“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Fairmount Water Works

Fairmount Water Works Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, September 2014
1. Fairmount Water Works Marker
Inscription. From 1815 to 1909 the Fairmount Water Works served Philadelphia by supplying drinking water from the Schuykill River to Reservoirs once located behind you.
1815: Engine House (1) contained wood burning steam engines that powered water pumps.
1821: Site converted to water power. Fairmount Dam (2) diverted river water througha man-made Forebay (3) into Old Mill House (4). Inside, water wheels powered pumping equipment.
1862: New Mill House (5) held state-of-the-art water-powered turbines.
1872: Old Mill House rebuilt to house large turbines. Great Pavilion (6) added between new Entrance Houses (7).
1909: Water Works closed, replaced by more modern pumping stations.
1920s: Forebay (3) filled-in during art museum construction.
1950s: Canal and lock (8) that allowed boats to pass around the dam removed during expressway construction.

Visitors have long-enjoyed the site’s beauty and recreational opportunities.
1830s: South Garden (9) and Eagle Pavilion (10) welcomed visitors during site’s heyday. Steep wooden stairs connected to spectacular views at Mercury Pavilion (11) (Located to your right). Boat races and ice skating began on pond-like waters behind the dam (12).
1844: City purchased Lemon Hill Estate (13), first piece of Fairmont park. thousands of acres later added
Fairmount Water Works image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, September 2014
2. Fairmount Water Works
to protect city’s water supply and provide recreation space.
1860: Increasing popularity of rowing led to construction of permanent boathouses on Boathouse Row (14).
1870s: New Cliffside Paths (15) connected various attractions including fashionable ‘natural’-styled Rustic pavilion (16), today recreated in steel.

(i) Tucked beneath the decks of this site, the Fairmount Water Works Interpretative Center features highly interactive exhibits which trace the origins of the Water Works and make this engineering marvel both understandable and interesting.

Location. 39° 57.95′ N, 75° 10.967′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from Anne d'Harnoncourt Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19130, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Paths & Pavilions (within shouting distance of this marker); Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fairmount Dam (about 600 feet away); Julian Francis Abele (approx. 0.2 miles away); Parkway Museums District (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Reservoir to Art Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther/The Lion Fighter (approx. 0.2 miles away); Washington Monument (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Categories. ArchitectureCharity & Public WorkMan-Made Features
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 4, 2017, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 64 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 4, 2017, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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