The Kilbourn Pumping Station was designed by the Chicago firm of Alvord, Burdick & Howson, the latter of which, Louis R. Howson, was called Chicago’s "Mr. Waterworks" for his hydraulic and sanitary engineering prowess and influence in the Windy City.

Inside, still in place and connected by hulking transmission pipes are the station’s three original Allis-Chalmers 20-million gallon centrifugal pumps.

In a room at the back there’s still the large scale used to weigh out the chlorine that disinfected the water from the reservoir.
The Kilbourn Station pumped water from the reservoir into the then 58-mile distribution system (now 2,000 miles).

It wasn’t until 1979 that the reservoir was covered to protect the water. Over time the reservoir suffered from the pressure caused by the weight of its water and it began to leak, leading to underutilization.

In 1998, the Water Works began conducting studies regarding the replacement of the water storage facility.

Bingo Location

The Doors Open Bingo Card is a new guide to Doors Open kid friendly and water focused locations and activities. Bing Card Info

626 E North Ave

Saturday Hours
10 am - 5 pm

Sunday Hours
Not Open

Photography, Video, Tripods Permitted

Handicapped Accessible
1st floor only


Photo Tour