William J. Dingee formed the Oakland Water Companyin 1893, directly competing with the Contra Costa Water Company. Each of the two companies hired experts to analyze the other company's water to determine if suitable for human consumption. There are accusations leveled by Oakland Water Company that millions of gallons of fresh water from its Alvarado Wells was pumped into the San Francisco Bay.

(There is a photo of the well "bored in 1894" in the 1897 Athens of the Pacific available at the OHR.)

The offices of both the Oakland Water Company and the Contra Costa Water Company were located in the Leimert Block of Downtown Oakland, until the Contra Costa Water Company moved into into the Blake and Moffit Block at the northeast corner of 8th Street and Broadway in 1895. The Oakland Water Company expanded into the former Leimert Block offices of the Contra Costa Water Company.

Dingee exclaimed, “The Contra Costa Water Company has hired newspapers to libel me…They have lied about the quality of our water…(and have) pumped lime into our lines….” 1

Dingee accused the Contra Costa Water Company of casuing severe water shortages by sabotaging his ability to serve customers through cutting and blowing up the Oakland Water lines.

When William Dingee gained contral of the Contra Costa Water Company in 1899, the operations of both concerns moved into the adjacent building, the address of which is currently 801-7 Broadway.

Links and References

  1. The History of Old Oakland Old-Oakland.com