One of four single-track tunnels built by the Blue Ridge Railroad, the 4,273-foot Crozet Tunnel was constructed at a time when hand drills, pickaxes, and black powder amounted to state-of-the-art tunneling technology. At the time of its completion, it was the longest railroad tunnel in the world. Envisioned and built by Claudius Crozet, a French-born educator and civil engineer, the tunnel remains a testament to his belief in advancing rail transportation even when faced with numerous difficulties.
Clarifying the turbid waters of the Mississippi River for use as drinking water was a formidable challenge. The Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant provided the first application of a system of flocculation, sedimentation, and rapid sand filtration for water purification.
The system played a major role in reducing the impact of St. Louis' typhoid and cholera epidemic of 1903 that claimed 287 lives. Continued improvements to the plant reduced that number to 91 by 1914. It is estimated that 1,900 lives were likely saved between 1903 and 1915 due to the filtration system.
In the 18th century, French architect Claude-Nichols Ledoux was known for forging architectural beauty with industrial efficiency. One hundred years later his vision was given new life through the design of the Louisville Water Company Pumping Station.