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The McCrory Waterworks, located southeast of the junction of North Fakes and West Third streets in McCrory (Woodruff County), was constructed in 1935–36 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007.
As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs.
With a population of 924, McCrory was the center of business for Woodruff County in the mid-1930s, and town leaders decided to take advantage of the PWA’s offerings to procure a modern waterworks to serve business and residential customers. The federal agency awarded a $10,997 grant and a $28,500 loan on November 30, 1934, with the project expected to cost $40,001.
PWA records indicate that a $35,763 contract was awarded on August 29, 1935. The Arkansas Central Leader newspaper reported on October 31 that “Mayor Tom M. Jeffries received a message yesterday that funds have been released for a waterworks in McCrory. The contract was recently let to R. J. Reid Construction Company of Birmingham, Ala., at a cost of $30,000.00.” The remaining contracted funds likely went to the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works for construction of the McCrory water tower.
The Leader reported on November 21, 1935, that “workmen are now busy on the construction of a waterworks system for McCrory. A test well is down to a depth of 80 feet on the city property just south of the Baptist Church. Various sizes and colors of rocks are found at that depth in the coarse sand brought to the surface during operations today, Thursday.” Preliminary work was completed by mid-April 1936, when the newspaper observed that “men and machines are on the ground now ready to begin installation of the waterworks system in McCrory….The work will give employment to several men and will be completed in about ninety days. Mr. Buchanan is the foreman for the contractors, the Reid Construction Company.” The project was completed by July 14, 1936.
The McCrory Waterworks—which includes the 1936 water tower, water shed, and water tank along with a circa 1955 office building—continues to serve the people of McCrory and the surrounding area in the twenty-first century.
For additional information:
Hall, Joanna. “McCrory Waterworks.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/WO0031.nr.pdf (accessed January 16, 2019).
Hope, Holly. “An Ambition to be Preferred: New Deal Recovery Efforts and Architecture in Arkansas, 1933–1943.” Little Rock, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 2006. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed January 16, 2019).
“McCrory Waterworks Construction Is Begun.” Arkansas Central Leader, November 21, 1935, p. 1.
“McCrory Waterworks Costing $30,000 Now a Certainty.” Arkansas Central Leader, October 31, 1935, p. 1.
“Work on McCrory Waterworks Begun.” Arkansas Central Leader, April 16, 1936, p. 1.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
Last Updated 1/16/2019
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