George Waring

George Waring

After a yellow fever epidemic swept through Memphis, Tennessee in 1878, the newly created National Board of Health sent engineer and Civil War veteran George A. Waring Jr. to design and implement a better sewage drainage system for the city. His success there made Waring’s national reputation, and in 1895 he was appointed sanitation commissioner of New York City. During his brief tenure, Waring made a huge impact on the city, making much-needed reforms that would become the foundations for modern recycling, street sweeping and garbage collection.

Need for Better Sewage Systems

By the mid-19th century, the population in America’s urban centers had begun to explode; this process would continue through the end of the century. One particularly striking example was New York City, which doubled in population size every decade from 1800 to 1880. With this kind of population density, earlier methods of human waste disposal, including outdoor privies and cesspools, began to prove both inadequate and unsafe, especially when located near water sources.

A particularly dire situation arose in Memphis, Tennessee, by the late 1870s, after outbreaks of cholera (1873) and yellow fever (1878 and 1879) killed more than 10,000 people. Believing (incorrectly, as it turned out) that yellow fever was caused by inadequate sanitation, city authorities recognized a dire need to separate sanitary sewage from their water sources, which were mostly small private wells. Memphis’ troubles drew the sympathy of the nation, helping drive the creation of the National Board of Health, which sent George A. Waring, Jr. to Memphis after the 1878 yellow fever epidemic.

From Memphis to New York

A native of Pound Ridge, New York, Waring had developed his skills as an agricultural and drainage engineer for New York City’s Central Park beginning in 1857. He was commissioned as a major in the Union Army during the Civil War and rose to attain the rank of colonel. In the years following the war, Waring managed Ogden Farm in Rhode Island before devoting himself full-time to drainage engineering. In Memphis, Waring designed a new system that separated sewage from regular storm water runoff, an innovation that before then had not been implemented on a large scale in the United States. The system became the basis for that of many other communities around the country, earning Waring a national reputation.

In 1895, New York City Mayor William Lafayette Strong appointed Waring commissioner of the city’s Department of Street Cleaning. Strong’s original choice for the position—future president Theodore Roosevelt—turned the job down in favor of the higher-profile post of police commissioner. (Founded in 1881, the Department of Street Cleaning was the precursor of the New York City Department of Sanitation, now the largest of its kind in the world.)

Cleaning the Streets of New York City

Though Waring served as New York’s sanitation commissioner for only three years, his reforms would have a lasting impact. Though he sparred with labor unions and had a troubled relationship with his workers in general, Waring put into place the first organized system for cleaning the city’s streets–once littered with manure from horses, pigs and dogs and even human waste–as well as sorting and collecting its garbage. His efforts would change the image of the sanitation department and introduce the fundamentals that would lead to modern systems of recycling, street-cleaning and waste collection.

Waring left the commissioner’s post in 1898 and that same year was appointed by President William McKinley to study sanitation in Cuba, which the United States captured in the Spanish-American War. Not long after his arrival there, Waring contracted yellow fever, and he died later that year. In November 1898, The New York Times wrote of his death by that disease as “an irony of fate” and paid tribute to his lasting legacy: “There is not a man or a woman or a child in New York who does not owe [Waring] gratitude for making New York, in every part, so much more fit to live in than it was when he undertook the cleaning of the streets.”

George Waring

George Waring (George Edward Waring) was born on 20 February, 1925 in Eccles, Lancashire, England, UK, is an Actor. Discover George Waring's Biography, Age, Height, Physical Stats, Dating/Affairs, Family and career updates. Learn How rich is He in this year and how He spends money? Also learn how He earned most of George Waring networth?

Popular As George Edward Waring
Occupation actor
Age 85 years old
Zodiac Sign Pisces
Born 20 February 1925
Birthday 20 February
Birthplace Eccles, Lancashire, England, UK
Date of death 15 February, 2010
Died Place England, UK
Nationality UK

We recommend you to check the complete list of Famous People born on 20 February. He is a member of famous Actor with the age 85 years old group.

Waring, George H. 1997.  Behavior and habitat use of axis deer on Maui, Hawaii.  Abstracts, Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, College Park, Maryland. 

Waring, George H. 1998.  Behavior and ecology of Jackson's chameleons on Maui, Hawaii.  Abstracts, Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, Carbondale, Illinois.

Waring, George H. 1998.  Status and behavior of newly-established parrot population of Maui, Hawaii.  Abstracts, North American Ornithological Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

Waring, George H. 1999. Foraging behavior, habitat utilization, and status of pueos ( Asio flammeus sandwichensis ) on Haleakala Volcano, Maui, Hawaii. Proceedings of the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science 39(2):35.

