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NORWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
[1894 BOOK INDEX]
Board of Improvements SECTION Montgomery Road

"Norwood, Her Homes and Her People"

by Ren Mulford, Jr., and Werter G. Betty,
Norwood's first official historians

THE WATER WORKS PLANT.

- pages 14-22 -

AFTER months of agitation the people of Norwood were called upon on November 8, 1892, to vote upon the question of building a water works, and those in favor of the enterprise carried the day by the decisive figures of 491 for and 136 against. The failure of ballots to arrive at the Ivanhoe precinct was responsible for the loss of at least one hundred votes. The issue was indorsed, but the work was of such a character that another appropriation of the same amount was asked for and granted by the people. Mayor McNeill appointed as water works trustees Dr. Alfred Springer, George Puchta and Henry Rikhoff, and under their direction has the enterprise been carried out. The nominees of the mayor were confirmed by council and afterward elected unanimously by the suffrages of their fellow townsmen. Mr. Rikhoff's term expiring, he was re-elected to the long term at the April election in 1894. At a time when panic threatened the land Norwood went boldly ahead, and during the darkest days of 1893, hundreds of men were at work on the water works contracts at the building, laying the mains, and at the foundry, where steel plated for the water tower were welded into shape. A test well was sunk to bed rock, fifty feet below the low water mark of the Ohio river at Cincinnati, distant on an air line three miles. The result proving satisfactory, the trustees felt justified in acquiring the property on Harris avenue, at the junction of the B. & O. S. W. and C. L. & N. railroads, and erecting the plant on that site. Six wells were drilled there. The first one, experimental, is six inches in diameter; the other five are eight inches each. The wells form a rectangle, the longer sides of which are in the direction of north to south, the six-inch well being in the southeastern angle. The wells are all twenty feet apart. The strata passed through, while sinking the six wells, did not change in character much as compared to each other, showing that the strata remained alike within the 800 square feet, wherein the wells are located. Following is a synopsis of the strata: Yellow clay, 32 feet; blue clay, 33 feet 5 inches; occasionally striking dolomitic limestone; very fine sand, 31 feet 7 inches. At the depth of 156 feet from surface a 4-foot layer of coarse sand or fine gravel was pierced; then came another stratum of fine sand to 230 feet. The sand then suddenly became coarser until at 233 feet larger pieces of gravel were encountered. Rock bottom was struck in first well (east) at 237 feet 8 inches; second (west), 235 feet 10 inches; third (east), 236 feet 3 inches; fourth (west) 236 feet 4 inches; fifth (east), 234 feet, and sixth (west), 232 feet. This shows that the trend of the formation is slightly south. The water rose to 95 feet from the surface. One litre of water contains 0.266 grams of solids for about one part in 3760. The solids consist principally of bi-carbonate of lime and magnesia, also sulphates thereof amounting to 25% of the solids. Traces of bi-carbonate of iron are present. No albumnoid ammonia nor nitrated nor nitrites were found.
    The plans for the entire system were prepared by Gustav Bouscaren, whose ideas, carried out, have given Norwood a plant excelled by no other town in the State of Ohio, or elsewhere.
    The pumping station is an eyeable structure and is built of Norwood pressed brick, with freestone trimmings and slate roof. The engine room, 28 x 53 feet, contains the cistern, centrally located between the wells and the two pumping engines. The boiler room, 28 x 35 feet, affords ample space for the location of a vise, bench and machine tools sufficient for ordinary repairs. The floor of the house is of concrete, with a hard finish of Portland cement, and stands 1913/10 feet above low water mark in the Ohio river. The smoke stack, built of pressed brick, is 3 feet 6 inches inside diameter and 74 feet 6 inches above the floor of the engine house. The force main from the pumps in the reservoir connects with the distributing system through a 12 inch main near the engine house, and through an 8 inch main at the reservoir. By the closing and opening of the proper valves the town can be supplied in three ways. First, by the direct pressure from the pumps, the reservoir connection being closed; second, by the reservoir alone, the force main being closed wither at the foot of the hill or at the reservoir; third, by the reservoir and pumps together, all valves being opened. The distributing system has been arranged on the gridiron plan, water flowing to all points from two directions, which insures a good supply to the fire hydrants and avoids cutting off the supply for more than one block at a time for repairs. The boilers and pumping plant were manufactured and put in by the Laidlaw-Dunn-Gordon Co., of Cincinnati. The style of pumping engine is what is known as the compound condensing, duplex pumping engine, and at a speed of 20 revolutions per minute, their aggregate