Workers uncover wood water main from the 1700s

A wooden water main from the 1700s was uncovered Friday. (Photo: City of Albany Water Department)

ALBANY, N.Y. — A work crew unearthed a hollowed-out log believed to have once been part of the city's original water infrastructure system from the 18th century.

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Crews made the discovery Friday morning during construction to connect a colonial-era building to the city's sanitary sewer system, the Albany Times Union reported.

"As soon as we saw it, I thought, 'Well, that can't be an old telephone pole,'" Joseph Coffey, head of the city's water department, told the Times Union.

Back in the 1700's, water mains were commonly made from wood. Today, we removed this abandoned wooden water main located at Broadway and Hudson Ave. during an excavation at the location. #AlbanyHistory

Posted by Albany Water on Friday, February 8, 2019

The exact date of the nearly 6-foot piping is unknown, but is believed to be from the 1700s, when about 55 miles of wood water piping was installed. The city began using cast-iron piping in the early 1800s.

It appeared to have been partially destroyed before crews had found it from other construction work over the years, Coffey said.

A wood pipe previously found that dated to 1797 was so well-preserved it hangs in the water department's office, the Times Union reported.

"Although unlikely, there is a very remote outside chance that somewhere beneath some of the oldest parts of our City, a functioning wooden water main remains," the city's water department website reads.