Jubilee Water Works
Buffalo, New York

The Jubilee Water Works was one of Buffalo's first water systems. When built in 1830, it replaced the village's "Water John" Kuecherer who for years had gone about the streets on a horse drawn cart, selling water from Lake Erie to homes without wells, in their backyards. When Jubilee came into the picture, Water john bowed to progress and retired.

It was incorporated in 1827 with a capital of $20,000. Peter J. Porter was the President of the Company, and Absalom Bull, its Secretary and Treasurer.

Through miles of wooden pipes (logs with a hole drilled in the middle), the Water Works pumped water from the Jubilee Springs plant, located out Delaware Avenue at Auburn, to Buffalo and Black Rock. Behind houses, there was a spigot that allowed households without wells to have a ready water supply.

By the 1890s, the city had outgrown the Water Works, and adopted a reservoir system which was filled by pump with Lake Erie water. One such reservoir stood on top of Prospect Hill along Niagara Street, where the Connecticut Street Armory stands today. Just before World War I, a new modern water system came into being with the construction of the Colonel Ward Pumping Station at the foot of Porter Avenue, where Lake Erie and the Niagara River join. 

Sources of text:

  • "Second Looks: A Pictorial History of Buffalo and Erie County," by Scott Eberle and Joseph A. Grande. The Donning Co., 1993
  • "Buffalo: Lake City in Niagara Land," by Brown, Richard C. and Watson, Bob. USA: Windsor Publications, 1981
  • "Forest Lawn Cemetery: Buffalo History Preserved." Richard O. Reisem, ed. Pub. by Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation, 1996.
  • Susan M. Pollack, ed., A New Look at an Old Neighborhood: Historic Homes of Buffalo's Linwood Avenue Preservation District 1820-1982 Essay
  • Interview with John Opera, former Buffalo City Honors School Geology teacher, September 9, 2002
  • Interview with Dominic Luongo, former Chief Plumbing Inspector for the City of Buffalo

The waters of Jubilee Spring now flow into Forest Lawn Cemetery not far from Delavan Avenue and Horton Place.

Steps leading to the spring which is found just below the steps at the right.

Spring house. Jubilee Spring water was bottled and sold around the country.

Photo: "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Severance, Frank H., ed. Buffalo Historical Society, Vol. 16, 1912

Spring house plaque at Delaware near Auburn.

Wooden pipe (log with a hole drilled in the middle)

Wood water pipes - directly below window.
On display in 2013 at the Medina Railroad Museum

Wood water pipes ... Manufactiured in Medina, NY.
On display in 2013 at the Medina Railroad Museum

Color photos and their arrangement 2002, 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
..| ..Home Page....| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index...| .. E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.