Saving The Water Works

Our recent travels on the Trans-Canada Trail took us to Penetanguishene – pronounced Pen-ah-tang-gwish-een – where we made a rather interesting find.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was a cute old building with the windows and doors replaced with large photographs – I’m assuming from this town’s past.

The entrance to the Water Works shows the iconic view from the top of the hill on Main Street looking down to the harbour below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What little history I could find about this structure, indicated that it used to be a water pumping station for the developing town.  It was operated manually and required an attendant onsite 24 hours a day.  A small room with a cot and stove for heat was built in the pumping house for the comfort of the attendant on duty.

As recently as 6 years ago, the building was being considered for heritage status, but there were concerns that it had become too derelict and couldn’t be salvaged without considerable cost.  The foundation was crumbling and vandals had broken most of the original windows.

water works building Penetanguishene

An undated photo found on waymarking.com

Obviously the building has since been rescued, but I could find no information about the restoration.  Based on some research I’ve done, it appears that the photos gracing the sides of the building are of local athletes who gained international recognition in their field of sport.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An interesting and unexpected find in a pretty little town!

This post is brought to you by Thursday Doors,  is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in history, photography, Things I Like, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Saving The Water Works

  1. I love your photos! The architecture is stunning!

    Like

  2. Lovely photographs as always! What a pretty building and a neat way to keep it part of the community.

    Like

  3. I love how the windows allow us to look into the past. And thanks for the tip on how to say the name.

    Like

  4. What a nice way to save the building, Joanne, and it doesn’t look too expensive. We have some empty buildings in my little town that could be dressed up with old photos. 😀

    Like

  5. daisymae2017 says:

    Interesting post and pictures. Good Luck saving the water works.

    Like

  6. What a great find! I love how they put photographs into the window spaces. It add a whole new dimension to its character. 🙂

    Like

  7. Joanne, perhaps it is my French background seeped in a history of seeing grand buildings go through the cycle of construction/reconstruction, splendor and decadence before being reborn. It is the very value of these historic constructions to outlive each and all of us and to be recreated to play a role in the lives of successive generations. The black and white photograph of the main street years ago makes for a fantastic Thursday door! Or any day of the week for that matter…..

    Ben

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      So eloquently expressed, Ben. That’s a dimension I often overlook – that these historic buildings were significant in the lives of those before us, they outlive us, and then play a role in the lives of those who succeed us. There’s a little bit of the phoenix in them 🙂

      Like

  8. Very cool images and concept!

    Like

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    Wonderful that someone saved this pretty little building. You are becoming an architecture detective.

    Like

  10. bikerchick57 says:

    That’s a cute waterworks building, Joanne. It was ingenious to cover the door and windows with the photographs. It has to be one-of-a-kind as I haven’t seen anything like that before.

    Like

  11. What a great idea, putting those lovely black and white images on the doors and windows. It’s a beautiful little building.

    Like

  12. JT Twissel says:

    That is a special find! So cute.

    Like

  13. jesh stg says:

    Am glad they did what they could to keep this building from crumbling even more! Nice find, Joanne!

    Like

  14. nrhatch says:

    Love what they did with the windows! Classy.

    Like

  15. Heyjude says:

    Now here someone would buy it and turn it into a home!

    Like

  16. What a lovely find! I love the brick, and the old image you found of the building. That original door was lovely.

    I think it’s a brilliant idea someone had to put up the images of the town from days gone by. It further enhances the history.

    Like

  17. Lynn says:

    What an interesting little building Joanne. A very creative solution in replacement of the windows!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Very creative! I think the only thing missing was some kind of information plaque. If you’re going to honour people by putting up giant photographs of them, then include some information that summarizes their achievement.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. joey says:

    That is a spectacular find! I’ve never seen anything like that (with the pictures in the windows and doors.) I think that’s a great way to tell a story and save a bit of history. 🙂

    Like

  19. Ally Bean says:

    That’s a really interesting and unique little building. I’ve never seen anything like the doors and windows, but the brick arch over the door is [was] common around here. Good find.

