What's the "old water company block?"
Thursday, May 21, 2015Omni Hotels & Resorts is bringing a new, 30+floor building to downtown Louisville. Construction will begin later in 2015 for the multi-purpose structure situated between Second and Third Streets with Muhammad and Liberty Streets. As city leaders and media describe the plan, there are references to the site as the “old water company block” for good reason. Louisville Water has always had an office building on Third Street. In 1860, the company purchased lots on Third Street to build its first office, designed by Gideon Shyrock. Louisville Water’s archives contain a photograph of a group of gentleman standing outside the office. When concern grew that the building wasn’t fireproof, Louisville Water built a new structure in 1910 at what is today 435 South Third Street. (The site of the new development.) Drawings suggest a community gathering place in addition to the site to pay your water bill in person. (In 1910, you couldn’t mail your payment; you came to the office twice a year to pay the water “rent.”) Louisville Water moved to its current offices, just a few blocks south on Third and Chestnut Streets, in 1997. Today, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer pledged his support to relocate all or part of the former Louisville Water Co. building, saying the city would provide up to $1 million to help move the building. Fischer instituted a deadline of 30 days to find a new location and a new owner. Fischer said in the release that the city could move the entire building; the portico, facade and 25 feet of side walls; or move only the portico, placing it on public land. Louisville Water Company, 1860 Building Louisville Water Company, 435 South Third Street Louisville Water Company, 435 South Third Street Louisville Water Company Lobby, 435 South Third Street