Thursday, March 13, 2014

1880 - "Evil" Water

Some time ago a mysterious epidemic broke out at North Adams, Massachusetts, and for several weeks everybody was wondering what it could be caused by. The pious were a good deal disposed to hold that it was some sort of a judgment. The Kearneyites thought that it was the natural retribution for employing Chinese in the shoe shops. But after all it turns out that the water of the town is responsible for the sickness, and that no supernatural causes were concerned in it. An engineer made a map of the town and having carefully ascertained the direction of the epidemic, found that it followed the lines of the water pipes with a regularity far too stead to be ascribed to accident. He then traced the course of the water up to an old mill dam, which proved to be full of impurities, yet which nobody had ever suspected. Doubtless North Adams is not the first town that has been poisoned by bad water, or that has attributed the evil to everything but the right cause.

The Record-Union
Sacramento, California
July 23, 1880