Crescent Hill Gatehouse

Louisville, Kentucky | C.1879

Photo Credit: @microminstrel

This regal gatehouse contains the valves that once controlled the flow of water from the Crescent Hill Reservoir to the city of Louisville, Kentucky. The municipal Louisville Water company owns the gatehouse and has provided drinking water to the city’s residents since 1860. 

This was not the first pump house or the first reservoir. Originally, another pump house delivered straight river water to customers, sometimes with mud and sediment still in it. Around the mid 1860s, Chief Engineer Charles Hermany began a quest for pure water from the Ohio river, and laid plans for a larger reservoir on Crescent Hill, where water could settle longer. Inspired by a German castle, Hermany designed the Gothic gatehouse with both form and function in mind, housing the controls for the reservoir in grand style.

The reservoir and gatehouse opened in 1879 to much fanfare, and quickly became a tourist attraction. Visitors came by train and horse and buggy to visit the park-like grounds, which included bathrooms. When it opened in 1879, the Reservoir held at least a two-week supply of water. Today, it holds not quite enough for one day.

Fully restored in the 2010s, the Crescent Hill Gatehouse is now a tourist destination and  Kentucky Historic Site. The building is frequently open for tours, and the area around the reservoir is popular with walkers and joggers. 

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