Blog: Chambersburg’s Early Water Systems

The first known water system in Chambersburg was established in 1818 by the Chambersburg Water Co., a private enterprise. Water was supplied by a water wheel driven pump along the Falling Spring near the present day Chambersburg Hospital. Water was pumped through wooden pipes made from pine logs bored out by hand and jointed. There were 37 initial subscribers.
By 1871 the town council declared the water supply inadequate and hired H.P.M. Berkenbine from Philadelphia to engineer a new water system. The Borough financed the project that included a ground based brick reservoir near the corner of what is now Federal and Franklin Streets. They later bought the C.B. Gish flouring mill near present day Siloam Road. After many experiments they were finally able to get the system running satisfactorly, and from 1891 to 1911 the people of Chambersburg had no other source of water than that from the creek.
Around 1909 the Borough decided to abandon the Siloam Plant and aquire a new source from Birch Run above Caledonia. Birch Run would use gravity instead of a pump to run water to town.
The first pipeline from the mountain to town was installed in 1910 and 1911 and the first water arrived on July 3, 1911. The system was connected to the existing piping throughout town and brought an end to the use of the Conococheague Creek as a source of city water.