Jersey City Video

Historical Significance of Reservoir # 3

Bounded by Summit and Central Avenues, in the Heights section of Jersey City, and owned by the City of Jersey City, Reservoir # 3 is the last of originally three colossal stone reservoirs erected in 1851 to supply drinking water to a growing immigrant population.

Similar in design to the famous Croton Reservoir in Manhattan (demolished to make way for the NY Public Library), Reservoir # 3 features giant battered Egyptian walls, curved ledges, two pump houses, and a startling series of interior stone steps that resemble an  ancient temple.

Massive iron pipes laid deep underground connect Reservoir # 3 to the Passaic River, whose water had been deemed so pure that one could see to the deep bottom of its crystalline bed. Reservoir # 3 provided drinking water via a gravity system to Jersey City's  newly-rising tenements, schools, hospitals, churches, and fire hydrants. A special pipe was laid to provide water to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Reservoir # 3 was once landscaped with a green park nearly twenty feet above the cobbled streets; residents were able to enter its great iron gates and take a stroll around the waterbed's square perimeter.

Abandoned for a larger waterworks  in Boonton, NJ, Reservoir # 3 was finally emptied in the 1980's (revealing natural bluffs on the reservoir floor).

(Video was created by Denis Luzuriaga and Steve Latham)

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