NEAH-KAH-NIE WATER DISTRICT HISTORY
In 1869 U.S. Grant (President) granted 181 acres to John Crawford. Based on an “Abstract of Title” issued in 1917 and owned by Mrs. John Prentiss it appears that most of the area in Neahkahnie changed ownership 13 times between 1869 and 1912. In 1906 Sam & Beulah Reed purchased the 181 acres for $6,000 at 7% interest. Reed started to build a home for his family in 1911 and in 1911 he started to build a hotel and several cottages near the ocean. He developed Spring #3 to supply these properties. Both wooden and galvanized pipe brought water to homes as they were built. Reed also ran 1-1/2″ galvanized pipe to supply the first four homes on Reed Road about one block north of the present day Treasure Rocks Road. Reed charged no more than $10.00 a year to supply these houses from Spring #3. After Sam Reed’s death, Mrs. Reed sold a large portion of land in 1945 to Barney Lucas. Lucas then developed Springs #1 and #2 and upgraded Spring #3 by digging into the hillside about 20 feet and replacing the wooden pipe with perforated asbestos concrete pipe. The pipe was 6 or 8 feet deep and covered with rock. Tar paper was placed on top of the rock and then covered with dirt. The water from the pipe emptied into a metal settling and collection tub.
Barney Lucas formed the Neahkahnie Water Company, an Oregon Corporation. Lucas later sold the water company to Waldo Bennett some time prior to 1956. Bennett put in a large 3 foot deep concrete catchment of approximately 65,000 gallons for Spring #1. This catchment was just west of the 20,000 gallon steel tank reservoir above Highway 101. The steel tank tank was removed in 2005 and replaced with the existing 155,000 gallon reservoir located nearby. The catchment was used primarily to store water for the old golf course which was located immediately below Highway 101. The old golf course later became a housing development called Neahkahnie Meadows. The catchment did not hold water very well and was abandoned and filled with dirt. Bennett also had a 20,000 gallon concrete reservoir constructed to contain Spring #3. The reservoir was replaced by a 97,000 gallon reservoir which went into service February 1997.
The Neahkahnie Water District was formed in 1967 when 25 registered voters signed a notice of incorporation. Bennett then sold the Neahkahnie Water Company to the district for $20,477. This included all the land and assets. Charles Stewart and Scott Hickox each loaned the district $4,000 for a down payment on the purchase. Stewart, Hickox, Merrill and Windle were the first elected commissioners who served for staggered terms. In 1967 a water connection cost $50.00 and the monthly residential rate was $2.75 for the first 5,000 gallons, and $0.30 per thousand thereafter. Since there were no residential water meters this rate system remains somewhat of a mystery. Charles Stewart served as a commissioner and also as System Operator until he resigned in 1993.
In May of 1968 the engineering firm of Perely and Associates of Portland was commissioned to do a complete study of the district’s water system. Perely reported there were 151 paid water connections at that time and the water rate was $3.50 monthly.
The above information was obtained from documents which are filed in the “NWD History” folder and from the taped report of John Prentiss, an early water commissioner.