Artesian Well #5 - E SIDE 10TH AVE ALLEY B/N 5TH & 6TH STS

 Print Listing Historical Name - Artesian Well #5
Style - No Style
Built Year - 1886
State ID - 5WLXXX9

Description - According to archival records about the Artesian Well #5, the well is approximately 1160 feet in the ground. On the surface, there is a metal pipe (see photos), which is approximately 6 inches in diameter. The water is coming up at a relatively slow rate and appears to be seeping into the ground at approximately the same rate.

Historical Background - The fifth Artesian Well company was formed in May of 1886. It was incorporated with W. Ross as one of four incorporators. At that time, the location of the well had not been determined, as recorded by the Greeley Tribune of May 19, 1886. One week later, according to the Tribune of May 26, 1886, a tower for the artesian well had been set up at the rear of the lot owned by William Ross (who was the owner of the Oak & Adams House), at the corner of 10th Avenue and 5th Street. It further stated that the drilling would begin in a few days. The June 16, 1886 Tribune stated that artesian well #5 had just been completed and water was found at 1160 feet, with the drilling going down to 1287 feet. The June 16, 1886 Tribune stated that, “The well is to be at once tubed and pumped.” The first artesian well, located in Lincoln Park, was completed in 1884 and struck water at 1200 feet. The water, which had carbonate and bi-carbonate of soda, was thought to have medicinal qualities. Dr. Jesse Hawes, a respected local physician, analyzed the quality of the water and found it “almost chemically pure, save the presence of free carbonic acid, (gas). The presence of the carbonic acid gives to the natural water a life and sparkle that is delicious and healthful. To persons suffering from irritable stomach and bowels, dyspepsia, and some forms of diseased kidneys, the water will be decidedly [sic] medicinal, and to all it will be a most valuable acquisition.” (See Greeley Tribune, Artesian Well Extra, Wednesday, May 28, 1884.) There were a total of eight artesian wells drilled in Greeley between 1884 and 1886 due to impure surface water, which made residents ill. David Boyd, in his History of Greeley & the Union Colony of Colorado, quoted Ralph Meeker: The waters beyond all question are highly beneficial to invalids. More people patronize the well to-day than when it was first opened. Conductors and brakemen in the railway trains use it exclusively, carrying it away in milk cans. A gentlemen in Platteville makes regular journeys of some twenty miles for this water, which he says has done him much good. (From Greeley Tribune of September 24, 1884) People flocked to the well for drinking water, and many believed the water helped relieve illnesses. The August 27, 1884 Tribune compared Greeley’s artesian well water with a well in France, where people go for healing from various ailments. The medicinal qualities were highly touted, and their effectiveness, and a shortage of artesian water caused the mayor and other citizens of Greeley to form another artesian well company, to dig on the corner of Pine and Madison, by the Presbyterian Church. (Greeley Tribune, August 20, 1884, page 1; Greeley Tribune, August 27, 1884, page 1) David Boyd showed that the artesian wells stopped overflowing after the eight wells were drilled and thus had to be pumped. In fact it was as much the rage as Gun Wa’s Chinese remedies are to-day. But its charm has passed away. Is it because that it has become so common, made to do quite mean service in our bed-rooms, kitchens or laundries; or is it that it no longer is a natural overflow, having now to be pumped as any other less mysterious water subject to obvious laws of gravity? Whatever the cause, it stands discredited as a panacea for stomach and kidney troubles, those steadily drinking it being just as dyspeptic and dysuric as those drinking the common well water. (Boyd, page 212) By November 1886, the wells were not yielding very much water because of pumping, particularly from No. 2, the quality of which “was so much improved by the pumping that this was resorted to in all of the wells that have been subsequently sunk...” (Greeley Tribune, November 17, 1886, page 1.) In November 1886, a Tribune article suggests that there were conversations about consolidating the artesian well companies and connecting the wells with the best flowing well with pipes, to furnish a larger area with drinking water. The November 17, 1886 Tribune reported that, “The proprietor of the Oasis well offers to pump from his plant enough to fill all of the cisterns of the various wells until spring and continuously..., provided the owners of the different wells will lay pipe connecting their various systems with his Oasis plant.” (Greeley Tribune, November 17, 1886, page 1.) In December 1886, several directors of various artesian wells met to discuss consolidation. The company that drilled the wells, Swan Brothers, agreed to pump the chosen well for one year, if the companies agreed to pay for the drill rig and water tank. Swan Brothers will agree to pump any one of the wells that the companies may decide upon on the following conditions. The companies to pay for the wood rig and tank which will cost $800, and make their own connection with the main. Swan Brothers to furnish all the necessary pumping machinery and deliver 500 barrels of water per day for $175 per month for not less than three months nor for more than one year. The cost to each stockholder will be about $10 if seven companies join. A resolution was passed requesting the directors of each well to meet at an early day and appoint one of their number to represent them, and this committee to investigate and decide what is best to be done and report at once. (Greeley Tribune, December 1, 1886) The City Council held a special meeting in February 1887 to discuss the idea of connecting the wells. There are no records to indicate the consolidation and connecting the wells happened. It is likely that Artesian Well #5 was pumped with a windmill, as indicated by the Tribune in 1887: “Artesian Well companies # 3 and 4 contemplate putting up windmills to pump their well, No. 5 will probably follow suit.” (Greeley Tribune, March 23, 1887.) In 1903, City residents voted to fund a project bringing water from the mountains to supply, in part because of a city water shortage. There was also discussion about regulating the use of water for irrigation purposes, which was done by mid-May 1903. A report of the U.S. Geological Survey of July 1903 indicated that several of the artesian wells were no longer producing water. “No water was found in the lower shale, so the boring was filled with gravel to the water horizon and its moderate flow utilized. The other wells were not sunk below the water-bearing bed. All the wells were pumped and furnished moderate supplies, but soon after pumping was begun the flows ceased. Several of the wells have been abandoned.” (N.H. Darton, Preliminary Report on the Geology and Underground Water Resources of the Central Great Plains Region, United States Geological Survey, July 1903, page 361.) The April 2 Tribune stated that the Lincoln Park well was in poor condition and in need of repair. Two weeks later, the Tribune reported that, in spite of potential litigation, the City would work toward bringing water from the mountains. At the end of May 1903, the Tribune reported that soon the City would begin laying water pipes in the streets. According to Peggy Ford, the citizens approved a bond issue for a project to bring water in from the mountains, which occurred in 1908. It is likely that the wells were not used as frequently once the water was piped from the mountains.