Waring, George H. 2000. Survey of federally-funded marine mammal research and studies, FY74-99. Publication PB2001-103492. National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA. 174 p.

Waring, George H. 2000. Reactive distances: their utility in applied ethology. Abstracts, Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society, Atlanta, Georgia.

Gillie, Lynn L. and George H. Waring. 2003. Dog training laboratory: applied animal behavior. Pp. 159-165 in B. J. Ploger and K. Yasukawa [eds.], Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field: An Hypothesis-Testing Approach to the Development, Causation, Function, and Evolution of Animal Behavior. Academic Press, San Diego.

Waring, George H. 2003.  Horse Behavior, Second Edition.  Noyes Publications/William Andrew Publishing, Norwich, New York. 442 p.

George Waring’s Men In White

George Waring was born in Pound Ridge, New York, the son of George E. Waring Sr., a wealthy stove manufacturer. Trained in agricultural chemistry, he began to lecture on agricultural science. In 1855, he took charge of Horace Greeley‘s farm at Chappaqua, New York.

In 1857, Waring was appointed agricultural and drainage engineer for the construction of New York City’s Central Park. This effort was considered to be the largest drainage project of its time. Prior to this time, much of the area of the proposed park was a wetland. He designed and supervised construction of the drainage system that created the scenic lakes and ponds of the park.

An enthusiastic equestrian, he and his horse “Vixen” would often use the park’s construction as jumping obstacles. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Waring resigned from the Central Park project to accept a military commission as major. He departed New York in the early summer, and drilled for a month in Washington DC, occasionally meeting President Lincoln as he reviewed the troops. Waring departed Washington DC on July 4, 1862, and fought at Battle of Blackburn’s Ford.

He then joined John C. Frémont and headed to St. Louis, where he commanded the Fremont Hussars. His beloved mare Vixen died on campaign in November 1862, near Jefferson City. Waring acquired a new charger, Ruby, a chestnut described as “a picture of the most abject misery his hind legs drawn under him the immense muscles of his hips lying flabby, like a cart-horse’s his head hanging to the level of his knees, and his under-lip drooping his eyes half shut, and his long ears falling out sidewise like a sleepy mule’s.” Despite appearances, Ruby was an uncommonly good jumper.

He raised six companies of cavalry for the Union side in the State of Missouri. These units were eventually consolidated as the 4th Missouri Cavalry under Waring, who was promoted to the rank of Colonel in January 1862. He commanded this regiment throughout the war, principally in the Southwest.

In 1895, Waring was brought to New York City, where sanitary conditions had become intolerable. Horses were leaving an estimated 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine on the streets every day. Horse carcasses rotted in the streets. Garbage piles reached a foot or two deep, cleared only haphazardly by “ragtag army of the unemployed.”

Waring began by securing a law requiring horses and carts to be stabled overnight, instead of being left on the street. He established a Street Cleaning Department, a white-uniformed corps of workers wearing pith helmets and pushing wheeled carts tasked with cleaning up city streets notepad removed from the streets and sold for glue horse manure was sold for fertilizer Other refuse was sent to dumps along the waterfront. Waring’s crew even removed snow, packing it into trucks and dumping it into the rivers. The success of Waring’s efforts was quick, dramatic and much appreciated by New York citizens. A parade was held for the sanitation works in 1896.

Based on his reputation as one of the most distinguished Americans in the field of sanitary engineering, at the close of the Spanish–American War in 1898 President William McKinley appointed Waring to make a study of the sanitary situation in Cuba. He had previously (1887) designed a sewer system for Santiago, Cuba.

While in Cuba, Waring contracted yellow fever and died shortly after returning to New York City on October 29, 1898 His body was cremated and the ashes were placed in a urn after they were unclaimed in a doctors office the ashes were dumped so the urn could be used for a gin rickey.

Photos, from above: Portrait of George E. Waring in 1883 Street Cleaners dumping snow in the river to clean streets and Street Cleaners under Waring, provided by Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

George Waring Wiki, Biography, Net Worth, Age, Family, Facts and More

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George E. Waring, Jr. is a well known Celebrity. George was born on July 4, 1833 in Pound Ridge, New York, U.S…George is one of the famous and trending celeb who is popular for being a Celebrity. As of 2018 George Waring is 65 years (age at death) years old. George Waring is a member of famous Celebrity list.

Wikifamouspeople has ranked George Waring as of the popular celebs list. George Waring is also listed along with people born on July 4, 1833. One of the precious celeb listed in Celebrity list.

