America through the HABS Archives: Louisville Water Tower
We’ll continue the “America through the HABS Archives” series by taking a look at the Louisville Water Tower and Pump Station #1. Designed by Theodore Scowden and constructed in 1856 the Louisville Water Tower is the oldest ornamental water tower in the world. I wonder how many of you knew that, as I certainly did not until I did some research on the building. The tower stands 183 tall and is of the Doric order with a Corinthian peristyle around the base. The pump station was designed in the Classical Revival style and housed boiler and engine rooms.
Water began flowing through the station in 1860 and and pumped 12 million gallons of water a day. A March 27, 1890 tornado nearly destroyed the Water Tower. Just 30 feet was left standing but it was quickly rebuilt in cast iron to replace the original iron and wood paneled shaft. By 1909 the needs of the city had grown beyond the capacity of the original pumping station and water tower and a new pumping station and reservoir was constructed in Crescent Hill. The statues on the Tower’s base include 9 figures from Greek or Roman mythology and 1 Native American with his dog.
All the photos below, except the one of the Tower’s destruction, are from the HABS archives. The damage photo is from the Louisville government website found here. The HABS photos are once again by Jack Boucher and were taken in May 1975.
About this entry
You’re currently reading “America through the HABS Archives: Louisville Water Tower,” an entry on the building bloc(k)
- April 24, 2010 / 10:48 pm