Bay View Historic District, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
The Pryor Avenue Iron Well, or Iron Well, is an early artesian water well located in the Bay View Historic District of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Built in 1882 and named for its high iron content.Originally water naturally flowed from the pressurized aquifer below. The original hand pump is now replaced with an electric pump; required to surface the water. It was designated a Milwaukee landmark in 1980 for its significance as the last remaining public well in the city.
Drilling began in October 1882 as a public works project by the Village of Bay View, but progressed slowly due to the dense glacial drift below.The final depth of 1500 feet was achieved later in January, at which point water pressure was enough to provide a constant supply of water to a planned network of satellite wells and fire hydrants.
Many area residents still visit the Iron Well to fill up on drinking water. It became a popular alternative to the municipal water supply, which draws from Lake Michigan, during the Milwaukee Cryptosporidium outbreak that occurred in April 1993.Despite both water sources being physically close to each other, they remain independent and separated by geological strata.Water quality tests are performed regularly by the health department and DNR to ensure safety.