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A piece of history pipes up

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Gould Construction workers were surprised Friday when they unearthed a city water line that could date back to the 1800s.

Work on the city’s water line replacement project slowed to a trickle around 2 p.m. Friday when Gould Construction excavation operator Justin Tietz noticed something obstructing the bucket on his machine.

“I was basically digging and I felt something that I though was a rock or a pipe or something,” Tietz said.



He was using extra caution at the time because there was a gas line near the area he was excavating.

“The guys basically exposed it and found the wire and wood,” he said.



The pipe, which was likely installed in the late 1800s, was made of long slats of wood that appeared to be tarred or stained and banded together with wire.

Gould Construction president Mark Gould noted that each slat was grooved to prevent water leakage.

“It’s put together like a wooden barrel,” said assistant city engineer Steve Vanderleest, the project manager.

The discovery of a piece of the historical waterline was not a first. Pieces have been discovered during past city projects. But according to city engineer Larry Thompson, this was the first time the wood from the line has been found intact.

“This one has the most wood I’ve ever seen,” Thompson said. “Usually you just pull out the wire and the wood’s gone.”

The old water line was about four to five feet below street level.

After the find, one worker pulled out a hand saw and cut a section of the wooden line away and separated it from the rest of the line.

“We’re going to check with Cindy Cochran at the (Frontier) Historical Museum and see if they have a piece of the old water line,” Thompson said.

If the museum lacks such an artifact, the wood-and-wire pipe section could be displayed there.

Gould said he planned to search the Internet to learn when the line was installed.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com


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