The Lockesburg Waterworks, located at the corner of Hickory and Azalea streets in Lockesburg (Sevier 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.
Lockesburg had a population of 747 citizens in 1930, many of whom worked in the farming and timber industries. The town’s leaders decided to seek PWA funding for a new, modern waterworks to serve its people, and the federal agency awarded a $12,947 grant and a $16,000 loan for the project, which had an anticipated cost of $28,779.
The Arkansas Gazette reported on October 3, 1935, that bids were being sought on a $29,091 waterworks system at Lockesburg, but they apparently came in lower, as PWA records show that a contract of $25,716 was awarded on November 20, 1935. Construction began on February 7, 1936, and the Gazette stated on May 17 that construction of a 50,000-gallon-capacity tank and installation of 13,030 feet of pipe was underway. The project was completed by August 15, 1936. The 1936 structure, along with a later watershed, continues to supply water to Lockesburg and surrounding area in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
“Bids Asked for Three PWA Jobs.” Arkansas Gazette, October 3, 1935, p. 18.
Hall, Joanna, “Lockesburg 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/SV0100.nr.pdf (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 http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed January 16, 2019).
“Water, Water Everywhere…” Arkansas Gazette Magazine, May 17, 1936, p. 2.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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