Gerard Koeppel is an editor at CBS News who is working on a biography of Christopher Colles. He lives in New York City. Most of the illustrations in this article appear in The Old Croton Aqueduct: Rural Resources Meet Urban Needs , published in 1992 by the Hudson River Museum of Westchester. Copies are available from the museum at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701 (Tel: 914-963-4550).
For its first two centuries, New York—like almost all big cities—suffered along with inadequate and unhealthful water supplies. The city finally authorized a water system in 1774, but didn’t get its first drink for nearly seventy years. Read >>