Nothing much is known about George Education Background & Childhood. We will update you soon.

Name George Waring
Age (as of 2018) 65 years (age at death)
Profession Celebrity
Birth Date July 4, 1833
Birth Place Pound Ridge, New York, U.S.
Nationality Pound Ridge

George Waring Net Worth

George primary income source is Celebrity. Currently We don’t have enough information about his family, relationships,childhood etc. We will update soon.

Estimated Net Worth in 2019: $100K-$1M (Approx.)

George Age, Height & Weight

George body measurements, Height and Weight are not Known yet but we will update soon.

Family & Relations

Not Much is known about George family and Relationships. All information about his private life is concealed. We will update you soon.


  • George Waring age is 65 years (age at death). as of 2018
  • George birthday is on July 4, 1833.
  • Zodiac sign: Cancer.

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Penn State University Libraries - University Libraries Home

William Griffith Waring, an emigrant from Herfordshire, England, worked in an apothecary shop and as a tutor in England. Upon arriving in the United States, he taught at a number of schools including one in Philipsburg, PA He was the founder of the first teachers' institute in Pennsylvania at Linden Hall in 1851.In addition to his teaching, Waring began a nursery with his brother Robert on the farm he had purchased in Oak Hall. While running the nursery, he wrote numerous articles for journals. He also served as a horticultural editor for the New York Tribune and published the first Centre County imprint, The Fruit Growers Hand Book, in 1851.

William Griffith Waring was one of the founders of the Farmer's High School (now known as the Pennsylvania State University). In 1856 he met with Judge Frederick Watts to accept the position of Superintendent of Buildings and Operations. He built and moved into Oak Cottage with his family and oversaw the construction of the Main building, the College Barn and other outbuildings. He also supervised the planting of trees, orchards, and shrubbery on campus.Waring played a definitive role in the planning of the curriculum for the newly formed Farmer's High School, he participated in the hiring of the first faculty members, and enrolling the school's first students.

At the time of his resignation, partially due to a son's death, he returned to the nursery at Oak Hall where he remained for the next two years until the death of his wife. He then traveled to Tyrone to resume his partnership with his brother at a nursery there. Once leaving the Farmerrsquos High School, William Griffith Waring never again set foot in the school that he helped to found.William George Waring was born at Oak Hall, in 1847 to William Griffith and Melinda Waring. William George was a chemistry student at the Farmerrsquos High School tutored by Dr. Evan Pugh and was a member of the fourth graduating class (1863). He was known for his work in the metallurgy of zinc and had written some works on the subject including The Volumetric Determination of Zinc and a collaboration with George C. Stone, Report of the Sub-Committee on Zinc Ore Analysis.

He spent some time working and researching at the silver mines in New Mexico.Sister Mary Grace Waring, daughter of Robert Hamlin Waring and grand-niece of William Griffith Waring, was born in 1897 as Ada Grace Waring. In 1914, at the age of seventeen, Mary Grace became Sister Mary Grace. After receiving her formal education at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas State University, she went on to become a research professor of chemistry at Marymount College in Salina, KS. She has received many honors for her work including the Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans Award which was presented to her by the editorial board of the American Biographical Institute. She received several research grants from the Kansas Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. Sister Mary Grace has appeared in the Dictionary of International Biography (1975) and has presented many papers including Men and Women of the Priestley Centennial at the First Priestley Bicentennial, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Waring Family papers, PSUA 335, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

George Waring Height, Weight & Measurements

At 27 years old, George Waring height is 196 cm and Weight 72 kg.

Physical Status
Height 196 cm
Weight 72 kg
Body Measurements Not Available
Eye Color Not Available
Hair Color Not Available

Dating & Relationship status

He is currently single. He is not dating anyone. We don't have much information about He's past relationship and any previous engaged. According to our Database, He has no children.

Parents Not Available
Wife Not Available
Sibling Not Available
Children Not Available

The origin of snow removal for all New Yorkers, rich and poor

The notion that it was actually the city’s responsibility to remove snow is a product of the early-to-mid 19th century. The notion that all residents — not just the wealthiest — should benefit from this difficult civic task is newer still.

A snow plow at Union Square, circa 1901-1905 (LOC)

Snowed Under

There was no simple method for clearing thoroughfares.

The task was heavily labor intensive, with dozens of men shoveling down roads obscured with newly fallen snow. As a result, only the most important streets were cleared — mostly around City Hall, Wall Street and Fifth Avenue — leaving the rest of the city to fend for itself.

