TOWN PUMP’S END (Jun, 1949)

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TOWN PUMP’S END

Saginaw gives it civic burial when new water finally conies in Twenty years ago the city of Saginaw, Mich, erected a $2 million water-pumping plant, but it made the mistake of drawing its water from the Saginaw River, where chemical plants and other factories dumped their waste. A way was found to purify the water bacteriologically, but it still tasted like aqua nausea. So for 20 years townspeople continued to use town pumps to get their aqua pura and stoutly resisted all efforts to raise taxes to pipe in a supply purer than the Saginaw River.

Then someone suggested they run the pipes 78 miles to Lake Huron and pay for it with higher water rates. The tax-conscious people of Saginaw approved. So on May 20 Saginaw, the last U.S. city of its size (pop. 97,000) that still had them, celebrated the passing of its 165 pumps. One was reverently deposited in a pink-lined coffin (above). People sent baskets of flowers, held parades, boat races and ball games in observance of the occasion. It was the happiest funeral Saginaw had ever seen.

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