In its early days Baden's water supply was obtained from wells and cisterns which were gradually replaced by connections to water mains as they became available. The City waterworks system began about 1830 when the first pumping station was installed at the foot of Smith Street. Despite additions, this system became inadequate after the Civil War and in 1867 work was begun on the Bissell's Point plant which was the center for a system completed in 1871. This included the water tower on East Grand Avenue, the Compton Hill reservoir and connecting mains.

During the 1880's a second pumping station was completed at Bissell's Point with a new standpipe at Blair and Bissell Avenues. In 1887, construction of a new low service pumping station at Chain of Rocks was authorized, which plant went into service in 1895. A third high service pumping station was installed at Baden in 1898 on the line of a conduit from Chain of Rocks to Bissell's Point. In 1905, an additional seven foot conduit was built to Chain of Rocks, at which time the Baden reservoir was constructed. The three pumping stations were then connected by an electric and steam railroad operated by the water department.

A filter plant, which was the world's largest at the time of its installation, was dedicated at Chain of Rocks in 1915. It has 40 filters stretching along an aisle which has a length of 700 feet, with a capacity of 160 million gallons daily. As a project of the 1923 bond issue the new waterworks at Howard's Bend on the Missouri River went into service in 1929. Installation of an electric powered high service pumping station at Chain of Rocks in 1960 caused the abandonment of the steam powered station at Baden. The Bissell's Point plant was phased out at about that same time.

Image - Chain of Rocks Waterworks and Bridge in 1932
Image - Baden Waterworks pumping station
Image - Settling basins at the Chain of Rocks Waterworks with Mississippi River in the background