Louisville Water Company Pump Station | Louisville, Kentucky
The Louisville Water Company Pump Station #3 is one of the main pump stations used for drawing our community’s drinking water from the Ohio River. Constructed in the early 1900s, the wear and tear of time had taken its toll on this important landmark, and JRA Architects was “tapped” to restore the facility - and the steam engine that powers it - to its original beauty and function. And with the drinking water of nearly 1 million people at stake, a delicate touch was essential.
The project’s exterior needs included cleaning, tuck pointing, and waterproofing the limestone veneer, restoration of the existing copper cornice work and the cast-iron ornaments, restoration of the limestone bridges that lead to the building’s entrances, replacing the windows with those that are historically accurate, restoring the screen tower and steel bridge that connects it, and replacement of the historic roof. Because of the nature of preserving and restoring historic buildings, great care was taken to ensure the original design was maintained. Extensive research was conducted to identify the origin of the building’s limestone so that replacement stone was harvested from the same quarries. We also secured the most environmentally sensitive cleaning agents for the masonry restoration as the building sits directly over the Ohio River.
The Pump Station’s interior was also restored, and that process included reviving one of only two remaining water pump steam engines in the U.S. through a process called “sponge blasting”. This process completely removes all of the layers of paint and oil without damaging the original material surface.
When JRA was charged with breathing new life into this extraordinary architectural gem, we pledged to celebrate the vision of the original designers and to reinvigorate the facility to its original form. We’re proud to have accomplished that goal and to provide the city a treasured landmark for years to come.
Timothy Graviss, AIA
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