM
And the work of constructing "Greater Medford" has been undertaken. On Tuesday last, ground was broken and the work of laying the new water distributing system was actually undertaken. The work is to be rushed now until it is finished, as the contract states that the system must be completed by the first day of August. The machinery for the digging of the trenches has been shipped from Portland and is expected any day, and in the meantime workmen are busily engaged in laying the pipe under the tracks of the Southern Pacific Company, where the excavating machine cannot be used.
The engineers are ready to take the field and map out the line for the gravity water supply from Wasson Canyon. The city recorder has been authorized to call for bids for the paving of Seventh Street.
Medford Mail, May 15, 1908, page 1
The machinery for the digging of the trenches in which the water mains of the city are to be laid arrived on Sunday morning.
Jacobsen & Bade's Buckeye Ditcher
Engineer Cummings has taken the field and is engaged in plotting the route for the line of the gravity water system to Wasson Canyon. He expects to be engaged on the work of finding the correct route, together with estimating the work, about three months in all.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, May 22, 1908, page 5
Considerable Pipe Laid.
The ditcher at work on Riverside Avenue is proving to be a great success and is disproving the statements made by a number of persons that it could not cut through the hardpan on the north end of the avenue. When the ditches were dug in that section of the city for the sewerage system the contractors were forced to blast out a part of the ditch, but the immense ditcher is cutting its way down the roadway at the rate of four feet a minute. At one time a number of stones were encountered and the machine was forced to cut its speed to two feet a minute. However, the machine has dug a good bit over a quarter of a mile since it started up on Tuesday afternoon. As yet the adjustments have not all been made.
On Riverside Avenue men were put at work, following up the machine with the work of laying the pipe, and between 9 o'clock yesterday morning and 5 o'clock last evening over 1200 feet of pipe was laid, cemented together and was ready to be tested. At this rate it will not be long before work will be completed.
Whenever the pipe has been tested the contractors will start refilling the trenches. This will be done with teams and graders, as it will be much faster than if the work is done by shovels.
Manager Bade of the company, in charge of the work, stated yesterday that he had decided to put the machine on Seventh Street on the west side of the Southern Pacific tracks. He looked over the street Tuesday evening and decided that it would pay him to put the machine on that thoroughfare.
Each street in the city will be torn up to some extent, as the system is designed to be most complete, affording each and every part of the city an adequate water supply.
Street Commissioner Damon has just finished laying 1900 feet of six-inch water pipe on Oakdale Avenue, which will be connected with the water supply that is being put in by contract. The main is on the west side of the street, and the property owners on that street are to ask for the privilege of putting down a sewer main on the east side of the avenue will be petitioned for [sic]. Those public-spirited citizens are also to have the avenue macadamized in the near future.
Medford Mail, May 29, 1908, page 4
NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS--Medford, Or., July 24th, 1908. The City of Medford, Oregon, will receive bids at the office of Benj. M. Collins, City Recorder, until 6 p.m. Thursday, August 6th, 1908, for all materials and labor necessary to construct a twenty (20) mile gravity pipe line, diversion works, reservoir, etc. A certified check for $10,000 payable to the Recorder of the City of Medford will be required as a guarantee of good faith. Approximate quantities: 1,200,000 ft., board measure, staves; 1,000,000 lbs. steel bands, 40,000 cu. yds. excavation, 800 barrels cement.
BENJ. M. COLLINS, City Recorder.Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 27, 1908, page 11
W. J. ROBERTS, Consulting Engineer.
The Jacobsen & Bade Company of Portland has finished the work of laying all the water mains throughout the city, seven miles in all. The work was begun May 21, and although it was done quickly, it was well done. The same firm intends to bid on the work of laying the pipes to bring the water to the city, and will not ship their steam digger [back to Portland] until they find out if they secure the contract or not.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, August 7, 1908, page 6
PUMP AND MOTOR HERE.
The new pump and motor for the city water works are standing on the freight depot platform awaiting removal to the water plant, but in all probability it will not be installed for some time, because of the fact that the pump and motor now in use have a capacity greater by far than is the water supply of Bear Creek.
The new outfit is a 135-horsepower General Electric Company's motor, and the pump is a Worthington rotary with a capacity of 1000 gallons per minute.
The necessity for this increase in the pumping capacity of the water plant was made apparent several months ago, when it was figured out that during the past two years the water users of the city had increased in number fully 50 percent, according to Superintendent Farrier, the number of users now being over 400, and still there is a clamoring for more water mains by the people living in the outlying districts.
It would be a safe estimate to say that there is fully one-third of the population of the city who have no water pipe connections with their residences.
Medford Mail, August 14, 1908, page 5
SPECIAL ELECTION ON NOVEMBER 5
Vote Then To Be Had on the Various Water Propositions
At a special meeting of the city council held yesterday afternoon it was decided to call the election for the vote on the different water propositions for November 5, 1908. In case, however, that none of the propositions receive a majority of the votes cast, then the one receiving the smallest number will be eliminated and the two remaining ones will be submitted at a subsequent election to be held on November 7, 1908.
The following are the propositions which are on file in the office of the city recorder: Edgar S. Hafer, to supply water from Big Butte Springs; I. L. Hamilton, for supplying water from Little Butte Creek, and by the Condor Water & Power Company, for supplying water from Rogue River by pumping the same.
All of the members of the city council were present at the meeting with the exception of Councilman Eifert and Mayor Reddy, the place of the latter being taken by Ben. J. Trowbridge. All were favorable to the motion.
Medford Mail, October 23, 1908, page 1 Hamilton won the election.
The Jackson County Bank, local agent for John Nuveen & Co., bond brokers of Chicago, are in receipt of the blank bonds for the $292,000 remaining of the bond issue of $355,000, and the brokers wish $20,000 of them signed at once and returned to their offices, showing that they are experiencing no trouble in their disposal. It begins to look as though the money would be on hand before the sources of supply for the new water distributing system had been determined.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, October 24, 1908, page 6
WORK AT FOUR-MILE LAKE.
The Fish Lake Company Was Building Dam There.
V. T. McCray, superintendent of the Fish Lake Water Company, is in the city. He has been compelled to quit work on the dam at Four Mile Lake for this season on account of the snow, it being over two feet deep at their camp Thursday, when the teams left with the camp outfit. Their works are in good shape for the winter. They will return in the spring and construct their ditch, which will connect Four Mile Lake with Fish Lake. A dam is to be built at the latter lake, which will raise the water thereon some 20 feet. When completed this will be one of the finest bodies of water in the state, being pure snow water from Mount Pitt, and the quantity which these lakes, as reservoirs, will contain will be sufficient to irrigate the whole of this valley if it could be placed thereon.
Medford Mail, October 29, 1908, page 2
WILL DO MORE THAN HE SAID
I. L. Hamilton More Than Making Good on His Water Proposition.
When the recent water contract election was on, The Morning Mail may have said in substance that if Mr. Hamilton was awarded the contract for supplying the city with water he and his company would "make good."
The Morning Mail didn't have much hesitancy in making that statement, because Mr. Hamilton said he would--and "Shorty's" word is as good as a government bond, but is he making good? Let us see.
In the first place, the Fish Lake Ditch Company closed the contemplated deal for the purchase of the upper Slinger ranch. There are 356 acres in this tract, and $7500 was paid for it. Why did they do it? Well, it was a good buy, to begin with, and then Little Butte Creek runs through it for a distance of one mile, and the company can, and will, fence the creek on both sides for this full distance--and there will be that much of the creek which cannot become contaminated from any stock which might happen that way. Then again it may be that the water intake will be on this land, and if so, the land and right-of-way for this intake will not cost the city anything.
Then again, there is the "hurry-up" or emergency water, which the company has agreed to supply from the "Bradshaw drop." Nothing said about this before the election, but it will be a mighty good thing to have lots of water to spill around over the city about next August time. It won't be as good as we will get when the permanent intake is established above the Hanley ford, but it will be wet, will put out a fire and there'll be lots of it.
The Morning Mail is satisfied those 535 voters will never have cause to regret doing what they did on November 5, 1908.
Medford Mail, November 27, 1908, page 1
John Nuveen & Co., bankers of Chicago, who contracted for the Medford water bond issue of $365,000, for which the firm received a commission of $18,000, threaten to withdraw the offer for the bonds and substitute a damage suit unless the city agrees to its terms and pays accrued interest from the date of the bond issue, regardless of when the money is received by the city. The city council at a meeting held this week decided to refuse to pay for money that will not be received for a year yet. A crisis exists that may result in prolonged litigation and hamper the construction of the new gravity system.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, November 28, 1908, page 6
The reservoir site has been selected and surveyed. It will be on the McAndrew hill, one and a half miles from Medford. There are five acres in the tract contracted for, and its elevation is 210 feet above the city. This site is to the north of the Armstrong hill and is said to be a most desirable location.
"Preliminary Work," Medford Mail, December 4, 1908, page 5
All fear that Nuveen & Co., the Chicago investment bankers, who had contracted for the $50,000 Medford water bond issue, would refuse to take them was quieted this week by a message from the Chicago firm saying they would pay the interest on the issue accruing between the date of the bonds and the date of delivery, which was the point at issue.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, December 5, 1908, page 6
To date there has been no satisfactory adjustment of the difficulties existing between the city and John Nuveen & Co. of Chicago, the bond brokers, over the payment of the accrued interest on the gravity water supply bonds.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, December 26, 1908, page 6
John Nuveen & Co., of Chicago, have instructed W. I. Vawter, of this city, to meet with the city council and negotiate for them in the matter of the sale of the gravity water bonds which the council recently decided to resell in order to end the quibbling that has gone on since the bond house was awarded the bonds. A meeting of the council will be called in the near future, so that Mr. Vawter will have the opportunity to set forth what Nuveen & Co. intend to do. No doubt the Chicago firm will come to some agreement with the city at that time and accept the remainder of the bonds.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, January 2, 1909, page 6
Tunnel Work Commenced.
A crew of four men was sent out to the Brownsboro tunnel this morning to begin the work of boring the tunnel for the new water system. Two men will work at east end in digging the tunnel. Later on, when the tunnel has progressed sufficiently far to afford shelter for the men, a double force will be put at work during the night shift.
Medford Mail, January 22, 1909, page 5
Place of Intake for Water Works Has Been Selected.
Engineer Roberts and contractor Baker returned Wednesday from a several days' trip over the new water pipe line. The trip was made at this time for the purpose of surveying the pipe line to and from the tunnel near Brownsboro. This work was cut out last fall when the rest of the line was run because of the fact that at that time it had not been definitely settled that the tunnel would be put in. This tunnel will be 615 feet in length, and the contract for its construction has been awarded to Little & Rogers as previously stated in these columns. Work will be commenced at once on the tunnel, and it is thought that between four and six months' time will be required to complete it.
A goodly amount of the rock excavation at other points on the line has been let, and at station 526, beyond the tunnel, the first powder blast on the pipe line was set off on Tuesday of this week.
It is estimated that the hauling of pipe and other material for the pipe line will amount to two thousand tons, and the contract for performing this work has been awarded to C. E. Tull, the West Side liveryman.
The place of water intake on the line has been decided upon, and will be on section 25, about 500 feet above the Hanley ford, at a point where the stream narrows and the abrupt walls on either side close in. It is a noticeable fact that the water in Little Butte Creek is less turbid than any other mountain stream of that locality. This because of the volume of pure mountain water which comes from Mt. Pitt lake, and the small amount which comes from the mountains and hillsides.
Medford Mail, January 29, 1909, page 7
J. B. Dent informs us that he expects to go to work today on the reservoir site. If the scrapers arrive he will start at least five teams removing the earth out of the way. As soon as this is done, blasting the stone will follow and will be pushed until completed.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, February 5, 1909, page 6
L. D. Lewis, who is employed on the pipe line tunnel work near Brownsboro, was in the city yesterday. He reports that the work is progressing nicely. About 75 feet of the tunnel, , besides the approaches, are completed.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, February 26, 1909, page 6
Been pretty bad weather for work on the city water pipe line, but there has not been a ray of sunshine lost on the construction of the reservoir, and because of the persistent hustle of contractor Dent that certain piece of work has progressed faster than had been expected it would. The tunnel out near Brownsboro has also been pushed with considerable vigor and it, too, is progressing rapidly.
Engineer W. J. Roberts returned yesterday from a business trip to Seattle and Olympia. While in Olympia he visited the National Wood Pipe Company's factory and was there told that the Medford water pipe contract was the largest ever signed by the company. The company's business has increased during the past two years to such an extent that it has been found necessary to double the capacity of their factory.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, March 5, 1909, page 5
CONNECT WITH MAINS
I. L. Hamilton will have a force of men laying the cast-iron pipe to connect the reservoir of the new gravity water system with the city distributing system at Riverside Avenue in a week or ten days, and the work will be rushed to completion.
It had been contemplated to have this work done later, when Bear Creek had receded. The reason that the work is undertaken now is the fact that the contractors wish to accommodate the residents of East Main Street, which is to be paved, and by doing this work early, it will give ample time for the ground to settle before the paving is put down.
Monday, two eight-horse plow teams will be put to work digging the main pipe line from the reservoir. This work will be rushed, and it is expected that the line will make connection with the Fish Lake Company's ditch at Bradshaw Drop before the first of July.
Digging an irrigation ditch (in Utah), circa 1910
Work on the Brownsboro tunnel is progressing rapidly, about 225 feet having been bored in each end of the tunnel. The subcontractors are making more rapid progress than was expected, for the reason that the rock through which the tunnel is being bored is softer than anticipated.
Medford Mail, March 26, 1909, page 1
RUSH WORK ON MAINS
Traction Engine To Assist in Cutting Big Trench
At the rate Shorty Hamilton and Shirley Baker are right now "rolling logs" on Medford's new water system, there seems little chance for the company paying a forfeiture because that their contract is not completed within the prescribed time limit.
A large traction engine was secured yesterday, and to it will be hitched a heavy ditching plow, and the surface of the pipe ditch will be torn up for its entire length in all places where the engine crew can be operated. This plowing not only loosens the top crust, but it has a tendency as well to retain the moisture near the surface, making the actual digging work much easier. A "try-out" of the engine and plow will be made today on the line between the city and the reservoir. Should this method prove satisfactory, two engines will be put to work.
There are now 45 men at work on the new system, distributed at the reservoir, and in grubbing rights of way and hauling material.
The tunnel is now completed for a distance of 300 feet, which is about half of its full length.
