History Writings

This page will just be some misc musings concerning history. As I go through the actual Water History, I may move some of the info from this page to the home page tab. We shall see.

Tidbit: On December 17, 1936, the water engineer made note of a lawsuit concerning the selling of the Meredith’s Ford Bridge to a salvage contractor. Because the contractor took so long to claim his property, the dam at Loch Raven was completed and the reservoir filled. Once filled, he was unable to dismantle the bridge because it was under water.

Wanna buy a bridge?


1897 – Annual Report of the Water Department for the fiscal year ending December 31, 1897. The Chief Engineer of the Water Board, Nicholas S. Hill Jr., reports on new mains, a brief history of the water supply (Jones Falls and Gunpowder), and pumping stations.

Hill makes note of a Free Water Movement, “There has been a movement on foot, which upon the face of it sounds most plausible and pleasing to many people – the so-called ‘free water’ movement. To introduce water to a city costs money and as the funds of the city have to be raised by taxation, there is no such thing as free water. The amount of water actually needed by the city is not to be measured by the quantity supplied, for in most of our cities the quantity wasted is larger than that legitimately used. This is shown by the decrease in consumption when measures are adopted to check waste. People never think to save what cost them nothing, and this holds true in the matter of water supplied by the city. If the gas company should abolish gas meters and furnish gas at a fixed price per annum, does anyone doubt that the consumption would be doubled?

Hill goes on to state, “That if  the water tax was merged into the general tax levy, and the Water Department were then supported by appropriations from the council, the revenues raised for the purpose of water supply would surely be diverted to other uses of the council, with the result that our system of water supply would deteriorate and instead of having an abundant supply of pure water, we would find that owing to insufficient appropriations, our supply was being greatly endangered.” He doesn’t trust the City Council to keep the water supply as a priority.

 With free water, people would use the water for everything from steam to water motors in hotels, restaurants, saloons, and warehouses. They would use water where they now use electricity.



