Westfield Water Works Land Takings, 1889-1914

Title

Westfield Water Works Land Takings, 1889-1914

Description

In 1895 approval was granted the Town of Westfield (Westfield Water Works) to take land in Granville by eminent domain for the construction of two reservoirs that would serve the Town of Westfield:
  1. Winchell (Collecting) Reservoir, 3,081,000 gal. capacity
  2. Sackett (Distributing) Reservoir, 1,701,000 gal. capacity
The large Granville Reservoir (over 400 million gallon capacity) would not be built until the 1920's.

The Water Works began taking land, including schools, homes, barns and other structures in Northeast Granville on April 1, 1898.

The last taking of land for the Winchell and Sackett reservoirs and the surrounding watershed, known as the Munn's Brook Watershed, occurred in 1913.

A total of 1836.17 acres were taken during this 15 year period and an estimated total of $25,428.49 was paid to the property owners, an average of $13.85 per acre.

The number of houses, schools and other structures destroyed is not known [will be estimated and added here].

Was your family one of those whose lands were taken? Have you ever wondered how much land they owned, when it was taken, and how they were compensated? This spreadsheet may help answer those questions.

SOME CAVEATS: In several instances farmers (Boise, Clark, Ladd, Rowley are known examples) sold all or part of their land to private parties after they knew their farm was doomed but before the land was actually taken. The purchasing parties were typically in the timber and/or lumber business (Plumley, Hallbourg). They would harvest the timber then wait for the land to be taken.

How many farmers did this, for what reasons, and whether the buyers were taking advantage of the situation, is not known. If your family owned land that became part of the watershed but their name is not on this list, consider the possibility they decided to sell and avoid years of pain watching their community taken down house by house. Or they had an opportunity elsewhere and couldn't wait around.

Citation

“Westfield Water Works Land Takings, 1889-1914,” Granville History Digital Collection, accessed April 13, 2024, https://granvillehistory.omeka.net/items/show/1157.

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