capacity is 1,081,000 gallons in 24 hours. The high pressure cylinders are 11 inches in diameter; the low pressure cylinders, 181/2 inches in diameter; the water cylinders, 101/4 inches in diameter, and all of them 12 inch stroke. It is fitted with 10 inch suction and 3 inch discharge openings, and is rated as a high grade pumping engine. The steam cylinders are lagged with asbestos and Russia iron with brass bands to prevent condensation of steam. It is fitted with an automatic pressure regulating governor to control the speed of the pump in accordance with the pressure on the mains, and which stops the pump absolutely should all valve on the water main be closed. This prevents undue pressure and breakage. The water end is fitted with an automatic pressure relief valve also to prevent undue pressure. The pumping engine has all the necessary revolutions counters, combination pressure gauges, showing foot of water column and pounds of pressure on the pumping engine, and is fitted throughout in a first-class manner. Connected with this, to give greater economy, is the Hill surface condenser with duplex air pump, into which the exhaust of the engine passes, and through brass tubes in which discharge water from the main passes and condenses all the steam used from the pumping engine, the air or vacuum pump being used to take this condensation, pump it into the heaters, and also to create vacuum in the steam cylinders of the pumping engine.
    There are also four vertical pumping engines on the four deep wells, the sizes of the engines being 10 inch steam cylinders with 36 inch stroke, having top brass balancing plungers 43/4 inch diameter. These cylinders operate the working pump cylinders, which are placed down in the well about 225 feet below the engine room floor. These deep well pumping engines draw the water from the deep wells and pump it into a steel cistern 20 feet in diameter and 15 feet high, of 35,294 gallon capacity, resting upon the concrete floor of the engine house. From this the large pumping engine takes its supply and forces the water from the mains to the town and reservoir, 2030 feet distant through 12 inch pipe. The steam pump feeding the boilers is of the well known duplex type. It is used for taking the hot water from the heater, and forcing it into the boiler. There is also another vertical air pump which is used for primping the air vessels of the large pumping engine with air. There are two boilers which are rated at about 125 horse power each. They are 66 inches in diameter by 18 feet long, and are known as horizontal stationary return tubular boilers. Each boiler has 64 lap welded tubes, 4 inch diameter. The boilers have been thoroughly inspected by the insurance companies, and are insured for $500 each for one year. They are trimmed with all the latest appliances, such as gauges, pop valves, water columns, and such like, to insure their safety. Each boiler is guaranteed to be of sufficient capacity to supply the six deep well pumps, and one compound engine working together, with a consumption of coal of each guaranteed not to exceed 566 pounds per hour. The heater and purifier is of the latest design, and is used for the double purpose of heating the water and purifying it before it is pumped into the boiler. All the pipe work and valves are of the best make. Everything has been done to ensure a first-class plant. The setting of the boilers is of the latest design, to insure economy and prevent smoke.
    On the brow of East Norwood Heights rests the water tower, 100 feet in height. A stairway from Forest avenue makes it easily accessible from East Norwood, and the carriage drive out Montgomery and Mound avenues is a pleasant one. The great steel structure was put up by the Stacey Manufacturing Co. The foundation or substructure upon which the water tower was built, rests upon the natural heavy yellow clay and at a depth of eleven and one-half feet beneath the natural surface, rock was found in alternating strata of from three to six inches in thickness. The bottom of the water tower rests upon a concrete foundation five feet thick, composed of four parts screened broken stone, two parts of sand, and one part of cement used promptly after mixing, and put down in four inch layers and thoroughly rammed with wooden rammers. The surface of each layer was well sprinkled with water before the next one was laid. The coping upon which the outer perimeter of the tank rests consists of Bedford (Indiana) stone, each block being two feet wide, two feet thick, and four feet long, laid and bedded in cement. The upper surface of the coping was accurately dressed to fit the cylindrical slope of the water tower. The brick work in the valve chambers was laid in cement mortar. No broken brick was used, only where it was necessary to effect a closure. The steel plates used in the construction of the tower were made by the Corbin Steel Company of Pittsburg, Pa., and are of 6,000 pounds tensile strength, tough, ductible, uniform in quality, and incapable of tempering. The material was subjected to the most rigid and exacting inspections and tests, and in all instances conformed to the very strict requirements of the specifications. The trace of phosphorus discovered in the metal did not exceed 