The Florence Water Works was without a doubt the finest plant of its kind in Alabama, if not the whole South during its time. It was built during the Industrial Boom by a stock company at a cost of $200,000. The company consisted of Colonel W.A. Jeter as president, A.E. Boarman as treasurer, and T.A. Howell as superintendent. At the time, there were 17 miles of piping and 103 fire-plugs throughout the city of Florence. Made using the best stone masonry, the water tower was 70 feet tall had a wrought-iron tank with the capacity to hold 300,000 gallons of water. The plant could have easily supplied a city of 50,000 people even though Florence’s current population was only near 7,000 people. A key selling point to this water tower was that the water did not from the Tennessee River, which was so often made muddy by heavy rains. The water was drawn from the clear, pure, beautiful stream, Cypress Creek. Physicians of the time pronounced the water to be “as good as Nature’s laboratory could furnish for thirsty man”. Running through a country, at the time, that was not densely populated, the path of Cypress Creek acted as a natural filtration system that aerated the water from any possible impurities. Many of Florence’s citizens during the late 1890s had abandoned perfectly good cisterns and wells in favor of using the water tower’s hydrant water because it was healthier.
In his administration, Superintendent T.A. Howell was careful to keep the water mains clear and clean and was always very helpful during fires in the city. It didn’t matter what time of the night a fire broke out, he could soon be found at his post of duty ready to supply any amount of water that the fire department needed. The water tower was replaced by the adjoining standpipe in 1935.