Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MLGW legacy pays homage to Sheahan Pumping Station

Recently in Memphis on vacation and to visit relatives, Mr. James Ingram requested a tour of one of his favorite places in the world—Sheahan Water Pumping Station. Reginald Sisco and Roland Person, both from Water Plant Maintenance, Supply & Operations, gave Mr. Ingram and his family a tour of Sheahan, which was more like a homecoming than a tour. Ingram now lives in Fort Myers, Florida, after serving 26 years in the U.S. Navy, and works as a water operator at the South Regional Water Treatment Plant in Collier County, Florida. But you might say he got his start in his life’s work at Sheahan. His father, James F. Ingram, worked for the Memphis Artesian Water Dept. and moved to MLGW when it was formed in 1939 to work at the Parkway (now Mallory) Water Pumping Station. He retired in 1973 as Assistant Supervisor of Water Operations at Sheahan.

“I went to Sheahan as a kid many, many times in the days of steam,” Mr. Ingram said, “and I was—and still am—absolutely fascinated with it. The sights and sounds, and even the smells, of Sheahan Pumping Station are embedded in my memory to this day. Sheahan was like Disneyland to me. I loved it—and still do.”

Besides the words of praise for MLGW and the profuse thanks for the tour, Ingram identified two items that had been in storage at Sheahan for some time, the function of the two items long forgotten. Ingram quickly identified the items as calibration devices that measured the efficiency of the steam engines at Sheahan he had remembered as a boy, steam engines rendered obsolete and removed from service in the early 1970s.

“I can’t believe those old steam engine indicators were still around, and in their original wooden cases,” said Ingram. “Everything was awesome,” he said of Sheahan and his side-tour of the Main Connection and museum in the Administration Building. “That’s a nice little museum there, with some really neat stuff on display. I know that wherever he is out there, my dad was smiling down. He would be happy knowing that old Sheahan Pumping Station and Water Operations are in such good hands!”

Ingram has a website dedicated to the Sheahan and Parkway (now Mallory) Water Pumping Stations, with photos of the stations when they were in their grandeur during the steam-engine era.

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