Later on, snow plows were attached to horses, piercing through the snow-covered streets, while wagons would follow along to collect the snow.

The arduous task of clearing the streets with only horses, shovels and carts, 1867 (NYPL)

The Mechanics of Removal

Civic snow removal was initially a responsibility of the police department up until 1881, when the Department of Street Cleaning became its own separate entity.

New York street-cleaners manned a broom during the spring and a shovel in the winter, working with horse-drawn carts in “piling and loading gangs” to clear gutters and intersections.

Most of the time, snow clearing was not even begun until it was believed the snowstorm was over. As a result, mountainous piles were even more difficult to tackle.

Obviously, this was slow going and highly prone to the corruption of the era. (Need snow removed from your street, business owner? ) And due to the erratic nature of snowfall, there were hardly enough men on hand at any given moment.

A grim discovery in the snow during the Blizzard of 1888:

Waring to the Rescue

The Blizzard of 1888 changed everything in New York City. The storm was so devastating that certain streets were blocked for days.

More horrifying still, due to the hurricane-force winds, many people had been knocked unconscious and were subsequently buried in the snow. Not to mention the hundreds of dead animals also found underneath the massive snow drifts.

New York’s entire system of street cleaning — in sun or snow — radically changed when the Civil War veteran George E. Waring Jr. (pictured below) became commissioner of the Department of Street Cleaning in 1894.

The brilliant and reform-minded engineer had guided healthy sewage and draining maintenance throughout the country, from the design of Central Park to the streets of Memphis, Tennessee.

Snow Patrol

Waring transformed his men into a small military unit, garbed in all-white uniforms who occasionally marched in parades with Commissioner Waring out front, on horseback.

This military mindset was a boon for New York Waring referred to his employees as “soldiers of the public.”

Street cleaning was no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

Clearing snow in the Waring era, 1896, photos by Alice Austen (she was riding around in her bike in this weather?) Courtesy NYPL

Waring was part of a large progressive movement in the 1890s, one that would finally, with zeal, tackle the numerous health and livelihood issues associated with the city’s overcrowded tenement districts.

A ‘Moral Obligatiion’

In the spring of 1897, the commissioner produced a lengthy treatise for Mayor William Strong on the thorny subject of clearing snow. Its opening paragraph lays out the scope of Waring’s staunch, progressive vision:

“The question of snow removal has always been one of the most vexatious problems confronting the various administrations. The removal of ‘new fallen snow from leading thoroughfares and such other streets and avenues as may be found practicable’ is a duty made obligatory upon the Commissioner by law, and with each year, the moral obligation to the vast traffic interests of congested Manhattan Island becomes more insistent.” [source]

Before Waring, never was it considered necessary to remove snow from the entire city, but only from “leading thoroughfares”.

However, thanks to the rise of sophisticated urban planning and progressive socialism, it soon became a “moral” responsibility on behalf of the health of the city and its citizens.

From the report: “[A] delay in the removal of the almost knee deep snow and befouled slush is at the cost of much sickness and, probably, lives each winter.”

By the late 1890s, Waring hired private contractors specifically for snow clearance, leaving his regular crew of street cleaners to focus on their regular responsibilities.

With the 20th century came motorized plows and more sophisticated street-cleaning rules to better facilitate the headache of a bad winter.

But after Waring, it would no longer be acceptable in the public’s eye to pick and choose which neighborhoods receive the city’s attention. (Both our former and current mayors have certainly learned this lesson!)

Below: Pictures Valentine’s Day Blizzard of 1914. The bottom picture is of Union Square, with snow covering the construction site of the new subway station. (Courtesy Library of Congress)

Ephemeral New York

By all accounts, the city in the 19th century was filthy. Household garbage got tossed out behind tenements, and roads were lined with animal carcasses, crap, and ashes. Rubbish-pickers took what they could and sold it to bone-boiling plants the rest was left to hogs, and then to rot. In the summer, the stench must have been unbearable.

The city established a Department of Sanitation in 1881, but it didn’t really help the situation. Enter George Waring, hired as commissioner in the Department of Street Cleaning in 1895. He treated the department as an army, mandating that street cleaners wear white uniforms to convey a sense of cleanliness. Hence their nickname, the “White Wings.”

The White Wings cleaned up the streets, and Waring launched the city’s first waste-disposal programs. After sanitizing New York City, he took a job doing the same thing in Cuba. There he contracted yellow fever. He died in his apartment at The Rutherford in 1898.

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This entry was posted on August 11, 2008 at 3:46 am and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

14 Responses to “When the “White Wings” cleaned up New York”

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