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Pulaski waterworks

“Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
That’s the way it was at the time the village of Martin’s Tank was being established along the railroad tracks through the Martin Farm in Pulaski County. Much of the land in the area was a swamp, and a creek, known as Peak Creek snaked its way through, running from west to east. The only water suitable for drinking ran from springs that were free running, and numerous, but before it could be used for domestic purposes, it had to be harnessed, and carried in buckets and other containers to the homes of early residents for household use. At first, several springs furnished the water that was used. No pipes, no faucets, and fortunately for the citizens, no water bills.
One of the springs used in those days was a bold one, located in the middle of the block between the present Jefferson and Washington Avenues, and Fourth and Fifth Streets. This spring was improved in the early days by creating a concrete reservoir at its origin. Strangely, it seemed to never have had a name. It is located on land presently owned by The Fine Arts Center of the New River Valley, formerly land of the Rutherford Pontiac Auto Sales property. To this day the water runs in the form of a branch, through land of the Fine Arts Center, across and under Washington Avenue, through lands of the former Coleman and Pulaski Furniture properties, into Branch.
On the south side of the railroad tracks water was obtained from a spring whos water runs through the residential area, from originating near Pulaski Street, and running through several blocks, including the former Maple Shade Inn property, across Washington Avenue, and into Peak Creek.
Several other springs furnished water for Martin’s Tank, and also for early Pulaski City. After Pulaski City came into being, the need for water proved much greater, and wells were drilled in the low-lying area between the present Lowmoor Avenue and Alum Spring Road. With this beginning, water storage had to be considered, and a metal water storage tank was constructed west of Randolph Avenue, on property occupied by the present water purification plant. A ten inch diameter cast iron pipe line was constructed to carry water to the storage tank. It was located under an area that was later developed as a residential subdivision west of the present Lee Highway. Through the years, as houses were built over the line, it was left exposed in the basements of the houses. When a line would break in one of those basements, town crews had a big headache making repairs. Ther line may have been re-located later, as I have not heard of a break in recent years.
This was the time in history that I refer to as the Jackson era. From the beginning of waterworks in Pulaski, the man who was in control of the waterworks was John T. Jackson. He was hired by the town when the first water company sold out its holdings to the town, and Mr. Jackson was in charge until his retirement, when his son, Howard Jackson took over. Either Howard, or his father saw to every pipe line, tank, and residential connection to the water system made, until the 1970s, when Howard retired.
This story of the Pulaski Waterworks history will continue next week

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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Pulaski waterworks

“Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”
That’s the way it was at the time the village of Martin’s Tank was being established along the railroad tracks through the Martin Farm in Pulaski County. Much of the land in the area was a swamp, and a creek, known as Peak Creek snaked its way through, running from west to east. The only water suitable for drinking ran from springs that were free running, and numerous, but before it could be used for domestic purposes, it had to be harnessed, and carried in buckets and other containers to the homes of early residents for household use. At first, several springs furnished the water that was used. No pipes, no faucets, and fortunately for the citizens, no water bills.
One of the springs used in those days was a bold one, located in the middle of the block between the present Jefferson and Washington Avenues, and Fourth and Fifth Streets. This spring was improved in the early days by creating a concrete reservoir at its origin. Strangely, it seemed to never have had a name. It is located on land presently owned by The Fine Arts Center of the New River Valley, formerly land of the Rutherford Pontiac Auto Sales property. To this day the water runs in the form of a branch, through land of the Fine Arts Center, across and under Washington Avenue, through lands of the former Coleman and Pulaski Furniture properties, into Branch.
On the south side of the railroad tracks water was obtained from a spring whos water runs through the residential area, from originating near Pulaski Street, and running through several blocks, including the former Maple Shade Inn property, across Washington Avenue, and into Peak Creek.
Several other springs furnished water for Martin’s Tank, and also for early Pulaski City. After Pulaski City came into being, the need for water proved much greater, and wells were drilled in the low-lying area between the present Lowmoor Avenue and Alum Spring Road. With this beginning, water storage had to be considered, and a metal water storage tank was constructed west of Randolph Avenue, on property occupied by the present water purification plant. A ten inch diameter cast iron pipe line was constructed to carry water to the storage tank. It was located under an area that was later developed as a residential subdivision west of the present Lee Highway. Through the years, as houses were built over the line, it was left exposed in the basements of the houses. When a line would break in one of those basements, town crews had a big headache making repairs. Ther line may have been re-located later, as I have not heard of a break in recent years.
This was the time in history that I refer to as the Jackson era. From the beginning of waterworks in Pulaski, the man who was in control of the waterworks was John T. Jackson. He was hired by the town when the first water company sold out its holdings to the town, and Mr. Jackson was in charge until his retirement, when his son, Howard Jackson took over. Either Howard, or his father saw to every pipe line, tank, and residential connection to the water system made, until the 1970s, when Howard retired.
This story of the Pulaski Waterworks history will continue next week

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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