Medford Mail, April 9, 1909, page 1
Preparations are being made to lay the wooden stave pipe from the reservoir to Roosevelt Avenue. It was generally supposed that an iron or steel pipe would be laid, as called for in the original estimates by engineer Roberts, but the proposition submitted by I. L. Hamilton, and voted for almost unanimously, calls for wood pipe.MEDFORD NOW HAS THE WATER
In spite of the fact that they voted for a wood pipe, many citizens are surprised to find that they so voted.
The right-of-way committee of the city council has been busy securing rights of way the past week and have nearly completed their labors. Some of the rights of way they secured some time since provided for steel or iron pipe, and owners are refusing the rights of way for the wooden pipe.
Medford Daily Tribune, April 13, 1909, page 1
The work of excavating a ditch for the city's water pipe is progressing at a rapid rate. They have ground broken as far as the Bates brothers' ranch, and the greater part of the distance the ditch is completed. Yesterday a crew of men was working at the west end of the Bear Creek bridge to make connections with the city mains. It is expected that several carloads of the wood pipe will be here today.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, April 16, 1909, page 5
The city council is considering taking steps toward calling a special election to vote on the question of amending the charter so as to permit of additional bonding for the purpose of securing further extensions to the city distribution system. It is probable that a date for such election will be named in the near future.
"Financial News," The Pacific Banker, Portland, Oregon, April 17, 1909, page 6
A new camp is this week being established out on Dry Creek, where work on the pipe line ditch is being pushed. Fifteen new men were sent out yesterday. The contractors are now employing about 200 men.
The laying of the 12-inch iron pipe from the city mains east to the city limits was completed yesterday, excepting the part across Bear Creek, which will be attended to later. Work placing the wood pipe will now proceed at a lively pace.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, April 30, 1909, page 2
WORK ON RESERVOIR
The butte on which the immense reservoir for the city water works system is being made is composed of solid sandstone, into which the reservoir is being excavated. Work is progressing at a rapid rate, and foreman Joseph Sharka states that the reservoir will be completed by July 1. Large wagons are being constructed by the contractors who are putting in the pipe line, for the purpose of hauling supplies to the crews of men who will be putting in the pipe. The wagons are capable of hauling immense loads and will be drawn by teams of four and six horses.
Medford Mail, May 7, 1909, page 5
MAYOR WANTS TO AMEND CHARTER
Within a few months the city of Medford will have an abundant supply of pure mountain water--enough for everybody--four or five times as much as will be needed by the present users of water.
This water is for the people of Medford--for all the people--not merely for a few who live in the center of the city.
The city needs more customers for its water, lots more of them. It must have them, or the greater part of this splendid water supply will be absolutely wasted and lost. It wants its mains on every street so that everyone can be supplied.
To the city it will mean larger revenue. It will make it possible to pay the interest on the water bonds out of the water receipts. This will mean lower taxes.
To the people it will mean an abundance of pure water for their homes, lawns and gardens. It will mean lower rates for water, better fire protection, lower fire insurance.
But the city has no money available to pay the cost of laying these mains. Our plan is to pay for their cost out of the receipts from the additional sales of water. That is the object of the proposed charter amendment.
If a property owner wants a water main on his street he will be asked to advance a small amount for the purchase of water. The city will take this money and put in the water main and deliver to the property owner the water he has thus paid for at any time he may want it without further charge.
While the cost to the city in the aggregate for all these mains would be very large, to each individual owner the cost will be almost trivial. Take, for example, the case of a man owning a 50-foot lot on which a six-inch water main is to be laid. The will be asked to pay about $3 in cash and a similar amount every year for nine years, with interest on deferred payments at 6 percent. This amount, both the principal and the interest, pays for just so much water, which the property owner can use whenever he gets ready. If he is using water on the premises he will, of course, be asked to advance nothing, for his water bills will amount to more than the $3 each year. If he is not using water at the time the main is laid he will have just so much water paid for whenever he gets ready to use water on the premises, whether that be in five or ten years.
The amount given above is as heavy as any property owner will ever be called upon to pay for the reason that it will be unnecessary to lay any water mains larger than six inches, and even if any larger main should be laid, the city would pay the additional expense over and above what a six-inch main would cost.
Those in charge of the city's affairs have given a great deal of thought to this matter, and the above plan seems to be the best, and, in fact, the only feasible one. I hope the voters of the city will show their interest and loyalty in the city's welfare by getting out on election day, which is May 10, and giving the amendments a hearty endorsement.
W. H. CANON, Mayor.
Medford Mail, May 7, 1909, page 6
SEVENTEEN MILES OF TRENCH.
The Jacobsen-Bade Company yesterday shipped their trench-digging outfit back to Portland, having completed their work in this city. The company has been carrying on operations in this city for about a year, and during that time has dug 17 miles of trenches, 8 miles of which were for sewerage and the remainder for water pipe.
Medford Mail, May 14, 1909, page 5
The Jacobsen-Bade ditcher, made famous in a poem by A. Brown, will remain with us. The machine had been loaded on the cars ready for shipment back to Portland, when it was decided that it might be used to advantage in the digging of the trenches for the water mains, and so it will remain with us for a time at least, while the doggerel machine grinds out another stanza or two.
Medford Mail, May 21, 1909, page 8
The ditch for the city's water supply pipe line is completed to the Bradshaw drop. Pipe has been delayed from arriving for some reason, but is now coming again. Several cars have arrived in the last few days, and more is on the way to arrive this week.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, May 28, 1909, page 2
The work of blasting rock at the city reservoir is completed, and the work of clearing out the loose rock will soon be finished.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, July 16, 1909, page 2
New Water System Is Now in Use, and the People Are Happy
Yesterday, for the first time in its history, Medford was supplied with water under a gravity system--and it was supplied with a lavishness which caused old and decrepit hose to spring leaks in places where, under the old pressure, they were good for another decade.WATER IS NOW IN THE MAINS
At 10 o'clock yesterday morning, July 19 [sic], water from Mount Pitt Lake was turned into the city mains, and it came with a rush, so much so that the accumulated Bear Creek mud in the city mains was put in motion and the water from hydrants was roily all day--and will be so until the entire system has been flushed. The water as it left the pipeline was clear and sparkling, and the usual Monday wash in East Medford was cleansed with Mount Pitt water.
Been Hard Struggle.To supply Medford with water has been a desperate struggle from the very first days of its existence. In the early days it was not so much the kind of water to be had as it was "just water"--the kind which would dampen a fire and produce a garden. In those early days a few hundred dollars expended upon a water supply was more to the few citizens than thousands are now. Mount Pitt water at that time was only a dream, and no person thought for a moment to reckon with it as a possibility. The early days' system was the best and only one which could have been thought of, and even then there was a deep and earnest consideration given it.
The first water system was put in during either the fall of 1886 or 1887. [The Medford Water Ditch was dug in 1888-89.] It consisted of two and a half miles of open ditch, running south from Medford to Bear Creek at the Gore ranch, and the water for the city was taken into the ditch at the east end of J. G. Gore's now-famous pear orchard. This ditch came into Medford along G Street, and at a point between Seventh and Eighth streets a large reservoir was made on ground where the Garnett-Corey wholesale hardware building will soon be erected. The old tank, which has been in use until now, was erected [on the Carnegie library site] and the water from this reservoir was pumped into the tank, and Medford's first water system was established. The overflow of water from this reservoir was carried in a ditch across Seventh Street and on out north and east, and was turned back into Bear Creek near the old Crystal place.
The Reason Why.Many people have often wondered why the north side of Seventh (Main) Street was several inches higher than the south side. Here is how it happened: When this overflow ditch was carried across Seventh Street it was suggested that there be troughs put in on either side of Seventh Street, from G Street to Bear Creek, and that this surplus water be permitted to flow through these troughs or gutters all this distance. This project was carried out, and for months there was a stream of water running constantly in these gutters, but it was found not to be a satisfactory arrangement because of the fact that debris of all kinds gathered in the streams, and instead of being a unique and beautiful arrangement the water, because of this gathering of debris, became sluggish and in places it was the habitation of numberless frogs. The fall necessary in carrying water to both these streams may have been the reason for one side of the street being lower than the other.
A few years later a large well was dug near the tank, and tunnels were run in several directions at the bottom of the well, in the hope that enough water might be secured in this way and enable the city to do away with the use of Bear Creek water. This effort was not a success, and a little later a well was dug on Bear Creek and the pumping plant was moved there, and until yesterday it has served the people's needs--in a way, but with all the best possible available needs [sic].
With Best Results.As it was said in the start, the water system has always been a desperate struggle, but it has been worked out with the best results which could be brought.
Medford has the best grounds in the world to be proud of its present water system--and none feel better over the present achievements than do those who have taken a hand in the past struggles.
When Mayor Reddy appointed F. E. Merrick, H. G. Wortman and W. W. Eifert a water committee and directed them to get water, these gentlemen went to work--and they secured the water, not, however, without an effort, but they accomplished the end for which they were appointed, and in them there is due all honor, and full measure of appreciation from the citizens of Medford.
Medford has today one of the best water systems on the Pacific coast.
Medford Mail, July 23, 1909, page 1
The rock work on the reservoir, east of the city, has been completed. Cementing the sides and bottom will soon commence.
Medford Mail, July 23, 1909, page 1
A drinking fountain is soon to be put in by the city at [the] northwest corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, near the Medford National Bank.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail, July 23, 1909, page 8
Mount Pitt water is now ready for delivery to the city of Medford. On Tuesday of this week at 1 o'clock p.m., water was turned into the new pipeline at the Bradshaw drop, and at 1 o'clock p.m. yesterday the water had reached the reservoir east of Medford, and half an hour later it was at Roosevelt Avenue, in East Medford. Just 72 hours from the time the water was turned in until it reached the reservoir, a distance of about 11 miles, is greater speed than was expected. This more particularly because of the fact that it could ordinarily be expected there would be some delays in the pipe requiring refitting or retightening, but in this instance there were no such delays--the small leaks closed up very quickly, and in many miles of the line there are not now any leaks at all.MAY LAY PIPE.
Wash Out the Mains.The water can now be turned into the city mains at any time, but in all probability it will not be turned in for a couple of days. It is the intention to thoroughly wash out all of the city mains before this water is turned in, and also to thoroughly flush the pipeline to make sure that no debris is in the pipe which might afterward cause trouble. The water is now being discharged from a waste gate just beyond the reservoir.
If there are any two men in Medford this morning who are feeling better than any other two men these are engineer W. J. Roberts and contractor I. L. Hamilton. The first gentleman because all the details of his plans have worked out so nicely, and the latter because that he has been able to so satisfactorily work out these plans.
By getting the water to Medford before August 1, the contractors, according to agreement, are entitled to $50 a day for each and every day the water is delivered here before August 1, not to exceed $1000 in all the amount to be paid. On the other hand, had not the contractors gotten the water here by August 1, they would have to pay the city $50 per day for each and every day beyond that time that water was not supplied.
The Reason Why.In view of the fact that there are a number of recent arrivals in the city, some of whom do not understand why it is the city is having right-of-way trouble with the Hanleys and still be getting water from this same source, it might not be out of place to state that the present intake, near the Bradshaw drop, is only about half the distance to the permanent intake above the Hanley ranch, and the right of way in litigation is between the temporary and permanent intakes. The Fish Lake Canal Company have a canal right of way across the Hanley Ranch, but the city has no pipeline right of way across the same land, and it is water from the Fish Lake Canal Company's canal that the city will be using temporarily. The reason the city did not contract for water delivered at the Bradshaw drop was that it wanted to avoid the open ditch from the Bradshaw drop to the permanent intake.
Medford Mail, July 23, 1909, page 3
Four carloads of water pipe arrived in Medford yesterday from Binghamton, Alabama. This is for use in the several extensions of the city water system. E. F. Hansen, who had charge of the gravity system work, will superintend the laying of this pipe.
"Personal and Local Brevity," Medford Mail, September 10, 1909, page 6
Imposing and Sanitary and an Ornament to the City.
The new fountain erected at the corner of C and Main streets is ready for use. This fountain is made out of a square block of granite and is said to be the only sanitary fountain made. The design was furnished by Mrs. J. M. Root, and the Oregon Granite Company made it for half the cost price, or $64.80, the Greater Medford Club paying the other half. The plumbing was donated by Mr. Aitkens.
The fountain is a credit to the city and shows that Medford is on the progressive march to a city of 25,000 people by 1913. The water will always be running out of the fountain.
Medford Mail, September 10, 1909, page 8
Sunday the new ditch digger of the Vincent-Baker Co. arrived in Medford to use on their contract work for laying water mains. It is similar to the sewer digger used here, only it is smaller.
"Personal and Local Brevity," Medford Mail, September 24, 1909, page 2
REPORT ON RESERVOIRS
Engineers Make Statement of Preliminary Work
Irving Worthington, engineer for Fred M. Cummings, has just returned from Fish Lake and Four-Mile Lake reservoirs and finds the work for the season very satisfactorily done.
The Fish Lake dam site has been cleared of all brush and timber and the same piled and burned to conform to forestry regulations.
There is now at this site a temporary dam ten feet in height which impounds some 3000 acre-feet. This dam is to be replaced with one of the "rock fill" type, having concrete sluiceway, steel headgates and concrete spillway. When completed this structure is planned to be 800 feet long and 35 feet high, capable of impounding 11,000 acre-feet.
Excerpt, Medford Mail, October 8, 1909, page 4
Judge Hanna Decides Against Medford in Water Case
Medford must wait before completing her new gravity system, until the supreme court of the State of Oregon can pass upon the question whether the act of Governor Benson in appointing Judge John S. Coke to hold court in this district and passing upon an issue of court record in this county is valid or not.
Such is the effect of Judge Hanna's long-awaited ruling, handed down yesterday, in the matter of the City of Medford against M. F. Hanley to lay pipe line for the city's waterworks system through Hanley's land. Judge Hanna overruled the motion of City Attorney Porter J. Neff to dissolve the injunction obtained by Hanley to restrain the city from entering upon his premises.
History of Case.It will be remembered that the city and Mr. Hanley could not arrive at a satisfactory agreement for the privilege of extending the pipe line through Hanley's ranch, and the city went into court and offered to execute a bond for $2000 to guarantee the payment of any damages that might be awarded by a jury for laying the pipe through the Hanley ranch. Judge Hanna said that he did not have time then to hear the case, and as it was urgent that something be done to avoid delay in completing the pipe line, a petition was sent to Governor Benson to appoint some other judge to hear the case. The governor appointed Judge Coke, and at a trial of the cause at which he presided the jury awarded Hanley $600.
