Hamilton's Old Pump House

this comprises  the last lecture of course 05-210 and 05-437

Options


comments?

1998 Wm James

updated 1998-12-03

.

...a sufficient quantity of safe and wholesome water...

.

William James

Professor of Water Resources Engineering
University of Guelph,
Guelph, Ontario, Canada. N1G2W1

This lecture updated 1998-12-03. I usually give a live multi-media presentation using these notes and a selection from a larger collection of 35 mm colour slides. Obviously, much more material is covered in class and this page is no substitute for attendance. I am working up an illustrated version of this page (click here to see it), so let me know have your suggestions. Also, I am willing to answer any questions right here on the web (email:wjames@uoguelph.ca)


contents

Click on the following headings (only the hyperlinked items have material):

Background reading is James, W. and E.M. Hamilton's Old Pump Phelps Publishing, 1978.ISBN 0-9697422-2-3.


Introduction

The story of the Hamilton's Pump Station built 1857-1859, which supplied water to the City of Hamilton at the edge of Lake Ontario, down near Windermere Basin. The heroes of this story are:

  • Thomas Coltrin Keefer, born in 1821 at Thorold - the Consulting Engineer;
  • John Gartshore, born in 1810, in Scotland, Foundry Owner;
  • James MacFarlane, stationary engineer; and
  • Adam Brown, born in the 1820s, City elder and chairman of the Water Commission.

This article covers the 1850s and 60s when this part of Canada was very close to the Western edge of settlement in North America; and was known as "Canada West".

This was a period of rapid change. These views in 1854 show Hamilton as essentially an agrarian town. It was not unusual to see geese and swine in the streets, in those days. The next views are only 15 years later (in 1871) and show Hamilton with a large array of very solid stone buildings and the beginnings of a heavy engineering industry. In the background, at the edge of the harbour, is the Great Western Railway Workshop.

Now we turn to the story of the Water Works

The story starts in 1835, when Dundurn Castle was being built. Tenders were called by the Police Council for sewers and water works. A result of that was an award of five pounds for a winning plan to Mr. Macpowers. I don't know of any action being taken on that plan and have not been able to find any trace of it. In that period there were many fires that were quite disastrous in terms of lives lost - many complaints are evident in the minutes. John Gartshore's first foundry burnt down and was rebuilt in 1846.

Hamilton was incorporated as a city in 1846. During the period there were numerous complaints in Hamilton about "the incestuous relationship between wells, privies and cesspools." A Board of Health was appointed in June 1847 prior to the immigrant season. One of the first orders they promulgated was that individuals should remove garbage from backyards and the streets in front of the property at least twice a year. Open cesspools were common, and the normal practice was to just drain the privies into the roadside ditches. Later there was a by-law that fined people for dumping offal, decayed meat and carcasses in the street outside their properties.

In 1848 there was an epidemic of smallpox and the Board of Health very rapidly ran out of funds. They did not have very much anyway, and as the expected government support did not materialise, the Board of Health was promptly dismissed - they had to be re-appointed in two weeks since people continued to fall sick. In 1848 Rock Castle was built, and it had the only two-storey privy in Canada West. Here is a picture of Rock Castle as it was in the early 1970s. In 1849 there was another a major outbreak of cholera. In Hamilton the population was 10,000, and it was developing into a modern city. The city formally resolved that sewers be constructed. They did not do anything about it for another five years however. We know that horses, swine, geese and dogs were impounded regularly - it was the local trick to break down the impoundment and let these animals run free around the town. In 1853 Central School was built. The population of Hamilton had now doubled, in three years, to 20,000 people, all using wells - five wells provided by the city. There was still no city dump, and no drains. The arrival of the first train in this year was one of the most significant events. In fact, it's evident from the newspapers, the town was much more pre-occupied with the railways and with wrecks than with water supply. The council now faced the prospect of a major expenditure on sewers and water works, and, on December 20th, the city engineer, William Hodgins, submitted a report on a proposed water supply.

