Before Holly Water, residents drank well water, benefiting from the filtering effects of the porous sub-soil. By the 1860s as more and more people moved into Dayton, those water sources became compromised, with an increasing amount of cesspools infringing on the borders of these wells. This led to the first Board of Health being created in 1868. A Committee was formed to address the issues, ultimately choosing the “Holly System.”
In the late 1800s, sinks had 3 faucets. Far left was hot rainwater, far right was cold, and the middle was Holly Water. Also known as drinking water, Holly Water got its name because the first city waterworks used Holly’s Patent Elliptical Rotary Pumps to get water from two wells. The rainwater came from cisterns in people’s yards, collected from roof runoff and brought into the house via pumps.