Mineral Springs Waterworks
The Mineral Springs Waterworks, located south of the junction of West Runnels and South Hall streets in Mineral Springs (Howard 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 May 29, 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.
Mineral Springs was served by an artesian well and the many springs that gave the town (formerly Greenville) its name, so town leaders decided to take advantage of the PWA’s offerings to acquire a modern water system. The PWA approved a $15,444 grant and $19,000 loan for the project on January 12, 1935, with the waterworks having an anticipated cost of $34,379.
The Arkansas Gazette reported on December 11, 1935, that bids had been accepted for the project, with McEachin & McEachin of Little Rock (Pulaski County) getting $22,281 to build the water distribution system, the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company getting $5,990 to construct the water tank, and the Corless Well Company of Memphis getting $3,980 to dig the well.
Corless received a work order to proceed with the well in early May 1936, and a work order for the remainder of the project was authorized on November 1. The Gazette reported on November 8 that “money has been obtained from the PWA for completion of the Mineral Springs municipal waterworks plant, and engineers have arrived to superintend the work. The amount was $19,387.79.”
PWA records indicate that the project was completed by December 30, 1936. A new water well was drilled in 1985, but the Mineral Springs water tower and its circa 1955 equipment shed continue to stand.
For additional information:
“$3,348,910 PWA Funds for Arkansas.” Arkansas Gazette, December 3, 1935, p. 7.
Hall, Joanna. “Mineral Springs Waterworks.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at https://arkansaspreservation.worldsecuresystems.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/HO0049.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).
“In the News.” Arkansas Gazette, May 8, 1936, p. 1.
“In the News.” Arkansas Gazette, November 1, 1936, p. 1.
“Low Bids for Five PWA Jobs Listed.” Arkansas Gazette, December 11, 1935, p. 5.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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