Validity of Act.Hanley, through his attorney, A. E. Reames, sought an injunction to restrain the city from entering upon the premises on the ground that the governor's act was unconstitutional. Attorney Neff filed a motion to have the injunction dissolved, and after having the matter under advisement about a month, Judge Hanna yesterday sustained the defendant in the action.
Now the case will go to the supreme court, and the laying of pipe must be held in abeyance until that tribunal renders an opinion.
The city is not without the use of its mountain spring water in the meantime, however. Through an agreement with the Fish Lake company, water is carried through its ditch across the land in contest and fed into the big conduit which carries it to the city reservoir.
Medford Mail, October 15, 1909, page 1
M. F. Hanley Submits Proposition to City of Medford.
A temporary agreement has been offered by M. F. Hanley by which the city of Medford may have the use of water through its water pipe line across the premises and avoid the necessity for using the open Fish Lake ditch until the suit between the city and Mr. Hanley is disposed.BEGIN WORK ON PIPELINE
In making this offer to the city, Mr. Hanley will impose two particular conditions, one that he be absolved from any damages which might be imposed by reason of the present litigation, to cover which he has put up a $10,000 bond. The other condition is that the pipe line across his premises shall be laid on the surface of the ground, so as to prevent possible blocking of sub-irrigation, which is one of the main contentions for damages against the city by going through his ranch with its underground pipe line.
Provide Better Water.Under this plan the city will have better water than it gets at present through having to convey it some distance in an open ditch, and will be practically as good as that which will be had from the permanent intake, as it will come out of Mr. Hanley's ditch not over half a mile below the permanent intake for the city's system.
This proposition will temporarily remove the obstacle which has stood in the way of the city completing its pipe line until the suit which is now in court and which on its way to the supreme court is disposed of.
Medford Mail, October 22, 1909, page 1
Water Plant Work Rushed.MEDFORD, Or., May 23.--(Special.)--Contractors are gathering all the men they can today to complete the laying of the city's water line through the Hanley ranch. It is expected that the pipe will be laid and the water running within 60 days. This is a direct outcome of the compromise effected last Saturday between William Hanley and Mayor Canon, by which the city agreed to pay to the Hanley brothers $2000 for the right-of-way through their ranch.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, May 24, 1910, page 7
Contractors Start Crew on Final Stretch of Gravity System Through Hanley Place--
Will Be Completed in from Thirty to Sixty Days.
Vincent & Baker today began actual work on the completion of the city's gravity water system, when their trenching crew began work at the Hanley line. During the past week the contractors have been busy building their camps and gathering a crew, but actual work began work today.Medford Costly Gravity System
Shirley Baker, who is in direct charge of the work, estimates that it will take between 30 and 60 days to finish the contract. There remains the laying of the pipe a distance of two miles and building of the intake.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 31, 1910, page 8
Medford's $500,000 Water System Completed
It Is Second To None in the State
After many long months of agitation, litigation and hard work, Medford's $500,000 water system may be said to have been completed. While there are still additional mains in the distributing system to be laid, and some "touching up" to be done on the gravity system, the city is enjoying a water supply that is second to none. That the contractors have done their work well and that the city will soon formally accept the plant seemed to be the consensus of opinion among the city officials, who made a tour of inspection over the line Friday. Those who made the trip were Mayor W. H. Canon, City Attorney P. J. Neff, City Recorder Robert W. Telfer, Councilmen Eifert, Wortman, Emerick and Merrick, City Engineer Foster, Consulting Engineer Roberts, Shirley Baker and Harry H. Hicks. The party left early in the morning, visited the intake and various points on the line, finishing their inspection of the line at the reservoir.
The system has cost Medford nearly $500,000--truly an ambitious sum for a city of 9000 souls. However, the future has been carefully safeguarded, and out of the revenue will come the interest on the bonds issued to construct the system and the necessary sinking fund with which to take up the bonds when they mature.
The Distributing System.In the old water system, through which a pumping plant on the banks of Bear Creek forced the supply, there was 21,440 feet of distributing mains, a little over four miles. After renovating this system the city began a year ago last fall the laying of 35,577 feet, or over seven miles, of new mains. These mains were large ones and were put out as trunk mains to feed the laterals, a contract for which, to an amount of 43,327 feet, or over eight miles, was let a year ago and has been completed. Thus the city has completed a distributing system containing 103,344 feet of pipe, or nearly 20 miles. Other laterals are being laid which will greatly extend the distributing system of the city, making a total of 25 miles.
This system has cost the city nearly $200,000 and is being extended as rapidly as possible.
Source of Supply.The supply of water to feed this system of mains and laterals is thoroughly equal to its task. It is taken from the Little Butte Creek, 23 miles from Medford, and brought through a pipeline the entire distance entirely by gravity.
Little Butte Creek, the source of supply for the system, finds its source in Fish Lake, which is fed by the melting snows "ten thousand summers old" upon the slopes of Mt. McLoughlin. The creek plunges down 13 miles of gorge, falling 2600 feet in that distance. The sides of the canyon through which it tunefully tears its way are lined with giant firs and pines. Then above the Hanley Ford it enters into the huge pipeline, which it follows for some 23 miles until it reaches the faucets in the various residences of the city.
This gravity system has cost the city nearly $300,000. Of this amount the original contract, which was let to Vincent & Baker, called for $239,100. In addition to this amount, $13,000 was set aside as the estimated cost of the engineering expenses. Then also, $15,000 was paid the Fish Lake Ditch Company for a water right. This shows the cost of the gravity system to be some $282,100, but with the incidental expenses, which included a right-of-way across the Hanley premises, the building of a telephone line and the like, the cost has come very close to $300,000, which with the distributing system will make the total cost of Medford's water supply nearly $500,000.
The income from the present system in Medford will be between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. It can easily be figured that the city will break even and will be able to pay interest and set aside a sinking fund for the retirement of the bonds.
2700 Gallons a Minute.Medford is now receiving 2700 gallons of pure mountain water a minute through the system, or 4,000,000 gallons a day. In the large reservoir above the city there is at present 2,000,000 gallons as a reserve supply. The water which the city could use in 24 hours would be sufficient to keep 15 five-inch fire nozzles at play under a 100-pound pressure for 24 hours.
It takes the water eight hours to make its way from the intake to the city. There is less than one degree difference in temperature. The average temperature of the water is 58 degrees at the reservoir, or one degree colder than the water in "Hanley's" well on Central Avenue.
From a layman's point of view, the work seems to have been well done. Consulting Engineer W. J. Roberts has been "on the job" continually since it was undertaken and has seen that the city has got a square deal throughout. He gives the contractors, Vincent & Baker, credit for doing everything in their power for the city, and with not trying to substitute cheap material.
A source of pure water for a city is one of its greatest assets. No city can thrive and be poorly equipped in this direction. Medford has realized this, and a water system second to none is the result. And the system was not built for today alone. Ample provision has been made for the future--the supply is adequate for a city of 30,000 people.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 31, 1910, page B1
MEDFORD'S OLD LANDMARK SOON TO BE REMOVED
The old water tower, almost as old and historic as the traditional "moss-covered bucket," is to be removed, according to the dictum of the city council made at its meeting Tuesday night.
At that meeting bids were ordered for the destruction and removal of the old water tower from the park grounds.
It was in the early stages of Medford's growth that the water tower was constructed, and for several years the electric light and power plant installed by [R. A.] Proudfoot stood alongside it. When Mr. Proudfoot sold the electric lights and water to the city in 1900, the power plant was removed to the banks of Bear Creek, but the old tower was used as a base of supply in case of emergency. For many years the two lights on the top of the tower acted as beacons to the belated traveler--that was before the days of acetylene lights, paved streets and all that sort of luxury.
Now the old building is to be removed, and perhaps the only grief caused will be to the squirrels which have for years made it their home.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, August 18, 1910, page 6
Medford Has the Best Water Supply on the CoastDuring the last month or so there have been hundreds of inquiries of me as health officer regarding the purity and wholesomeness of the city's new supply of water, coupled with urgent requests for an investigation and report, and as I recently had the opportunity of availing myself of the company of a party consisting of Frank Burgess, Dr. Porter, O. M. Murphy and Charles True, some of whom were familiar with the Fish Lake region, I accordingly determined to make a thorough investigation of the situation, which I did, with the most gratifying results. Whatever distrust of this water supply has been felt by the skeptics is based entirely upon a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the real facts in the cast.
By Dr. J. E. Shearer, City Health Officer
To the Editor:
In order that all may have a clear understanding of the true conditions, I will first describe the geographical and physical surroundings of the water system. Fish Lake draws its water supply from one large and several small springs in the lava rock at the base of Mt. McLoughlin, from which the water gushes forth in abundance, sparkling and cold. A dam is nearly completed which will raise the level of the water 30 feet, making a vast natural reservoir, from the sides of which all trees and vegetation are to be stripped to the high-water level, which will eliminate the slight traces of vegetable organic matter in the water at present, due to the flooded timber along the banks. From here, at a level of 4687 feet above sea level, the water falls swiftly through a cool, rocky canyon, 12½ miles to the city's intake, at a level of 2114 feet; thence the city's supply runs through pipeline to the city reservoir, at an elevation of 1586 feet, which is 210 feet above the United States benchmark at the Nash Hotel.
At the present time this water is perfectly wholesome and can be used with entire safety, for the rapid fall of over 2500 feet in 12½ miles, or 200 feet to the mile, results in the water being thoroughly "charged" with air, just as soda water is charged with carbonic acid gas. This "aeration" of the water, as it is called, has the effect of purifying the water of any contamination it may have received from the vegetation on the banks of the lake or from campers along its edges. It is evident that it must reach the consumer in all its purity, as it completes its journey in closed pipes. It is a common mistake to suppose that the water stands in the reservoir near the city and becomes warm and impure, but this is not true, as the water used in the city is conducted through a "bypass" around the reservoir, and runs directly from the pipeline into the distributing system. The water which the city does not require, and which is run through the reservoir and allowed to find its way back to Bear Creek through ditches and natural channels. The water in the reservoir, which is thus kept fresh at all times, is simply held as a reserve supply, in case it should be necessary to stop the flow through the pipeline for a time for making repairs or any other purpose.
It should also be borne in mind that the intake of the pipeline is above the Hanley ranch, and that the water is therefore protected from contamination by cattle, etc., contrary to a mistaken idea which has been formed by some people. In fact, the only possible sources of contamination are, as I have stated, the flooded vegetation along the shores of Fish Lake, which are to be stripped of this vegetation, and the summer campers at McCallister Springs and along the lake. All danger from the latter source can be removed entirely by the establishment of proper sanitary conditions for these campers, which can be done at an expense of about $200, and which I am advised will be done by the city before next summer. By doing these things and installing the buildings and residence of the caretaker at the head of the pipeline below the intake, all possible sources of contamination will be eliminated.
As I have stated, such slight contamination as the water receives from these sources is eliminated by its swift course down the canyon, and it reaches the intake limpid, cool and delicious, and fit for use by the most fastidious. In fact, the chemist of the University of California, in reporting upon this water, states: "These analyses show that the water is of exceptional purity and can be used without deleterious effects for drinking and domestic purposes. It will be a great advantage to the city of Medford to be able to draw their water supply from such a pure source."
The slight difference in taste between the city supply and the well water in Medford, which is noticed by some, is accounted for by the fact that users of the well water have become accustomed to "hard" water, while the new supply is "soft" water, and for that reason preferable to the other. As a matter of fact, I cannot too strongly urge the use of the city water in preference to well water, which is necessarily contaminated to a greater or less extent by impurities draining in from the surface and by seepage from cesspools and other sources of infection. Another advantage possessed by the city supply is the fact that the passage of the water through the pipe consumes just enough time so that the water entering the pipe in the early morning, when it is coldest, reaches the consumer during the heat of the afternoon, when it is most refreshing. In fact, any consumer who will let the water run until that which has been warmed by the sun in the service pipes has run off will find that he can obtain water from the pipes which is just as palatable and more wholesome than ice water.
In brief, the result of my investigations, in which result Dr. Porter, who was a member of the party, as I have said, heartily concurred, was that Medford has secured a supply of pure, clear, cool, wholesome water equal to the best municipal supply on the Coast, the use of which I most heartily recommend to everyone and, indeed, when the measures above outlined are taken to improve conditions still further, Medford's supply will be superior to any of the others, for the conditions surrounding the system are simply ideal for a perfect water supply.
J. E. SHEARER.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 31, 1910, page 1
September first this year for the first time finds Medford with the best municipal water supply of any city in the West, with a gravity system bringing water twenty-five miles from its source in the snow-capped sentinels of the Cascades, with pure water ample for a city of twenty-five thousand people. It finds Medford with a completed distributing system exceeding twenty-one miles of cast iron mains and with work begun on nine miles of main extensions.
"What September Finds in Medford," Medford Mail Tribune, September 1, 1910, page 4
WATER SYSTEM INSTALLED
Historic Tower, Long Landmark, Is Torn Down.
MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 1.--(Special.)--The historic old water tower of Medford is no more. With the fine new reservoir on the hill east of town and pure mountain water running into it from Fish Lake 25 miles away, Medford no longer needs the old tower. Accordingly, at the command of some of the ladies of the town, who desire that the beauty of the city park be no longer marred by the weather-beaten old structure, the city council has placed a crew of men at work tearing it down.
A number of years ago the tower began to lean, and grave fears were felt lest tanks and all would crash to the ground. A complicated system of braces was placed against the building to hold it, all of which was needless, as the wreckers have found that the old veteran refuses to lie down to the enemy except board by board.
The electric light that was hung in the tower will be missed by road travelers of the night.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 2, 1910, page 7
HISTORIC TOWER NOW THING OF THE PAST
The old water tower on West Main Street is no more. It has been completely wrecked, and except for a small heap of iron that has not been hauled away and the smoldering fire in which the useless lumber was burned, nothing remains to remind one of this historic old structure. Soon the black, barren spot on which the tower stood will be planted to grass and will lose itself in the verdure of the surrounding lawn.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 28, 1910, page 2
Medford reservoir, February 5, 1911 Sunday Oregonian
The following sewer, water and other ordinances were passed by the council at their meeting Wednesday afternoon:
Sewer and Water.Ordinances assessing benefited property for improvements were adopted as follows:
Six-inch lateral sewer in alley from Fifth to Fourth, between Oakdale and Ivy; cost $350; per front foot, $1.40.
Eight-inch lateral sewer on Grape Street from Sixth to Eighth Street; cost $771.90; per front foot, 83 cents.
Ordinances declaring cost of improvements were adopted as follows:
Water main on Almond Street, $901.15; per front foot, 67 cents.
