As Philadelphia grew in size in the late eighteenth century, it became clear that there was an increasing need for a supply of clean water. This demand was intensified by the Yellow Fever epidemics in 1793 and 1798. Benjamin H. Latrobe was hired to design a system using the water from the Schuylkill River. A pump was set up at the foot of Chestnut Street to pump water from the Schuylkill to street level, whence it flowed to Centre Square. There, Latrobe designed a building in the neo-classical style which housed a steam engine to pump water up to a holding tank on the upper floor, with the water then distributed throughout the city by gravity via wooden pipes. The Centre Square Waterworks was started in 1800 and opened on January 27, 1801. This waterworks remained in operation for just over a decade, at which time it was replaced by the Fairmount Waterworks. The Centre Square building was used as a distribution tank until it was torn down in 1829.
"Centre Square Philad'a." From The Casket. Philadelphia, October, 1831. 4 1/8 x 6 1/2. Engraving. Very good condition.
In 1826, Samuel C. Atkinson and Charles Alexander founded The Casket: Flowers of Literature, Wit and Sentiment. This monthly magazine ran until 1839, at which time it was purchased by George R. Graham. Graham soon combined it with Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and renamed the combined journal Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine. Though it had a fairly short run, the Casket was said to be the most widely circulated monthly in the United States. It included articles, stories, poetry, puzzles, and steel engraved illustrations, many of which showed scenes of Philadelphia. This is a good example of the output of the magazine. It is a retrospective view of the Centre Square Waterworks issued two years after the building was torn down. The park-like setting of the building is nicely depicted, and Rush's statue stands proudly in front of Latrobe's handsome edifice. $225
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