D. B. Keiper, Cistern and Tank Builder

by Paula Bosse

ad-keiper_cisterns_directory_1884Ad from the 1884 Dallas directory

by Paula Bosse

For all your cistern and tank needs, D. B. Keiper’s your man.

keiper_dallas-herald_061881Dallas Herald, June 18, 1881

keiper_dallas-herald_101384Dallas Herald, Oct. 13, 1884

keiper_dallas-herald_120484Dallas Herald, Dec. 4, 1884

keiper_dmn_091586Dallas Morning News, Sept. 15, 1886

keiper_dmn_093088DMN, Sept. 30, 1888

keiper_dmn-121391DMN, Dec. 13, 1891


Top ad from the 1884 Dallas directory.

I didn’t find out much about the Pennsylvania-born David Butz Keiper (1827-1895), except that he bought a lot of lumber, sold a lot of cisterns and tanks, and took out a huge number of newspaper ads over the years.

One wonders if he might have built and installed the underground cistern of the Rosenfield house I wrote about in “The Blue House of Browder,” which was built around 1885 — this “for sale” ad appeared in 1887, when Keiper seemed to be Dallas’ king of cisterns:

1887_browder_dmn_050887-FOR-SALEDMN, May 8, 1887

Keiper specialized in underground wooden cisterns (made from cypress lumber) to hold collected rainwater, but there were many different types of cisterns in use around Texas in the nineteenth century. Mark H. Denton wrote an interesting article, “Cisterns in Texas,” for Current Archeology in Texas (April 2011), with illustrations but with little on wooden cisterns; read Denton’s article here (scroll to bottom of p. 4 of the PDF).

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.