Pump Houses on the Mississippi River at St. Louis

B&P reader James T sent me this video of some awesome drone footage he ran across of the pump houses near the old Chain of Rocks Bridge on the Mississippi River on the north side of St. Louis.  I grew up in that area so I know it very well.  The bridge is no longer in use as they’ve built a new wider bridge nearby (visible in the background).  The old Chain of Rocks Bridge was a two-lane bridge and it had a turn in it that was precarious (also visible), to say the least when I drove across it towing a wide camper trailer and seemed to always have to pass a semi coming from the other direction right at that bend in the bridge.  The barge at the end of the film is traveling up a canal on the Illinois side of the river because boats can’t traverse the “chain of rocks” by the pump houses.

As a side note, that old Chain of Rocks Bridge was used in at least two scenes in the 1981 film Escape From New York starring Kurt Russel.  They filmed many other scenes in and around St. Louis for that film.  James’ description follows the video.

Flew out to the pump houses from the Illinois side today during my lunch break and didn’t have a lot of time and makes me nervous still to fly out a half a mile over the Mississippi. The old Chain of Rocks bridge closed in 1968 and I remember driving with my dad many times across it. The Chain of Rocks is a low level dam and why there is the Chain of rocks Canal where the boat at the end of the video is at. Supertramp for the music today from Crisis what Crisis released in September 1975.

Water Intake Tower #1 is an oval shaped stone structure, Romanesque in style and identifiable by a green conical shaped roof. It was built in 1894 and designed by William S. Eames. Today it is still in use by the St. Louis Water Works and draws water into a seven foot diameter pipe which then takes it to the Chain of Rocks Plant. It has been designated as a St. Louis City Landmark.

Water Intake Tower #2 was built in 1915 and is also designated as a St. Louis City Landmark. The tower was designed by Roth & Study, who styled it after a Roman villa. It is unique in that it contained living quarters for the workmen who were on duty around the clock to man the gates and control the amount of water that was drawn from the Mississippi and sent to the Chain of Rocks Plant. Today this job is done electronically, thus the tower stands vacant. It is also still in use today by the St. Louis Water Works.

Thanks James


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