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Final history of Pulaski Waterworks

Going to Warden Spring was not the best thing that happened to the thirsty town of Pulaski, and neither was it a lost cause. In drought the town fell back on it many times, to supplement the supply from Hogan’s Dam. Citizens got accustomed to the spring’s hard water, and welcomed the times when water from the dam was again flowing into their homes.
Along about the 1940s was the time when Howard Jackson, the superintendent of the Pulaski water department acquired the nickname, “Hardwater Jackson,” and mention of his name even today to any of the old timers brings on some comment about the times when the town’s water contained a good deal of limestone. Mr. Jackson was born into local waterworks, and knew about all a person needed to know about every phase of it. He and Mayor Ernest Calfee were known for their ability to get water to the home of every citizen, if it was at all possible. One could almost imagine them actually stretching the cast iron lines to make them reach the customers.
At this point I will discuss the unique and complicated system of billing citizens for water from almost the beginning until around the time of the construction of Gatewood Dam. I say complicated because I had to work with it when I came to work for the town.
At first there were not very many meters to measure the amount of water being used per month by each user, so the system used for billing was to count the fixtures in each home or business establishment. If a customer had a single faucet at the kitchen sink, the charge would be the minimum. There would be another charge for a commode, then even another if the bathroom had a wash basin. And, of course, another for an outside faucet (which was watched closely by officials, lest this faucet be used for watering the lawn, or the garden, or washing several motor vehicles, or the same one every day).
A bathroom in the basement was usually kept a secret by the resident, since the town didn’t make its practice to send people out to inspect.
It was probably in the 1950s before there were sufficient meters at residences to warrant the practice of charging according to the number of gallons used. Later the entire town was metered, and the old method of counting fixtures was done away with.
I’m sure that by this time my readers are beginning to get bored with water stories, so I will wind this series up, short of being a complete up-to-date history of Pulaski waterworks. I will not attempt to give dates and stories connected with the construction of the filtration plant, the many storage tanks, the politics that went along with the bond issue and construction of Gatewood Dam and Reservoir, extension of water mains, and the sale of the Hogan’s Dam and Reservoir. Previous articles have covered most of these items.

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

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Final history of Pulaski Waterworks

Going to Warden Spring was not the best thing that happened to the thirsty town of Pulaski, and neither was it a lost cause. In drought the town fell back on it many times, to supplement the supply from Hogan’s Dam. Citizens got accustomed to the spring’s hard water, and welcomed the times when water from the dam was again flowing into their homes.
Along about the 1940s was the time when Howard Jackson, the superintendent of the Pulaski water department acquired the nickname, “Hardwater Jackson,” and mention of his name even today to any of the old timers brings on some comment about the times when the town’s water contained a good deal of limestone. Mr. Jackson was born into local waterworks, and knew about all a person needed to know about every phase of it. He and Mayor Ernest Calfee were known for their ability to get water to the home of every citizen, if it was at all possible. One could almost imagine them actually stretching the cast iron lines to make them reach the customers.
At this point I will discuss the unique and complicated system of billing citizens for water from almost the beginning until around the time of the construction of Gatewood Dam. I say complicated because I had to work with it when I came to work for the town.
At first there were not very many meters to measure the amount of water being used per month by each user, so the system used for billing was to count the fixtures in each home or business establishment. If a customer had a single faucet at the kitchen sink, the charge would be the minimum. There would be another charge for a commode, then even another if the bathroom had a wash basin. And, of course, another for an outside faucet (which was watched closely by officials, lest this faucet be used for watering the lawn, or the garden, or washing several motor vehicles, or the same one every day).
A bathroom in the basement was usually kept a secret by the resident, since the town didn’t make its practice to send people out to inspect.
It was probably in the 1950s before there were sufficient meters at residences to warrant the practice of charging according to the number of gallons used. Later the entire town was metered, and the old method of counting fixtures was done away with.
I’m sure that by this time my readers are beginning to get bored with water stories, so I will wind this series up, short of being a complete up-to-date history of Pulaski waterworks. I will not attempt to give dates and stories connected with the construction of the filtration plant, the many storage tanks, the politics that went along with the bond issue and construction of Gatewood Dam and Reservoir, extension of water mains, and the sale of the Hogan’s Dam and Reservoir. Previous articles have covered most of these items.

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

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