Six-inch water main on Cottage Street from East Main to south end of Cottage, $1847.50; per front foot, 82 cents.
Four-inch water main on Oak from Maple to Vine, $1104.83; per front foot, 97½ cents.
Six-inch water main on Jackson from Central Avenue to Vermont Street, $2026.72; per front foot, $1.41.
Ten-inch lateral sewer on Sixth from Ivy to Riverside, per front foot, $1.71.
"Pass Many Bills, Improvements," Medford Mail Tribune, March 9, 1911, page 2
CITY FIXING UP OLD WATER PLANT
Force of Men at work Making City Property on Riverside Presentable--
Old Well Will Probably Be Filled In.
Superintendent Tranna of the city water works has men at work overhauling, tearing down and building new the old pumping plant station on South Riverside Avenue.
The city owns several lots there, and for several years the grounds have been a catch-all for the city water system. This is all now being changed. Carpenters are removing the surplus buildings, recovering those needful and to be retained; the old motors, pumps, engines and boilers are being dismantled and placed in shape to be offered for sale. The grounds are being leveled off for convenience in handling new material, and the place generally is beginning to take on an appearance in keeping with the slogan "Medford, the City Beautiful."
But while all these improvements are going on, the old well, fully 50 feet deep and 20 or more feet across and filled nearly to overflowing with Bear Creek water, is still in evidence, a hole in the ground to the memory of Medford's outgrown water system.
As there cannot be any possible chance for this well to ever again be of use to the city, it will be filled up. There are sure enough germs lurking around that old hole in the ground [omission] well-being of the community.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 16, 1911, page B2
J. S. Howard Writes of Water,Editor Mail Tribune: With your permission I would like to express myself through your valuable paper regarding some conditions of Medford's water system. I was much interested in the visit a few days ago of the city council and other officials to the intake or head works at the point of diversion on Little Butte Creek and was much surprised that they should take an eminent M.D. who stands at the head of his profession as an allopathic physician to make out for their prescriptions as a hydropath, which is certainly out of his element, and I was still more surprised when he recommended the drawing off of the waters of Fish Lake reservoir, as a sanitary measure. Why, of all the blunders that were ever made this is the most raw and utmost criminal move in the whole category of mistakes. It ought to be enjoined immediately. It should be filled up to the overflow so that all the debris floating on the surface might be drawn off through the spillway and strained on the large weir below before it reaches the creek again.
Doctors and Rosy Cheeked Maidens
It is my recollection that the reservoir was filled or partly so about two years before the Medford water system was connected at the creek and all dry loose wood or bark and fiber material was floated to the surface and has stood there or has been floated out over the spillway and all timber, stumps, logs, etc., have been soaked for three years and all gophers, reptiles and ants have long ago been eliminated and everything has now settled down to normal and sanitary conditions.
Now it is known that water supply is drawn from the bottom of the lake where the water is pure and cool and that the surface of the lake is warm and warm water always rises to the top and all debris, such as leaves, sticks and fish bones and all such stuff floats on the surface, therefore the deeper the water above the more pure it is. Chicago tunneled four miles out under Lake Michigan to get into deep water for their supply. Now if you draw off the water from the lake or reservoir all this floating debris follows the receding water down to the narrow channel from the springs above, else when the water is drawn off there will be hundreds of fish stranded and dead on the low flats just above the channel, the bears will come down for the dead fish and make bear wallows in the marshes, the snakes, lizards and other reptiles will regain possession of the basin and when the reservoir is filled again the condition of our water system will be demoralized.
The people for their own safety should take immediate action against drawing off the lake. The whole trouble with the impurity of the water supply lies in the headworks at the intake, and the blooming idiot who was paid for designing and installing sanitary headworks ought to face a criminal prosecution. There is no adequate settling basin or forebay. There is no sand gate at the bottom of the intake basin to discharge the sand and mud that might come down the creek, but the intake pipe runs directly into the basin and receives all the soil and sand and carries the same right on through to our system in the city and is now deposited in all the low points, bends or dead ends in our water pipes, and the whole impurity of the water exists right in the pipes in the city limits and not at the reservoir or lake.
Fish Lake comprised originally an area of about 75 acres but Fish Lake reservoir has an area of 450 acres. Now if you draw off the water from 375 acres and leave it exposed to the sun and elements for sixty days and you will create a condition that will take a year to overcome and make the conditions as good as they are today. The intake or settling basin should be just what its name implies. The waters should be made as still as possible to make it. Then all sediment and sand will settle and be carried off by the sand gate instead of going into the water pipes as [it] has been doing.
Our present city engineer has a clear conception of what is required, and if the city council give him their confidence he will install a good system at the intake. If the board will eliminate entirely professional men, such as doctors and lawyers, from their inspection tours and only take men of good hard common sense they will get better results.
The water pipe at the intake is eighteen inches in diameter and has a velocity of about eight feet per second, making a very strong current which would draw in minor foreign matter, whereas if the mouth of the pipe at the intake were thirty-six inches, or about four times the area of the present pipe, the velocity of the current would be reduced to two feet per second, leaving never-still water in the settling basin, permitting all sand and vegetable soil to settle at the bottom and be discharged at the sand gate at the bottom. (The pipe should be thirty-six inches at the intake and taper to the size of the present pipe in twenty feet in length.)
When these changes have been installed we shall have a water system second to none on the coast, Portland's Bull Run not excepted. All this installation should have been planned by that $7000 schoolmaster engineer, but this and other blunders in the installing have or will cost the city not less than $35,000. If the council listens seriously to such experts as the learned M. D. heretofore mentioned, the whole system would soon go to the dogs. I am in my 80th year and I owe my long life to the fact that there were no learned M.D.s in the county where I was raised till I was nearly of age. Microbes and bacteria were not invented at that time and we drank our water from the good old gourd that hung by the side of the old moss-covered bucket as it came from the well and we drank it without boiling and if some rosy-cheeked maiden drank from the gourd we were not afraid to drink from the same cup, even on the same side touched by her ruby lips.
J. S. HOWARD.Medford Mail Tribune, September 2, 1911, page 4
of Pure Mountain Water Best in World
MEDFORD WATER SYSTEM
Water right--daily flow, 4,860,000 gallons.
Diverting dam on Butte Creek.
23 miles 16-inch pipeline.
2,000,000-gallon reservoir, 210 feet above city.
27.4 miles cast-iron distributing system.
By W. J. ROBERTS, C.E.
There are three points in the game of municipal water supply: Quantity, quality and cost. Medford won on all three points.MEDFORD WATERSHED PROTECTED
The quantity delivered at the city reservoir exceeds the original estimate by a third; the quality is better than was originally proposed, and finally, the total cost of the gravity portion was $32,000 less than the $300,000 allowed.
An issue of $365,000 of bonds was authorized in May 1908, of which $65,000 was to be used for cast-iron pipe within the city proper for distribution, hydrants and accessories, and $300,000 was allowed for the gravity supply and reservoir.
The report which was the basis of the bond issue estimated the supply of 3,000,000 gallons daily, diverting the supply from the north fork of Little Butte above the Fish Lake Company's intake to their canal. As carried out, the supply was actually diverted at a point three miles farther up the creek, assuring better water for having gone above the two large stock ranches of Hanley and Slinger, and more water for the added 400 feet of elevation. By this betterment the "gradient" becomes 23 feet fall per mile, against 13 feet per mile proposed.
The expenditures on the gravity water system are as follows:
The net proceeds of the sale of $355,000 gravity bonds amounted to $337,498.20. Ten thousand dollars were never issued, the bonding company refusing that much as necessary to cover interest during the time of construction.
Expenditures.The expenditures on the gravity water system are as follows:
Water rights . . . $15,000.00
Right of way . . . 2,369.35
Telephone line . . . 2,939.45
Reservoir site (5 acres) . . . 250.00
Litigation (right of way) . . . 1,529.73
Hamilton construction contract . . . 239,800.00
Extras . . . 415.72
Engineering, surveys, etc. . . . 9,585.25
Investigations, Applegate, etc. . . . 122.60
Inspection . . . 1,861.00
Administration . . . 536.60
Miscellaneous, printing, etc. . . . 307.60
Total . . .$274,418.20
Deduct . . . 6,200.00
Cost of gravity system . . . $268,518.20
The distributing system paid for out of the so-called gravity water bonds amounted to $68,979.93; gravity system, as above, $268,518.27; total, $337,498.20--proceeds of the bonds.
What did Medford get for the $355,000?
Water right--A perpetual water right to a daily flow of 4,860,000 gallons from a pure mountain stream whose minimum flow is at least ten times this amount, and further guaranteed by the stored waters in Fish Lake and Four Mile Lake, on the summit of the Cascades.
Pipe line--23 miles of 16-inch pipe line, constructed of machine-banded wooden stave pipe having a carrying capacity of 4,100,000 gallons daily.
Distributing reservoir--A reservoir about a mile east of town having a capacity of 2,000,000 gallons at an elevation 210 feet above the business center of Medford.
Reservoir site and park--Five acres of ground for future enlargement of reservoir or for city park.
Distribution--Pipe: 3124 feet 12-inch pipe, 1462 feet 10-inch pipe, 2040 feet 8-inch pipe, 23,015 feet 6-inch pipe, 8236 feet 4-inch pipe; total, 37,877 feet, including hydrants, gates, blowoffs and other fittings, and 6.83 miles of cast-iron mains.
During 1910 13.24 miles of additional mains were laid and in 1911 7.34 miles, making a total of 27.4 miles of cast-iron mains actually laid.
To the $68,979.93 from the gravity water fund expended for distribution was added the amount rebated on freight by the Southern Pacific company, a total of $73,717.88. Thus there was actually received and expended out of gravity water bonds for "distribution" $76,351.84.
The citizens of Medford may well be proud of their water supply. No better water is furnished any city in the state.
The supply is adequate for 20,000 people without restrictions, and figured upon such averages as apply in the Middle West, the quantity daily delivered to the distributing reservoir is sufficient for 25,000 to 30,000 people.
In this connection it may be interesting to note that the average cost of a municipal water supply for cities of this class is not far from $50 per capita. Pumping systems go a little lower, and gravity systems a little higher. Medford's gravity supply has cost less than $50 per capita of present population, and when it is known that the supply is sufficient for thrice the present population, the indebtedness per capita is among the lowest of the towns having a system as good as ours.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1912, page D2 Other than minor updates, this article is identical to a version printed in the issue of January 1, 1911, page B5.
Medford Grows Healthier.MEDFORD, Or., Feb. 8.--(Special.)--According to the annual report of City Health Officer Stearns, Medford has had 60 percent less illness in 1911 than 1910. Dr. Stearns attributes this decrease largely to the new $500,000 water system, the new sewer system and rigid enforcement of laws of civic cleanliness. The list of contagious diseases last year was: Scarlet fever, 5; typhoid fever, 17; diphtheria, 9; tuberculosis. 11; measles, 22; total, 64. The record of the former year, when the population was smaller and the reports of physicians were imperfectly collected, was: Scarlet fever, 51; typhoid, 34; measles, 52; whooping cough, 2; tuberculosis, not reported, estimated only, 15; total, 154.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 9, 1912, page 6
MEDFORD IS DRY TOWNMEDFORD, Or., June 30.--(Special.)--"Water in the reservoir, but not a drop to drink," was the wail of Medford today when a break in the supply line from Fish Lake compelled the cutting off of the city water supply, and the reservoir had to be held in case of fire emergency.
BREAK IN SUPPLY LINE PUTS EMBARGO ON USE OF WATER.
Repair Crew at Work and Hope Is That Damage Will Soda Be Fixed. Soft Drink Shops Popular.
Medford residents even had to go without their usual cup of coffee, while tea was as impossible as the washing of faces and hands. For a while the soda fountains did a land office business and housewives went from church to the confectionery stores for enough charged water to help out the mid-day meal. Soda water soon gave out, however, then lemon pop, and Colestin spring water became the substitute. One public-spirited citizen with a case of beer peddled a few pints to close neighbors and friends, but as Medford is dry Sundays, malt beverages did not give any material relief.
The Hotel Medford could serve no coffee or tea, and had to carry the table water by bucket from the well belonging to Dr. E. B. Pickel.
Mayor Canon with a party of engineers left for the scene of the trouble, near Butte Creek, by auto this morning, and telephoned back that the break was a bad one but they hoped to have it repaired early Monday morning.
This is the first serious trouble Medford has had with her $500,000 water system since it was installed several years ago.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, July 1, 1912, page 3
In looking over the record of those who have distinguished themselves in public service, our thoughts naturally turn to the record of Dr. E. B. Pickel. The doctor has the record of being the handsomest mayor to date, and will probably continue to enjoy the distinction until we elect a suffragette.
Dr. Pickel was mayor [1904-05] in the days when we drank Bear Creek "liquid." It was generally liquid. In those days if we wished to leave our homes at night we equipped ourselves with rubber boots, procured a lantern, and with fear and trembling sallied forth into utter blackness. If we reached our destination without stepping on the end of a board whose other end was not nailed down we felt that we were under the protection of a special providence.
Dr. Pickel was largely instrumental in selecting the present site of Medford's pure water supply [Fish Lake], and for this service alone we think he is entitled to a place in "Medford's Hall of Fame."
Minnie (Mrs. Harry C.) Stoddard, "Medford's Hall of Fame," Medford Mail Tribune, December 18, 1912, page 4
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1913
DRINKING FOUNTAIN WILL BE INSTALLED
The street and road committee of the city council has ordered the installation of two new drinking fountains in the city, one for citizens and the other for animals.
The fountain for horses will be constructed on Fir Street just south of Main Street while the other will be placed at the intersection of Main and Oakdale.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1913, page 4
WATER SYSTEM PUTS DOCTORS OUT OF BUSINESS
"Any Medford doctor can tell to a day the day that the Medford water system was turned on," says Dr. Conroy. "Previously, all doctors were kept busy with typhoid and intestinal troubles. Since people have been using the gravity water supply, however, Medford has become one of the healthiest cities in the country, and there is little for the doctors to do. I really believe that in such a healthy climate as this, that if the people would eat properly, they would have the doctors starving to death."
Other doctors agree that the greatest thing that ever happened to Medford in the line of health production is the gravity water system, and that if human life is worth anything, the gravity water system is far beyond the power of estimation in value.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 1, 1913, page 5
Medford's water system was put out of commission for a time this week by the bursting of the main supply pipe near the Bear Creek bridge Wednesday evening. A force of men were immediately put to work repairing the break. The Sun, in describing the effects, says: "Owing to the suddenness of the accident hotels, restaurants and homes were left without water, and there will be great skirmishing around this morning for the early risers, as it will take considerable time to mend the break. Thirsty folks downtown drank bar refreshments, soda fountain beverages and milk."
