Hampton Waterworks

The Hampton Waterworks is located on the north side of Hunt Street west of Lee Street in downtown Hampton (Calhoun County) in southwest Arkansas. The metal water tower and associated well house were built by the Pittsburgh–Des Moines Steel Co. for the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1937.

Hampton and Calhoun County suffered along with the rest of Arkansas during the Great Depression, and one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies provided much needed assistance. The Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, which became known as the Public Works Administration, was created on June 16, 1933, as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. While initial efforts focused on federal projects, Congress soon expanded PWA aid to state and local projects that would provide jobs for unskilled laborers and spending for deserving projects. The PWA put unemployed citizens to work during the Great Depression while bringing badly needed infrastructure to communities of all sizes throughout Arkansas, such as waterworks, sewer systems, highways, bridges, tunnels, and electric transmission services.

Hampton’s population more than doubled in the decade following the 1920 census, and the city applied to the PWA for a waterworks to serve its swelling population. On July 21, 1936, the PWA gave a $15,000 loan and awarded a $12,191 grant for the project. A contract for $24,047 was awarded on September 18, 1936, and the Pittsburgh–Des Moines Steel Co. began construction on October 2, 1936. Construction was complete by March 31, 1937, and the Hampton Waterworks continues to serve the people of the community into the twenty-first century.

The Hampton Waterworks, a testament to the work of the PWA, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 5, 2006.

For additional information:
“Hampton Waterworks.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Hope, Holly. An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006.

The WPA Guide to 1930’s Arkansas. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987.

Mark Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program


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