Waterworks Building (The Pump House)
119 King St | Locally Designated 06/22/1995 | Nationally Designated 7/27/1979
Notice of Designation of Historic Structure
Additional Historical Context
A second story and tower were added to the original gable roofed Romanesque styled City Water Works Building in 1895 to create the present two-story, brick hip roofed structure. The round arched windows in the original structure and the round arched entrance as well as the tower added to the structure in 1895 remain to identify the original Romanesque character. Features include: intersecting hip roofs; round arched windows in original section on lower story on west side of facade. Blind round arch over door in projecting central entrance bay (formerly a taller tower); whitestone belt courses; flat arched windows in remainder of windows. Enlarged in 1895 according to plans by John Cole, a civil engineer, the Pump House has undergone many alterations over the years including shortening the tower (c) 1940. The site of the first city water works, the Pump House, now used to house the Western Wisconsin Arts Center, is the last of several public structures built in the Romanesque style remaining in the City. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. After the public uproar over the demolition of the Federal Building, the city made a token effort at preservation and offered the old second water works pump house as an art center. The Pump House was an important municipal governmental structure. La Crosse had one of the largest municipally owned water utilities in Wisconsin by 1914. The Pump House was designed by H.I. Bliss. It provided water to city residents by pumping it from the Mississippi River. While the building has become the center point of the revitalization of the area, it is most important as a monument to the beginning of the preservation movement in La Crosse. The City water works were moved to the new plant in Myrick Park in January 1914. General contractor for 1880 building: Joseph Rawlinson. Foundation contract: Royal Reynolds. Addition to building to accommodate new machinery in 1895 constructed by F.A. Gross.
-(Historical notes from the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory).
This site is located on the National Register of Historic Places.