Hartford Water Tower

The Hartford Water Tower, located at the corner of Pine and First streets in Hartford (Sebastian 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 January 24, 2008.

As the United States struggled with the effects of the Great 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.

Hartford had a population of 1,210 in 1930 and a reputation as a center of both coal mining and gospel music. As Depression-fueled unemployment hit Hartford, the town’s leaders decided to seek PWA funding for a new, modern waterworks to serve its people and to provide badly needed jobs. On September 28, 1935, the federal agency awarded a $28,480 grant and a $35,000 loan for the project, which had an anticipated cost of around $63,000.

The Fort Smith Times Record reported on October 31, 1935, that “five contractors submitted bids for a waterworks system for Hartford…for which PWA allotment of $63,637 has been made.” The B&M Construction Company of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, won the contract, while W. F. Moody & Co. of Little Rock (Pulaski County) were selected as engineers for the endeavor, and a work order authorizing a $7,500 expenditure on the project was issued in February 1936. This apparently was for the 75,000-gallon well along with 34,905 feet of pipe for the waterworks. A July work order likely approved installation of the Hartford Water Tower, a Horton-style tank produced by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company. PWA records indicate that the project was completed by October 24, 1936, and the Hartford Water Tower continues to support the town and the surrounding area in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
“$5,700 Received for Cabot Job.” Arkansas Gazette, February 20, 1936, p. 16.

“Bids for Hartford Water Tower Taken.” Fort Smith Times Record, October 31, 1935, p. 3.

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 http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed September 24, 2019).

“Water, Water Everywhere…” Arkansas Gazette Magazine, May 17, 1936, pp. 1, 2.

“Work Order for Hartford Project.” Arkansas Gazette, July 25, 1936, p. 3.

Zbinden, Van. “Hartford Water Tower.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/SB0891.nr.pdf (accessed September 24, 2019).

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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