Robinson Water System

Typed by Rita Millis from a history originally done about 1955 - 14 August 2000

Historical Data

The Robinson water system was started by Frank Bartmess in 1896. Water was obtained from two wells, eighty and ninety feet deep, respectively, located within the city. An overhead 75,000 gallon tank was erected at the well site in 1901; and in the same year, Frank Bartmess sold the system to the Robinson Power, Light, and Heat Company, which operated for several years at a loss, during which period operations were under the name of W. H. Clinton, Receiver for the Robinson Power, Light, and Heat Company.

Palestine Well Site and Water Supply

In 1910, a well was dug at Palestine, six miles east of Robinson. The well was 28 feet deep and 24 feet in diameter. The brick lining was fourteen inches thick and extended two feet above ground level. During 1910, water supply commenced from Palestine to Robinson through an eight-inch, cast iron pipe line. An estimated 254,000 gallons per day were pumped to 560 customers. The pumping was done by two steam-driven suction pumps, one capable of 250,000 and the other 175,000 gallons per day. Steam was supplied by two Freeman & Sons eighty horsepower boilers, 110 to 120 pounds-per-square-inch pressure.

In 1916, two wells were drilled in the same area. The two wells, which have since been abandoned, were ten inches in diameter and fifty feet deep, equipped with a sixteen-foot length of Johnson screen, having number 30 slot openings.

In 1916, the old steam driven pumps were replaced by two four-stage 1750 rpm, 400 gpm (at 520 foot head) Manistee Iron Works centrifugal pumps operated by 75 hp General Electric motors, located in the basement.


The entire system was sold to Starr and Goodrich, brokers, in 1912 and deeded by them to Marshall E. Sampsell who, in the same year, sold the system to the Central Illinois Public Service Company.

In 1916, 62 fire hydrants were in use and a fifty-pound-per-square-inch pressure maintained in the downtown section of Robinson.

The Robinson Pumping Station

The Robinson Pumping Station is about five miles west of the well site in Palestine and one mile east of Robinson. It was erected about 1945.

The 1,000,000 gallon, pre-stressed concrete reservoir was erected to receive and store the water pumped from Palestine. A pump house was also erected in which were installed a 75 hp motor-driven Fairbanks Morse centrifugal pump and a 40 hp, electric-motor-driven Dayton Dowd pump. For standby purposes, there is a Fairbanks Morse pump driven by a 100 hp gasoline motor.

The rated capacities of the three pumps against a 100 foot head are:

Dayton Dowd 700 gpm
Fairbanks Morse electric 800 gpm
Fairbanks Morse gasoline 800 gpm

Improvements in the Properties Made by Illinois Cities Water Company

The Robinson Water system was acquired by Illinois Cities Water Company as of December 1, 1947. Since that time, the Company has expended about $225,000 in obtaining additional water supplies and extending its distribution mains and services. It served an average of …(end of narrative missing)


This page last updated on February 05, 2015.