“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Old Waterworks

The Old Waterworks Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
1. The Old Waterworks Marker
Inscription.  The development and evolution of Harrisburg's early public works infrastructure is captured through the unique Riverfront Park setting of the Old Waterworks, the original stone portion of which was constructed in 1841. At that time water was pumped by this facility directly from the Susquehanna River to the City's first reservoir located just east on North Street where the Commonwealth Keystone State Office Building now stands. The distinctive octagonal base of the stone structure on Front Street supported a tall standpipe, which stood from 1876 to 1913, as one of the tallest structures in the city at that time and a vantage point for aerial photography. With the advent of the City Beautiful Movement just after the turn of the 20th Century, Harrisburg became a national model in undertaking a variety of advanced public improvement projects. This included, among others, the construction of a water filtration plant on City Island in 1904 and the simultaneous expansion of this Waterworks building through the brick additions that remain today. Substantially damaged by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, which terminated its use as a pumping station, and
The Old Waterworks Building image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
2. The Old Waterworks Building
The Civic Club of Harrisburg is in the background.
nearly destroyed by fire in 1977, the complex was thoroughly restored and illuminated in 1985 through a creative adaptive reuse project initiated by the City, further enhancing this unique and highly visible Riverfront landmark.
Top Photo
1905 view of the Old Waterworks after erection of the 1904 expansion buildings and before removal of the towering standpipe.
Bottom Left Photo
1885 aerial view toward the Old Capitol Building from the Old Waterworks' standpipe structure.
Bottom Right Photo
Riverfront view of the Old Waterworks in 1880 prior to the 1904 expansion buildings and stabilization of the river bank.

Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project marker series.
Location. 40° 15.865′ N, 76° 53.401′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is on N. Front Street 0.1 miles south of Forster Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Harrisburg Cotton Factory and The Central YMCA (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Civic Club of Harrisburg (about
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600 feet away); Hope Fire Station (about 600 feet away); Genevieve Blatt (1913 - 1996) (about 700 feet away); The John Crain Kunkel and Katherine Smoot Kunkel Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Parish Church of St. Lawrence (Former) (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Michael’s Lutheran Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); J. Donald Cameron (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisburg.
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More. Search the internet for The Old Waterworks.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 29, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,300 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 29, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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