Water Works Building Restoration

The building itself dates back to 1904, but that site was pumping water to Tallahassee back in the 1880's. Tucked away on Gaines Street, hidden behind ivy and barbed wire sits a little bit of Tallahassee's history.

Randy Lewis is the architect in charge of a Tallahassee effort to save the old city waterworks.

"It's very unique. The shape of it. The construction of it. There's none other like it around this area," says Lewis.

And few like it in the state. It's one of just three Florida public works buildings on the National Historic Register. Tallahassee's water was pumped from this site back in 1889. This building is from the early 1900s.

"It's unique because the form of it, the form is following the function of the wells and pumps and so forth," says Beth LaCivita.

Preservationists are thrilled this old building will get an $800,000 update. That'll save the building. The next question, what to do with it.

"Keep the exterior intact, prevent further degradation or deterioration, but more is to rehabilitate the shell so you could use it easily for any other of the uses proposed," says Craig Diamond.

And that could be anything from a restaurant to a bike shop, meeting space to a museum. The goal: getting the old waterworks back to work. At this point, the plan is to save the outside of the waterworks building first, and then figure out what might go inside.

The city water department moved out in the '50s, and it was used for storage after that. There were actually renovation plans back in the 1970s, but those never panned out. Preservations hope this time the work will be a reality.


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