In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Inside the water station that helped Shreveport grow

Discover a museum that is essential to growth of Shreveport and it's importance to American history.

Just north of downtown Shreveport sits one of the great features that helped turn the city into what it is today. In 1887, the McNeill Street Water Treatment Plant became the first water station for the city. This allowed citizens to experience the simple thing we take for granted today: clean water for drinking, bathing, and laundry. Clean water meant fewer disease outbreaks and a healthier community that flourished as indoor plumbing became the next big thing for everyone. For almost 100 years, the steam pumps supplied water to the city. In 1980, the pumps were retired.

Afterwards, the McNeill Street Pumping Station Preservation Society took over and now the Shreveport Water Works Museum shows off the steam pumps and the water works to many who want to see this important piece of history. The Smithsonian believes that the plant was the last operating steam-powered water treatment plant in the United States. In addition, the original pumps are thought to be the last surviving pumps from that era in the nation. The Shreveport Water Works Museum is listed as a National Historic Landmark. You can stroll through the different rooms to see the history. Plus, find out how we get our clean drinking water today.

Now, you can see the marvels of engineering that sustained Shreveport for nearly a century.  The water station museum is closed on Mondays but open all other days. Enjoy free admission yet they enjoy any donations to keep the pumps working. Tours are welcome but please call ahead in advance. Read more about the museum, its history and learn about the preservation society on their website. Also on the site sits the Railroad Museum.

Related Topic: If you’re interested in more of Shreveport’s history, step back in time at the Spring Street Museum.