This is a quick post, since there’s not a whole lot to say about this water factory, unless you feel the need to make a bunch of jokes about how water is made. But we all know that water is created when you sin and make God sad and then he cries and his tears are rain that falls to earth where we collect, sanitize and drink it, then pee it out, sanitize it again and then some of it evaporates back into the sky where Care Bears use it to water rainbows. Duh.
This water plant was constructed between 1881-1911 on a little manmade island in New Jersey. It operated as a water filtration and pumping plant until 1990 when it shut down. It was one of the first plants to bring safe drinking water to the public, which was an imperative necessity at the time, since the cholera epidemic was at an all time high because people kept drinking their own shit water.
The most impressive thing about the plant is how they preserved some of the old machinery along side newer innovations. Some machines date back to the industrial revolution.
In 1915, these Allis-Chalmers pumping engines were installed and used for over 70 years. They remain in remarkable condition for the plant having been abandoned for so long. In fact, the whole building is in pristine shape, considering its two and a half decade abandonment. There is natural age and element related wear and tear on the machines and brick structure, but overall the place remains (mostly) devoid of graffiti and vandalism, which is a rare find these days.
It’s been noted that the site has a massive underground infrastructure, about two levels below ground, but I assume it’s underwater since flooding begins a few feet below ground level inside the building. It’s gonna drive me nuts, knowing I can’t get in there.
There have been both efforts to save the site, and to demolish it. In 1996, it was placed on the list of New Jersey’s 11 Most Endangered National Historical Places. In 2001 it received a Save America’s Treasures grant, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But as I’ve learned over the years, putting things on lists is unfortunately mostly an act of cultural bravado and doesn’t hold. Everything has a selling point, and the right amount of money can knock things right off a preservation list and into a landfill.
In the following years, the site received a number of grants, as historical organizations fought to preserve the structure against proposals that sought to demolish it and turn the land into a park. The last information I could find on preservation efforts ended in 2011 when the plant received a $704, 834 grant to stabilize the building in hope that it could eventually be open to public tours. Another $500,000 was supposed to be granted, but the money was redirected. As of 2014, the site is still abandoned, unstable and not accessible to the public.
Disclaimer: If any information on this post is incorrect, if you have more info or would otherwise like to tell me something, feel free to contact me.