In 1849 Waco's main street was platted near one of a number of large natural artesian springs indigenous to this area. In the last quarter of the 19th Century Waco relied on private suppliers of artesian well water for its municipal needs. These supplies eventually proved inadequate and in 1901 the city approved bonds for a new waterworks system. By 1914 Waco had switched to water from the Brazos River and a distribution system powered by two steam-driven Allis-Chalmers pumps housed here in its newly completed waterworks complex. The pumps operated until 1967.
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