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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

7. Government,   pp. 129-146


Page 143

The police department's first permanent location was the old fire station on North River Street
(not extant). In 1901, the police department moved into the new City Hall building. The
department also moved with city administration into the new Municipal Building (18 North
Jackson Street) in 1968. Because of its recent construction date, the Municipal Building is not, at
this time, potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places for its association
with the police department.
Public Works
Today, city-run water mains and sewers, garbage collection, and street maintenance are
considered essential city services. But these services did not begin to develop until the late
nineteenth century. By the late nineteenth century, Janesville was in need of a water system
not only to fight fires, but also to eliminate private wells, which were often contaminated and
the source of diseases in the city. A centralized water system would drastically improve the
health of the general public. (National Register nomination for Waterworks Structures of Rock
County)
One of the debates surrounding the establishment of a water system was whether it should be
public or private. Partly because people were not used to having the city provide such services,
and partly because cities did not have the practical knowledge of how to build such systems,
most city water systems began as private enterprises. In 1883, Janesville established a board of
water commissioners charged with the task of building a city water system. The commissioners
made plans, acquired land, and began to dig a well. Apparently, the task proved too great for
the city to accomplish alone, and in 1887, the city granted a contract to an outside firm to
complete the job. (Brown 1908:577)
The city gave the water system franchise to Turner, Clark & Rawson of Boston, which had built
Racine's waterworks system and systems in other states. In Janesville, the company built a
pumping station, a reservoir, and 13 miles of mains and fire hydrants by the end of 1888. The
waterworks stayed in private control until 1915, when the city acquired it and it became part of
the public works system. In 1904, the city devised a comprehensive plan to provide sewer
service to the entire community, and the system was built over a multi-year period. (National
Register nomination for Waterworks Structures of Rock County; Brown 1908:593)
Janesville Pumping Station (1888). Photograph 1998.
The old Janesville Pumping Station (5 S. River St.) is historically significant because it
represents the development of the water and sewer system in Janesville, an important milestone
in city government services. The building originally consisted of an engine room, a boiler room,
Government
143


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