8/100 of one per cent. The elongation of the eight inch test pieces was in no instance less than twenty-five per cent. Pieces were bent cold and doubled flat on themselves without exhibiting a sign of fracture on the convex side. Tests were made by bringing the steel to a uniform bright cherry red heat, then cooled in water, and bending around a circle of a diameter equal to 11/2 times the thickness of test pieces without showing fracture. The bottom plates 5/8 inch thick, laid with butt points and connected together with 3/4 inch rivets and joined to the first and lower course of side plates with 6 x 6 x 5/8 inch angles. The bottom course rests upon a bed two inches thick of a dry mixture of two parts of sand and one of Portland cement, evenly spread over the concrete foundation. The bottom of the water tower is firmly secured to the stone coping by 32 anchor bolts 7/8 inch thick by 12 inches long passing into the coping. The first or lowest course of side plates is 7/8 inch thick; second course is 13/16 inch; third course, 3/4 inch; fourth course 5/8 inch. These courses are butt jointed and secured by butt plates 173/8 inches wide and of the same thickness as the plates in the corresponding course, and all are triple riveted with rivets one inch in diameter. The fifth course is 9/16 inch thick; sixth course, 1/2 inch; seventh course, 7/16; eighth course, 3/8 inch. The ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth courses are 5/16 inch thick. All of the plates are butt jointed and secured by butt plates, double riveted. Around the upper edge of the top course are place two rings of 3 x 3 x 3/8 inch angles, one on the inside and one outside of the plates, all securely riveted together, thus forming with the angle and channel of the roof cornice over the gallery a trussed ring calculated to resist the wind pressure on the roof and on the side of the tower for a depth of three feet.
    The water tower is surmounted with a roof, framed with channel and trussed rafters that are rigidly connected with two tiers of horizontal struts, and a forged ring at the top and bolted to the flange angles at sides of the tower. This frame is covered with steel plates 1/8 inch thick—the whole forming a true cone. A substantial ornamental stairway, three feet wide, encircling the tower, is attached to wrought iron brackets, securely bolted to the sides leading to a gallery or promenade around the tower, placed eight feet below its cylindrical top. The tower is built with a factor of safety of four for the hydrostatic pressure and a factor of three for a wind pressure of 250 pounds per square foot. Measurements accurately made after the tower was completed showed it to be exactly forty feet inside diameter at both bottom and top. A plumb suspended from the center of the roof system to bottom of tower varied 1/16 of an inch from the exact center. The body of the structure is painted a stone, the roof a moss, and the stairway a slate color. Its dimensions and color render it a very conspicuous object for miles in every direction. The bottom or floor line of the tower is 37816/100 feet above low water in the Ohio river, and is 18616/100 feet above the bottom of the small tank in the pumping house, giving it a static pressure of 81 pounds per square inch on the flow level of the engine house, and a pressure of 105 pounds per square inch from the overflow line, 56 feet and 8 inches above the bottom. The capacity of the tower to the overflow line is 532,666 gallons which affords four days' supply for a population of 5,000 at the rate of 25 gallons per head, or a supply for eight one and one-quarter inch fire nozzles working simultaneously for five hours.
    The builders of the pumping station were W. H. Stewart's Sons. Herbert and Lapeyre were the contractors who laid all the mains, using output of the Addyston Pipe Work. The Bourbon Brass and Copper Works furnished all the fire plugs and brass valves.
    It was Dr. Springer who was the earliest advocate of the steel tower. That was a pet project of his. Others made pleas for the direct pressure system, but the doctor's arguments prevailed, and he and his views were indorsed when he was named for the long term and afterward chosen chairman of the water works board by his associates in that body. Around the tower a driveway has been made. The tract upon which the tower is built, with the Indian mound, is destined to be one of the most popular little parks in the village—the mecca for all sight-seers who are searching for the point of vantage from which is afforded the grandest views in the county. The mound, a relic of redskins, long since called by the Great Father to the Happy Hunting Grounds, is held in trust for generations to come. The great knoll is crested with forest trees, and its guardians, under terms of the dedication, are pledged to make no excavations save for the planting of trees and shrubbery. That mound crowned the heights for ages; now it modestly lies in the shadow of the modern giant of steel. No more romantic spot for the location of the tower could have been found in or about Norwood.

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Board of Improvements SECTION Montgomery Road

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