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Record Group: North Jersey District Water Supply Commission
Series: Photographs of the Wanaque Waterworks Project, 1920-1923
Accession #: 1993.023
Series #:  SZNOR001
Guide Date:   3/1993 (JK)
Volume:  0.5 c.f. [approx. 150 photographs]

Content Note | Images

Project History

A joint municipal water supply for northeastern New Jersey was first proposed by the New Jersey Water Supply Commission in 1911. Their plan called for a reservoir on the Wanaque River which, together with Greenwood Lake, would yield 75 to 80 million gallons per day. Negotiations failed between the municipalities interested at that time, however, and in 1915, the City of Newark applied for the right to develop the Wanaque supply alone. The following year, on the request of the cities of Newark and Paterson, the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission prepared plans and cost estimates for the proposed Wanaque Reservoir. The Commission subsequently received a grant from the state Board of Conservation and Development for construction of the reservoir, which was to begin within one year.

Due to litigation, however, all work in connection with the project was delayed for two years. Finally, in October 1918, a supply contract was entered into between the City of Newark and the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission. The 1918 contract provided for a daily minimum yield of not less than 50 million gallons per day from the Wanaque supply. It was also understood at that time that Paterson, Passaic, Clifton, and other municipalities would eventually participate in the project. The Commission let construction contracts, and the work began. The reservoir was completed in 1923.


Snow, F. Herbert. Report Regarding the Wanaque Project. August 1927.

Content Note

This series consists of photographs of the initial construction of the Wanaque Waterworks during the period from November 1920 to October 1923. The views show the production of reservoir features, equipment and techniques used, panoramas of the surrounding area and existing structures, sources of and the diversion of water, and the laboratory and other facilities used by the contractors and the Commission. The photographs were originally housed in a large album presented to Gov. George S. Silzer. However, for purposes of conservation, the photographs were removed from the acidic pages and placed in individual protective sleeves. The original album captions, which include much detailed information, are listed below with their corresponding photograph numbers and dates. Most of the prints measure 5"x7"; there are also several composite panoramic views.



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Created April 2004