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.
626 E North Ave
10 am - 5 pm
Photography, Video, Tripods Permitted
1st floor only