Excerpts from a 101 page document entitled, Anti Fluoridation Data compiled by the Committee on Research, International Chiropractor’s Association. The document is broken into ten parts: (I) Newspaper articles and editorial, (II) Letters to the editor, (III) City council actions and correspondence, (IV) State health department opinions and engineers, (V) Statements of dental and medical doctors and research chemist, (VI) Talks and speeches, (VII) Extracts from professional journals, magazines and books, (VIII) Citizens medical reference bureau, Inc., and health freedom league of Arkansas, (IX) National research council, (X) Miscellaneous. Includes an extensive bibliography. The first objection to fluoride in the drinking water comes from the Christian Scientist in an article of the Star-Courier dated 10/3/51. Arnold Burnett of Peoria is quoted as saying, “I do not believe in the efficacy of medicine and I feel that the city has no right to force me to take medicine each time I drink water.” Syndicated columnist David Baxter writes, “Right here I am reminded that point six of J. Edgar Hoover’s Civil Defense Program warns specifically about the vulnerability of our water supply. Just let the enemy get his hands on the fluorination controls and open a valve and let into the water a deadly amount of fluoride and he can wipe out an entire city.” From the Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio 10/8/51: “Sodium fluoride is used in rat poison. I (J.R. Kurinsky, Chiropractor) believe it is impossible for the body to assimilate it completely.” The chiropractor’s point of view is brought to light in a New York Times article of 10/7/51 where Dr. Sobel is quoted as saying, “…it would seem advisable to restrict the amount of magnesium taken in the diet in order to avoid a retardation of bone development by fluoride.” Dr. Harris of M.I.T. notes, “Fluorine is a toxic element. The amount of which is effective in water supplies has been demonstrated to interfere with important processes in other parts of the body. When consumed only a small fraction reaches the tooth surface. Most passes through the body unabsorbed and a significant fraction is deposited in the bones where it may interfere with the growth of bone.” Other newspaper articles come from the towns of Springfield, Massachusetts, Des Moines, Iowa, Jamestown, NY and many more. Quoted in the Preston Iowa Times, “Webster (Miriam) defines medication as ‘impregnating a liquid with a poison’. Sodium fluoride is a poison, a deadly poison, the best rat killer in the world because it is odorless and tasteless. If too much chloride is put in the water (to purify it) it can be tasted. If too much sodium fluoride is put in the water, it can not be tasted or smelled. If your drinking water is fluoridated and through some mechanical failure or act of sabotage large quantities are put in the water you would not know it. You might not wake up some morning. Would it be any satisfaction to you to have better teeth perhaps?” The Times article continues, “I am told we should accept fluoridation because the Public Health Department says we should. The Secretary of State said Alger Hiss was OK and Hiss was convicted. The State Department said that McCarthy was wrong, that Service (John S.) was loyal – several weeks ago Service was discharged for being subversive. Departments and Bureaus do make mistakes.” Further down in the article it is noted that the citizens can get in touch with Senator Richard Nixon asking him to back a Bill in Congress to put a stop to this un-American activity. The Springfield Union of 12/15/50 makes a strange comparison: “In the Dark Ages, a city was ravaged by the plague. All remedies were tried: Death marched on, taking all the afflicted. But the town’s cobbler, stricken, heard of a new remedy, cabbage water, which it was said surely would cure the plague: The cobbler took cabbage water and he recovered. With revived hopes the townsfolk gave cabbage water to all the sick, but they all died. Hope blasted, the town wise men met secretly to discuss the meaning of this and came forth with this solemn conclusion: Cabbage water will surely cure the plague, but only in the case of cobblers.” The Springfield Sunday Republican dated 11/18/51: “Water Fluoridation Experiment Violates Basic Principles” Free consent of human subjects not obtained. They (opponents) cite 10 standards laid down by judge at Nuremberg war crimes trials as binding upon all experimenters upon human beings. The basic moral, ethical and legal principles set forth by the international tribunal in 1946 as being necessary safeguards to human beings under medical experimentation, are being violated in the United States by fluoridation of public water supplies.” The ten standards are, 1) Voluntary consent 2) Fruitful results 3) Justification 4) Avoid suffering 5) Certain test ruled out 6) Degree of risk 7) Precautions. eight) Qualified persons 9) Subject can withdraw 10) Responsibility of Scientist.  – All violated. Many more of the newspaper articles reiterate the above warnings and opposing point of views. The articles and editorial comments have titles such as, “What of effect on middle aged?” “He died with perfect teeth” “One man’s meat, another man’s poison” “Forced mass medication” “Foresees other experimentation” The final words given in a talk by M.E. Baumeister, D.C. to the Walla Walla Lions Club, “Let us keep our water supply the way God made it. Man it seems has already made too much of a mess trying to improve his work.”

Defending the Water System:

Three separate files covering two separate wars and the effort made to defend the water systems during each:

October 22, 1917 thru December 31, 1917 – File No. 488: Correspondence between the water department and the Maryland Council of Defense concerning the placing of troops around the plants and reservoirs. From Walter Lee, water engineer to General Carl Gray – Two companies of the 5th regiment on guard duty at Lake Montebello, one at Lake Clifton and one at Loch Raven. Lee talks about organizing his own guard until the new Second Regiment of the State Guard could be raised. Lee asks for more troops to be on guard. A follow up letter on December 26, 1917 from Lee to Council on Defense notes that on Lee’s trip across country, every major water works was fully guarded by the state’s militia. Therefore he was to dismiss the civilian guards as of January 1, 1918 and wants the State’s troops for duty. No provision in budget was made for troops. December 31, 1917 letter to Lee from Council on Defense – State troops need to be requested from the mayor, to the governor.

