Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Water Wheel

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Institution Name: Eastern University
Original/Historic Place Name: Water Wheel
Location on Campus: off of Fairview Rd., entrance of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1912original construction Sears & Wendell
Designer: Sears & Wendell
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1912other (water wheel used to pump water to supply fountains)
ca. 2004-present (2006)outdoor space

The water wheel was designed with a twelve foot waterfall dropping onto a stone-bordered stream bed which eventually joined the flow from the higher swimming lake on the other side of the road before spreading into the third lake on a lower level. All the lakes were arranged upon cascades, control vales, and spill ways with eight bridges linking the road and footpaths to the main house. Stonework abutments flanked the waterfall and marked the twenty-six-foot-long millrace. The eight-spoke overshot wheel of Louisiana cypress turned within an arch of stone built between the precipice and the pumphouse--a twelve-foot square structure against the lake bank with a number of narrow rectangular vertical ports in the walls and a roof of reddish-brown tiles. The pumphouse and wheel forced water through an underground pipe to a storage tank atop a building near the mansion house, where it would flow by gravity to irrigate the flower gardens and operate the fountains near the residence.

The water wheel remains significant as a picturesque landmark to the campus and community neighbors. Eastern University had significant ties with Charles S. Walton, who served as chairman of the board of trustees in 1952. In addition to Mr. Walton's board service, other members of the Walton family by marriage have served on the staff since the school's founding.


Baird, John. Great House. St. Davids, PA: Eastern College, 1984.


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Last update: November 2006