Curious what’s inside the Gothic-style structure at the Crescent Hill Reservoir? Walking Wednesday tours provide information about the history of Louisville Water’s architecture and operations. Louisville Water staff offers guided tours on the second Wednesday of each month from 11 am - 1pm and 5-7pm, from May through September.
The Crescent Hill Reservoir and Gatehouse opened in 1879 to supply a 10-day supply of water to the city. The gatehouse is still an integral part of operations, containing valves that control the flow of water in the reservoir. The volume of water in the reservoir, 110 million gallons, is almost the amount Louisville Water produces daily. Designed by Chief Engineer Charles Hermany, the reservoir and gatehouse provided Louisville a 10-day supply of water when it opened in 1879. The three-story Gothic structure was designed to resemble a castle Hermany saw along the Rhine River in Germany.
When it opened in 1879, the reservoir quickly became a popular walking destination which continues today. The Gatehouse, which sits in between the reservoir basins, was restored in 2015. The projected included cleaning and repairing over 2,500 terra cotta ceiling tiles, installing a new slate roof and cleaning and repairing the limestone steps leading up the reservoir. The gatehouse is believed to be one of the only buildings in this part of the United States with a slate roof on the exterior and terra cotta on the interior. The terra cotta is light-weight and in the late 1800s was a good material due to its fire resistance.
Walking Wednesday tour program is free and open to the public. Louisville Water staff will offer a guided look at the interior of the gatehouse. There are archival photos and drawings on display.