Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recollections of a Little Girl on the Early Days of the High Bridge.

In 1849-1850 Catherine Elizabeth Havens wrote a diary that was eventually published by Henry Collins Brown as Diary of a Little Girl in Old New York 

Starting on page 85, which corresponds to some time between April and May she wrote:

"One Fourth of July, my father got a carriage from Hathorn's stable and took my mother and my sister and my brother and me out to see the High Bridge. It is built with beautiful arches, and brings the Croton water to New York. My brother says he remembers riding to the place where the Croton aqueduct crossed Harlem River by a syphon before the Bridge was built, and the man who took charge of it opened a jet at the lowest point, and sent a two-inch stream up a hundred feet.
My mother says when she was young everybody drank the Manhattan water. Everybody had a cistern for rain water for washing, in the back-yards. And when she lived in Maiden Lane, the servants had to go up to the corner of Broadway and get the drinking water from the pump there. It was a great bother, and so when my grandfather built his new house at 19 Maiden Lane, he asked the aldermen if he might run a pipe to the kitchen of his house from the pump at the corner of Broadway, and they said he could, and he had a faucet in the kitchen, and it was the first house in the city to have drinking water in it, and after that several gentlemen called on my grandfather and asked to see his invention. My mother says the Manhattan water was brackish and not very pleasant to drink."

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