The Croton Aqueduct was a large,
complicated water works that was engineered between 1837 and 1842 to provide
New York City with a steady supply of clean water.
Before the aqueduct
system, New Yorkers got their water from cisterns, wells, natural springs, and
other bodies of water. The reasons
for building the aqueduct were:
the rapid population
growth that took place during the 19th century
number of terrifying fires that destroyed large parts of the city, whose
buildings were mainly made of wood.
* an increased demand for
water for use in industry
* the existing water
supply had become polluted and unsanitary,
this contributed to an
increase in disease and such epidemics as cholera and yellow fever.
The iron pipe encased in brick masonry
was laid from the Croton Dam in northern Westchester County. It traveled over the High Bridge
(the oldest of New York's great bridges at that time) that spanned the Harlem
River at 173rd Street. It then went down the west side of
Manhattan and into the Receiving Reservoir, which looked like a rectangular
fortress, located in the area then known as
"Yorkville," between 79th and 86th streets and Sixth and Seventh
Avenues. Water flowed from the Receiving
Reservoir to the Distributing Reservoir (also known as the Croton Reservoir), a
similar fortification located on the site of what is now the New York Public
Library at Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. Clean water was
distributed from there to homes and businesses in the lower parts of the city.
The Aqueduct opened
in October 1842 and provided the city with water until
1940 when Robert Moses, Commissioner of
Parks and Recreation, ordered it drained and filled to create the Great Lawn.
that provided the lands of the mission with fresh water,
descended from the system that was also in use in Rome, the Middle-East
and Central America. In Southern Texas they adopted
the system too. The
acequia was renovated and is nowadays providing a Spanish
colonial demonstration farm with water. Please
click for more information on Espada.