Louisville WaterWorks Museum Virtual Activities - Build a Water Tower

Louisville WaterWorks Museum Virtual Activities - Build a Water Tower

Welcome to our new series Louisville Water Works! Each week we will post a new video with a lesson and an at-home challenge. We will also share directions for challenges and activities that relate to each topic. 

Week 3: Build a Water Tower


The Louisville Water Tower was part of water production in the early days of Louisville Water. Inside the white ornamental casing a standpipe (a pressure regulator) is housed. When Louisville Water first pumped water in 1860, it was pumped into the standpipe. The water level rising and falling in the standpipe helped to equalize the pressure surges the between the strokes of the huge steam pumping engines to protect the pipes, going up to the reservoir, from breaking. 

The original Water Tower was a wooden shaft that protected the iron pipe inside. In 1890 a tornado snapped the Water Tower about 30 feet from the ground. The company reconstructed the Water Tower out of iron plates to ensure protection from further natural disaster. 

The Water Tower stands 185 feet above the Ohio River; the 16-story (169 ft.) standpipe is encased in an ornate minaret with 10 statues ringing the balustrade 38 feet above the tower base.

The buildings are no longer used for water production but have been recognized as national historic landmarks. The Water Tower is the oldest and most ornamental of its kind in the United States. 

Challenge: Build a Water Tower

We challenge you to build your own tower. Use items around your house (blocks, Legos, bottles, marshmallows, empty

toilet paper or paper towel rolls), it can be any design and any material! Think about the engineering that is needed to build it. 

Activity: Writing Prompt

What materials did you use to build your water tower? Did your tower stand strong? How could you have improved your design? What would you do differently?

Activity: Match It

Match the word to its definition


A decorative object


To build or assemble something again


To rise and fall actively


A high vertical pipe or reservoir that is used to secure a uniform pressure in a water-supply system


A structure of unusual historical and aesthetic interest


A railing

Activity: Color It

Share It!

Share your completed challenges and activities with us. Tag us @LouWaterTowerPark and use the hashtag #LouisvilleWaterWorks.

Other Lessons: