Ever walked through Eden Park and wondered what purpose the abandoned brick and sandstone structure on Martin Drive served? Complete with a castle-like watchtower, a four-story smokestack bearing actual gargoyles, and a tile roof, it looks like it was plucked straight from a princess’s storybook. But the building’s sandstone pediment, with the city’s seal and Cincinnati Water Works carved into it, tells a different story.
During the late 1800s, the city hired renowned architect Samuel Hannaford to design the Eden Park Pump Station and the 172-foot-tall Eden Park Standpipe on Cliff Drive, which together pumped water from a nearby reservoir to expanding neighborhoods like Walnut Hills. Thirteen years after their completion in 1894, the station was decommissioned and replaced by a newer one farther up the Ohio River. The pump station sat vacant for 32 years before the Cincinnati Fire Department converted it into a fire alarm station in 1939, and then, from 1988 to 2004, the Cincinnati Police Department used it as a dispatch center. In 2012, a local developer announced plans to convert it into a brewery but couldn’t raise sufficient funds. What life will it live next? Only time will tell.