Racine Water Works (1933)
100 Hubbard Street
The Racine Water Utility has maintained a presence on the shores of Lake Michigan for over 125 years as the City expanded and developed. On February 1, 1887, the first Lake Michigan water flowed into the distribution system pumped by the new coal powered steam station at Reichert Court and Michigan Boulevard, owned and operated by the Racine Water Company.  This original pumping station still stands as the office for the Pugh Marina on Reichert Court.  The ample supply of cold, fresh Lake Michigan water was advertised nationally and became a drawing card for industry to locate and grow in the Racine area. The Racine Water Company was purchased by the City of Racine on May 1, 1919.

In the early 1920s, industry made many major requests for more and larger water mains.  Racine leaders responded to the need for more and purer water.  By 1928 construction was completed on treatment basins, filter plant and storage reservoir.  In 1933 the Utility completed work on the pump station, giving Racine one of the first modern water treatment plants in the world. 

Today the Racine Water Utility serves 120,000 consumers in the Racine Metropolitan Area.  The Racine Water Utility provides water service to residents of Racine, Mt. Pleasant, Sturtevant, Elmwood Park, North Bay, Caledonia and Wind Point.  Retail water service includes delivery of pure drinking water, excellent fire protection, repairs and maintenance of the water system and constant testing to assure potability. 

The architecture of the current treatment plant is very similar to other treatments plants on the western shore of Lake Michigan.  The Chicago-based engineering firm of Alvord, Burdick and Howe was responsible for the design, engineering and construction of most of the Lake Michigan water treatment plants. The buildings have served as an architectural jewel on the Racine lakefront since 1933. With plant expansions in the 1930s, 1950s, 1990s and early 2000s, maintaining architectural harmony with the original facilities has always been a design priority.  By locating the plant north of the mouth of the Root River, the Utility was able to capture cleaner water from the lake very close to the popular North Beach bathing area.  The attractive architecture including a reflecting pond and sundial are well known to Racine residents who may have grown up near the lake.  The Utility staff takes great pride and invests significant resources in maintaining the appearance of the buildings and grounds.

Preservation Racine wishes to thank the staff of the Racine Water Utility and the City of Racine for participating in this year’s tour.