Monday, April 23, 2018

1921 Standpipe For Delmar Water Supply

The first actual water system for Delmar Delaware and Maryland was created on October 9, 1911 when the Maryland and Delaware councils gave a franchise to Hugh T. Downing of Philadelphia to create a water works in the two towns. By July 1913 the Delmar Water Works system was in operation. The well and storage tank was located in the North West part of Delmar Delaware (same location as today). My guess is this location was selected because of an existing ice plant, built in 1907 next to the railroad. The ice plant supplied ice to the rail cars loaded with produce. Since an ice plant needs good water to make the ice they must have had an existing well that supplied that “good” water and the Delmar Water Works decided to duplicate that supply source.

The system in 1923 had a 100,000 gallon storage tank (standpipe) that was 12’ by 115’, a 20’ by 40’ pump house, four wells, two Deming Triplex pumps, 44 fire hydrants and five miles of pipe. It was know as the Delmar Water Works. There were smaller water systems in Delmar prior to this one but they served very localized areas and not the entire town. The standpipe served the town from 1913 until about 2000. As with any water tower it was a landmark and reference point for the town. The water mains serves both sides of town. Each town at that time was approximately one half square mile in size.

Since fire was a driving force for the water system (The town had two major fires, one in 1892 and another in 1901) scattered thru out the 1911 franchise are references to the fire department requirements; “The system of water works constructed under the franchise proposed to be granted shall be built so as to provide for an ample protection against fire…”, “would be 33 pounds per square inch of water pressure for domestic purposes and water pressure to throw a stream of water through two hundred feet of hose with a one inch nozzle to a height of at least 30 feet.” “a standpipe will be constructed to insure sufficient pressure of water in case of the breaking out of fire”, and “20 Fire Hydrants will be supplied”

The water rates spelled out in the 1911 franchise were;
The town will pay $20 per fire hydrant, per annum
Individual Customers would pay;
For one spigot, per annum $6.00
For each additional spigot, per annum $1.00
For stationary wash stand, per annum $1.25
For bath tubs, per annum$2.50
For horse trough per annum $4.00
For stables (first cow or horse) , per annum$1.00
For stables (each additional cow or horse) , per annum $1.00
By Water Meter per 1000 gal. per annum $0.30

While doing research at the Nabb Research Center (Salisbury univ) in Salisbury I came across a small report done on the old 1913 Elevated Water Storage tank in Delmar. The report is titled "Historic Structure Report Elevated Water Storage Tank in Delmar, Delaware" by Edward Heite of Heite Consulting.  The State of Delaware (Delaware State Historic Preservation Office) decided it was a potentially significant historic structure and before the Town could tear it down the town had to pay for a report on the structure. The report at the Nabb Center was the outcome of the paid study. I assume somewhere the town has a copy. It is an interesting report that has a little information about the water system in Delmar when it was installed and a lot of filler information. The top part of the Storage tank was cut off and the town was to retained it for future historical purposes but as frequently happens the top of the tank has gone missing.

The current building left standing is a nice looking building with a good color scheme.  it is currently used as offices for the public works department.

in 1996 the standpipe was still there as can be seen in the background. The two girls are Ashley Callahan and Susan Dickerson

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