Description of Historic Place
The Charlottetown Water Works consists of two buildings including an Island brick pumping station and an octagonal, enclosed reservoir. It is located just off the Malpeque Road on park like land. The Water Works has the distinction of being the Island's first pumping station, as well as the only existing water works from the late 19th Century, with an additional covered reservoir. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of the Charlottetown Water Works lies in its role in the history of the water supply in the City of Charlottetown, its attractive architecture and its distinction as the only water works of its day that includes a covered reservoir.
Charlottetown had considered building a water works as early as 1881 after it received a report on the potential water supply of the city from the chief engineer of the Saint John, NB Water Works. Later in the decade, tenders were called and a bid of 16 600 dollars was accepted. Ground was broken in 1888 for the Island's first pumping station.
The Charlottetown Water Works was the design of Boston engineer, Marshall Martain Tidd (1827-1895). Tidd was involved in a number of water works projects in the United States and the Maritime Provinces. Local builder, W.H. Fraser built the structures. The project would include the construction of an Island brick pumping station with an 85-foot chimney, a brick octoganal well house and 15 and a half miles of pipe that led into Charlottetown. Nova Scotia sandstone was brought in to line the well, which is 25 feet in diameter and 21 feet deep. Two 120hp steam pumps and boilers were used to pump the water from the well.
The pump house building was built in two sections. Typical of water works of the era, the building was divided into two sections: the north section housed the engine and the south side housed the boilers. Interestingly, boilers were installed after the buildings were finished and placed in the building through large arches, which are still visible on the pump house. The 85 foot smoke stack that was part of the original building was removed in 1965.
The octagonal well house located to the north west of the water works encloses the original artesian well that was used to provide the City of Charlottetown with drinking water. Water from this well was pumped, from the pumping station, through a cast iron pipe to an open elevated storage container located on the Mount Edward Road. Water then flowed through cast iron pipes that were laid along Mount Edward Road, down Longworth Avenue and into distribution pipes laid along roadways between Euston Street and Water Street. This station is presently used only as a supplementary facility.
The Charlottetown Water Works is a good example of a water works of the late 19th Century, but what makes this particular water works unique is its covered reservoir. The Water Works is a reminder of the City of Charlottetown's growth as an urban centre. A beautiful landmark, the Charlottetown Water Works is one of the most recognizable and unique heritage sites in Charlottetown.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the Charlottetown Water Works:
- The overall massing of the building
- The size and shape of the Island brick exterior with corbelled design near the roofline
- The hipped roof
- The size and placement of the wooden double doors with arched transom light
- The size and placement of the arched windows
- The arches on the south side of the building
- The date stone above the entrance "C.W.W. 1888"
- The size and octagonal shape of the covered reservoir with its small arched wooden door, tented slate roof with small cupola atop and its decorative Island brick exterior with arches and corbelled details
- The placement of the buildings set in from the road in a park like setting