November 01, 2016

Vantage Point

Erin Flannery Keith, Issue Editor

In 1842, New York City celebrated the opening of the Croton Aqueduct. After decades of population growth combined with inadequate sewerage, contaminated drinking water that caused cholera epidemics, and an insufficient municipal water supply system that was no match for ravaging city fires, New York was jubilant at the aqueduct’s opening. The 41-mile system delivered fresh Croton Reservoir water to Manhattan. George Pope Morris, a newspaper editor of the time, wrote “The Croton Ode” for the festivities. In one verse, Morris proclaimed, “Water leaps as if delighted / While her conquered foes retire! / Pale Contagion flies affrighted / With the baffled demon Fire! / Safety dwells in her dominions, / Health and Beauty with her move, / And entwine their circling pinions / In a sisterhood of love.”

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