Extracts From Hodgins Report

    The sources from which a supply is anticipated are the Hess Spring, the Ancaster Creek, Burlington Bay and the Grand River. The latter is, however, hardly worthy of attention, as the distance of the nearest point from Hamilton would necessarily increase the expense of conveyance beyond all reasonable limits; at all events, far beyond the cost of a supply from any of the sources mentioned above. The Ancaster Creek appears to me to be the only source of supply which is free from the objections which may be urged against any of the others I have mentioned. With respect to the proposed plan of using the waters of Burlington Bay as a source of supply for this city, I believe that as long as other can be adopted this should certainly be avoided, the nearness of the extensive marshes of Coote's Paradise, Ferguson's Inlet, and others and their intimate connection with the Bay, the masses of decayed and decaying vegetable matter with which they are everywhere impregnated, prove this in point of quality, no worse source could be selected. It is true the water is very soft and suitable for washing and other domestic purposes, but in my opinion it would very soon affect the health of those obliged to drink from such a source. The want of any ground of sufficient altitude near the lake will render this mode of supply exceedingly expensive, rendering a great length of forcing pipes necessary in addition to the fixed cost of the engines, buildings, and pumps, and a constant outlay for stores, fuel, repairs, and superintendence.

The story continues...

The following is taken from my review of newspapers of the period 1853-1860 . The principal newspaper was The Daily Spectator and Journal of Commerce which was the forerunner of the present day Spectator. Each daily edition was four pages long, three of these being solid advertisements. The only page of news was set in very small type and, unlike today's newspapers there were no headlines. The attention given to the water supply during this period was surprisingly scanty. In August 1855, the newspaper published the first City Engineer's preliminary study of the possibilities for a waterworks system in Hamilton (submitted to City Council 2 years previously). Mr. Hodgins favoured the Ancaster spring as a gravitational source, on account of it's superior water quality and the lack of need for extensive pumping equipment. He opposed the Bay as a source, on the grounds of poor water quality, though, ironically a Professor Croft from Toronto later found it to be one of the best in this respect. The main reason that the Ancaster spring was eventually rejected as an alternative, was it's inability to provide for the city's projected population expansion. The publication of this report, some two years after it was submitted to City Council involved the public in the choice of a source of water supply. Letters to the editor usually supported Mr. Hodgin's selection of the Ancaster spring and the public was extremely wary of proposals to pump water from the Bay. The high cost associated with these schemes made the public skeptical. This general public scepticism of the Gartshore project may account for the lack of attention given it in the press. It seems clear that at the time the public did not appreciate the significance of the water supply, regarding it as an excessive expense on an unproven and unnecessary system.

We arrive at 1853, and in 1854 there was a major outbreak of cholera in Hamilton, which was the hardest hit town in the province. Wagons went through the streets daily, people threw the corpses out into the streets, burial pits were dug on Burlington Heights, and they were lined with quicklime. There was a food shortage as farmers refused to bring food into the city. 552 people died in July and August alone. The city did cause a dump to be created, however it was restricted to dead animals found in the streets.

On Sept. 16th an advertisement appeared for a public competition for water supply and T.C. Keefer, a prominent consulting engineer and chief engineer for the Montreal Water Board was appointed judge. In January of 1855 1,000 pounds was awarded to Samuel McElroy , who was an American, and William Hodgins, the city Engineer was given third prize.

A progress report was given, in 1855, by Mr. Hodgins on the sewers. They were all behind-hand and the contractor was unable to complete them. Sewers were built in the wrong place. A contractor found going down one of the roads a line of stakes which he thought was the line for the sewers. But it later turned out to be the line for the new railway for the Great Western Railway. He dug up the proposed siding and put down sewers. Subsequently they had to be replaced and the sewers put in the proper place, alongside. Evidently there were other last minute changes when the contractor decided that some of the main sewers would outfall locally at the bay. A result of all of this, was that Hodgins was fired. He then refused to hand over the remaining sewer contracts and plans. Hodgins now had his proposal for the Ancaster streams published and the whole issue became public. In June the 19th the Hamilton Water Act was promulgated and this created the Board of Water Commissioners. T. C. Keefer was appointed Associate Engineer for the Water Works and he made a report recommending Lake Ontario as the source of Water. The Water Commission started issuing semi-annual reports, and these are very important engineering documents as they give regular progress reports on the construction of the pump-house. The streams, of course, were ultimately rejected and it's very interesting to note the hydrological theories used in that study by T.C.Keefer. They are essentially similar to what we teach our second year students today.

A Mr. Mills, evidently a local citizen, offered to supply water to the city at considerably less cost than Mr. Keefer (from streams on the mountain). There is no trace of his proposals left, as far as I could find. Anyway he did succeed in setting the cat among the pigeons again, and as a result a New York firm was called in to check Keefer's designs. That's also a very valuable report, because it very strongly favoured Mr. Keefer, being singularly impressed by his earlier report. They did however scale down certain parts of his design, the result of which was to make the water works insufficient at an earlier date.

