Preserving Louisville Water Tower’s History for the Future

Louisville Water Tower restoration - side viewSince unveiling plans to restore a Louisville treasure and National Historic Landmark, crews have made significant progress at Louisville Water Tower.

On Tuesday morning, Louisville Water announced the restoration project is about three quarters finished, according to the project engineer.

Work began in summer 2022 to restore the Tower and repair the company’s original Pumping Station No. 1 that sits behind it. Driving along River Road, you can see the scaffolding scaling the 185-foot tall Tower.

Columns surrounding Louisville Water Tower and those lined along Pumping Station No. 1 were stripped and cracks were repaired. Following the discovery of moisture buildup in the Tower, a big priority was to create a ventilation system to limit condensation inside it. That will be a large focus over the next few months.

Crews have also been busy inside Pumping Station No. 1, framing new walls, painting, adding acoustic panels, and updating the WaterWorks Museum space.

Watching the changes unfold has been bittersweet for Louisville Water Tower’s Supervisor of Event Operations, Megan Jones.

“Renovations, whether at your home or a National Historic Landmark, inspire an array of emotions from disappointment to excitement. This process has been no different, but with any building you love, the end result is always worth the journey. Now, I am looking forward to sharing the end results with our community!” Jones said.

As crews continue to make progress, the scaffolding will begin coming down to allow workers to repaint the entire Tower.

The 10 statues that circled the balustrade returned to Louisville following a makeover. They will remain in storage until it’s time to hoist them back to their ‘home’ where they belong.

Though no longer operational for today’s water production, Louisville Water Tower was built in 1860 for the original water works. It is the nation’s oldest standing ornamental water tower and is one of eight National Historic Landmarks in our city.

Louisville Water is committed to preserving this iconic structure. It symbolizes the quality and innovation that Louisville Water has embodied for more than 160 years.

Louisville firm K. Norman Barry Associates Architects is coordinating the project for Louisville Water.