DeValls Bluff Waterworks

The DeValls Bluff Waterworks, located at the corner of Hazel and Rumbaugh streets in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), was constructed in 1936 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007.

As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs.

DeValls Bluff, located on the White River, had a population of 672 in 1930 and served as one of two county seats for Prairie County. The town’s leaders decided to seek PWA funding for a new, modern waterworks to serve its people, and the federal agency awarded a $17,024 grant and a $21,000 loan for the project, which had an anticipated cost of $38,024.

A contract of $32,685 was awarded on November 21, 1935, which included erection of a steel water tower by the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company. Construction began on May 5, 1936, and was completed by September 5. The 1936 DeValls Bluff Water Tower, along with a later aeration chamber, tank, and water shed, continue to supply water to the town and surrounding area in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
Hall, Joanna. “DeValls Bluff Waterworks.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at (accessed January 16, 2019).

Hope, Holly. “An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943.” Little Rock, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006. Online at (accessed January 16, 2019).

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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