Victoria Pumping Station
Marker No: 16922
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Texas Historic Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Geographic: 28.806076, -97.015945
Location: 1201 West Stayton Avenue, Victoria
Marker Text: In the 1880s, English-born William Wheeler (1861-1931) came to Texas with the C. E. Gray Construction Co. To install water works for Palestine, Tyler, Taylor, Columbus, and Victoria. He arrived in Victoria in June 1884 with construction engineer J. T. Jones. Upon completion of the contract in early 1885, Wheeler was hired as Victoria’s superintendent of water works.
The first frame boiler house was lost to fire and replaced by a brick building c. 1890, designed by local architect Jules C. Leffland. This building housed two boilers and two pumps, which drew water from the Guadalupe River and delivered it to a 100-foot tall standpipe in the center of the public square. In 1901 Wheeler’s new home near the water works included a system pressure gauge in the central hall, so that he could monitor the water pressure after hours. In 1904 the new municipal sewer system was placed under Wheeler’s supervision. Frank Reuben Rockwell built the site’s first reservoir in 1909. Two deep wells drilled the same year by Layne and Bowler of Houston ended the system’s use of untreated river water. Wheeler retired in 1922 and H. G. King replaced him. Terrell Bartlett Engineering Co. (1926) and Victoria architect Kai J. Leffland (1936) designed additions to the original building. The complex is masonry with stucco construction, flat roofs and a string course below the parapet. Metal casement windows and projecting structural piers divide walls into multiple bays.
By 1970, new city facilities had rendered the site obsolete. Portions were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. After the buildings were threatened with demolition, the site which had been public land since 1841 became private property in march 2010. This notable municipal architecture remains a fixture near Riverside Park. A complete renovation was completed in 2011. (2011)