1941 thru 1943 – File, Defense: March 27, 1941 memo from Leon Small to all employees: “Because of unusual conditions that exist at this time it is the duty of each employee to be alert and watchful with respect to the presence of unauthorized persons on, in, or about the Bureau’s properties or structures.” Informational sheet from Public Health, July 1941 on “Precautions taken to protect London’s water supply”. December 11, 1941 Notice (unsigned) to employees: “With the declaration of total war by the Axis powers, it is important that all employees on watch duty shall be at their posts constantly … they will be relieved at their post and not at the time clock … after sundown and before sunrise, all employees working on the outside of the plants must keep on the paths and roads. Under no circumstance cut across lawns, as you may be considered a suspicious character.” December 12, 1941 memo from Small to employees concerning employees’ involvement with local defense organizations. He insists that employees talk this over with their immediate supervisors first to make sure it will not conflict with their duties at the treatment plant. December 12, 1941 list of Alien Personnel: None, Naturalized citizens: Two – Gaspara LaFata and James Quinn. All others: American born. December 13, 1941 Notice: “Fresh automobile tracks were observed on the lawns adjacent to the barrier leading from No. 2 plant to Hillen Road. Anyone caught evading any barrier will be immediately suspended from duty for one week.” December 13, 1941 memo notifying certain employees that they need to be available (telephonically) at all times.  Informational sheet on “Augmentation of Water Supplies” by Augustin Prentiss. Instructions for operating portable chlorinators. December 20, 1941 memo concerning ‘Black-outs’. December 23, 1941 memo concerning the Committee on Civilian defense. December 30, 1941 memo: Instructions to Operators of Air-Raid Signals. January 7, 1942 letter concerning cooperation with Civil defense and their warning system. January 14, 1942 memo concerning testing of Air Raid Signal. January 17, 1942 booklet: Changes in Priorities Procedure; Chlorine Allocations. February 24, 1942 document Chlorination of Water Mains After Bombing stating that “It is the present policy of the Bureau of Water Supply to repair bombed mains during daylight hours … should serious conflagration occur, mains supplying such areas would be repaired at once …” Informational brochure on the installation of photo switches, for security of buildings. Copy of – Title 32 – National Defense Chapter IX – Office of Production Management Subchapter B – Priorities Division Part 978 – Utilities Maintenance, Repair and Supplies Preference Rating Order P-46. Copy of – Confidential Instruction for Completing 3rd. C.A. Form CF-1, used for recording information concerning sensitive points which are of vital importance to civil defense. March 6, 1942 memo with attachment on “Air Raid Precautions”.  November 21, 1942 Black out instructions.