In 1857 work started on the Hamilton Water Works. It proceeded at a time of great depression in the United States and Canada. It was decided to go ahead both to reduce the cost of the building and to create work. The public showed little interest in the construction of the water works. They were still much more interested in the excitement of the railways and its wrecks, including an important wreck in Hamilton. Some illustrations from the local press at the time show how dramatic the public impact must have been. On March 12th the GWR passenger train crashed through the swing bridge spanning Desjardins canal and fell through the ice 40 ft below. Of 100 passengers, 59 were killed and 18 injured. The engine was raised on March the 24th. The investigation showed that an axle broke on the engine, and although the axle lay in six feet if water, they did not bother to lift the axle to examine it till 1873, sixteen years later (I've often wondered why). The Great Western Railway Shops date from this time and this is a panorama view of them. They were manufacturing some very heavy machinery. In 1857 the total assessed value of Hamilton was one million dollars. There are some important commercial blocks, still extant, dating from this time. Meantime John Gartshore's foundry was a major mechanism for manufacturing mills. The population of Hamilton now reached a local high of 25 thousand people.

The harbour was dojng very well - it's profits were doubling approximately every three years at this time. The lighthouse was built in 1859. St. Mary's Cathedral in 1859 burned to the ground. On May 24th the Fire Department was able to put on a display. However there was no supply from the Water Works until October. The display used rain water that had accumulated in the Barton Reservor, which had now been partly completed Reticulation pipes had been laid so there was a good head of water standing in the pipe even though no water had been formally supplied. Gore Park had been ornamented with fountains and railings and the engineers in the Water Works played a prominent part in this. In fact Mr. Charles Robb who assisted with the design of the fountains was the mechanical engineer from Montreal supervising the design of the steam engine that was being built by Gartshore. In September 16th was the official opening by the Prince of Wales The population by now had fallen to 19000, and the assessed value of Hamilton had dropped to half a million dollars. Elms were ceremoniously planted to commemorate T.C.Keefer, Adam Brown and Sir Alan MacNab. The population dropped to 18000 in 1861.

The proposals

Six proposals were entered in the design competition for a water works system for the city of Hamilton and only three were awarded premiums by the city in 1855. All entries were submitted to Robert McElroy, Chairman of the Committee on Fire and Water. The awards were given to plans for drawing water from Burlington Bay only, although Thomas Keefer, who judged the contest, was beginning to favor a scheme to bring the water supply from Lake Ontario. The first place winning design was submitted by an American, Samuel McElroy. McElroy envisaged a pumping reservoir at the base of Burlington Heights on the bayshore with the engine house nearby, and a storage reservoir at the corner of York and Dundurn Streets. The plan specified the "Cornish" type of engine, a single action, slow motion, long stroke powerplant. The estimated total cost of McElroy's system was 99,000 pounds. The second prize was awarded to three consultants who felt the vegetation-free waters of the Bay near the Desjardin's Canal were best suited for Hamilton's water supply. Their proposal called for a covered reservoir located in the west end of the city near Locke Street. Two Cornish engines were specified, and the total cost of this system was 67,000 pounds. The third plan was submitted by William Hodgins, who had abandoned his Ancaster streams scheme in favour of Burlington Bay. Hodgins also located his reservoir in Dundurn Park and his plan differed little from McElroy's. The total cost of the third system was 66,000 pounds. Thomas Keefer stated at the time of the competition that he felt one pumping engine should be sufficient for supplying the city with water at a rate of about 50 gallons per day. He felt that such extravagances as water filtering systems and covered reservoirs were pointless wastes of money and that the pumping engines should draw the water from the Bay directly into the distributing reservoir.

Statistics on the Structure, Engines, and Related Components of the Gartshore Pumping Station.