    Like

  20. Donna says:

    Such a beautiful building, Joanne! It’s too bad that you could not find out more information about its restoration. I would love to read more!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      If you’re interested, I just commented back to Norm about the 3 athletes featured on the side of the building. It took quite a bit of digging, but I was rather impressed that such a small community could produce so many world class athletes.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Norm 2.0 says:

    Wonderful stuff! It’s always nice when a heritage building can be saved. I do like the idea of those photos in place of the doors and windows.
    I guess it makes me VERY Canadian to know who that curler is among the local athletes, right?
    Glenn Howard – several time Canadian and world champion. Not sure about the track star or the ball player though 😉

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      You’re good!! I had to do some pretty deep digging to find out who they were.
      I’m not a curler, so I didn’t know Glenn Howard before, but now I do 🙂

      The runner was a female track star named Jean Thompson who participated in the Summer Olympics in 1928 when women were first allowed to compete in athletics and gymnastics. She came in 4th in the 800 metre. However, it was such a fierce competition, that several of the athletes collapsed at the finish line *demonstrating* that women were too fragile to compete. As a result, they were banned again until 1960.

      I couldn’t definitively nail down the ball player but I’m pretty sure it’s a major league player from the 1930-40s called Phil Marchildon … also known as Fidgety Phil and Penetang Phil.
      Sadly, I didn’t think to take a photo of the other side of the building. I’m pretty sure Chris Kontos from the NHL in the 1990s is there.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. A cool little building for sure!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It definitely caught my eye as we were driving by. Thankfully in small towns the traffic is relatively light and I could screech to a sudden stop without causing an accident 🙂

      Like

  23. So glad the building was rescued and what a great idea to replace windows (that are ripe for vandalism) with photographs of the town’s history. Now I want to visit this cute little Ontario town.

    Like

  24. Such a pretty little building! I’m glad it was restored – too much history is destroyed due to the lack of funds. Love the clever solution for the windows and doors.

    Like

  25. Dan Antion says:

    This is such a beautiful little brick building, Joanne. I’m glad to see that it was repaired (looks like it has a new foundation) and I like the way they handled the doors and windows. Sometimes, a little creative thinking is required.

    Like

  26. I thought it was about shedding tears! 🙂

    Like

  27. Pistachios says:

    It makes me sad to see buildings with broken windows, etc because of vandals. The restoration does look good though! Is it used for other things nowadays? Looks like it’d make a nice little museum or something

    Like

  28. Vicky says:

    What a lovely renovation! A great find…

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      A very unique solution to the potential problem of more broken windows. It does however make me think that the building itself isn’t used for anything since there is no longer any natural light.

      Like

  29. Joe says:

    I think its wonderful that people stepped forward to save this building Joanne. History must be preserved. Great shots by the way and this building would make a great tiny home 🙂

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks Joe … and I think they found such an interesting and unique way to preserve their history. Kudos to these unknown heros who step up to make a difference in their community.

      Like

  30. At the risk of repeating myself, I am so glad that the unknown benefactors prevailed and saved the building.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I’m starting to appreciate how these are unsung heros in their community. I tend to cringe whenever I hear the expression “someone should do something about that”.
      People are quick to criticize, yet few contribute.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. loisajay says:

    I think this is pretty ingenious! Some people are so very imaginative.

    Like

  32. What a creative way to get some interest back in an older building – guess the photos could be changed for different celebrations from time to time. It was a hand pump once – wow, you would have needed a roster for taking baths in town!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I hadn’t thought about the idea of changing the photos for different celebrations. I didn’t look that closely at them, so I don’t know how difficult it would be to change them.

      I don’t think the water was literally hand pumped. It sounds more like a human had to control the flow of water manually. For example, in the article I read, if there was fire, a phone call to the pumping station would tell the operator to increase the water flow to meet the demand of the fire trucks.

      Like

  33. phppi says:

    Beautiful photographs

    Like

  34. What a neat idea. I really like that.

    Like

  35. Jackie says:

    Love it. I will pin this to my around Toronto board.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s