The Keiser Waterworks, located northeast of the junction of Water and East Main streets in Keiser (Mississippi 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, 2007.
As the United States struggled with the effects of 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.
The town of Keiser was the center of an agricultural area that witnessed high yields of cotton, alfalfa, and corn, and in 1935 its leaders decided to seek PWA funding to construct a modern waterworks system. The PWA authorized a $10,636 grant and $13,000 loan for the project, which was expected to cost around $24,318.
A $22,258 contract was awarded on November 25, 1935, though the name of the winning contractor is not known. PWA records show that the project began on March 14, 1936, and was completed by October 2 of that year. It resulted in construction of the Keiser Water Tower, which the National Register of Historic Places nomination describes as “an excellent example of building techniques and materials associated with PWA construction in the 1930s.”
For additional information:
Hall, Joanna. “Keiser Waterworks.” 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/MS0310.nr.pdf (accessed January 31, 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 http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed January 31, 2019).
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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