Old Waterworks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: One of America's First Municipal Pumping Systems

We take municipal water for granted, but it was an amazing innovation when the Old Waterworks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania started providing water in 1754.

One of America's first municipal pumping systems, the waterworks moved spring water to a Moravian settlement above it. Moved to a stone pumphouse 6 years later, the system forced water to a collection tower, from which it flowed by gravity to five cisterns.

The now fully restored waterworks is a must-see for any history buff.

Bethlehem is in east-central Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley on I-78/U.S. Highway 22, about 50 miles north of downtown Philadelphia. The Colonial Industrial Area (459 Old York Road), which includes the waterworks, is open for self-guided tours. Brochures are available in the gristmill office, open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 1-610-691-0603.

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