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, October 11, 1913, page 3
CITY WELL IS MENACE TO HEALTH, SAYS TRANAIn his annual report submitted to the city council Water Supt. Tranna makes several recommendations.
The old city well at the intersection of Eighth and Riverside he declares a menace to the health of employees who are engaged around the premises and threatens the food supply at the public market. He suggests withdrawing the pumps and filling the well. The electric pump, according to the report, if pressed into service for emergency use would perhaps contaminate the entire water supply of the city.
A new water main from the reservoir to the southwest part of the city is urged and the following extract is quoted regarding the intake:
"During the salmon spawning season many fish can get above the intake and die when the intake tender removes splashboards of [the] diverting dam. If the matter were taken up with the fish and game warden it is probable that a permit can be obtained that will grant the city privilege of obstructing the stream."
"The cost of gravity water line maintenance increases year by year, and deterioration is rapid. The city should make preparation for future requirements by providing a substantial sinking fund as it will be needed probably in 5 years for pipe replacement.
The report shows that the cost of the department in 1913 for labor and material averaged nearly $1000 a month. The phone line to the intake cost $2005.24.
Attention is called to the expense of fire hydrant maintenance including cutting weeds and flushing. The expense could be reduced, in the opinion of the water superintendent.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 24, 1914, page 4
REPAIR BEAR CREEK WELL DISAPPROVED BY DOCTOR
DR. E. B. PICKEL SAYS PROPOSED PLAN WOULD BE MENACE TO CITY HEALTH
Declares Action Would Infect Every Water Pipe in City--
Would Be Blunder--Hopes Council Will Reject Plan
Disapproval of any proposed plan to repair the old city well as an auxiliary to the city water supply is voiced by Dr. E. B. Pickel of this city and a member of the state board of health in the following statement, which speaks for itself. The statement is:
"That dirt is dangerous and cleanliness--though doubtless an acquired taste--is a protection against disease is a dearly bought experience of all civilized peoples. Now if a public water supply becomes infected, not matter how rigid or strict the principles of cleanliness are carried out by the inhabitants of a city, the risks are serious and no intelligent community would willingly run the hazard. No one disputes the value of a supply of pure water, yet the maintenance of active measures for the protection of the source of that supply is equally important.
"It is understood that [there is] the question of repairing the well at the brink of Bear Creek, used in the ancient days of Medford, by cementing the walls and extending a concrete pipe underneath the bed of the creek, thus supplying the well with pure (?) water for use in case of emergency.
"All early citizens of this vicinity know something of the costly experiments and mistakes the history of Medford's early water supply reveals and had hoped the water problem was practically settled, but of all the blunders fostered upon a suffering people the proposition above is one of the rankest and causes one to wonder at the vagaries of a human brain; also to exclaim 'man is fearfully if not wonderfully made.'
"The idea of such a well containing pure, wholesome water is too ridiculous for a sane mind to consider. It is actually difficult to realize that anyone should be so criminally ignorant in a highly civilized community at the present time.
"One clause in the sanitary laws of all cities relative to the water supply states that no person shall do or permit to be done any act or thing that will impair or imperil the purity or wholesomeness of any water used or designed as a drink in any part of the city. Yet this one act would infect every water pipe and main in the city provided it should once be used, endangering the lives of every household.
"I have too much faith in our city council to believe they would seriously consider such a criminal step."
Medford Sun, February 17, 1914, page 1
WATER USERS OUT OF CITY MUST METER
Conservation of the city water supply, by compelling all water users outside of the city limits to install meters, and a rigid enforcement of the water laws during the summer months, was the most important action taken by the city council Tuesday night.
The meters were ordered installed to equalize the water assessments of all users. Residents outside the city limits have been paying the same rates as users within, yet paying nothing towards the upkeep of the city. The meters will make it possible for them to pay for the water they use, and raise their payments. A protest is expected to arise from this action. Some in their efforts to dodge the water assessments have purchased water from their neighbors on a half and half basis.
The hot weather coming on, lawn sprinkling is in vogue, and the regulations provided for this use will be rigidly enforced by Superintendent Tranna.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 20, 1914, page 2
Medford papers report 51 leaks in the first four miles of that city's water main.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, June 27, 1914, page 3
PREDICTS INCREASE IN CITY'S SUPPLY
A half million gallons increase in water from the city water supply is expected by councilman Medynski when he finishes improvements contemplated as a result of an inspection of intake and system this week. By raising the overflow valves he says the increased flow will be obtained.
Councilman Medynski inspected the pipeline and found it in much better shape than he expected. The 600-foot tunnel was also inspected, and cave-ins found where the supporting timbers had rotted. A force of men will be sent up next week to make needed repairs, and the water system put in first-class shape at a cost of several hundred dollars.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 3, 1914, page 8
Twenty arrests were made at Medford Thursday for violation of the sprinkling rules of the water department.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, July 18, 1914, page 3
There was a trace of muddiness in the city water early today owing to the heavy drain during the hot weather on the city reservoir.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 31, 1914, page 2
Dam at Fish Lake
J. T. Sullivan, manager of the Rogue River Canal Company, has returned from a trip to Fish Lake. He traveled by auto, reaching the dam at the west end of the lake. This is the first time an auto has ever made the trip.
Manager Sullivan reports that fifty men are now employed on the construction of the dam and that within the next ten days or two weeks the force will be increased to 150. The dam will be completed by the time snow flies.
Jacksonville Post, July 15, 1915, page 1
WATER SUPPLY ENDANGEREDThe Mail Tribune does not want to appear in the role of obstructor or discourager of enterprise, but it desires to call the attention of the public to the fact that the purity of Medford's water supply is endangered by the building of a dam at Fish Lake.
The dam is needed to impound water for irrigation purposes, but some provision should be made at once to safeguard the city's water supply, for the impounded water will not be fit for drinking purposes unless a filtering system is utilized.
When the previous dam existed, analysis of the water showed it impregnated with typhoid and other bacilli. It could not be otherwise. The reservoir basin and drainage area has been used as cattle pasture for half a century. All the debris of countless herds as well as the decaying vegetation of the forests will be drained into the lake, to decompose and find its way into Medford stomachs.
Some method must be provided to keep Medford's water pure, and should be provided by those causing its spoliation. Now is the time for action, before the damage has been done.
If Medford calmly watches without protest the ruin of its water supply, in which it has invested nearly half a million dollars, it will lose its right of protest after the ruin has been wrought.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 28, 1915, page 4
To the Editor:
Public drinking fountains installed by the city are placed at convenient heights and at readily accessible places for the purpose of obtaining a good, wholesome drink of running water. By their very nature, they should continue to stay sanitary. But this, of late, cannot long remain if certain conditions are not rectified. By this I mean the habit of an individual's coming up to the fountain, rinsing and cleansing his mouth of foreign objects near to or directly over the drinking jet. It may not in all cases serve to infect the frame of the fountain, but it is decidedly offensive for a woman or any person, for all that, of good habits to approach and drink at the same fountain immediately after.
Then there is the habit of several persons, talking business or otherwise, of leaning against the fountain, speaking of those built of brick as the one on the Medford National Bank corner [Main and Central]. The clothing of these persons may be scrupulously clean, and again it may not. It is disagreeable in no small degree to request certain men to move aside, and either drink amid jesting and clouds of smoke, or to do without a drink at that fountain.
In the interest of the whole community, individually and collectively, an observation of these conditions, and a careful endeavor upon the part of the citizens to prevent them, will tend to give the public a drink of cool, clear running water in an undisturbed manner.
E. C. F.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 7, 1915, page 4
PLAN TO PROTECT CITY WATER SUPPLY
The Rogue River Canal Company has agreed to take any steps the city council may suggest for the protection of the city water supply at Fish Lake, where the canal company is building a dam to be used to secure storage water for irrigation purposes. The council held a meeting this afternoon, and councilman Miles is drawing up the demands of the city.
The city will ask that the land to be overflowed by water be cleared of all brush, dead logs, leaves and debris, and that it be made as reasonably clean and free from injurious matter as possible. This the company has agreed to do.
Standing timber the canal company does not want to cut down at this time, owing to the heavy cost, but agrees if afterwards it is found to be detrimental they will take steps to clear it away.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 14, 1915, page 4
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Antle and daughter Jane, who have been spending the winter months at the city intake, where Mr. Antle is keeper, have returned to Medford to remain.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 22, 1916, page 2
In the city park there has been considerable trouble occasioned by the roots of trees breaking into the wooden mains. Several times it has been necessary to dig up and repair the mains. The city engineer was instructed to figure on the cost of replacing these mains with cast iron pipes. . . . at the suggestion of City Engineer Arnspiger it was decided that the members of the council will make an inspection trip to the intake of the city water system in the near future.
"Council Solves Paving Trouble; to Act Monday," Medford Mail Tribune, September 6, 1916, page 6
The fountain before the Methodist Church on the corner of Oakdale and Main will be moved by the water department to the opposite corner before the Washington School. Reason lies in the danger to pupils of the school, who continually cross the street in front of autos and streetcars after a drink at the fountain.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, September 23, 1916, page 2
CITY WATER IS PURE BUT MUDDY
Analysis made by the state board of health of samples of city water lately send by Dr. Thayer, city health officer, shows a lower degree of contamination than does any previous analysis. This is probably due to the greater body of water at Fish Lake, which causes a greater dilution and also keeps the water at a lower temperature. The following is the latest analysis:
Bacteria per cubic centimeter: Fish Lake 100, intake 250, city faucet, 100.
The present unusual amount of wood fiber and sediment in the water is due to the fact that Fish Lake is now being drained for the purpose of cleaning the ground now covered by water. In liberating this extra amount of water, sediment is drawn from the bottom of the lake. While this sediment and wood fiber is not desirable, yet it is not considered a real source of danger. It is water contaminated by sewerage that is the greatest menace to public health. Such contamination cannot be seen and is determined only by careful analysis such as has been made by the state board of health.
At present very fine mesh screens are used at the intake, and Water Superintendent Arnspiger is doing all that is possible to keep the water clear. According to his statement, it is possible to keep this sediment out only by the use of a settling tank or system of filters.
Medford Sun, September 28, 1916, page 2
FOUL CITY WATER MAY LAST WEEK OR MONTH LONGER
The foreign odor and taste in the city water will continue at least a week, and may last for a month, according to Water Superintendent Olen Arnspiger. The Rogue River Canal Company, he explained, is draining the water from Fish Lake in order to gather and burn the debris in the bottom of the lake. At the same time, they are adjusting the gates at the outlet of the lake, sometimes lowering and sometimes raising them so that the water and sediment is being constantly roiled up. When a large head is allowed to pass through, the creek is raised, and by the time the water reaches the city intake it has picked up a large accumulation of silt and vegetable matter from the banks.
If the condition of the water is not abated within the next two or three days, Arnspiger stated, he will go to the lake and endeavor to have the gates opened as wide as the size of the creek bed will allow and complete the drainage in the shortest possible time. However, there are between 500 and 600 acres covered with water, and at best it will require a week to empty the area of water.
In spite of the odor and taste, he continued, there need be no fear of contamination from the water, as the tests recently made show the water to be remarkably free from bacteria.
The safe way, however, is to boil the drinking water.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 29, 1916, page 3
Cleaning Out Bed of Lake
The Roguelands Company has closed down its camp at Fish Lake and established bachelor quarters for a crew of eight men, who are engaged in clearing and burning the debris on the bottom of the lake. This crew will work until snow is too deep to allow further progress. It is thought that the bed of the lake will be cleared before spring. With the first heavy rain or snow, the gates at the intake will be closed, and the storing of water for the next irrigation season will begin. The lake is not expected to reach its high storage level until the middle of June.
Jacksonville Post, November 11, 1916, page 1
WATER SUPPLY GUARDED
MEDFORD HOME GUARD PATRONS STREETS TO STOP WASTE.
Citizens Compelled to Resort to Well Water and Soft Drinks Until Dam Is Repaired.
MEDFORD, Or., June 6.--(Special.)--On account of the grave emergency water situation in the city and fearing the danger of fire while the water pressure is low, Mayor Gates today called upon Captain Freeman Newport to summon as many of the Medford Home Guard Company as was necessary to patrol the city and stop all people irrigating lawns, gardens and lots. The captain, Lieutenant H. B. Clark and sergeants Blaine Klum and M. C. Wright and six privates of the Home Guard, in five automobiles, then began the work of patrolling the city and stopping all irrigation.
No arrests were made, but several people were warned and a second infraction will result in their water being shut off.
Reports from Fish Lake tonight indicated the break in the dam, which yesterday endangered the city intake, would be fixed tomorrow, and normal conditions would return by the end of the week. Owing to the roily condition of the water today the people of Medford had to depend largely upon wells and soft drink parlors for their drinking water.
Oregonian, Portland, June 7, 1917, page 4
WELL WATER MOST POPULARThe few wells and private water systems in Medford did the largest business in their history this past week because of the city water being muddy and unfit to drink for several days on account of the break in the Fish Lake dam and subsequent flooding of Butte Creek. Wherever there is a well, most of the day neighbors and persons not neighbors were lined up waiting their turns to fill jugs, buckets and other receptacles.
The most popular well in the city was that of the Medford Soda Works on South Bartlett Street. It did a land office business day and night. "In the past three days not less than 10,000 gallons was taken from this well," said C. P. Bigham yesterday. "The people came from all over--on foot, in autos, carriages and any way to get there, and we gladly let them take away as much of the water as they wanted to."
For the first time in their lives many Medford people this week knew what it was to be really thirsty. Many, rather than go a long distance for pure or clear water, finally gave in and tried to drink the mud.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 9, 1917, page 2
The fire whistle was blown at 1:30 p.m. yesterday because the water pressure had become so low as to be a menace, and at once the pressure greatly increased as the people stopped irrigating.
Water Superintendent Davis reports that the water supply situation was much improved today and states that while he hopes to have the willing cooperation of the people in obeying the regulations in order to keep up the water supply in the reservoir for fire pressure purposes, if water users do not cooperate the water department will have to adopt drastic measures. His position is set forth in a large display advertisement to the people in this issue of the Mail Tribune.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1919, page 2
WATER SERVICE S. OAKDALE IS INSISTED UPON
The city council last night decided to take immediate steps to relieve the water famine condition at the end of South Oakdale Street and vicinity, after listening to the urgent pleas for relief from a delegation of citizens from this long-suffering section of the city. The council also transacted business with every member present, including the mayor and members Gaddis, Hill, Dressler, Keene and Antle.