Engines and boilers. The engines which were actually built and installed in the Gartshore Pumping Station were of English design, but were constructed wholly by the John Gartshore Company of Dundas in Ontario. The two engines typical of the equipment installed in the period 1800-1850, were fore and aft compound condensing beam engines incorporating the separate condenser and parallel motion linkage developed by James Watt. Each engine was rated at 100 horsepower, and each had both a high pressure and a low pressure cylinder. Two walking beams, believed to be the largest continuous castings ever made in Canada, are positioned high near the roof of the station. Each beam, which is 30 feet long and weighs 14 tons, transmitted the power from the steam engines to the pumpers below via large connecting rods which resemble ornately carved pillars. The stroke of these connecting rods was approximately 6 feet. Two 24 foot diameter flywheels, each weighing 22 tons, one positioned at the ground floor level. The original combined pumping capacity of the engines was 3,300,000 gallons per day. In 1882 the pumping units were enlarged from 24 inch cylinder diameter to 30 inch cylinder diameter to increase the daily pumpage to 5,350,000 gallons. The four original boilers providing the steam for the engines were wood fired. Farmers brought timber from their woodlots to the station by horse team and later coal was delivered by sailing schooner and by rail. The wood fired boilers were 30 feet long, six feet in diameter, and each weighed about 9 tons. In all they consumed about 1 ton of fuel per day working one engine. These boilers were replaced in 1882.

Structure. The engine house and boiler room were built by George Worthington of Hamilton, and at the time of their construction were proclaimed to be a the best hydraulic masonry anywhere. Construction began in 1857 and lasted for two years. Both structures are built of cut stone. The engine house consists of three floors plus a basement. The engines are accessible from the first and second floors, the pumps and related piping from the basement and the great walking beams from the upper floor under the roof. A hand operated winch, also located on the upper floor, was used to lift engine components during maintenance procedures. Steel girders, embedded in the pumphouse walls, form part of the engine's frame. The chimney of the waterworks reaches a height of 150 feet, and for many years was the highest structure on the Hamilton skyline. The boiler house, which is entirely open from floor to roof rafters inside, is approximately two stories in height, with dimensions of about 35ft by 45 ft.

Reservoir and Filtering Basin. To bring the water from Lake Ontario to the pumping station, which was over 2,000ft. from the Lake's edge , a large basin, 1200 ft. long and 78 ft. wide, 16 ft. deep, was dredged out of the sand along the beach; as the water seeped through the sand into, the basin from the Lake it was filtered . A 1920 ft. long, 33 inch diameter wooden pipe carried the water downhill from the basin to the pumping station, where it was pumped through an 18 inch diameter cast iron pipe to the Barton Reservoir. The Barton Reservoir was built on the mountainside at Ottawa Street, and the water surface was left open to the elements. The exact capacity of the original reservoir which has since been enlarged and was still in use in the 1970s, is not known precisely, but 6 million gallons appears to be a reasonable figure. The water was carried from the reservoir at an elevation of 185 ft above the surface of Lake Ontario through a large distribution main under Main Street to James Street. Smaller connecting pipes also went into operation with the rest of the system.

Summary of the available original drawings.

A large number of original drawings and blueprints relating to the existing Gartshore Pumping Station and to some of the competing designs are available in the McMaster University Library, after I moved them from the blueprints vault of the City Engineering Department. A total of 69 drawings, most of which could be made suitable for display purposes with a little cleaning, are currently housed in the University's Map Library. In general, the drawings were in surprisingly good condition considering their age although some were in very poor condition. Most of them are watercoloured and printed on heavy canvas-like paper. The collection has been roughly divided into 8 categories:

  1. Four drawings deal exclusively with the boilers and details of their construction.
  2. Eleven drawings depict details of the Gartshore engines, the pumps, valve chambers, gearing mechanisms and so on.
  3. Twenty three drawings illustrate the proposed overall exterior appearance of the engine house, boiler house and related outbuildings as well as architectural details of these buildings such as the boiler house , doors and windows.
  4. Ten drawings have been classified together as dealing with various proposed plans for reservoirs. Among these drawings are plans for the Barton Reservoir, constructed for the Gartshore station as well as plans for a reservoir associated with one of the Burlington Bay Pumping Station schemes.
  5. Four drawings depicting different aspects of the filtering basins and their fixtures are available.
  6. Nine drawings which generally illustrate some of the hardware to be used in the distribution systems are available . Among this grouping are plans for the city's first fire hydrants.
  7. Five topographical and profile maps, which are of considerable interest, were discovered.
  8. Three drawings, classed as miscellaneous, depict, among other things, four views of a competing pumphouse design and a plan for a water cart meant to be used in settling the dust on dirt roads. Some of these drawings are better than you would find in the old texts on steam engines. This drawing of a steam engine by James Watt with the condensing section patented in 1769, is drawing almost exactly the same as this in our collection.

