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Continuing the story of Pulaski Waterworks

Between the years 1907 and 1910, there was much discussion about the area of Hogan’s Branch as the town fathers’ choice as a site for a permanent site for Pulaski’s proposed new dam. Like all new things the site had many negative thinking people, who seemed to follow a pattern of being against anything the wiser heads proposed. In 1907 the town council ordered a special election to be held on November 19 of that year to vote on a proposed bond issue to finance water works improvements.
While this was going through the political works, and before the election, council met and agreed that if the bond issue passed by the voters, they would not use the money to finance the building of Hogan’s Dam and reservoir. Instead they said the money would go for an effort to supply the town with pure water by drilling wells on the south side of Draper’s Mountain. Friends, the bond issue was approved by the voters, and in the meantime council announced another change of heart. A gravity water system, fed by the proposed dam on Hogan’s Branch would be financed by the money from the bond issue after all. A week before the election, Mayor Calfee, in a paid political advertisement explained the council’s change of heart, and encouraged the voters to approve the measure, so the town would have an adequate water system. He warned that any delay in improvement of the water system might result in a great calamity, mentioning fire and disease as examples.
Just before the vote, the town decided to employ a geologist to make a study of soil conditions in the Hogan’s Reservoir site. I’m sure this was to quiet some of the critics of the project, who were already talking of the many caves there, that would take up all of the water before it could be impounded. There was one wild statement it the local newspaper that in order to get the reservoir to hold water, , the entire reservoir bottom would have to be paved with a concrete lining. Of course, this was not done.
The bond issue was approved, and the town took bids on the project
In the year 1910, Lowe and Shoecraft Construction Co. completed work on building of Hogan’s Dam and Reservoir on Hogan’s Branch southwest of the Town of Pulaski. This project had been discussed for several years, and it was supposed to solve all of the problems and worries concerning water shortage in the town for years to come. In fact, there were those who erroneously said that Pulaski citizens would never again have to worry about having enough water. This was a good thought, but a bit far-fetched. I don’t want to start right in throwing cold water(forgive the pun) on this great improvement before the first drop of water flows into the town mains, but as this story moves along we will learn that problems did arise.
Upon completion of Hogan’s Dam the local newspaper reported it this way. “It is a change from a hard water supply to a soft water supply; from a limited supply to an unlimited supply. The water is clear and cool, and comes from a source that is above contamination.”
Finally, after 24 years of rationing water that was at times hard and contaminated by drainage from the town cemetery, the town had a water system that I’m sure many citizens felt was capable of supplying the townspeople and industries forever, just like it had been billed. Had the population remained the same as in 1910, and no further industrial development taken place, all of the problems would have been solved, but it didn’t happen that way.
Several years after Hogan’s dam went into operation, notices began appearing in the newspaper asking people to conserve water; not to use it for watering lawns and gardens, or for any use not determined to be critical. Wells, cisterns, and springs were again resorted to by citizens, as water supply became critical once more, and this hung on until the 1920s. Just fifteen years after completion of Hogan’s Dam, the water shortage in Pulaski became so acute that it was necessary for the town to raise the height of Hogan’s dam in order to increase the capacity of the reservoir . Such improvements helped, but did not solve the problem. The dream dam on Hogan’s branch was becoming a big disappointment, and town leaders were once again faced with the task of searching out a solution to the question of providing an adequate water supply for the citizens.
Very little was done for the thirsty town until the late 1930s.

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

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Continuing the story of Pulaski Waterworks

Between the years 1907 and 1910, there was much discussion about the area of Hogan’s Branch as the town fathers’ choice as a site for a permanent site for Pulaski’s proposed new dam. Like all new things the site had many negative thinking people, who seemed to follow a pattern of being against anything the wiser heads proposed. In 1907 the town council ordered a special election to be held on November 19 of that year to vote on a proposed bond issue to finance water works improvements.
While this was going through the political works, and before the election, council met and agreed that if the bond issue passed by the voters, they would not use the money to finance the building of Hogan’s Dam and reservoir. Instead they said the money would go for an effort to supply the town with pure water by drilling wells on the south side of Draper’s Mountain. Friends, the bond issue was approved by the voters, and in the meantime council announced another change of heart. A gravity water system, fed by the proposed dam on Hogan’s Branch would be financed by the money from the bond issue after all. A week before the election, Mayor Calfee, in a paid political advertisement explained the council’s change of heart, and encouraged the voters to approve the measure, so the town would have an adequate water system. He warned that any delay in improvement of the water system might result in a great calamity, mentioning fire and disease as examples.
Just before the vote, the town decided to employ a geologist to make a study of soil conditions in the Hogan’s Reservoir site. I’m sure this was to quiet some of the critics of the project, who were already talking of the many caves there, that would take up all of the water before it could be impounded. There was one wild statement it the local newspaper that in order to get the reservoir to hold water, , the entire reservoir bottom would have to be paved with a concrete lining. Of course, this was not done.
The bond issue was approved, and the town took bids on the project
In the year 1910, Lowe and Shoecraft Construction Co. completed work on building of Hogan’s Dam and Reservoir on Hogan’s Branch southwest of the Town of Pulaski. This project had been discussed for several years, and it was supposed to solve all of the problems and worries concerning water shortage in the town for years to come. In fact, there were those who erroneously said that Pulaski citizens would never again have to worry about having enough water. This was a good thought, but a bit far-fetched. I don’t want to start right in throwing cold water(forgive the pun) on this great improvement before the first drop of water flows into the town mains, but as this story moves along we will learn that problems did arise.
Upon completion of Hogan’s Dam the local newspaper reported it this way. “It is a change from a hard water supply to a soft water supply; from a limited supply to an unlimited supply. The water is clear and cool, and comes from a source that is above contamination.”
Finally, after 24 years of rationing water that was at times hard and contaminated by drainage from the town cemetery, the town had a water system that I’m sure many citizens felt was capable of supplying the townspeople and industries forever, just like it had been billed. Had the population remained the same as in 1910, and no further industrial development taken place, all of the problems would have been solved, but it didn’t happen that way.
Several years after Hogan’s dam went into operation, notices began appearing in the newspaper asking people to conserve water; not to use it for watering lawns and gardens, or for any use not determined to be critical. Wells, cisterns, and springs were again resorted to by citizens, as water supply became critical once more, and this hung on until the 1920s. Just fifteen years after completion of Hogan’s Dam, the water shortage in Pulaski became so acute that it was necessary for the town to raise the height of Hogan’s dam in order to increase the capacity of the reservoir . Such improvements helped, but did not solve the problem. The dream dam on Hogan’s branch was becoming a big disappointment, and town leaders were once again faced with the task of searching out a solution to the question of providing an adequate water supply for the citizens.
Very little was done for the thirsty town until the late 1930s.

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

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