Guy conner and Delroy Getchell were the spokesmen for the delegation, which included Edison Marshall. The residents of this section have often complained in years past to the council about their water conditions and asked relief, and various unsuccessful expedients have been tried to that end.
However, the residents are tired of promises and makeshift expedients, and now demand as citizens and taxpayers that this part of the city be given plenty of water, and pure water, both from the points of health, sanitation and fire protection, as was emphatically but courteously declared by Mr. Getchell in his address to the council. At times the meager water supply they now get is stagnant and odorous.
The trouble is that while Medford has plenty of water, the distributing system, built years ago, is inadequate to carry it to the South Oakdale section, which is the highest in the city. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that the system has a dead end at the end of this street.
A further complication is that the city has no money to make the extensive improvements and alterations to ensure an adequate water supply to the residents of the southwest section, whose citizens, as Mr. Getchell pointed out last night, are entitled to the benefit of the city taxes they pay and to all the benefits enjoyed by the other parts of the city.
Mr. Conner proposed a scheme of connecting the main of that district with large mains from other districts and removing the dead end so as to form a circulating system, which he and other residents figured would not only give a more plentiful supply but a pure supply.
The councilmen, who have unanimously been in sympathy all along with the water sufferings of the South Oakdale section, last night decided that the time had come to act in the way of supplying the needed relief, and referred the situation to the council water committee consisting of Messrs. Hill, Keene and Miles and Water Superintendent Davis, with power to act. This committee expected to delve into the situation today and decide on some plan to give this section a good and pure supply of water.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 18, 1920, page 8
Medford Apartment House Doomed by Fire--Water Low
Inadequate pressure in the Medford water system is handicapping the efforts of the fire department of that city in extinguishing a fire that broke out in the Barnum Apartments of Medford, according to word received here this afternoon. It is said that the apartment house, the finest of its kind in Medford, is doomed to complete destruction. Firemen, unable to play an adequate stream of water on the blazing structure, were waging an uneven battle at a late hour this afternoon.
Ashland Weekly Tidings, October 5, 1921, page 1
Big Butte Springs, before their development as a water source.
WATER SUPPLY SOURCE IS VOTED
Election for $975,000 Bond Held at Medford Polls, Replacing That of Fish Lake.
MEDFORD, Ore.--Medford voters went to the polls in a special election October 8 and voted overwhelmingly to bond the city for $975,000 for the construction of a new source of water supply at Big Butte Springs, replacing the present Fish Lake supply.
Excerpt, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, October 13, 1925, page 6
MR. FEHL BOOSTS LIVING JOYS OF FAT M.T. SCRIBE
Earl H. Fehl, the weekly newspaper publisher and editor and building contractor, whose side issue for years has been to find fault, for its own good, with whatever city administration happens to be in power, relative to taxation matters and the like, has again forcibly made known his love for the taxpayers and other common citizens of this glorious city.
All this, by way of explaining the appearance Monday of one of the finest and tastiest street drinking fountains in Medford, on West Sixth Street in front of his Pacific Record [Herald] building, adjoining the post office on the west.
At last Earl is cooperating in the utmost harmony with the city on this water question. Not only did he install the drinking fountain at his own expense between two shade trees, which fact will be greatly appreciated by passing thirsty citizens, especially as it is the only drinking fountain in that section of the city, but he himself did the actual installing work.
Mr. Fehl had just finished putting the finishing touches on the installation in the forenoon when along came the snooping fat reporter of the Mail Tribune, with whom he had found much fault in the past about the way he wrote things up, and stopped to see what was going on.
Then the bighearted editor man, who never forgets the woes of the common people, invited the reporter to be the first common slob resident to drink from the new fountain.
It tasted exceptionally good. Mr. Fehl has always been a live wire citizen, full of Christian charity, and has a way of making smart-aleck reporters regret some of their former writing deeds.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 22, 1927, page 7
FOUNTAIN FOR TOURISTS WILL BE BUILT HERE
Work will be begun within a few days on the erection of a new drinking fountain just east of the Chamber of Commerce building and the Front Street curb, to be built jointly by the city Water Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, to exploit and advertise with the tourists and other visitors to the city the pure new spring water supply of Medford.
While the final plans for the fountain and its exact location on the site are not yet completed, it is known that the fountain will be quite an ornamental one. The city Water Commission already had ordered a fine porcelain fountain from Portland when City Superintendent Fred Scheffel and Secretary C. T. Baker of the Chamber of Commerce got their heads together and planned a much more ornamental layout for the fountain. They held a conference on this matter this morning, and their plan will undoubtedly be used if the city Water Commission can be induced to countermand its order for the porcelain fountain.
By this plan an ornamental square fountain will be located under a frame canopy of ornamental shingles resting on four large cedar posts. Of course, no matter what kind of fountain or ornamental setting, the fountain will have a conspicuous tablet setting forth the virtues of Medford's wonderful water.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 27, 1927, page 3
'WHERE DO YOU GET THE ICE'
IS TOURIST QUERY
Chris Gottlieb hasn't been himself for several days. But this morning he snapped into it.
Chris was walking down the street when he saw a tourist-filled car stop in front of the fountain by the Liberty Building. A man got out and took a drink. Chris slowed up to catch the reaction on his face as he quaffed Medford's latest refreshment.
The man began peering down into the stem of the fountain, around the sides and around the base. This was queer conduct, but the local employment head has seen all sorts of outsiders. He approached the strangers.
"I beg your pardon, did you lose something?" he asked. The man looked embarrassed.
"Why, no--that is--I was just curious to know how you got it in there--and why waste it anyway?"
"What in there--what waste?" queried the puzzled Chris.
"Why, the ice."
"This isn't ice water. You're in Medford," informed the blase Chris.
"You don't mean it's naturally that cold in this weather?"
"Consider the source," begged the reproachful Medfordite--and, waving his hand majestically toward the surrounding mountains, he was off.
As he turned a corner further down the street, he glanced back and saw the tourist's family lined up in front of the fountain. The man was still gazing toward the mountains.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 27, 1927, page 4
MEDFORD'S OLD WATER TROUGH IS TAKEN AWAY
It doesn't take horse sense to appreciate Medford's new water system, say the city fathers. So the old watering trough, the last vestige of Medford's horse and buggy age, was extracted from the pavement on Riverside Avenue this morning. The group of workers took pains to preserve the adjoining concrete drinking fountain.
A shaggy, white-haired old nag, drawing a decrepit wagon past the familiar spot this morning, jerked her head to the right and the left as if to loosen the collar that tightened around the lump in her aged throat. 'Twas many's the drink she quenched there in bygone days.
But she outlived her day. As she crept in her antique conspicuousness up the busy street she burst into a philosophical neigh in which she embodied all the sentiments of another exponent of liquid refreshments who contributed the memorable lines, "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 28, 1927, page 1
Marking the removal of the last concrete watering trough in the business section of the city, laborers this forenoon demolished the trough on South Front Street at the intersection of Eighth Street. One was removed on South Riverside Avenue last week. Neither of the two had been used for some time, both having been kept dry for lack of horse "customers."
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 1, 1927, page 2
Concrete has been poured and is rapidly hardening for the new city water fountain immediately east of the Chamber of Commerce building. The construction of the fountain is approximately half completed, cedar posts having yet to be set for the wooden canopy which will provide shade.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 2, 1927, page 2
The watering trough on the lee side of the C. of C. is nearing completion. The Committee on Leading a Tourist to Water, and the Committee on Making Him Drink will meet at once, and formulate a plan of action.
Arthur Perry, "Ye Smudge Pot," Medford Mail Tribune, August 2, 1927, page 4
WATER FOUNTAIN STATISTICS BORY [sic],
Checking at the fountain in front of the Medford National Bank is the latest pastime for ambitious and patriotic Medford citizenry. C. S. Butterfield took ten minutes from his lunch hour one day this week, and Earl Gaddis checked for ten minutes the next day, and the drinking data they got will do to tell.
Butterfield found that there was a drinker every fifteen seconds, or four drinkers a minute. And the women were heavier drinkers than the men. Gaddis found that there averaged six drinkers a minute for ten minutes, and that the men were heavier drinkers than the women.
Gaddis and Butterfield are thinking of securing a relief force, which will stand for ten-minute shifts from 10 o'clock in the morning to 6 in the evening. They are calling for volunteers.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 1927, page 3
Put partly into operation yesterday, the new city fountain, immediately east of the Chamber of Commerce building, is already being well patronized by thirsty local citizens and tourists. When completed the fountain, which at present has only one stream of water, will have four and will be shaded by a wooden canopy set upon four cedar posts. The fountain has a rustic stone finish and has a special faucet from which buckets and canteens may be filled by autoists.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 9, 1927, page 2
NEW WATER SYSTEM IS COMPLETED
Thirty-Mile Pipeline Is Constructed--Capacity 410,000 Gallons per Hour--
Cost Is $975,000--Surplus Water Goes into Reservoir.
Medford Water Users.
Year No. of Users
1912 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,781
1913 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,919
1914 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,099
1915 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,122
1916 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,128
1917 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,134
1918 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,147
1919 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,153
1920 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,159
1921 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,182
1922 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,212
1923 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,298
1924 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,390
1925 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,480
1926 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,660
1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000
"A mountain spring in every home" is a vision that was created in Medford this year upon the completion of a new million-dollar municipal water supply. With farsighted visions of future growth and prosperity, this city capped the giant Big Butte Springs, constructed a thirty-mile pipeline to this city at a cost of $975,000 and literally placed a mountain spring in every home. It is one of the outstanding achievements in the history of this city and an inspiration for Medford's Jubilee of Visions Realized this year.
It took over a year [of] planning, preparation and actual construction to make possible the new system which brought cold snow water to Medford's water mains to be broadcast over the city through the municipal distributing system. In July the final touches were put on the pipeline and Medford people were given their first water from the new supply.
The Big Butte Springs are situated northeast of Medford in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Mt. McLoughlin, also known as Mt. Pitt, under the eternally snow-capped summit of which is the ever-reliable source of water for the springs, all of which have a maximum flow of 54 second-feet and a minimum of 46. This flow contributes approximately half of the low water volume of Big Butte Creek. The city's water supply, 17 second-feet of the total or 12 million gallons daily.
Supply Adequate for 50,000 People."The supply is so adequate," states City Water Engineer Dillard, "that no worry should be felt by the people of Medford for years, for there is enough water to provide for the needs of a city five times the size of Medford, even though at present the water is consumed at the rate of 500 gallons per capita--a very high rate."
An outstanding feature of the system is the fact that the water does not see daylight until it is released through household faucets, giving no opportunity for it to become contaminated. Chemical analysis shows the new water supply contains eight minerals in quantities so small that they can hardly be measured, ranging from 28 to three parts per million. The chemicals include silica, iron oxide, aluminum oxide, magnesium sulphate, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate, sodium and potassium.
The outlet of the springs is located under a lava capping of undetermined age, which is believed to have covered an old bed for the snow-covered slopes of Mt. McLoughlin. The lava, being of a porous nature, provides a storage basin for the drainage of the northwest slopes of the mountain, which at one time was a volcano. Finding its way slowly through the lava it emerges in a manner of springs, all of which have been joined together by the means of a tunnel and ditches to insure adequate water for the new system.
Watershed Amply Protected.The purity of the springs has been insured through the foresight of the water commission, which effected the purchase of 200 acres immediately surrounding them. With the larger part of the drainage area in the Crater National Forest, the city also has the protection of police service by the forest rangers. A thick concrete collection gallery protects the springs feeding the pipeline, and a tunnel, which is 300 feet in length and connects a heavy-producing spring with the others, is now being lined with concrete. This work is practically the last to be done on the water system, all other details having already been completed.
Pipeline 30 Miles Long.The pipeline, which runs in practically a straight line from the springs to Medford, is approximately 30 miles long and is guaranteed by the makers, the Beall Pipe and Tank Company of Portland, for thirty years. However, due to the fact that the pipe is protected with a special covering on the inside and heavy tar paper covering on the outside, it is expected to last indefinitely. The city engineer believes that 40 to 50 years will find it in as good condition as at the present, the steel being of exceptionally good quality. The average life of steel pipe, such as used in this section, is held to be 30 years.
A special forged welding steel was used in the manufacturing of the pipe, each section being dipped in an asphalt preservative coating. The pipe has a capacity of 15 to 16 second-feet of water, or approximately 410,000 gallons per hour. The pipes are buried fairly deep in the ground and are thoroughly protected from the heat, making cool water possible in Medford and causing strangers to wonder in the summertime if each street fountain is equipped with ice coils.
The following sizes of pipe are used in the line in keeping with the grade: 25-inch pipe, 6.65 miles; 23-inch pipe, 6.90 miles, 21-inch pipe, 14.60 miles; 20-inch pipe, 2.24 miles; total length of pipeline, 30.40 miles.
Water Temperature 43 Degrees.At the springs the water has a temperature of 43 degrees, and during the 16 hours it takes for it to come to Medford, the temperature is not increased by more than 10 degrees. The pipe on the average is from three to four feet under the ground, and at one place near the springs it is buried over 20 feet deep in order that proper pressure may be secured for its long trip to the city. The pressure on hydrants in Medford averages from 80 to 90 pounds--a decided increase over the old system, for which water restrictions--now not necessary--were put into effect during the warm summer months.
This water comes directly to Medford water mains without going into the two large reservoirs on the east side of the city on Capitol Hill. However, water which is not used goes into the reservoirs, both of which have spillways. They were found very necessary when Fish Lake water was used and were essential for fire protection purposes.
Fifth System Since 1883.The present system is the fifth to have been put into use since Medford was established in 1883 and incorporated February 24, 1885, as the "Town of Medford." Medford was re-incorporated in 1905 as a city, and at present has a population of over 12,000, growing from a population of 967 in 1890 and 1700 in 1900.
An open ditch of three miles in length was Medford's first water system in 1889 and was constructed from Bear Creek to deliver water to a well. Two large wooden tanks, with a capacity of 32,000 gallons each, were located in the city park on the present site of the public library and served the needs of the city with the water pumped from the well until 1902 when the system was abandoned. In that year a pumping plant was established on the west bank of Bear Creek not far from the present site of the substation of the California Oregon Power Company on South Riverside Avenue.
Steam power was used for pumping until two years later when electricity for pumping was furnished on a ten-year contract by the Condor Water and Power Company. The water, which was supplied from a well along the banks of the creek, was found to be unsuitable for drinking purposes, and in 1908 negotiations were closed with the Fish Lake Water Company for a new supply, which was used until the summer of this year.
