Norwood Water Works Plant

Norwood Water Works Pumping Station

Norwood Water Works & Electric Lighting Plant on Pine, near Forest.
(CA. 1894)

On November 8, 1892, the citizens of Norwood voted to build a water works. The water works trustees appointed by Mayor McNeill were Dr. Alfred Springer (Norwood Heights resident, well-known chemist and businessman), George Puchta (South Norwood resident, industrial supply house proprietor and future mayor of Cincinnati) and Henry Rikhoff (West Norwood resident, building and loan director and furniture manufacturer).

Dr. Springer's contributions were historically significant. He was described as "the earliest advocate of the steel tower," instead of a direct pressure system endorsed by others. So, we can give him at least some credit for providing the town with its highest structure for the last 110+ years. He also had the first water branch tap in Norwood, when his home, the "Capitol," was connected to the newly installed water system on May 22, 1894, at noon.

A detailed description of the water works system, including the first water tower, can be found in the 1894 book, Norwood, Her Homes and Her People," by Mulford and Betty.

The location of the plant was probably determined for two or three reasons: water wells were successfully drilled at this location, the adjacent railroad tracks made delivery of coal easier and cheaper, and the site was not too far from Norwood Heights, where the water tower had to be placed.

Since the plant needed to generate power for its pumps, the town decided that an electric generating facility could be placed in the same building. The DC power created at the Norwood Water Works and Electric Light Plant was used for street and commercial lighting. Unfortunately, the electricity was not reliable. The variable voltage either burned out the light bulbs, or if heavy-duty lights were used, produced faint illumination. Eventually, like most towns, the electric generation was turned over to commercial suppliers.

Norwood Water Works & Electric Lighting Plant ca. 1917.
(CA. 1917)