Fairmount Water Works

E banks of Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Fairmount Waterworks, East bank of Schuylkill River

Photo from the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


The Fairmount Water Works is perhaps the premier example of early 19th century American industrial architecture. It was built to supply Philadelphia with a reliable source of fresh water. During its operational life the Fairmount Water Works employed a wide variety of hydraulic technologies including steam engines, wooden and cast iron breast wheels, and iron water turbines. Known as the "Mecca of hydraulic engineers" the Fairmount Water Works greatly influenced subsequent municipal water works development throughout the United States. -- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER PA-51)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 11, 1976
Reference number
Architectural styles
Mid 19th Century Revival; Other architectural type; Roman Revival
Areas of significance
Art; Economics; Military; Transportation; Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Water works; Energy facility; Park
Current functions
Water works; Energy facility; Park
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1825-1849
Significant years
1812; 1822
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Contributing structures: 3
Contributing objects: 4

Update Log 

  • June 21, 2012: New Street View added by wdzinc