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Title Report, Estimates & Specifications of Spielmann & Brush, Engineers, for the building of the sewers necessary to drain the district ... to Board of Health & Vital Statistics, (Hoboken) May 4, 1881.
Object Name Report
Catalog Number 2010.010.0079
MULTIMEDIA LINKS CLICK HERE to view the PDF; note - please be patient while file opens.
Collection Hoboken Government & Politics Collection
Credit Gift of Robert Maier.
Scope & Content Report, Estimates and Specifications of Spielmann & Brush, Engineers, for the building of the sewers necessary to drain the district described in the petition presented to the Board of Health and Vital Statistics, May 4, 1881.

Proof sheets, 4 pages. PDF on file.

City of Hoboken document with City Clerk file notations.

/ Board of Drainage Commissioners of Hoboken & Weehawken

marshland / marshes / swamp / tides / Coster
Notes Report, Estimates and Specifications of Spielmann & Brush, Engineers, for the building of the sewers necessary to drain the district described in the petition presented to the Board of Health and Vital Statistics, May 4, 1881.

13 Newark Street,
Hoboken, N. J., June 27th 1881.

Gentlemen :- In accordance with your resolution of May 23rd, 1881 we herewith submit our report accompanied by plans, estimates and specifications for the building of a sewer or sewers and such other works as may be necessary to drain the district described in the petition presented to the Board of Health and Vital Statistics, May 4th, 1881.

Hoboken contains in all about 720 acres of which 270 acres are upland and 450 acres are marsh lands: About 90 acres of uplands and 140 acres of marsh lands are built upon.

The drainage of our uplands is a comparatively simple problem because it can be easily effected by tidal sewers, that is, by sewers built on such a grade and at such elevations above mean low water that they will freely discharge their contents directly into the Hudson river. At some future time, no doubt a large intercepting sewer will have to be built along our water front collecting the sewerage at their present outlets and carrying the same to the southerly end of the county and depositing it by a tunnel far out into the waters of the Bay. This will probably not be necessary for some time to come and therefore need not be considered at present, although it is well to remember that Boston has already been obliged to resort to such procedure and New York is even now building these intecepting sewers with a similar view.

The drainage of the marsh lands of Hoboken being principally on what is known as the Coster estate, is a much more intricate problem, These marsh lands are a formation of blue clay or silt, the depth in places being over 100 feet with a crust of matted stems and roots about five feet thick still in the process of accumulation; they lie east of the Palisade Ridge and are separated for the most part by a knoll comprising the uplands of Hoboken; they extend north and south about one mile and one-half and are about one-half of a mile in width.

The original tidal flow over these marsh lands has been obstructed by the filling in for railroads and streets. Until now there are only two natural outlets to the river, one on the south, a basin constructed by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Co., 100 feet wide and 2300 feet long, and the other on the north, a sluice way at 15th street.

The average difference between mean high and mean low water in the Hudson river at Hoboken, is 4 feet and 6 inches. The average level of the meadow lands is 1 foot and 6 inches below mean high water or 3 feet above mean low water. The established grade of the streets on the Coster estate is 2 feet above mean high water. During long easterly or northerly storms especially at times of high spring tides, the level of the water in the Hudson river at low tide is several feet higher than mean low water, the greatest difference that has been noted, being 3 feet 9-1/2 inches; that is to say, there have been times when even at low tide the water hi the river was 9-1/2 inches higher than the surface of meadows. On several occasions the water in the river has risen


more than 3 feet higher than mean high water and of course, at such times tue water in the river was 4 1/2 feet higher than the level of the meadows and 1 foot higher than the established grade of the streets.

We will now glance at the attempts made to accomplish the drainage of these low lands, and since much has been learned the review will be of great service to us in the present discussion.

It has been claimed by many that these meadow lands could be drained by tidal sewers without altering the present grades of the streets, and during the last fifteen years many attempts have been made and $100,000 have been spent in the endeavor to carry out this system.

The first drainage map of these marsh lands was made by Bacot & Post on Feb 1st, 1866; they proposed to have main sewers running east and west in Ferry, First, Ttiird, Tenth and Fifteenth streets, and discharging at low tide into the Hudson river.

By an act of the Legislature of the Siate of New Jersey, approved April 4th, 1866, pamphlet laws, page 941, a commission of three gentlemen from Hoboken and two from Weehawken were appointed to take charge of the drainage of these low lands. Supplements to this act were passed in 1867, 1868 and 1869.

In April, 1869, Wm.[William] Hexamer, as Secretary of this Commission, reported that about three miles of ditches had been dug, about one mile of box sewers built, principally in Ferry and First streets, two main sluices, one gate on Ferry street, various sewer connections and repairs, and 4,369 cubic yards of filling on the old line ditch; the expenses incurred were $45,729.

The next important map in relation to the drainage of these low lauds was made by William Hexamer in 1869. Mr. Hexamer proposed to divide the whole city into three districts, with main sewers in Ferry, Third and Thirteenth streets, running from the westerly boundary of the city to the Hudson River. Except that he reduced the number of mains from five to three, Mr. Hexamer’s plan in 1869 was practically the same as Bacot & Post’s plan in 1866.

Only one of the three main severs proposed by Mr. Hexamer has been built, namely, that in Third street, which extends irom the Hudson River to Adam street and receives the drainage of the sewers, in Garden street, Park avenue, Willow street, Clinton street and some box drains in Grand and Adam streets. The present condition of this Third street sewer is not satisiactory. The bottom of the sewer at Clinton street is 2 feet lower than the bottom of the sewer at Willow street and the general fall of the sewer west of Willow street is towards the Meadows, instead of being towards the river. If the three main sewers were actually built as proposed by Mr. Hexamer, to the westerly boundary of the city the top of the sewers at that point would be 2 feet above the level of the meadows and one and one-half feet below the established grade of the-streets.

On November 22,1870, the Council directed Arthur Spielmann to prepare a plan for a sewer in Ferry street from the Hudson river to the westerly bound

[end page [1]; all available]
Date 1881-1881
Year Range from 1881
Year Range to 1881
Search Terms Spielmann & Brush, City Surveyors in Charge
Board of Drainage Commissioners of Hoboken & Weehawken
Caption pg [1]
Imagefile 305\20100100079-2.TIF
Classification Real Estate
Government & Politics