Saturday, September 18, 2010

Abba Owen's Dad to Become City Utility

Kind readers may recall that recently in her diary, 16-year-old Abba Owen noted that her dad was in talks with the city to supply water, as a one-man municipal utility. On August 6, 1888 she wrote:

To-night was city council meeting . . . Papa's proposition was accepted for water works and a committee of aldermen one from each ward was appointed----report for next meeting to city council.

Throughout the summer of 1888 talks were ongoing regarding Tubal Owen's supplying water to the city. The excerpt pictured here shows an earlier meeting with city council, as it appeared in the July 20, 1888 Ypsilanti Commercial:

As will be seen by the report of the Council Proceedings published elsewhere Mr. T. C. Owen submitted to that body at its last meeting, a proposition to furnish water to the wards on this side of the river*, provided he could have the exclusive franchise for 30 years, and the city would pay $50 each for not less than 5 hydrants in each of the 3 wards, and he to furnish water to private consumers at a price not exceeding that paid in Ann Arbor. This proposition, which was tabled, has since been withdrawn by Mr. Owen, but we hope not permanently.

*"this side" is of course the west side of the river (48198 today), and the city had 5, not 3, wards at the time. The 3 wards referred to above were wards 1,2, & 3 on the river's west side.

How will Tubal Cain Owen's ambitious aquatic venture work out in coming months? Will his well at Forest Avenue and College Place be piped all over the west side? Stay tuned...


cmadler said...

West side is 48197. :-)

Dusty D said...

Er, 48197, whoopsie. Disconnect between brain and fingers. :)