History Part 1

Source: George H. Chapin, Health Resorts of the South (Boston, 1889). Transcription and images by Robert Tindall

Palatka Water- Works

Palatka Water Works. Probably no class of public improvements contributes more to the general welfare of populous communities than those designed to furnish an abundant supply of wholesome water under a pressure adequate for fire protection, and for its delivery at all points where it may be needed for general uses. Palatka is favored in this direction to a degree surpassing that of probably any other City in the State. The Palatka Water Works is a Florida corporation, organized to supply the City and its inhabitants with water for the extinguishment of fires, and for domestic, manufacturing and other purposes. The entire works were constructed during the winter of 1886-87 by the firm of Wheeler & Parks, of Boston, who have had a large experience as engineers and builders of water works in many States of the Union. The works were put into operation about April 1st. The source of supply is White Water Branch, a clear stream in the town of Palatka Heights, fed by copious and never failing springs, yielding in the driest seasons over one million gallons daily of pure, soft water, and ample in quantity for a population of twenty to twenty-five thousand.

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Palatka Water-Works. The Pumping Station

The works at the pumping station comprise a storage canal eight hundred feet in length, ten feet wide, and five feet deep, the sides of which are of brick masonry, and the bottom a clean bed of sand covered with hard pine flooring. This reservoir constitutes a storage and settling basin where any floating or suspended particles are allowed to settle before the water is pumped into the standpipe and mains. Also the pump house, which is a substantial brick building about thirty by forty-five feet, one story high, adjoining which is an ornamental chimney stack about sixty-five feet in height. In the boiler room of the pump house are two large boilers of fifty horse power each, and in the pump room, two Worthington duplex pumps, each having a capacity of one million gallons daily. The pumping plant is furnished with condensers, heaters, and all the appliances of a first-class pumping system of works. Adjoining the pump house is a tool and fuel house so situated as to be filled either from a side track upon the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West R.R., for from White Water Drive. This building is large enough to contain about six months' supply of fuel.

The Palatka Water-Works. The Standpipe

From the pumping station the water is forced through twelve and ten inch mains, either directly into the city or into the standpipe, built upon the highest point of Palatka Heights. The Standpipe is of heavy plates of the best wrought iron, built upon a solid foundation of brick, and is thirty feet in diameter and fifty feet in height, having a capacity of about two hundred thousand gallons. Around the top is an ornamental iron balcony and railing, to which access is had by an iron ladder fastened to the side of the tower. From this balcony can be had the most extended and comprehensive view of the surrounding country to be obtained from any point in this vicinity.

THere are about eight miles of supply and distribution pipes of cast iron, from twelve to four inches in diameter, The number of fire hydrants connected with these works is fifty-nine, five of which are rented to railroad companies, four by the town of Palatka Heights, and fifty by the City of Palatka, to which latter number, fifteen additional hydrants are to be added during the next four years. From these hydrants several fire streams can be thrown at once over the highest buildings in the city with the pressure from the standpipe alone, and they constitute a means of protection against fire unsurpassed in effectiveness and reliability.