Images of Water Company Pumping Station (now Louisville Visual Art Association)

Theodore R. Scowden

Distant view

Technically this complex includes the water tower and the pumping station, in its day known as River Pumping Station #1 when it pumped water for the Louisville region through a 26 mile network. It was no longer in operation as a water pump after 1909. The station resembles a classical Greek temple while the tower alludes to Roman triumphal columns.

The water tower

The water tower, originally in wood, was rebuilt in cast iron after the 1890 tornado demolished it. The Doric column is 183 feet tall.

The base of the water tower

The base of the tower/column has 10 smaller Corinthian columns, defining a small circular loggia. The entablature is capped by a balustrade and each fluted column is punctuated with a cast-zinc statue in a mixed program including Greek and Roman gods, the four seasons, and a Native American and his dog.

The Native American Hunter and his dog

This statue symbolizes North America and may also work allegorically as one of the four elements--earth. All of the sculptures are dated in the late 19th century and were designed by J. W. Fiske.

The pumping station

Although this was designed as an industrial building, the engineer/architect, Theodore Scowden, wanted the building and its surroundings to attract the public for picnics and outings. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

Looking up under the portico and up to the tower.

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© 2002 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan