The City Of Chester.
the approval of capitalists at its inception. The constant references in the newspapers to the advantages which must follow the use of a better means than oil-lamps for furnishing light to the large manufacturing establishments which were then located in the borough, directed public opinion so favorably to the scheme that on April 4, 1856, the Chester Gas Company was incorporated, and William Bucknell, of Philadelphia, assumed the responsibility of erecting the works on the east side of Welsh Street, and laying the pipes in the streets. So rapidly was the enterprise carried forward that on Sept. 19, 1856, for the first time gas was used in the town of Chester. This statement, however, applied to that furnished by a company for general consumption, for several years before that date John M. Broomall had used private gas-works to light his dwelling on Penn and Second Streets. The officers of the company from the date of incorporation have been as follows:
Presidents. - 1856, John M. Broomall; 1858, John Larkin, Jr.; 1859, Frederick Fairlamb; 1870, Jonathan R. Johnson.
Secretaries. - 1856, Frederick Fairlamb, until 1859, when the offices of secretary and treasurer were consolidated, one person being elected to discharge their duties.
Treasurers. - 1856, William Eyre, Jr.; 1857, .John Larkin, Jr.; 1858-59, John H. Baker; 1865, John O. Deshong, Jr., who resigned on June 5, 1882, and J. Howard Roop was elected treasurer and secretary.
Within recent years the works have been largely increased by the erection of additional gasometers, and many miles of service-pipe have been laid. The mills, many dwellings, and stores in Upland are supplied with gas from these works.
Farmers' Market Company. - About the middle of the last century - for in 1745 an ancient deed mentions "the proposed market-place" - the old market-house in the square at the intersection of Market and Third Streets was built. It stood on a brick platform about fifty feet in length, extending along Market Street, and thirty in breadth, surrounded by curbstones. The roof was supported by seven brick pillars on each side, and between the third and fourth columns, on the east and west side, were small arches, while the ceiling was arched, plastered, and covered with a shingle roof. About 1830 a frame structure was erected over the market-house, which was used as a town hall, and was reached by a wooden stairway on the east side of the building. In the spring of 1857 the old building was taken down, and in May of the same year Joshua P. and William Eyre, Jr., built a market-house back of National Hall, on Edgmont Avenue. As the city grew the demand for a commodious market-place became so pressing that in the spring of 1868 an association was formed under the title of "Farmers' Market Company of Chester." A lot extending from Fourth to Fifth Street, in the rear of the old prison and court-house, was purchased from John Cochran, stock to the amount of eighteen thousand dollars subscribed for, and the present market building erected, which was opened for the sale of provisions on Dec. 11, 1868. The cost of the lot and building amounted to twenty-six thousand dollars. The first officers of the company were John G. Dyer, president; Benjamin F. Baker, secretary; and Frederick J. Hinkson, Sr., treasurer. The present officers are as follows: President, Lewis Palmer; Secretary and Treasurer, Edmund Jones; Superintendent, Edward Jones; Directors, Lewis Palmer, George Trimble, H. L. Paschall, William Sharpless, Samuel H. Wells.
The Water-Works. - Very early in the history of the awakening of Chester from its lethargy of a century and a half the need of an abundant water-supply in the town became apparent. James Campbell, in his efforts to develop the ancient borough into a manufacturing centre, encountered the greatest difficulties in securing sufficient water to supply the boilers of his mills with steam, and in the effort to avoid the cost and labor of carting water from Chester Creek he spent thousands of dollars in sinking wells in the yards of the Pioneer factory and the Henry Clay Mills, on Broad and Mechanic Streets. To overcome the difficulty an effort was made, in 1853, to establish a private water company in Chester, but the project failed, several persons only would subscribe for the stock, and the amount pledged reached but a few thousand dollars. The necessity for the introduction of water became constantly more pressing as the town improved, - the safety of property, the demands of large business enterprises, the public craving for a better water than generally found in the wells in Chester (which was distasteful to many persons by reason of its peculiar flavor), the delayed wash-days (when the cisterns and rain-barrels were empty), all combined to awaken public demand for the erection of water-works. Particularly was this the case in the South Ward, where many of the mills were erected at points removed from the creek. In April, 1866, an act of Assembly was obtained empowering the city of Chester to build water-works, should a majority of the property-holders vote in favor of ratifying the provisions of the act. An election was held which resulted in the Middle and North Wards refusing to ratify the act, while the South Ward adopted it. But the want still existed; and as the city extended, and became more compactly built, the danger from fire increased and rendered it imperative that some action should be taken at once.
The act of March 2, 1867, authorizing the councilmen of the South Ward of the city of Chester, their successors, etc., to erect water-works, was accepted April 15th of that year, and the board of directors formed, consisting of Amos Gartside, William Ward, William A. Todd, William B. Reaney, and William G. Price. Amos Gartside was elected president; William Ward, treasurer; William A. Todd, secretary.