The Old Well House in Lewisville

This article talks about the old well house in Lewisville Texas.

Old Well House (September, 2008)

When Lewisville was incorporated in 1925, with a population of about 850, W.W. Sherrill owned the water company that included a well, a “standpipe” or water tank, and the distribution system. Many of the surviving photos of Lewisville from that period were taken from atop the “standpipe” located near the intersection of Poydras and Elm Streets. The limited water distribution system mostly provided water to faucets in front yards for use within the house. Although the community included a scattering of farm houses for a mile or more outside the “urbanized” Lewisville, most of the town was located roughly between Charles Street and Kealy Avenue about a block north and south of Main Street. The town sold bonds to purchase Mr. Sherrill’s water system and to build the first municipal building, this well house, constructed in 1927 for a new water well. The building, which also housed the town’s fire truck, has been used over the years for a variety of City offices, including service as the Police Station, and was remodeled in 1996.

Although the renovation included the addition of modern improvements such as restrooms, an effort was made to give the final product a feeling of the original 1920’s style interior and exterior. Paint colors inside the building were selected from those common to the period. The original tin ceiling was not salvageable, but a similar style was installed on the 12-foot ceilings. Several of the tall windows, which had been closed off or retrofitted with aluminum frames for air-conditioning, were restored to their original design. A door on the south side of the structure that had been covered over during a remodeling in the 1960’s was discovered inside the wall. In addition to being refurbished for continued use, that door served as a model for the remaining doors. A door on the east side of the building was a modern glass and aluminum frame style but has been replaced by one of the wood style doors.

A 1962 episode of the television show Route 66 filmed in Lewisville provided a brief view of the original building, showing a portico outside the south entrance. Prior to the renovation the only evidence of the portico was a small concrete slab and a deviation in the pattern of brick on the side of the building. The TV clip provided the architect, Ames Fender, enough information to redesign the feature and have it added back, much like the original.

The cornerstone plaque, giving credit to Mayor Fagg and the City Council members involved in the 1927 Water Works building construction, had been salvaged during a remodeling effort many years before and was finally returned to a spot inside the reconstructed portico. A blend of original brick and new brick was used in the remodeling, expanding the unique pattern found on the 1927 walls. The most prominent feature inside the building is Lewisville’s original jail cell. Old-timers sometimes recall tense boyhood moments of being in or threatened with the riveted steel cage.

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