June 18, 1940: E.B. Bain Water Treatment Plant dedicated. “Back in 1938, Raleigh[, North Carolina] was faced with a choice: reduce the growing demand for water by cutting off the supply to unincorporated areas; do nothing until demand outstripped supply; or build a new plant with federal Public Works Administration funding. City leaders looked the future in the eye and saw growth and need. They built.
The PWA provided 45 percent and city bond money the rest of the $700,000 price tag for the plant and improvements to the water system. Work started in mid-1939. By the next spring, the plant on Walnut Creek was operational. It was dedicated June 18, 1940, and was named after Ernest Battle Bain, the city’s longtime water superintendent. It had water filtering and pumping operations under one roof, and four electric pumps plus a gas-powered one in reserve. And although it was rated at 8 million gallons a day, it could put out up to 10 million. It was built to allow expansion up to 20 million gallons a day, according to information unearthed by David Black, now an architectural intern, who researched its history for the historic designation application.
A story in The Raleigh Times the day it was dedicated declared “City’s Water Plant is Engineering Feat,” because it was built on the same site as the old one. The new one had to be built and the old one taken out simultaneously, without interrupting water supply.”