For the construction of a gravity line and the supply of seven and one-half second-feet of water, the city agreed to pay $254,100. The line, which was used for the first time in 1910, consisted of 21.9 miles of 16-inch machine-banded wood stave pipe and was dipped but not creosoted under pressure, with banded collars used. A total of 375 feet was the maximum head on the pipe and was constructed with a fall of 4.333 feet per thousand, with a carrying capacity of 6.15 second-feet. The intake was not directly at the lake, the water being taken from Little Butte Creek eleven miles or more below.
However, a few years after the new line was completed, the quality of the water was damaged by the construction of a storage dam for the Medford Irrigation District, leaving a woody taste and odor in the water because the land put under irrigation in the new reservoir, formed by the dam, had not been cleared of its timber and brush. When the lake became low in the latter part of the year, the water became especially unpalatable because of an algae growth, causing a pungent smell, and state health tests showed that it was not fitted for domestic use.
The old line caused considerable trouble, because of loose collars and defective staves, and necessitated considerable expense money for upkeep. Heavy rains and freshets would cause the water to become discolored, which is something unheard-of in the present system.
Fish Lake--complete with submerged trees--July 8, 1945
Realizing that the old supply of 6.15 second-feet was far insufficient to provide for the needs of a growing city in which a surprisingly large area was sown to lawns and used for gardens, a special city election was held in October 1925, for the authorization of a $975,000 bond issue. Of this amount $875,000 was used for the construction of the pipeline and the remainder for improvements in the city distributing system. The bonds were sold above par. The election carried by a large majority, though mass meetings were held by certain interests to bring about defeat.
The Water Commission.The city water commission, which was elected for an indefinite term at the same time the bond issue was voted, is composed of E. C. Gaddis, H. U. Lumsden (just deceased), A. L. Hill and O. Arnspiger.
F. C. Dillard is the city water engineer and was in charge of the pipeline and intake construction, assisted by engineer Ralph Cowgill, while J. T. Conrad is assistant city water superintendent.
The line was constructed by the Swartley Brothers of Corvallis, while construction work at the intake and in Medford was done by the city water department. The contract for the furnishing and installation of the pipe, including the electric welding, was held by the Beall Pipe and Tank Company of Portland.
The municipal water department has its own building of concrete brick on West Jackson Street, completed last year, and including storage space for city equipment. Its front yard has been landscaped with lawn and flowers.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 14, 1927, page E6
In the past year or more the city has laid four miles of water mains, three and a quarter miles of sewers, graded and graveled four miles of streets and paved, either with concrete or asphalt, about three miles of street, a total improvement of approximately $200,000, one-half of which has been for paving. Compared with the vast amount of work done in 1910 to 1912, the recent paving program has been less than 10 percent, but sewer improvements have been approximately one-third of those in former years, while the water mains recently laid have been more than equal to the amount laid in the former years, due to the laying of a new distributing system in connection with the new Big Butte water system.
"Outgoing City Officials Have Good Records," Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1928, page 3
[Irvin Terrell] misses the old watering trough at the public market front where, when he was a kid [circa 1915], he spent many happy hours drinking water with the horses and stray dogs, following romps inside the market with the pumpkins and rutabagas.
"Terrell Recalls Happy Days Here in Horse Trough," Medford Mail Tribune, August 19, 1931, page 8
For the protection of Medford's million-dollar water system, the federal government has purchased approximately 6000 acres of land in the Butte Creek section from private holders, it was announced today by Karl L. Janouch, supervisor of the Rogue River National Forest.
Supervisor Janouch pointed out that the land purchase now protects the sources from which the water enters the main stream. The land was bought from the Owen-Oregon Lumber Company, he said.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 8, 1934, page 3
MOUNTAIN SPRING IN EVERY HOME
IS MEDFORD'S BOAST
Waters Gushing Forth at Base of Mt. McLoughlin
Never See Light Until Released from Faucet.
Medford's "Million Dollar Water Supply" places it in an enviable position. Every fountain in the city is a proof of this statement and carries its message to all that nowhere are people blessed with water more deliciously cool and pure. "A Mountain Spring in Every Home" is a thoughtful description of what local citizens have provided for themselves in the Big Butte Springs water supply.REMINISCENCES OF MEDFORD WATER SYSTEMS
The permanent purity of the water was the first consideration in selection of the Big Butte Springs, and in the design and construction of the system no expense was spared to keep the supply generous and undefiled.
Comes from SpringGushing from among mossy rocks in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains adjoining Crater National Forest, the "sparkling water" ripples forth crystal clear, and is trapped in all its purity by a concrete collection gallery and led to the pipeline intake, where it flows 31 miles southwest to Medford. The water emerges from every faucet in the city with the same glistening highlights and sparkle that it gathers as it filters down to Big Butte Springs through lava beds from the snows that tap ancient Mt. McLoughlin. Some rare mineral content which defies detection in the most exacting chemical analysis, yet captivates the eye and imagination of the drinker, gives the water its beautiful crystalline sparkle.
The supply system was completed July 1, 1927, and visions of green lawns and beautiful flowers throughout the city during the hot months, and a happy and healthy Medford populace, were realized.
Purity AbsoluteThe permanent purity of Big Butte Springs is placed beyond possible suspicion by rigid tests repeated twice monthly by the Oregon State Board of Health. The report received always confirms the absolute purity of the water. Combined with a refreshingly low temperature, even after it has been carried 31 miles through specially constructed pipelines of steel properly preserved against corrosion and temperature change, the water comes to the citizens of Medford as the very ultimate beverage.
Daylight never reaches its crystal clearness from the time it ripples out of the springs until it reaches Medford homes. The temperature of the water at the springs is 43 degrees Fahrenheit, and as it sparkles from the city fountain, 52 degrees.
Enough for 30,000The sufficiency of the supply is such that it will afford 400 gallons per capita for a population of approximately 30,000, and additional pipeage may be constructed to supply a population of nearly 60,000 people. When that demand is reached, as it surely will be with all the attractions of the surrounding valley, this perfect supply of cool, crystal water will still be one of Medford's greatest charms.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1934, page B7
DUFF SAYS NO CHLORINE TO BE USED IN WATER
Medford's fears that chlorine would be added to its water supply, because of the proximity of Camp White, and because this is a defense area, were eased today when Robert Duff, water superintendent, said the water commission would not add the chlorine unless an emergency made it necessary.
Medford is installing a chlorination plant, however, for use in emergency. Duff said that an emergency would be considered to exist if the water became contaminated, or failed to show pure in the weekly tests made by the state board of health.
Medford News, August 28, 1941, page 4
CHLORINATION FOR MEDFORD'S WATER APPROVED BY FWA
The regional office of the Federal Works Agency, Seattle, announced in a press release today the approval of a project calling for the construction of a chlorinator house with chlorination equipment in connection with the Medford water system. Cost of the project is estimated at $4,000.
Robert A. Duff, superintendent of the Medford Water Commission, explained the project was a part of the commission's $215,977 application for water meters, a new reservoir and chlorination house and equipment, the latter to be built to comply with U.S. public health regulations for defense areas.
Duff said the chlorination facilities would probably be constructed at the intake of Butte Falls, but was unable to say when work would start.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 14, 1942, page 1
The Commercial Club building is in a fine state of demolishment, and the civic water trough alongside awaits the same fate. The structure in its prime was the center of the 1910 boom, and community oratory.
Arthur Perry, "Ye Smudge Pot," Medford Mail Tribune, April 15, 1945, page 6
Fountain Honoring Pioneers Given by Rev. D. E. Millard
A large group of citizens and courthouse officials attended the presentation of a fountain and bench at the courthouse Saturday afternoon. Dedicated to pioneers of southern Oregon, the bench, made of petrified wood by D. E. Millard, and the fountain were the gift of Rev. and Mrs. Millard.
Judge H. K. Hanna was chairman of the ceremonies. He introduced Mrs. Millard, who read a poem entitled "Rocks," which had been written for the occasion by Rev. Millard.
Judge Hanna also introduced Rev. Millard, who gave a talk on petrified wood and made the presentation. Ralph Sweeney, county treasurer, made the acceptance speech in behalf of Judge J. B. Coleman. "Shorty" Conrad of the city water department turned the water into the fountain.
Preceding the ceremonies the entire courthouse group assembled on the steps of the building for a picture.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 10, 1945, page 10
By an Old Timer
I and my family were fortunate in not having to use this water to any great extent for the first two years of our residence in the city, as our next-door neighbor had a good well and we carried what we needed from there. I believe it was in 1910 that the first water main was laid on South Fir Street where we lived and we began to use city water. [The 1910 Medford city directory lists A. E. Powell's address as 528 South Fir.] By this time the city had put in a new water system, which was known as the Fish Lake system. This was a great improvement over the Bear Creek pumping system, both as to quantity and quality. In fact we got away from the stigma of having every public restroom in Ashland carrying signs telling users to "Pull the chain. Medford needs the water."
If you will look at the map of Jackson County you will note that the North Fork of Little Butte Creek is the outlet of Fish Lake. Anyone who has ever driven up that canyon knows that the water plunges downgrade very rapidly for the first twelve miles or so--in fact the falls are so thick that the water is mostly foam! This has a tendency to aerate the water and take away the stagnant taste usually found in lake water. From the intake on the Hanley Ranch the water was brought to the city in a large redwood pipe. The water wasn't half bad, although it got quite warm where it crossed the "desert." I believe the old pipe is still being used to bring water for irrigation purposes for the Rogue River Valley Irrigation Company.
This water system was still in use when I moved away from the valley in 1920. I was gone for five years in other parts of the state, and when I returned to my old home in 1925 I found to my delight that during my absence the city had once more put in a new water system--the present one. [Medford citizens passed the bond measure for the Big Butte Springs water system in 1925, but the water didn't arrive at Medford taps until July 1, 1927.] A bond issue of one million dollars had been voted by the people of the city; the city charter had been amended and the present water commission set up, with all the powers usually belonging to any other municipal corporation.
The city had acquired the land adjacent to the Big Butte Springs above Butte Falls. Here some three or four huge springs boil out of the earth very close together. A concrete basin was built about these springs roofed over with a concrete roof to avoid any possibility of any foreign matter getting into the pipeline. From this concrete basin the water is brought to the city in a huge steel pipe buried deep in the ground. The water at the springs is very cold and even after being conveyed some forty miles in this pipe is delivered to the consumer at a temperature of about 55 degrees. The pressure in the downtown district is about 90 pounds, while in some parts of the city it is as high as 110 pounds. The present pipeline will only carry about one-fourth of the water which boils from the big springs. Thus all that would be required to bring down more water in case the demand should exceed the present supply would be to build another pipeline to the springs.
Thus the city of Medford has the distinction of having one of the finest water systems of any city in the United States. Pure, soft water--so soft and free from mineral content that it may safely be used in storage batteries instead of distilled water--brought down from the mountains by gravity. Truly, a "mountain spring in every home."
Since the installation of this wonderful water system the city of Medford has enjoyed a very rapid growth. Whether having such a water system had anything to do with this growth is any man's guess, but it no doubt helped. Today this water is used by the Berrydale Water District, the Oakdale Water District and the city of Eagle Point, as well as Camp White, which has a contract with the city of Medford for a maximum of 5,000,000 gallons of water a month. The revenue derived from the sale of water to so many customers has enabled the city to pay off a large percentage of the original indebtedness of 1,000,000 dollars. In speaking of the different districts which use Medford water I forgot to mention the hundreds of suburban homes east of the city, as well as other subdivisions scattered all about the city limits, all of which get this water.
Arthur E. Powell, Central Point American, August 9, 1945, page 1
Spring Water for Every Home Carried by Medford's System
Following completion of structural tests, Medford's new 8,200,000-gallon covered reservoir has been put to work, more than trebling the city's emergency water storage facilities on Capital Hill east of the town. Construction required over one year.
Located just east of Medford's two older and smaller reservoirs and designated as reservoir number three, the new structure, in addition to its tremendous size, differs from the others in that it is roofed to preclude contamination and the development of algae, which thrive on sunlight. Since the smaller reservoirs hold 2,000,000 gallons each, the new container brings the total capacity of Medford storage facilities to 12,200,000 gallons.
Ready for EmergenciesRobert A. Duff, superintendent of the Medford Water Commission, pointed out that with the new reservoir the city water system may more adequately meet any emergency situations. He said that the 30-mile pipeline from Butte Springs is 20 years old, half its estimated lifetime, and if the new pipe had failed before the new structure was built, Medford might have been out of water in half a day. During the recent hot spell the water department's master meter recorded a new high of 10,910,000 gallons consumption in one day, 7,000,000 more than the aggregate capacity of the two older reserve tanks. Sole purpose of Medford reservoirs is emergency storage, as the line from the springs flows directly into the city mains.
Costing an estimated $231,027, the new container is being paid out of accumulated water department funds bolstered chiefly by the Camp White contract, the water superintendent stated. Over $100,000 in revenue from Camp White sales has been received, Duff said.
Started June 6, 1945Construction of the reservoir, designed by John H. Cunningham and associates of Portland, was started June 6, 1945 by the Adler Construction Company of Seattle under supervision of Harold C. Adler. The completed structure sits on solid rock. Because of the block nature of the sandstone encountered in excavating and because nearness of residences precluded heavy blasting, excavation consumed more time than anticipated, according to Superintendent Duff. Shortages of both skilled and unskilled labor at various stages of the project also hindered progress. Also, to avoid damage to adjacent residential property, the contractors found it necessary to bore a 300-foot tunnel through solid rock on Capital Avenue for a 24-inch pipeline. Wall thickness varies from one to one and one-half feet at the base of the vertical section of nine inches at a point one and one-half feet below the wall top, the top being one foot thick.
Copper strips one inch in width placed halfway into each vertical joint seal the reservoir. A unique feature, Duff said, results from the utilization of four-foot keyways. Those four-foot concrete sections were left unpoured between alternate wall portions to enable the other concrete to obtain full shrinkage without cracking.
Floor ReinforcedReinforcing steel runs continuously in both directions across the entire five-inch concrete floor, which has no expansion joints except around its perimeter.
Supporting the 1,822-ton roof are 97 circular reinforced concrete columns 15 inches in diameter and solidly poured from base up to the head or capital. Dim light seeping through the side vents of the reservoir gives a cathedral-like appearance to its interior.
