The Department of
Public Works traces it roots back to May 6 of 1902 when the
position of City Engineer was created by the City Council.
Creating the position
of Superintendent of Streets quickly
followed that. In June of 1902 the Street Superintendent
was authorized to "put prisoners to work" in maintaining
City's streets. On June 27th of 1902 it was authorized
that if such prisoners attempted to flee, a ball and chain
could be attached to prevent such flight.
On November 1902 the City Council consolidated numerous
Department of Public Works. This
Department comprised 11 authorized
positions. (Today the
department has only 24.)
The first water well was established on September 1, 1900
at the corner of 28th Street and Ebenezer, adjacent to the
Zion Cookie Factory. A second well was established in Shiloh
Park in 1902. A third well was established in Shiloh Park,
west or the railroad tracks in approximately 1904. The First
water main installed
in the City was a 6" cast iron pipe
installed between Ebenezer and Elizabeth Avenues, and between
29th and 27th Streets. This main installation was
in August of 1903. Portions may still be in use today.
On March 22nd of 1907 an Ordinance #119 required all able-bodied
21 and 50 years of age to "labor in streets and
alleys for 2 days per year".
Such labor would be compensated
at the rate of 75 cents per day. Failure to perform such
work would result in a fine of not less that $5.00 nor more
In 1925 a bond issue was based authorizing $30,000 to be
used for the
construction of a well, pump, building, and
a 100,000-gallon/100 foot tall storage tank. In 1926 and
1927 over 9 1/2 miles of water main were installed, with
the addition of 9 1/2 miles in 1928 and 2 miles in 1929 for
a total of 21 miles of water main, on which 166 fire hydrants
were attached. Due to the high level of minerals
water, problems soon developed not only with taste and appearance
but with plugged boiler and mechanical lines.
1956 saw the City implement water use restrictions due to
the quality and quantity of the water in the system. All
water-cooled air conditioning, car washing and lawn sprinkling were prohibited.
In 1957 the Lake County Public Water District was created
by the State of Illinois, and the City of Zion began purchasing
water from this organization.
Growth within the City can
be tracked with some accuracy from the size of the
system. In 1927 there were 172 water meters in service. By
1936 this had risen to 858, 1946 saw 1217 meters, and by
1959 there were 2050 meters in use within the City. Today, there are over 6,000 water accounts
operating on our