Worth St and Lafayette St, NY, NY

Downtown Manhattan

wells, water, Danielle Acosta

Manhattan settlers needed to obtain water for domestic purposes and so constructed shallow privately-owned wells to meet their needs. In 1677, the first public well was constructed in front of the old fort at Bowling Green. Around 1776, the growing population had hit approximately 22,000, and a reservoir was constructed at the east side of Broadway between Pearl and White Streets around where Worth Street and Lafayette Street currently stand. Water pumped from wells that sunk near the Collect Pond, from east of the reservoir, from the actual pond itself, and it was distributed through hollow logs that were laid on principal streets. From there it was distributed through-out all of New York.

As population increased existing wells and reservoirs were unable to provide enough water and since the city lacked a sewage system for disposing of sewage and garbage, human waste and trash polluted waterways and wells.  Thus NYC was forced to look beyond its borders for clean drinking water, which was the impetus for the creation of the Croton Water System which began construction in 1837.

-History of New York City's Water Supply System
-Celebrating New York City's Clean Drinking Water
-Sanitary & Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York

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