Roof Is ThickThe roof, a feature of the most modern reservoirs and needed to keep out dirt, leaves and birds and to prevent the growth of algae, is formed of six huge sections five and one-half inches thick. For drainage purposes the roof was built six inches higher in the center than around the perimeter. Heads of the pillars and two-and-one-half-inch drop panels above the columns on the underside of the roof and the roof sections the columns support were poured simultaneously and constitute a solid mass. A network of scaffolding was necessary to facilitate pouring the cover.
Concrete for the project was supplied by the Tru-Mix Concrete Company and batched at the plant on McAndrews Road under city specification and inspection.
The concrete is to withstand pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch, according to specifications.
While the new Medford reservoir is one of the few large covered ones in the state, it is not the biggest. Eugene's capped structure has a 15,000,000[-gallon] capacity.
In regard to inviting local citizens to inspect the interior of the reservoir before it was filled, Duff stated that the water commission was hesitant because of the extremely hazardous ladder descent.
Spring WaterMedford's familiar slogan, "A Mountain Spring in Every Home," is no idle boast. The giant Butte Creek Springs at the foot of Mt. McLoughlin 31 miles northeast of Medford are capped, and the water runs directly into the city's mains carried by gravity down through thirty miles of steel pipeline averaging 23 inches in diameter. This system delivers the spring [water], unexposed to light or day, to the household faucet at a temperature near that at the source.
The present Medford water system came into being July 1927 after the algae problem and two other major complaints had brought about the city's determination to seek a better source. Previous to that time local water came from Fish Lake, near the source now utilized. The lake water, low in the fall of the year, would become soupy with algae, and the wooden pipe had a disconcerting habit of springing leaks just when the growing community needed all the flow the pipe could handle.
Damming of the lake at its outlet end was the final straw. The water was backed up several feet to provide greater winter storage for use in an irrigation district in the summer. Submerging trees, stumps and logs above the normal water line, the backed-up water acquired a dark brown color, taste and odor.
The city finally secured ownership of Big Butte Springs, a cluster of fifteen, some very large, which gush forth at the foot of the 9,497-foot cinder cone, Mt. McLoughlin, in a wild and little-frequented area. McLoughlin's deep snow cover begins to melt in late spring, and it is this snow water, seeping down through the mountain, which creates a continuous cold flow even in the driest portion of the year. Minimum flow comes in November, when the previous season's snow has long since disappeared. Even then the cold liquid appears at the rate of 45 cubic feet per second, or 28,000,000 gallons daily.
Always FreshFlow of the surplus water through the three reservoirs keeps that supply fresh, and the waste furnishes irrigation for several small farms.
Because of the water's purity, proven by weekly tests ever since its first use, Central Point and Eagle Point, which have had trouble obtaining adequate and pure supplies from wells, are now being supplied as well as the Oak Grove district, a heavily populated suburb of Medford.
Other towns and suburban neighborhoods on the valley floor are hopeful that arrangements may be made for the extension of the mains so that the spring water may become available to them also.
Members of Medford's water commission point out that laying of another pipeline from the source will be necessary in the not-too-distant future, not only because of the age of the present line but because of the growth of the population in the vicinity of Medford. Average daily consumption for the year is now about 4,000,000 gallons with an average of approximately 8,000,000 during July and August. In one day the pipeline brings down 11,500,000 gallons.
Costs $2.50Because the water they receive is ever clear, cold and pure, consumers have not hesitated to pay a heavier than average monthly charge resulting from the large expenditures of the system. Families in ordinary dwellings pay $2.50 per month. The bonded water debt is now about $341,000. Cost of the pipeline to the springs was nearly $1,000,000.
In reference to future distribution of Medford water, Duff has said that, if additional areas are served, use would be restricted to houses in those localities, and its utilization for irrigation prohibited there.
Superintendent Duff, with the water department since the inception of the current setup, has held his present position since 1931. Now on the Medford Water Commission are Paul Rynning, chairman, Eugene Thorndike, Bert Thierolf, Seth Bullis and Charles Clay.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 4, 1946, page 3
BIG NEW MEDFORD PIPELINE NEARING COMPLETION
Additional Water Will Start Flowing During October
Tour of Project Reveals Magnitude
By Eric Allen Jr.
Mail Tribune City Editor
It looks as though Medford is getting a lot of pipeline for its money.
The big new 30½-mile project is nearing completion. The last link will be welded this week, probably on Tuesday. After a period of testing, flushing and sterilizing, the pipeline will go into service about the middle of the month--two or three weeks from now.
The entire project, which will provide for Medford's water needs for many years to come, will cost in the neighborhood of the $2,800,000 voted for it before it is completed. It is a massive undertaking--just how massive it is difficult to comprehend unless it is seen at first hand.
Takes Four-Wheel Drive
I jounced the entire length of the pipeline one day recently with City Water Superintendent Robert Duff, Pipeline Field Supervisor Jack Hoffbuhr, and Councilmen Stanley Jones and Paul Selby. We traveled in a four-wheel-drive station wagon; no conventional vehicle could have negotiated the grades and bumps of the temporary roadway which runs most of the distance along the line.
Starting from the reservoirs on the hill in east Medford, the new pipeline's fresh scar cuts a path through fields and orchards to the north and east. It skirts the Lone Pine School and follows the rolling hill line along the Foothills Road until it reaches the Agate "desert" near Camp White.
There it cuts cross-country, striking hills again shortly before bypassing Eagle Point on the east. A mile or so from this community the line dips under Little Butte Creek, the lowest point on the line's length.
From here it rises again, crossing over Nichols Gap, a dip in the hills east of a major promontory of the western Cascade foothills.
Nichols Gap is an interesting spot. It is exactly on the Willamette Meridian, on which all Oregon land surveys are based, and here four major utility lines near or cross each other as they travel toward their different destinations. Two are the Medford pipelines--new and old--a third is the main irrigation canal of the Eagle Point Irrigation District, and the last is the California-Oregon Power line, which here runs due north and south.
The new pipe gets into really hilly country beyond this point following Reese and McNeil creeks in an up-and-down gradual curve to Butte Falls. In this section the line goes scooting up and down steep hills, and one of these has the steepest gradient on the entire length--58 percent, where the line goes 58 feet up in every 100 feet traveled horizontally.
Skirts Butte Falls
It skirts the southern edge of Butte Falls, climbs a steep hill, comes down by the fish hatchery, follows the Medco railroad and the fish hatchery water line for a couple of miles, and takes off cross-country again, through heavily forested land and along the Big Butte Creek, finally curving around southward to the Medford water intake area surrounding Big Butte Springs.
In this area considerable work in cementing up springs has been completed, to take advantage of sources of water heretofore untapped. At the main springs is the caretaker's house, settled comfortably under tall Douglas fir trees and surrounded by green lawn and flowers.
It is here that the main supply of Medford city water flows out of the ground, cool, pure and delicious. The present intake was completed in 1926 and 1927, and has furnished an unfailing supply ever since.
Planned for Years
Only the unprecedented growth in population and industry in Medford and its environs required the construction of the new pipeline. The project has been in the "thinking" stage for a number for years, but it was in the spring of 1950 that the Medford board of water commissioners decided the time had come to ask the people of the city for the money to build the big project.
On May 19, 1950, the election was held to authorize the commission to issue bonds for the project. It passed by a whopping majority--3,934 to 552. The bonds were issued, and shortly thereafter bids on various phases of the project were called.
The job of improving the water department's intake facilities was a big one for more than one reason. In the first place, Medford holds concurrent water rights on Big Butte Springs water with the Eagle Point Irrigation District, and to insure that the district will receive all the water to which it is entitled, no matter how much of the pure spring water Medford takes, an earth-fill dam is being built across Willow Creek. It is from this source [that] irrigation water will be supplied the district when Medford starts taking more than its original allocation of the spring water.
For another reason, the nature of the work required a number of separate and distinct contracts for the various phases of the work. This multiplicity of contractual relationships can be best illustrated by a list of them, which now total more than $2,383,000. They are:
1. The main pipeline contract itself, awarded to the Morrison-Knudsen Company of Boise, Ida., originally for $422,669, but later revised to some $523,000. It is common talk along the line that the M-K Company is losing money on the job, and the bid was more than $300,000 under engineers' estimates.
2. The general pipe and pipe-wrapping contract, largest single one on the entire job, which was awarded to the Consolidated Western Steel Company of South San Francisco for $910,535. The pipe-wrapping phase of this project was sublet to the Pacific Pipe Company of San Francisco, and this firm constructed a wrapping plant in the White City area especially for this job alone, the first time this has been done.
3. Construction of a new series of collection galleries at the intake, and a pipeline connecting them, awarded to Everett Den Herder Company, Sweet Home, for $17,005.95.
4. Construction of the Willow Creek Dam, awarded to Leonard and Slate Contractors, Portland, for $840,091.10.
5. Two logging and clearing contracts, at the dam site, to K. C. Wenmark for $57,150 and $75,000, a road relocation contract, let to Tony Garcia for $14,150.70, and another clearing contract, also to Garcia, for $14,500.
In addition to all this, the Medford Water Commission has had to expand its own staff to handle the work of following through on the contracts, including both office and field work. In addition to Field Supervisor Hoffbuhr, there are 12 field inspectors at work on the line for the city, checking to make sure that specifications are adhered to, to the letter.
Completion of the entire project, expected about a year from now, will permit several things. First of all, it will mean the end of water restrictions next summer for Medford water users (who, incidentally, use about three times the per-capita average use of water in other United States cities).
For Other Areas
It will also mean that other populated areas near Medford, which have depended on marginal and sometimes dangerous water supplies, can purchase spring water which in the past few years has been reserved largely for Medford users.
It will mean that the water needs of Medford will be cared for for a good many years--barring, of course, a wholly unanticipated expansion out of all proportion to expectations.
Most of these benefits, however, will be realized well before next summer. With completion of the pipeline itself during October, the immediate water problems of the city are solved (unless next year is an exceptionally dry one--like the summer of 1931--and the supplies at the springs are not enough to furnish both Medford and the Eagle Point Irrigation District with the full requirements).
The job has not been an easy one, but by and large has gone smoothly. It has met difficulties in construction, and will be completed about six or eight weeks later than the first "target date" set last year. The dam's completion will come about a year later than at first anticipated. It could have been done this winter, but only at the expenditure of some million dollars more than it will cost by being delayed a year.
A great deal could be written about the pipeline, for practically every phase of it has an interest all its own. It would be easy to go on for pages about the technical problems--such as putting waterproof enamel on both inside and outside of the pipe and checking it electrically to make sure there are no leaks; or such as the problem of carrying the line up steep gradients and under creeks, and welding sections in advance to fit particular spots. There were hundreds of such problems faced and met.
But it must suffice to say that in the opinion of this reporter the pipeline project has been well and efficiently handled by an outstanding water commission and professional staff; that Medford citizens are getting full value for their water-rate dollars in the pipeline project, and--perhaps most important in the long run--that one of Medford's greatest assets, its unequalled water, will be flowing freely from our faucets for a long time to come.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 30, 1951, page B1
Water pipe ad, August 1953 American Cities magazine
October 19, 1956 Rogue River Times
Chlorine Added to Medford Water
The Medford water department is adding small amounts of chlorine to the water supply as a precautionary measure to maintain the water purity since the extreme[ly] heavy rains in October, Robert L. Lee, water superintendent, has announced.
The chlorine was first added Thursday.
Lee noted that since the heavy October rains the water has not measured up to its usual high standards. While the rainfall has since returned to near normal, the water quality has not.
Lee explained that the necessity for chlorination is hoped to be only temporary. The water is regularly tested for quality, and chlorination will be discontinued as soon as possible.
The addition of chlorine to the water supply was approved Thursday by the Medford Water Commission.
Lee noted that the amount of chlorine added is one pound per 10,000,000 pounds of water. At this concentration, he continued, only a few people can detect the presence of chlorine in the water. The chlorine is added at a point below Big Butte Springs and is generally dissipated before the water gets to the users.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 16, 1962, page 1
Bond Election in May Proposed to Finance City Water Project
The Medford Water Commission voted at a special session yesterday to ask the city council to launch the legal machinery necessary for creation of a supplemental water supply from the Rogue River.
Completion of the project [the Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant] would entail authorization of $2.6 million in bonds to finance the cost, a portion of which would be used for construction of a water treatment plant.
Action will be considered by the council at the regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 3. The commission met with the council at a luncheon meeting yesterday, convened a special session after the luncheon, and registered its vote.
The commission, according to Robert Lee, water department manager, desires that the intended bond issue be placed before the voters at the May primary's election. An amendment to the city charter will be necessary for ultimate approval.
The total cost of the Rogue River development is estimated at $2.8 million for land acquisition, rights of way, treatment facilities and the plant. Funds from current water utility revenues and reserves amount to $200,000, and the remaining $2.6 million would require 20-year bonding.
Near Bybee BridgeThe location of the proposed water treatment plant is near Bybee Bridge on Table Rock Road.
Lee explained further that no increase in water rates or taxes for Medford residents would be necessary since the sale of the additional water provided by the project would add revenue to cover the new debt, service and higher operating costs. However, if costs exceed the estimates, a rate increase for outside users would be needed, probably not exceeding 10 percent.
Completion of the initial phase of the project would provide 15 million gallons of water per day and could be expanded as the need arises to 65 million gallons per day. The city holds a permit for diversion of 65 million gallons per day from the Rogue River and has applied for an additional 41 million gallons per day, which is expected to be sufficient water for the next 50 to 60 years.
The present Big Butte Springs supply, Lee explained, has a capacity of 26.4 million gallons per day. The greatest daily use last summer reached 23.5 million gallons, and it was not a particularly hot or dry summer.
Lee expects the water requirements for the summer of 1968 will be between 27 and 28 million gallons per day, which would be in excess of the existing supply.
Should the valley continue to grow at its present rate, it is considered necessary that the supplemental supply be ready for use during the summer of 1968 to prevent the need for restrictions on water use. A favorable vote at the May primary election would allow the necessary six months for detailed design and plan preparation and 18 months for construction.
The quality of water in the Rogue River can be equalled to that of Big Butte Springs' supply in every aspect, Lee said, except in temperature. With construction of the proposed Lost Creek Reservoir, the summer temperature of the Rogue River will be materially reduced, which would alleviate that problem.
The initial investigation of the project was done in 1959 and 1960 by the consulting engineering firm of Cornell, Howland, Hayes and Merryfield of Corvallis. This firm, Lee explained, reviewed the original plans, updated the data, and submitted the preliminary designs and cost estimates to the water commission late last year.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 21, 1966, page 1
Last revised January 24, 2021