By Carl Smith
A urban is greater than a massing of voters, a structure of constructions and streets, or an association of political, monetary, and social associations. it's also an infrastructure of principles 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 improvement of the 1st profitable waterworks structures in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago among the 1790s and the 1860s. through interpreting where of water within the nineteenth-century cognizance, Smith illuminates how urban dwellers perceived themselves throughout the nice age of yank urbanization. yet City Water, urban Life is greater than a historical past 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 resources for City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago
On the one hand, they were plagued by ﬂooding in their homes due to the absence of adequate drainage, while, on the other, they were hard-pressed to secure the clean water they needed to sustain even a minimal standard of decency. Although there was now a consensus that Boston had to do something about water, there was still no agreement as yet on the best source for a central water supply or on how it should be funded and managed. Among several options under discussion, there were two leading contenders.
First of all, the presence of ﬁsh in the pipes persisted. ” This was meant to be an amusing exaggeration, but the situation that prompted it was disconcerting and unacceptable. The ﬁsh were a minor inconvenience compared with Chicago water’s other defects. The river, which by this time was appallingly fouled by 42 Chapter Two slaughterhouses, distilleries, tanneries, tallow renderers, and soap and candle makers, was contaminating the water by the intake. ” Chicago’s new sewerage system—one of the ﬁrst in the nation, constructed in the mid-1850s to counter ﬂooding and cholera— made matters worse.
Other faults beset the system. The capacity of the storage tanks was too small—demand could exhaust them in half an hour. Meanwhile, the wooden pipes began to rot and leak. And, as the canal company’s owners predicted, the works cost far more than expected to build and operate. At the close of 1803, total costs were close to $300,000—and climbing. Meanwhile, revenues were meager. Far fewer Philadelphians had connected to the system than Latrobe had thought would do so. In spite of these problems and all the second-guessing they provoked, the need for the works was so great and the investment already made so considerable that there was no acceptable alternative.
City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago by Carl Smith
Categories: American History