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Don’t hitch your horse to a Bluffton fire hydrant

By Fred Steiner

Imagine being required to turn off your water line each time the fire department answered a fire alarm.

Don’t even think about hitching your horse to a fire hydrant.

Those were the rules when Bluffton’s municipal water plant opened in the late 1890s.

And, this may come as a surprise. The reason the village of Bluffton created a municipal water plant was for fire protection. It had very little to do with providing individuals with running water in their houses.

In a case you wonder, here are additional rules governing water usage in the village when the water plant first opened:

• Patrons had to immediately discontinue using water for any purpose, when the fire alarm sounded.

• It was prohibited to hitch horses to fire hydrants.

• Lawn, garden or yard sprinkling was restricted  to the hours of 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.


• Sprinkling a walk or washing a buggy or carriage required payment in advance.

• No hose could be used without a nozzle, and nozzles could not be greater than one-four inch “orifice.”

• A fine of from $1 to $20 resulted when a water customer habitually permitted neighbors not hooked up to the water system, to use water from a customer’s pipe.

For the rest of the story plus photos go HERE.

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