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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KENTUCKY ST. RESERVOIR - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The KENTUCKY ST. RESERVOIR was the first reservoir and central pumping station used to deliver fresh water to Cleveland inhabitants (see WATER SYSTEM). When citizens approved a $400,000 expenditure for erection of a water system in 1853, a board of waterworks trustees was established, consisting of HENRY B. PAYNE†, BASIL L. SPANGLER†, and RICHARD HILLIARD†. Land was purchased on the west side of the CUYAHOGA RIVER, bordered by Kentucky St. (W. 38th), Duane St. (W. 32nd), Franklin Blvd., and Woodbine Ave., where the pumping station and reservoir were built (final costs were $526,712.99). When the waterworks opened on 24 Sept. 1856, the state fair, in progress at the PUBLIC SQUARE, provided a showcase for the new reservoir, which fed a fountain at the square from which visitors could sample the drinking water.

View of Cleveland from the promenade on top of the Kentucky Street Reservoir, ca. 1872. WRHS

The 6-million-gallon capacity reservoir covered 6 acres, rising 35' above street level and receiving water from Lake Erie via a 300' steel tunnel at W. 58th St. Two large mains distributed the water through the city. Steps up the side of the reservoir led to a promenade which afforded a scenic view of the city, and by 1860 omnibus service carried visitors to the landmark. The reservoir supplied drinking water until the early 1880s, when the city's growth outstripped its holding capacity. The old reservoir was abandoned but was renamed Reservoir Park on 16 June 1890. It became Fairview Park in 1897. In 1995 the site contained homes, a baseball diamond, a city garden, and a county nursing home.

Last Modified: 17 Dec 1999 12:52:00 PM

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