Where History and Art Flow Together

Students at Norton Commons Elementary schoolWhile Louisville Water’s WaterWorks Museum is temporarily closed amid renovations, lessons about the history and beauty of Louisville Water Tower have moved inside some local classrooms.

Louisville Water Manager of Education and Outreach, Channa Newman, said “We’re excited to share the story of how the water tower and the standpipe inside helped to pull water from the Ohio River and send it to the Reservoir.”

Fourth graders at Norton Commons Elementary were surprised to hear the tower stands 185 feet tall and is the oldest ornamental water tower in the country!

Students also learned how a tornado in 1890 toppled part of the tower. That was important to note because the next part of the lesson involved groups designing their own tower. They needed to create a solid foundation and make a sturdy structure.

Students at Norton Commons elementary schoolDivided into teams, the children got to work with toothpicks and marshmallows to get a general idea of the project.

One kid proudly exclaimed his parents are an architect and an engineer. Others voiced their frustrations with keeping the towers from toppling and realized they needed to adapt their ideas.

As the week progressed, Louisville Visual Arts’ art instructor, Claire Krueger, taught them about architecture, helped them craft their designs, and supplied the materials to build their towers.


Norton Commons students built a tower for project

“The students had some amazing theme ideas- classical architecture, Gods from Hindu and Greek cultures, Olympics, nature, and more! I enjoyed seeing them problem-solve and bring their 2-D drawings to life with their 3-D water tower structures,” Krueger said.

One team really thought outside the box and installed a basketball hoop at the top.

Anytime you can make learning fun, especially with Louisville Water, that’s a slam dunk!