Our story begins as the United States was just entering the Second Industrial Revolution. The population was growing rapidly, large tracts of land were being developed, and the need for water – and systems for its treatment and delivery – was growing rapidly. As demand for water systems grew, building and contracting companies began to specialize in water system design and construction. One of these companies, Kuhn Brothers & Company, owned by James S. Kuhn and his brother W.S. Kuhn, began to focus on building and managing new water systems as well as purchasing others.
As the number of these small water systems grew, the opportunity to combine them into a collective company became apparent. In 1886, the Kuhn brothers founded American Water Works & Guarantee Company in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Within two years, American Water Works & Guarantee Company owned water companies in eighteen communities in a handful of states, including Nebraska, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The company also began to earn a reputation for financial strength during this time. American Water Works & Guarantee Company not only continued to build and purchase water systems, they began to guarantee the payment of principal and interest on their bonds. As their reputation grew, they found a market for their bonds, and American Water Works & Guarantee Company became one of the first public utility companies in the United States.
Through the years our company has grown and evolved with our country. Our name has changed over the years, but what remains the same is our commitment to doing our best for our customers, our partners, our professionals and our communities.
Today, 125 years after our founding, we are the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company in the nation. We employ more than 7,000 dedicated professionals and provide high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 16 million people in 35 states and Ontario and Manitoba, Canada.
We invite you to learn more about American Water and join us as we celebrate 125 years of American Traditions. Meet our employees past and present, including Ambassador Marilyn Ware, whose family has been key to the company's success for about half of its life. Explore the water treatment process. Read what we are doing to help the environment and join the American Tradition in a variety of ways. We are extremely proud of our place in the history of the United States, and our history as a successful company. This website is a celebration of our past, present and future, and our American Traditions of reliability, responsibility, service, innovation and excellence.