Historic water bill peeks into Louisville’s past

Historic water bill - 1906Back in 1906, Louisville Water customers were given a 20 percent discount if the bill was paid by the 6th of the month.

The bill featured in this article is dated November 21, 1906, and is 117 years old! A closer look shows it was billed to American Tool Company, a business located just south of the old Highland Park neighborhood. Today, this area isn’t far from Louisville Water’s Allmond Avenue Distribution Center.

At the time the bill was printed, it was just before World War II. Meters were read monthly and Louisville Water required a minimum payment of 10 cents a day if the daily average was less than 700 gallons. The American Tool Company bill averaged just 234 gallons of water a day.

According to Louisville Water Archive Specialist Jay Ferguson, American Tool Company had a short life in Louisville.

“The first mention of the Highland Park firm can be found in 1905. Two years later, an auction advertisement (for the business) appears in the Courier Journal,” Ferguson said. “Now, very little is left of the neighborhood…by the building of the Watterson Expressway and then the airport expansion.”

The $2.56 water bill printed more than a century ago was found by a Louisville Water employee at a local flea market.