Museum Highlights

Museum Highlights

Here is a sneek peak at some of the highlights of the history and human stories told through exhibits and displays at the WaterWorks Museum:

  • Louisville’s health issues in the 1830’s gave it the distinction, “Graveyard of the West.”
  • An 1890 tornado snapped the 30 year-old Water Tower off at the base, resulting in the rebuilding of the Tower that still stands today. A transcript of the frantic emergency call made is still in existence.
  • “Assessors” visited your home in the 1800s to calculate your water bill. See the original tariffs that had a set charge for homes, distilleries and even livestock!
  • By 1917, the condition of Louisville’s water was considered so good that the U.S Government headquartered Camp Zachary Taylor here to help insure soldiers did not die of cholera before going to war.
  • During the Great Flood of 1937, engineers put the steam engines back into service to pump water and therefore, Louisville continued to get drinking water during the city’s greatest flood.
  • What we know today as Zorn Avenue used to be “Pipeline Alley”, a true descriptor for what’s under the roadway; displays include original wooden water mains, old pumps and a collection of pipe in the city today.
  • Chief Engineer Charles Hermany, along with famed steam engineer E.D. Leavitt, designed a giant steam powered pumping engine that was used in Louisville and throughout the country. A replica is on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Louisville’s water was named “The Best Tasting Tap Water in the Country” by the American Water Works Association in 2008 and the People’s Choice for “Best Tasting Water” in 2013
  • The company completed a world-class project that included constructing a 1 ½ mile gravity tunnel 150 feet below ground and a system of wells to collect ground water, a completely new innovation as a source for drinking water. This is referred to as Riverbank Filtration.

Want to learn more? Visit the Water Works Museum!