The following is taken from "Ilion 1852-1952." We thank the Mayor and other officials of Ilion for granting us permission to provide this information to our visitors.


It was not until 1892 that the Village Board overcame objections to a water system; although a small reservoir for fire purposes had been built on Grove Street in 1889. The Ilion Businessmen's Association presented a petition signed by one hundred taxpayers asking that the water works question be submitted to a vote. A $95,000 appropriation was duly authorized and reservoir No. 1 was built in 1893. The first Water Commissioners were Thomas Ringwood, A. N. Russell, C. M. Gray and J. A. Rasbach and to them, Ilion owes a debt of gratitude for the faithfulness with which they performed their work.

Because of increasing needr a second storage reservoir was built and the filter beds were enlarged in 1903. The third reservoir, Ferncliff, was completed in 1923 making an artificial lake of fifty two acres. This water was softer than that taken from Hawk's Creek, the Litchfield watershed and Clapsaddle Creek which furnished the first two reservoirs.

There have been continuous improvements to the system in the way of force pumps, filter beds, etc. In 1924 chlorinators were placed in service to purify the water further after filtration. Two years later the second twelve inch feed to the distribution system was constructed, with a connection at Brook Street and S. Fourth Avenue. At the same time water district No. 4 was formed, known as the East Frankfort District.

Adequate protection of Russell Park was insured by an extension of the line to the athletic field and pavilion (1931). A water softening plant was installed in 1939 at the base of reservoir No. 1, in conjunction with the Works Progress Administration.

The Board of Water Commissioners organized in 1892, better known today as the Water Board, have consistently aspired to furnish the village a fine water system and have been so successful in the endeavor that the present supply is deemed first in this part of the State in quality, quantity, and fire-fighting ability. The supply is preserved through a far sighted conservation program, including the planting of 90 acres of trees, part of the 250 acres controlled in the interest of Ilion.


Steele's Creek was the first sewer for Ilion. When the Erie Canal was buiilt the state laid stone conduits under the canal, which were called State sewers. Their purpose was really to carry small streams under the canal. With the construction of the water system a complete sewerage system for the first time became possible, A survey was made showing the need of eleven miles of pipe necessary. Work was begun in the same year the water works were completed but it was 1895 before the task was finished. Oversight of the system is under the supervision of a Sewer Board which with the Light, Water and Street Departments make up the Municipal Commission.

Back to Ilion History Page

Back to Herkimer/Montgomery Counties NYGenWeb

Back to New York State GenWeb

Created 5/23/02
Copyright © 2002 Paul McLaughlin/ Judy Breedlove/ Martha S. Magill
All Rights Reserved.