1942 thru 1943 – File, Guards: May 15, 1942 memo from Leon Small to Brig. General D.H. Mohr, Maryland State Guard, confirming the loan of 21 Winchester rifles and 30 boxes of ammunition. Captain Lutz signed for them. July 3, 1942 memo from Bailey to Small about the inadequacy of the guards at Montebello. Map of guard post attached. February 23, 1943 memo from Major General Reckord to Senator James Lindsay concerns recommendations for the placing of troops as guards at various Maryland locations. April 12, 1943 memo from Bailey to Small concerning the “… great many inconsistencies which exist in the present set up of the guarding of Montebello Filters.” He goes on to give many examples such as harassing employees with a show of force – “we have guns and will use them” to just allowing anyone in – an insurance sales man trying to drum up business. June 21, 1943 memo from Bailey to Small noting that Mayor McKeldin is expected for a visit. He also notes the lack of security the existing guards have been providing (the reason for the Mayors visit was to see if more guards were needed, when actually better guards would do). It was mentioned that because of the mayors scheduled visit, more guards were brought on duty and when the mayor cancelled (due to the death of Mr. Cobb) the extra guards all left. A car entered the property and headed to the waste lake area, where the occupants got out and sat beneath a tree. Bailey went to investigate and found the guard on duty was there with them and had left his rifle and other gear behind – he was arrested for abandoning his post. Two of the occupants of the car were former guards, relieved of duty the day before.  June 28, 1943 memo from Bailey to Small noting a changing of the guard at Montebello. The noncommissioned officers are staying in the lecture room at plant #2 and the officers are staying in Hopkins’ residence. August 18, 1943 report from 1st Sergeant, Archie Phillips, Montebello Unit, to Lt. Col. Paul Southerland, Prov. Military Police Batt. concerning a man ‘in a drunken stupor and unable to operate his car’. Report states “… checked his identity … Lodge card, business cards and fire wardens card … had his card searched … found 36 detailed photographs of allied transport and fighting planes … photos belonged to Charles Hanel, who was of German extraction … notified F.B.I. … appeared to think it was of great importance.” Another August 18, 1943 report from Archie Phillips to Paul Southerland – concerns an August 8th incident where a civilian (Carl Mussbauer) refused to halt when he entered the grounds. The military police subdued him and took him in for questioning and then taken to Northeastern Police station and charged with trespassing, released and then re-arrested by the military police for more questioning. Found he was a Nazi sympathizer – “Many time expressed his admiration for Hitler and the Nazi Regime.” The FBI came and took him away. November 4, 1943 memo from Bailey to Southerland concerning visitors to the Montebello Plants who originated from countries of the Axis Powers. The list consists of visitors from Poland, Bulgaria, Argentina, Korea and Japan. April 26, 1944 memo from Filter Engineer Bailey to Mr. Buschman returning 4 revolvers from on loan. At the bottom of this memo is the slogan: “Water Is a Vital War Material, Stop Leaks, Avoid Waste.” May 27, 1944 report from Phillips to Mohr concerning a suspicious incident on the Yellott Bridge. A car stopped at mid point on the bridge and tossed a large object into the reservoir. They then sped away. A search of the area turned up nothing but a man was posted on top of the dam to shoot anything floating towards the dam, which may be an explosive.




1913 – 1914 File Folder 1c, Arrest and Misc: Various arrest reports from Chief of Police, Wm. Sheehey, posted at Loch Raven to Mr. Beatty. Mr. Sheehey starts his reports noting the conditions of the camps.

July 13, 1913: “…in the King Ganey camp, they have not as yet complied with the orders of Dr. Foster(?) to have windows and doors in cooking houses screened…Patrolman Smith’s horse, ‘John’ is still lame and I have given orders that he is not to be used for the present.”

September 14, 1913: “One of the horses in Mullan camp was taken sick with colic last Sunday and died. I saw to it that he was properly buried in lime. A horse belonging to Wm. Finn died from the same disease. This horse was taken off the property by a fertilizer company. Two Baltimore City police officers came out Thursday looking for a colored man wanted in the city for running over a child.”

September 28, 1913: “Conditions in different camps I found satisfactory on my daily visits of inspection. In Mullan’s camp, a new pit for refuse was dug. Last Tuesday night William Carter, colored laborer at Mullan’s camp, held up John Green, also colored who works for the Roanoke Bridge Co. and attempted to rob him. He found no money but took his coat.”(It was later noted that Carter was sentenced to six months to the House of Corrections).

October 12, 1913: “The sanitary conditions are good…I was asked on Saturday, by Baltimore officers to be on the lookout for a colored man by the name of Warren Garrison, wanted in Baltimore for cutting a colored woman.”

October 26, 1913: “The sanitary conditions in the different camps continue to be good. There were two arrest made during the week. On Sunday, officer Smith arrested William Redmond, colored, for being disorderly and assaulting a colored man called Clifford. I took him to Towson and on Monday afternoon he was given a hearing before Justice Hopkins, who fined him two dollars and cost. On Wednesday, a white man named Jack King, who was working for the Roanoke Bridge Co. was arrested for the larceny of a gold watch. The county authorities had been looking for him for sometime and had asked me to be on the lookout for him. As soon as I located him I notified them and they sent Officer German of the county force for him. He was taken to Towson and had a hearing before Justice Hopkins. He was held for court.”  

