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Green Forest Water Tower

The Green Forest Water Tower is located on Springfield Street in Green Forest (Carroll County). The metal water tower was built by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works for the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1937. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 2007.

The first settlers of European descent to move into what later became Green Forest arrived around 1836, and scattered development continued up to the advent of the Civil War. All of the buildings in the area were destroyed during the war, but by 1870 it was a bustling community featuring six stores, and by 1889 it had eleven stores and a combination flour/saw mill and cotton gin, and a Masonic lodge. When the Great Depression struck, the small town of Green Forest served many of the needs of the people who lived in the hill country between Harrison (Boone County) and Berryville (Carroll County).

As the United States struggled during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of unemployment. 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.

Green Forest took advantage of the offerings of the PWA and applied to have a $45,561 waterworks installed. On July 26, 1935, the PWA awarded a $21,500 loan and a $19,590 grant for the project. A contract for $41,362 was awarded on November 14, 1935. The Green Forest Tribune reported on March 12, 1936, that “Mayor Claude Buell has received the first check to finance the waterworks project in Green Forest....In a telephone conversation with Dickison and White, the engineers for the project, Mr. Buell was informed that work orders would be requested immediately, and that work would probably begin within ten days or two weeks.” It actually would be more than a year before ground would be broken for the project, but on March 25, 1937, the newspaper reported that “the best news to hit Green Forest in many a day is the announcement made by Construction Superintendent Ramsey Enix that work on the waterworks project will begin next week. A carload of cement was unloaded yesterday, and other materials are arriving....While crews in double shifts are laying pipe, other crews will be at work on the pump house and reservoir at the well site, and on the tank to be located on the city lot in the center of town. About 50 or 60 men will be employed for several weeks on the project.” PWA records indicate that the project was finished on June 9, 1937.

The water tower is a Horton-style tank, named for either Chicago Bridge and Iron Works founder Horace E. Horton or his son, chief engineer George T. Horton. The Green Forest Water Tower continues to serve the people of the community to this day and remains as a testament to the work of the PWA, a New Deal agency that put Americans to work during the Great Depression while bringing badly needed infrastructure to communities of all sizes throughout Arkansas.

For additional information:
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwestern Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.

“City Waterworks Project to Start.” Green Forest Tribune, March 12, 1936, p. 1.

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 July 18, 2016).

“Green Forest Water Tower.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CR2086.nr.pdf (accessed July 18, 2016).

“Work to Start on Water System in a Few Days.” Green Forest Tribune, March 25, 1937, p. 1.

Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

Last Updated 7/22/2016

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