Louisville Water Tower

Louisville, Kentucky

Client: City of Louisville

Scope of Services: Condition Assessment, Material Testing, Analysis of Structural Integrity, Restoration of Metal Tower and Masonry Base, Conservation of Zinc Statuary

The Louisville Water Tower is a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Engineering Landmark, one of the oldest ornamental water towers in the world. At one hundred and eighty-six feet tall, it enclosed the standpipe for the city’s pumping station set on the bank of the Ohio River. The station was built in the form of a Greek temple complex. Designed by architect Theodore Scowden and his assistant Charles Hermany and constructed in 1856, it is an outstanding example of the use of classical architectural design vocabulary applied to an industrial facility. The tower was extensively rebuilt after sustaining severe damage from a tornado in 1890.

JKOA was retained to assess material conditions, determine structural integrity of the metal tower and its masonry base, and design subsequent remedial actions. During the assessment phase, the zinc statuary that graces the colonnade were also inspected and likewise found to be seriously damaged. The metal figures were removed and taken to a conservation lab where they were cleaned, the broken seams in the sheet metal and other damages repaired, and a new protective coating applied prior to reinstallation.

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