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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Waterworks

The Waterworks was constructed in the early 1880's on a small man-made island in the middle of a river. When The Waterworks came online, it provided clean drinking water at a rate of 3.8 Million gallons per day. The population of the surrounding neighborhoods expanded quickly, however, in the years following the Civil War and with it came an increased demand for water. In 1886, a new engine was installed, capable of delivering 10 Million gallons per day. In the early 1900's, The Waterworks was working on new water filtration techniques and built a large new filtration plant and laboratory on site. Demand for clean water continued to increase, so in 1911, the waterworks installed the massive 5 story Allis Chalmers steam engine you see here which by itself had a capacity of 20 Million gallons per day. This steam engine stands 50 feet tall and each of its 32-ton flywheels can push 607 gallons of water with each revolution. Soon afterward, in 1915, the No. 3 Allis Chalmers pump was installed (which is the strange looking grey pump also shown here) and the capacity of this smaller pump was actually nearly double the big one, at 36 Million gallons per day. By the mid 1900's, the Waterworks was operating at its peak of 100 Trillion gallons per year, but by this time was showing its age.

While this Waterworks is credited for having pioneered the use of activated carbon in water purification in the 1920's, a newer and more state of the art facility was built nearby and subsequently took over water treatment for the area. In May of 1990, after over 100 years of continuous operation, The Waterworks shut down for good. For nearly 30 years now, the plant has been sitting idle while politicians and local residents battle over whether to preserve it as a park and museum or to simply demolish and divide up the land.

Click here for video.

This is part two of a 7 part, 2,600 mile, road trip report.

Check out this GIF. Here's a video of a completely different waterworks but with similar steam engines running simultaneously.

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

The Waterworks © 2016 sublunar

Source(s) of historical information are withheld for now; author of GIF is unknown to me at this time.

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