Home » Restoration of original Louisville Water pumping station nears completion

Restoration of original Louisville Water pumping station nears completion

Designed to bring the facility back to closely resembling original pre-Civil War condition

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 23, 2013) — Louisville Water Co. provided a sneak peek today as a project to restore the interior of one of the city’s National Historic Landmarks nears completion. Renovation and restoration of the interior of the Original Pumping Station No. 1, which was built between 1858 and 1860 on Zorn Avenue at River Road as part of the city’s original Water Works, began in January and is scheduled to reopen to the public in March of 2014.

Louisville Water Tower Park
Louisville Water Tower Park

Guests were invited to tour the Original Pumping Station, which is located on the site that features another of Louisville’s National Historic Landmarks, the iconic Water Tower. The entire site has been branded as Louisville Water Tower Park to highlight the over 150-year connection between Louisville Water and this community.

The Pumping Station restoration, which is the first large-scale interior project since the 1970s, is designed to bring the facility back to closely resembling its original pre-Civil War condition. Work has included updating electrical, wiring and fire systems, and restoring walls, trim and an early 1900s cast-iron spiral staircase. New bathrooms and a catering preparation kitchen have been incorporated into the space. The centerpiece of the restoration is a central gallery, which overlooks an outside terrace and offers a magnificent view of the Ohio River.

Visitors were also able to get a glimpse of what will soon be the new WaterWorks Museum, located in the west wing of the Original Pumping Station. The WaterWorks Museum will highlight Louisville Water’s considerable archive of historic photographs, films and memorabilia and explore the company’s contributions to water delivery through its innovations in science, engineering and architecture.

The WaterWorks Museum will feature hundreds of photographs, some dating back to 1860, handwritten minutes and customer notes, original architectural drawings, pieces of the original water mains, meters and tools. An original steam mud pump will be part of the installation.

Along with exhibits designed for students, the company will also display a number of videos produced over the years, including a silent movie produced in 1938, which shows the steam engines operating and mules cleaning out the reservoir.

Development of the WaterWorks Museum is part of Louisville Water’s extensive education programming which reaches over 50,000 people annually with programming that extends into classrooms throughout the Louisville Metro region as well as tours of Louisville Water facilities through collaborations with schools, community organizations and cultural attractions.

“This is an exciting day for Louisville Water,” said Jim Brammell, Louisville Water president and CEO. “The value we bring to this community began at this site 153 years ago and today demonstrates that we are close to sharing our rich history with the people who helped make it all happen, our customers. It is an honor to pay tribute to the men and women who came before us by sharing their stories with those of us who are here now. Maintaining these facilities is simply good stewardship. Making them available to all is simply good citizenship.”

Once complete, the WaterWorks Museum will be open to the public and school groups. Louisville Water will also manage private rentals of the Original Pumping Station and the grounds at Louisville Water Tower Park.

The contractor on the $3.4 million project is Badgett Construction, a Louisville-based firm.

K. Norman Berry Architects provided design. Solid Light, a local exhibit design company, is providing exhibit design on the museum portion of the project. Learn more at LouisvilleWaterTower.com.