York Water Company in PA

York Water Company, York

The York Water Company was started in 1816 by a group of local business men who were concerned about fire protection. It is the oldest investor owned utility in the United States and it has the longest record of consecutive dividends since 1816.

The first piping system consisted of bored-out logs. A spring was located on Rathton Road in Baumgartner’s Woods and water from the spring was piped to a reservoir on Queen Street. From the reservoir it was piped into the town square, and by the end of 1816, 35 homes had water on the premises.

With the growing population and industry in York, the Company found itself in need of a greater water supply. In 1849, the first steam pumping station was built along Codorus Creek. By 1896, due to industrial waste, the water was quickly becoming unfit to drink. The Company built a new pumping station upstream, at the confluence of two branches of the creek.

In 1897, typhoid fever was quickly spreading across the nation, mostly through the water sources. To reduce the spread of typhoid fever, the Company built the first successfully operated water treatment plant in Pennsylvania on Grantley Hill. It was completed in 1899.

The Company contributed to conservation efforts in the area by constructing Reservoir Park, made public as a breathing spot to relieve the stress and strain of modern life. The Company also worked to combat and repair the deforestation of evergreen trees in the York watershed. President Coolidge congratulated the Company, endowing them as the “best reforesting of evergreens effort in the world.” The York Water Company constructed two dams, to make two lakes. Lake Redman and Lake Williams act as a preserve for times of drought, and as a popular recreational spot for residents and tourists alike.

The Civilian Conservation Corps pages were never completed and published on the site because neither I nor the interns ever had a chance to pull all the information from our newsletters and edit it.