City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas by Carl Smith

By Carl Smith

A urban is greater than a massing of voters, a format of structures and streets, or an association of political, fiscal, and social associations. it's also an infrastructure of rules which are a help for the ideals, values, and aspirations of the folk who created the town. In City Water, urban Life, celebrated historian Carl Smith explores this idea via an insightful exam of the advance of the 1st winning waterworks platforms in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago among the 1790s and the 1860s. via analyzing where of water within the nineteenth-century realization, Smith illuminates how urban dwellers perceived themselves through the nice age of yank urbanization. yet City Water, urban Life is greater than a background of urbanization. it's also a clean meditation on water as a need, as a source for trade and undefined, and as an essential—and central—part of the way we outline our civilization.

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Additional info for City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago

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The board predicted, however, that carrying out this plan was not going to be easy. Some Chicagoans thought that it would be impossible. They had reason to think so.  The slightly oval tunnel, five feet wide and two inches larger than that in height, was to be big enough to deliver 50 million gallons a day, which was thought to be enough for a population of a million Chicagoans, more than six times the number at the time. 4. This is from the Second Annual Report of the Board of Public Works to the Common Council of the City of Chicago, which appeared in 1863, when the city was considering several different alternatives for building a new waterworks.

Even the minimum salary in the range prescribed by the legislature ($3,000 to $5,000) was higher than the mayor’s ($2,500), and this salary was to be paid, also without City Council endorsement, from the funds the commissioners were authorized to borrow. Further, the act did not define a time limit for the commissioners’ term of service; they could be removed for reasons of “incapacity, mismanagement, or unfaithfulness,” but only by a three-fourths majority vote by the council.  As the referendum approached, Mayor Thomas Aspinwall Davis ordered that samples be taken from Spot Pond, Jamaica Pond, and the Charles River (which had long been a favored alternative of some Bostonians, in spite of the low quality of its water), as well as Long Pond.

One wag composed a poem about the dismay and frustration that women felt because they were being inundated with publications advocating one source or another at the same time that they lacked water in which to wash their children’s soiled clothes: Their houses are deluged with pamphlets untold, Of green, blue and gray, such a tale to unfold!  The tone of most of the debate was dead serious, if often hyperbolic.  The key points in question at this meeting were not whether Boston needed a new water supply, but how the commissioners who would run the waterworks were to be chosen, and whether the act granted them excessive power, independence, and pay.

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