The Alabama Confederate Soldiers' Home was a self-sufficient operation. Constructed in 1904 by the State of Alabama, the reservoir and pumping stations were part of an intricate system which replaced hand dug wells as the main source of fresh water.
Natural spring water filled a spring house and then flowed continuously into the reservoir. Then, a coal-fired steam-powered pump pushed the water uphill to a large wooden storage tank located on the hill. The tank's seventy-five foot height insured constant pressure for a network of pipes that ran throughout the complex.
More efficient gasoline powered machinery replaced the steam driven pumping equipment in 1919. Following the close of the Home in 1939, the water tank and pumping machinery were removed by the State Conservation Department for use in various parks across Alabama.
Left: A spring is a point where groundwater lows from the ground. The water works system of the Alabama Confederate Soldiers Home begins at a natural spring.
Left middle: Steam Pump
Steam pumps are force pumps operated by steam acting on the piston of a steam engine directly connected to the pump, and in many cases cast with the pump. A section of a double-acting steam pump showing the steam and water
cylinders, with other details, is illustrated [here]" — Hallock 1905
Right middle: Water Tank, Missouri Confederate Soldiers' Home
The Alabama Confederate Soldiers' Home used a water tank similar to this one.
Right: E.L. More Cottage, Alabama Confederate Soldiers' Home
The Soldiers' Home water system provided running water to all nine cottages, the commandant's house (above), hospital, administrative building and wherever water was needed at the facility.