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One of Louisville’s most iconic landmarks is getting a fresh coat of paint this year

The Louisville Water Tower is closed to the public for a $6.2 million, eight-month restoration project.
Credit: Louisville Water Tower Park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The historic structure, built in 1860, is having its first major restoration since 2008. Though the Water Tower is no longer in use for today’s water production, the tower encloses a standpipe that helped control the force of giant steam engines which pulled water from the Ohio River.

Louisville Water says in a press release, crews are installing scaffolding to enclose the tower for a restoration project that includes: replacing metal portions on the exterior with zinc to prevent the metals for destroying one another, fixing moisture buildup inside the tower with a ventilation system, removing decayed wood on the balustrade, and repainting the tower.

The restoration of the tower is the second phase of a project following an investigation by Louisville firm K. Berry Associates Architects that analyzed the tower’s materials and archival research. The first part of the project was removing the 10 statues that sit on the balustrade, which was completed late 2020.

This is not the Water Tower’s first restoration project. 

In 1890 the tower was rebuilt with a cast iron inside after a tornado hit. The tower and all 10 statues were also restored in 1990 with a smaller restoration project to follow in 2008.

Louisville Water intends to complete the restoration by the spring of 2023. At that time, the statues will return to the tower, the WaterWorks Museum will reopen to the public, and rental events will resume.

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