Baltimore, bridges, Dams, engineering, Gunpowder Falls, HISTORY, Jones Falls, Lake Montebello, Lake Roland, maps, POLITICS, Public Works, Research, water history
Quite an interesting find: A map from 1867. What makes this map so interesting is that in all my research I never came across any references for having the Gunpowder Falls connected to a reservoir called Tiffany. Everything I read said it would flow by gravity to a new reservoir, Lake Montebello.
First off, let my give a little history on how this water supply came about. Starting in 1836: Samuel Smith, Mayor, appoints a committee to hire the services of a Delaware Engineer named John Randall, to study and recommend a plan for the Baltimore Water Supply. In 1837 John Randall proposed that the City of Baltimore gets its water from the Great Gunpowder Falls. Suggested building two dams, one dam on the Gunpowder near Tysons Mill and the second dam on the Western Run near York Road. Water from these dams was to flow by gravity into the valley of Jones Falls to a receiving reservoir at about Elevation 300. Lake Roland is at 300’
In 1850 consulting engineers are hired to look into Randall’s proposal and then in 1852 a water commission is formed.
1854 Mr. John Smith Hollins, Mayor. Mr. Alfred Duval, Civil Engineer of Baltimore and a private citizen, presented a report to the Council recommending the development of a water supply from the Gunpowder Falls. Duval recommended the building of a dam at Raven’s Rock, the closest point on the Gunpowder Falls to the City, and a tunnel to convey the water by gravity from the dam to a receiving reservoir near Montebello. Mr. Sickles recommended to the Council the adoption of a modified version of the Duval proposal. Mr. Sickles had made extensive surveys and reported to the Mayor and City Council a plan for an ‘air-lined tunnel’ to convey the water of the Gunpowder to the City. An ordinance authorizing such a development was passed by the Council in October but was never signed by the Mayor.
1857 Mr. Thomas Swann, Mayor. Mr. James S. Suter, Water Engineer (April 14, 1857). Original plan for the Jones Falls development was modified by an ordinance adopted in July. Ordinance instructed Water Commissioners to procure an increased supply of water from Jones Falls “agreeably to a plan heretofore reported to the Council by James Slade, Civil Engineer”. The Water Board is reorganized on April 14 and the first Water Engineer appointed was James Suter.
1860 Swann Lake, (Lake Roland) is completed on the Jones falls.
1861 both the Hampden and Mt Royal Reservoirs are completed.
1866 Mayor John Lee Chapman realizes the approaching inadequacy of Jones Falls as a continuing source of future water supply.
1867 A map of Tiffany Reservoir is drawn up.
As can be seen in this portion of the map below, the location is on the western side of Hillen Road. On a 2018 map it would be the area of Hillen Rd. and 35th St. Where Mergenthaler school is and the area where the houses are on 35th.
Here is an early photograph of the area where Lake Montebello would be. I am assuming that this is looking east from Hillen Rd to the site of the lake.
And here is an 1880s map showing how the lake and Loch Raven Conduit was (and is) laid out.
Returning to the Tiffany Reservoir map, a couple things of interest: On the Tiffany map you can see it says Tiffany Conduit connected to Tiffany T (tunnel) then to Herring Run Conduit. Looking close you can see that there are two colorings of this conduit; the first and third sections being blue. The middle section (Tiffany T) is black. All the black sections in this conduit are underground. All the blue ones are open channels. I believe this is where the term ‘Air-lined Tunnel’ came from? That there was not enough head pressure to completely fill the underground portions. Following the tunnel north. The Herring Run Conduit becomes the Sater’s Ridge Tunnel.
And that turns into the Mine Bank Conduit, to the dam at Loch Raven. Another symbol on this map I like is that all the roads pass over the river and streams as regular bridges. On the one below you can see where the road passes over the Gunpowder, below the dam and around the corner, it is colored in, which shows that back in 1867 there was a covered bridge at Cub Hill and Cromwell Bridge roads.
A couple more items of interest on this map – The location of Glenn Ellen Castle.
Swann Lake (Lake Roland). The title of the Tiffany Map is somewhat wrong. It states “In connection with the Swann Lake Aqueduct.” I believe it should say “In relation to”. On this map I do not see it connected.
The Hampden (Noted as Hampton on map) and Mt. Royal Reservoirs.
And this map portion that shows the Johns Hopkins property before it became Lake Clifton, and a race track in the lower right corner. In a few years from this map’s date, a Baltimore County water filtration plant will be built near the track; using ozone filtering technology. (I forget off hand what the date was – maybe 1907?)
And finally, on the map title is HMF v Stamp as the Chief Engineer. I could not find anything about this person until 1873 where he is listed as the contractor to build the Temporary Water Supply, from the Gunpowder to Roland Run, which fed Lake Roland. It consisted of a couple pumps near Meredith Bridge, running some pipes to dump into Roland Run.
The Tiffany Run Reservoir was never built. Lake Montebello was. Many droughts, flooding of the Jones Falls and finally and over polluted Jones Falls required the new, permanent Gunpowder Works to be built – and is still in service today.
Note: This map is too brittle and too large for my scanner.