    Reminiscences of Joe Couldon. Recorded by WJ Jan. 18th. 1975.

    Now I will play a recording made by Joe Couldon, while we see some aspects of the interior of the building

      Somewhere in the early thirties we ran these engines for a period of about five days for about eighteen hours a day, which gave me a good opportunity to observe their characteristics and so forth. You had the usual delightful smell of steam plus oil all over the floors and plenty of mopping up to do to make the place look presentable. ln the early days the engine house, and boiler room of course, was manned by three men; two were down in the boiler room looking after the fires, and one, an engineer, on the floors above with the engines. In those days these men worked eleven hours on days, and thirteen on nights, with a change-over period, every second week, of twenty-four hours. This enabled the odd shift to get a so-called day off. Now this situation wasn't desirable, but was not quite as bad as it seems, because they were permitted to have a couch in the boiler room on which, presumably each took his turn at getting his rest. The change-over to an eight hour day did not occur till somewhere in the area of 1918. Up until the time these engines ceased their daily running schedule, the men were always on that eleven hour day and thirteen hour night trick. Inasmuch as it was all country around the plant in those days the men in their time off got in hunting and fishing the likes of which of course you never will see again in that area. I can remember in my day there was considerable farm land around there when I started, and it was not unusual for us to go spearing pike in the creeks around, before we came to work in the morning.

      The engines, when they were running gave off that typical boum ... boum ... boum.. sound which resulted in considerable building shake; at least it appeared to be considerable. You will note that there are tie rods above the upper floor, holding the walls in, and it is my understanding, that these were installed after the engines were in operation because they were afraid the walls might separate from the building. In the 1950s the building was examined by Professor E. Arthur, Dean of Architecture at the University of Toronto, who described it as a classic of it's kind, and well worthy of preservation for future generations. In that connection it might be interesting to note that some of the two inch floors are of quarter-cut oak. The floors in the building, with the minor exception of the rear, where there was a fire some years ago (by the way that is of course on the lower floor, not on the main floors) are all of the original oak construction. They have been many times subject to washing with caustic soda and so on.

      There are oil lanterns and many other artifacts of their day in the building but visitors from time to time have had heavy hands and removed some of them. There was the oil kettles and so forth, all of which today would have been worth something. There was chairs of the Captain's type, made of solid walnut, and they, one by one, disappeared. Some of course went down into the boiler room, where the boys used them to sit in. There were passage-ways around both the North side and the South side of the building below grade where a person could get at to inspect the foundation bolts and so forth. (Just how you tighten them, I don't know, but you can inspect them.) So these passageways - the passages by the way are only about a foot and a half wide - [continues]

    The story continues...

    This is a view of the downtown Gore as it was in 1860. Notice particularly the fountains in Gore Park which were built, at Mr. Keefer's recommendation, as a symbol of Hamilton's progressive new Waterworks system. In some you will notice trees in the Park, in others not. This illustrates the difference between the artist's imagination and the photographer's evidence of the real situation (no trees). When the time came in July, 1859 to arrange for householders to subscribe to the water supply system, an advertisement was placed in the newspaper, and the rules and regulations, of which the original draft copy exists, were made public. Response was apparently dismal, only one hundred houses taking water, and so a canvasser was engaged in August to attempt to persuade more home owners to subscribe. Many refused this appeal. Without a substantial number of users, the water became stagnant in the pipes, or it had to be run off and wasted through the hydrants. The City felt that all benefited from the water system, whether they actually took water or not, because they obtained a significant reduction in their insurance premiums by virtue of the fact 170 hydrants had been installed throughout the city. Accordingly, they felt it was fair to expect everyone to contribute to the costs of the system. Thus they petitioned the legislature for the necessary authority to impose a mandatory water rate fee. Two original contracts to supply water exist in the library's archives, and show that the annual rate was 10 dollars for a household. Households had an unlimited supply for this rate. In a few industries that used substantial amounts it was felt profitable to install a meter.

    Two of the major subcontractors for the Waterworks system, who both did work in excess of 20,000 dollars, were William Hendrie who built the reservoir, and George Worthington who constructed the filtering basin. As both these jobs were labour-intensive they provided work for many who were idled by the depressed economy. Wages at the time were 65 cents a day and the foreman received 1.00 dollar per day. Original documents relating to the subcontractors mentioned are among the library's archives. There is a letter in the archives indicating that the man originally engaged by the City to lead the drive to sell debentures took seriously ill in Montreal. A lengthy description of his illness is furnished in the letter. At this time in 1857 debenture sales stalled and Mr. Keefer,"took personal charge of the campaign thus saving the project from financial collapse". As well as being a outstanding engineer Mr. Keefer was an indispensable financier.

