Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Birmingham Water Works Company (1887) / Cahaba Pumping Station (1890)
The Elyton Land Company, which had founded the city of Birmingham in 1871, established a subsidiary, the Birmingham Water Works Company in 1887. Dr. Henry M. Caldwell, President of the Elyton Land Company, contracted with Judge A. O. Lane, mayor of Birmingham, to furnish the new city with not less than five million gallons of water a day. Without water Birmingham could not have grown into the city that the founders had envisioned.
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This facility was initially completed under the supervision of W. A. Merkel at a cost of $500,000. The remote area lacked roads, and machinery had to be pulled nine miles over both Red Mountain and Shades Mountain by a yoke of six oxen. Coal to power the steam pumps was mined on site, and brick for the buildings was fired at the site. Employee housing formally existed on what is now Cahaba Heights Road. In the mid 1950’s, the boilers were converted from coal to natural gas and then to electricity in 1964.
This facility became the nucleus for the New Merkel Community which now known as Cahaba
Erected 1996 by Birmingham - Jefferson Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 33° 27.083′ N, 86° 43.056′ W. Marker is in Birmingham, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of Cahaba Heights Road and Sicard Hollow Road and Blue Lake Drive, on the right when traveling north on Cahaba Heights Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Birmingham AL 35243, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Vestavia Hills Baptist Church / George Ward 1867-1940 (approx. 3.1 miles away); Alabama Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.2 miles away); Robert Jemison, Jr. (1878-1974) / The Old Mill (1927) (approx. 3.2 miles away); Briarwood Presbyterian Church PCA (approx. 3.4 miles away); Canterbury United Methodist Church (approx. 3.4 miles away); America's First Office Park (approx. 3.6 miles away); Wallace S. McElwain / Irondale Furnace Ruins (approx. 3.9 miles away); The Early Mountain Brook Village Area (approx. 3.9 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 9, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 2,374 times since then and 9 times this year. Last updated on May 28, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 9, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.