The Fairmount Water Works was constructed in 1812 to pump water out of the Schuylkill River to serve the bustling City of Philadelphia. As Philadelphia rose into an industrial powerhouse, it was the first large American city to regard the delivery of safe water as a municipal responsibility. Powered by the river, pumps raised water into reservoirs high atop a nearby hill, Faire Mount. Almost from the day the waterwheels began turning, the graceful neoclassical buildings and beautiful grounds made the place an international tourist attraction renowned for melding nature and technology.
Today the Water Works is an Interpretive Center that offers visitors information about the impact of water on their daily lives, and how they in turn impact their water supplies. The Interpretive Center features a variety of hands on, highly interactive exhibits including a live view of the the Fairmount Dam fish ladder and a flyover of the Schuylkill River watershed.
The Fairmount Waterworks is located on Waterworks Drive off of Kelly Drive in Philadelphia's East Fairmount Park. Parking is available behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art and along Waterworks Drive.