    We are very lucky to have a limited number of very early illustrations of the Works. They show that the boiler house undoubtedly was built very much smaller than it is today, having been raised about 5 feet in height. This painting is hanging in Dundurn Castle and this is taken from the Canadian Illustrated News dated A September 26th 1863, again showing a small boiler house. The interior illustrations from that issue are very valuable as they show the mode of address of the operators and they also show that the handrails are substantially different from what they are now. I think these are accurate because all the other details are correct. On the mezzanine at the steam engine. The Parallel motion linkages. The Barton Reservoir. The Barton Reservoir today. A panorama view back towards the works. Many of the engineering components for the works were brought along by boat. For example, the rising main was 18 inches in diameter, it was in cast iron, and it was in 12 foot lengths. They had to go to Glasgow to get pipe of that length in those days. It was important to have your pipe as long as possible otherwise you had more joints and a lot of more leakage. The population in 1862 had risen to 22,000 so the city was recovering, but this was partly due to a garrison. It was said by the people of Dundas that Hamilton always waited until it had a garrison before they counted up the population. The assessed value was still million dollars. The city went bankrupt but that's another story.

    Principal characters

    Now I'd like to give you a few facts relating to the principal characters in the story.

    Keefer, as I said, was born in 1821. He was featured in the Canadian Illustrated News of 1863. His father was an Empire Loyalist and Chairman of the Welland Shipping Canal Company. Keefer went to Upper Canada College, he never went to university or anything like that, but he served his pupilage on the Eerie Canal and the Welland Canal. He was Chief Engineer of the Montreal Water Board and he actually reported on the water supply for Halifax, Toronto, Dartmouth, St. Catherine's, London and Quebec. He also built the Ottawa Water Works. The building still is extant though the machinery is not. He built the substructure for the Victoria Bridge across the St. Lawrence at Montreal. The most significant thing I think about Thomas Coltrin Keefer was his ethical feelings, his fee ings about the ethics of Civil Engineering He was concerned about the practice that he actually founded the Canadian Institution of Civil Engineers. He was a founder member o the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was the first President of the Canadian Institution of Civil Engineers. He also helped found the Royal Sociery of Canada, He was an early President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This is an obituary photograph published in 1915 by the Royal Society of Canada. This is an oil painting done when he was considerably older and it hangs in Mr. Keefer' house obviously done very late on in life.

    John Gartshore, as I said, was born in Scotland and he came to Canada in 1822. He had an unsuccessful enterprise in Fergus and then he moved to Dundas. This is a picture taken of an advertisement which hangs at the moment in museum in Dundas. You will see from that illustration, which I have already shown you, that the front of the building is essentially unchanged today. Now this foundry was a very important training centre for journeymen in that time. In fact one of the Gartshore historians claim that it was the most influential centre for the creation of heavy industry in Ontario. I think this is a fairly valid claim; a lot of people who trained here went into other parts of Ontario and started similar industries. This is the present remnants of that building in Hatt Street in Dundas.

    I should mention another character whom we don't know much about and that is William Haskins. He was appointed City Engineer in 1857 just at the time the Water Works were being built and he remained City Engineer till 1896.

    A few dates

    • In 1866 the filter basin was extended.
    • In 1877 a repumping station was built for the high level district.
    • In 1879 Keefer feported on a proposed expansion, so his works lasted almost 20 years
    • In 1882 the engine and pump were enlarged
    • In 1888 new pumps were added.
    • In 1929 the pumps stopped except as a standby
    • In 1938 they ran for the very last time.

    When you and I were young, Maggie

    Now, to pump up nostalgia, the poem, When you and I were young, Maggie, which was written right at the time the water was first commissioned, by a local (Binbrook) man George Washington Johnson (1839-1917), for his first wife Maggie Clark who died in Glanbrook of typhoid in 1865. GHJ was later head of Hamilton Central School (1875), Prof. of Languages at U of T, and Prof. of Latin at Cornell. We end by playing a bit of that song (music by J. A. Butterfield of Detroit) sung in a mild Scottish by Andy Stewart, while viewing some exterior details of the pump station.