Bain Waterworks Plant – Raleigh, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Bain Waterworks Plant

Art Deco urban decay at this historical building. 


The Bain Water Treatment Plant is urban decay at its finest. As the treatment plant for the capital city of Raleigh, NC for many decades, it still has such a presence more than 20 years after it has been closed down. It was built in 1939, and closed in 1987.

An April 2009 art performance exhibit introduced the building to the community and allowed citizens to interact with the structure in an engaging and informative method. The building is massive and is clearly visible from the road, so that curious onlookers can appreciate its beauty even though the plant is closed to the public.

From the National Park Service: “While strictly utilitarian in concept, the Bain plant, as built, is perhaps the foremost Art Deco style building in Raleigh, displaying a surprising level of architectural detail. The brick building includes a full basement, and parts are four stories high. The two-story entrance lobby features a mezzanine circling the upper level and soaring stairways rising up both sides. The stairs have ornamental wrought and cast-iron railings and oak handrails, and the lobby ceiling is adorned with ornamented plaster beams.”

The Bain Waterworks plant is a gem of yesteryear, and quite a sight to see. It is presently closed, but guests had the opportunity to experience the building for a short art & performance exhibition held in April 2009. It was a step back in time, with Art Deco architectural detail, attention to detail, and the vast open corridor of the water treatment area. If you drive by, you can still appreciate this monolith of a structure and read the name of the plant on the front of the building.

According to the NPS web site, it is closed “pending rehabilitation”.

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