Elizabeth Street Pumphouse
The Pumphouse is located at the bottom of Elizabeth Street, at Lake Ontario, next to 40 Mile Creek.
It began in 1905 when Dr. James Morris, a member of the village council, (Grimsby became a town in 1922,) suggested that they create a modern filtration system. Previously, villagers obtained drinking water by filtering water from intakes at the pier through buckets of charcoal. The cost to build the pump house, and the 90,000 gallon, gravity-feed escarpment reservoir was $40,000.
Although the pump house wasn't built until 1905, the land had a history that went back to almost a hundred years. There is a local War Memorial to the The Engagement at the Forty. It reads:
"Here at the Forty Mile Creek, on the 8th of June 1813, American Forces, retreating after the battle of Stoney Creek, were bombarded by the British Flotilla under Sir James Lucas Yeo. Indians and groups of the forth and fifth Regiments Lincon Milita joined in the attack and created such confusion in the enemy ranks that they abandoned this position and retreated to Fort George."
This battle was significant in keeping the Niagara peninsula under British control.
After the pump house was built in 1905, it was used for almost 80 years. Workers would check the reservoir's water level using a telescope to look for a float on a rubber diggy in the reservoir. The reservoir and pumphouse were decommishioned in 1981, when the region took control of the water filtration system.
It is now commonly referred to as the Pumphouse, and it is an excellent example of the typical municipal buildings from the early 20th century. Some of the architectural highlights included:
- It was built in a Romanesque style, which means it features semicircular fanlight window and doors.
- Wrought iron cresting atop the roof and pressed tin ceilings.
- Originally featured a large rose garden, but this has been replaced by the 1812 International Peace Garden.
Then, in 1999 the Grimsby town council voted to restore the pumphouse to be used as an interpretive centre and meeting room. One of long-standing groups using the facility is the Lakeside Pumphouse Artists' Association.