November 9, 1913: “…in the Claiborne-Johnston Camp, a new pit was dug…at the Roanoke Co. new sleeping quarters are being erected…King Ganey camp…more attention to cleaning pig sty…there had been some carelessness. Saturday evening about five o’clock, Benita Rivero, a laborer at the new dam had his right arm cut off. He has been working as signal man at derrick #7 at east side of new dam. As near as could be learned, he was working around the hoisting engine which runs that derrick when his coat was caught between the cogs, pulling his arm in and severing it near the shoulder. Dr. Long of Hamilton rendered first aid and afterwards he was taken to University Hospital.”

December 7, 1913: “Paolo Tripoti, one of the laborers on the new dam was hurt…one of the concrete buckets struck a scantling, causing it to fall, in falling it struck him in the head. The injury was not a serious one…Luigi Angarani, another workman, was taken to University Hospital…with pneumonia…the carpenters shop belonging to the King Ganey co. …was destroyed by fire probably caused by sparks from the dinkey engine.”

December 21, 1913: “A complaint was made on Tuesday that some unknown parties were cutting down and taking away trees to be used for Christmas purposes from the lot known as the Sixty-acre field.” Undated memo from Bailey to Capt Sheehey, “Mr. Whitman complains that several negroes have been up to his house for no apparent reason. Please direct Officer Smith to pass through this property…to order any laborers…to keep to the roads.”

January 4, 1914: “On Thursday, John Martin, a Spaniard, was injured while working at the gatehouse of the new dam. It seems a large stone slipped the derrick chains and struck a large timber which flew up and struck him in the breast. He was thrown several feet to one of the gate shafts, down which he fell a distance of about 25 feet. It is not thought that his injuries are serious.”


4 thoughts on “History Writings”

  1. Ronald Parks said:

    Also found this interesting tidbit on guarding the water:
    June 14, 1940 thru September 17, 1942 – File Folder No. 1414: Included is a 1932 list of those who had served during the World War (I?) who work for the Bureau. June 14, 1940 General Order restricting visitors to the filtration plants. Also memo restricting visitors from pumping stations. 4 copies of Sabotage and Water Service – Water and War. July 29, 1940 letter from the AWWA to two hundred key men in water supply field concerning the safeguarding of their water systems, noting “Aliens or members of foreign loyalty groups do not belong in public service plants.” December 20, 1940 memo from Baltimore County engineer, Sam Green to Small asking that he considers having guards placed around the Loch Raven dam. January 21, 1941 memo from Small to Cobb requesting armed guards for protection in lieu of arming plant personnel. April 1, 1941 memo from Small to the police commissioner requesting two pistols for the patrolmen at Loch Raven and Prettyboy dams. Another request the same day from Cobb for 20 pistols. April 9, 1941 reply to request – police can sell them guns at 50 cents each from their unclaimed property room. June 2, 1941 letter from the United States Construction Corporation to Mayor Jackson telling him how easy it would be to blow up Loch Raven dam. Followed by a June 19 letter about how submersible-floating mines could be used to blow it up and the city should place screens in the water. Small decides to write the Navy department on this issue. September 6, 1941 memo from Small to the Enoch Pratt library asking that they not distribute any documentation in relation to the structures of the Water Department. September 24, 1941 – another request for 20 more guns. December 11, 1941 memo from Chevrolet-Baltimore Plant to Small informing him that they will be installing locked manhole covers over the city’s manhole covers to protect their water valves. September 11, 1942 report by military police on stopping a vehicle that passed through some barriers at the dam – they shot him three times, the last time striking the fender of his car. When he got out, they asked why didn’t he answer them and he replied he didn’t hear them. He was the gatehouse operator.

  2. peter bowe said:

    can you please identify the picture at top of the page–lake roland?

    • Ronald Parks said:

      It is the town of Warren, on the Big Gunpowder Falls, prior to being flooded when the dam at Loch Raven was raised.

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