The Water Works Pump House is located at the intersection of West Gwinnett Street and Stiles Avenue in Savannah, Georgia. Construction of this historic structure began in 1891 and was completed in 1893. It was originally used as a water pumping station for the City of Savannah. The building is a two-story, red brick structure with a central tower and is adorned with terra cotta detailing. The building is located on a large lot that used to include a decorative fountain/pond. The water was pumped from artesian wells that were part of the complex, which pulled the water from underground.
The Water Works Pump House was designed by Chicago civil engineer Thomas T. Johnston in the Romanesque Revival style. The building is owned by the City of Savannah and has been vacant for several years. It now displays large scale portraits representing Westside residents and the Savannah community. The Water Works Pump House is a significant part of Savannah’s history, and many Westside residents have shared interactions and stories from their past. It is a reminder of a time when the city was growing rapidly and needed a reliable source of water. It is also a reminder of the importance of clean water to the health and well-being of a community, and it helped to prevent the spread of diseases common at that time, like malaria. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The planned renovation of the building will bring it back to life as a community market, entrepreneur center, and business incubator. The Water Works site will be a space where Westside residents and the broader Savannah community will access supportive services and resources. Developed in collaboration with Westside residents, the space, and the resources it houses will reflect and celebrate the physical, cultural, and historic resources of the Westside.