OUC History Book

Page 6

1875–1922

CHAPTER I:

I N

T H E

B E G I N N I N G

1875 –1922

1875

1901

Orlando is incorporated.

Orlando’s first power plant opens, owned by Judge John M. Cheney and sons.

Construction of original

The Orlando Water

waterworks

and Sewerage Company

is started.

is chartered.

he foundation for what would eventually become the Orlando Utilities Commission

cattle ranching and citrus growing to a thriving center of commerce. Attracted by fertile farm land and warm weather, settlers arrived from all over the country, as well as from abroad. In 1880, the South

is incorporated.

1970 –1989

1990 –2010

P R O V I D I N G W A T E R A N D E L E C T R I C S E R V I C E T O A N E W C I T Y

Central Florida was just beginning to evolve from a rural, agrarian economy based on

Orlando Water Company

1892

1950 –1969

was laid even before the 20th century began. In 1875, when Orlando was incorporated,

1886

1887

1923 –1949

Florida Railroad added Orlando as one of its stops — helping to spur the first of many building and

Actual construction of the original water works — which consisted of a plant and a distribution system — began on March 18, 1887. The source of water was Lake Highland, which at that time was located well outside the Orlando city limits. In 1889, additional water mains were laid to serve most of the well-settled areas of Orlando with a safe domestic supply and fire protection.

land booms in the Sunshine State. By the turn of the century, Orlando had paved streets, as well as

The additions increased the distribution system

electricity and phone service. In 1908, it was officially dubbed “The City Beautiful.” By the time World

to about 13.5 miles of pipe.

War I broke out, the City had become a popular resort. The war generated additional industrial growth

As a result of the death of Herdic in 1890, a receivership took over the Orlando Water

and real-estate development throughout Florida that lasted through the early ‘20s — creating the need

Company. John M. Cheney, an Orlando attorney

for reliable water and electric infrastructure in the region . . . and setting the stage for the birth of OUC.

at the time, represented the bond holders. The landholders foreclosed the property and turned it over to a new corporation, the Orlando Water

Water for a New City The City of Orlando was incorporated in 1875

June 6, 1892. J.A. Beeber, President of the First Bank of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, representing

by a popular election in which 22 citizens cast

the landholders, was President. Cheney became

1903

1916

their votes. Ten years later, the City received a

Secretary-Treasurer and Managing Director.

charter by action of the Florida Legislature. At

Cheney, who by then had become an

Twenty-four-hour

Orlando’s water system consists

that time, the community’s only source of water

Orlando judge, purchased the water works

electric service begins

of 23 miles of mains and more

was a town well located next to the Orange

in 1893, serving as Secretary-Treasurer and

County Court House at the corner of Central

principal owner. The new company, the Orlando

than 100 fire hydrants.

and Main. On October 5, 1886, the Orlando

Water & Light Company, was granted the right

City Council granted to A.A. Parker and his

by the City of Orlando to pump water from

associates a 10-year franchise to construct,

Lake Highland and Lake Concord to supply

maintain and operate a water works within the

water to the City.

in Orlando.

1922 Judge John M. Cheney proposes a bond issue that would enable the citizens of Orlando to purchase and municipally operate a public utility.

municipality. The Orlando Water Company was incorporated on October 20, 1886 with initial

By 1916, Orlando’s water supply system consisted of 23 miles of mains, which covered

capital of $150,000. Parker, Harry W. Lentz

every part of the City, and more than 100 fire

and Peter Herdic were the incorporators.

hydrants were installed in different parts of

They and their financial backers, who were

the town.

from Huntington and Williamsport,

In 1917, the first filtrated treatment facilities

Pennsylvania, had successfully negotiated

were built near Lake Highland to treat water

franchise arrangements and built water works

obtained from the lake before passing into the

in other Pennsylvania communities as well as

City mains.

in Cairo, Illinois.

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and Sewerage Company, its charter being dated

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