December 30, 1908: Spring Water Supply for Abilene

View of Spring and Pumping Station From Across the Smoky Hill River

View of Spring and Pumping Station From Across the Smoky Hill River

December 30, 1908: Municipal Journal and Engineer article–Spring Water Supply of Abilene. By A.C. Romig, City Engineer. “The source of water supply for the city of Abilene, Kan., is a remarkably strong spring of pure, soft water located on the left bank of Smoky Hill River, four miles west of Abilene, fifty feet north of the shore line and one foot above low-water mark in the river to the surface of the spring. It is on the line of the old Fort Riley and Santa Fe trail, and on the present route of three Trans-Continental lines of railway….In the late [eighteen] forties, during the California gold fever, and in the fifties and sixties, this point was a noted camping ground for emigrants crossing the plains, and at an earlier date a resting place for the Indians in their migration north and south, who attached to the spring a multiplicity of Indian folk-lore and superstitions, and poured into the waters of the spring oblations in propitiation of their god Mantau.

In order to control and utilize this water, we found it necessary to build a wall…around the spring 30 feet in diameter, and to make it 29 feet high to carry it above the high water mark. In excavating for the foundation we struck bed rock at a depth of four feet and found the water issuing from a crevice between two slabs of limestone rock….

From data obtained in 1889 by measuring the end area, the length of channel and the velocity of current in the channel of discharge, we computed the output of the spring at 1,036,000 gallons per day….We think we have an ample supply for many years to come, and the acme in purity of running water…

This is a wholesome drinking water; it contains excellent, soft appetizing mineral ingredients, and is of great organic purity, as is shown by the very small amount of albumenoid ammonia and organic matter amounting to not much more than traces.”

Reference: “Spring Water Supply of Abilene.” (1908). Municipal Journal and Engineer. 25:27(December 30, 1908): 924.

The home built by Fred Mehl outside of Abilene, Kansas.

The home built by Fred Mehl outside of Abilene, Kansas.

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