Built in 1898, the Waterworks was once the pumping station for the first water utility in St. Augustine during the Flagler Era, dating from the arrival of developer Henry Flagler in St. Augustine until he died in 1913. It remained in service until a new water plant opened on West King Street in 1927.

The site developed into Davenport Park in 1928, and the building continued use as the Little Theatre, then a home for the St. Augustine Arts Club, and later as the St. Augustine Garden Club. This conversion of the Waterworks into a community center was one of the earliest adaptive use projects in the history of St. Augustine. Site improvements included converting the aerating basin to a wading pool for children and constructing a low coquina concrete wall along the San Marco side of the property.

The brick building was closed in 2005 out of safety concerns. Since then, the City has secured grant funding to stabilize the building and continue its restoration. The Waterworks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 for local- level significance for its association with Jo Conn Guild, a nationally significant engineer, and F.A. Hollingsworth, one of St. Augustine’s most prominent architects. In 2022, the St. Johns Cultural Council began collaborating with the City of St. Augustine to dramatically increase access to arts, culture, and heritage programming for residents and provide much-needed space for St. Augustine-based organizations to meet and host community events.

Each partner will make significant financial contributions to the effort: the City has completed the restoration of this beautiful facility, which includes an auditorium and an outdoor music platform.

The Cultural Council is making extensive improvements to the interior of the building to facilitate concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions, educational programming, community meetings, and more. The on-site staff ensures that the space is well managed and cared for and will collaborate with community partners to create and present high-quality programming year-round.