The Radnor Lake Industrial Complex was built by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company in the 1910s. It consists of the lake, the dam, approximately four miles of pipe, the caretaker’s residence, and most importantly the main valve.
A railroad employee was assigned to live in the caretaker’s residence. They were responsible for opening and closing the main valve as well as overseeing the property.
The main valve sits below the dam and was used to control the flow of water from Radnor Lake to Radnor Yards nearly four miles away. At the height of its use, Radnor Lake provided 1,000,000 gallons of water a day to the rail yards. This water was used by the railroad for steam engines and for cattle to drink.
In recent years Radnor Lake staff have partnered with Middle Tennessee State University to preserve the industrial complex at Radnor Lake and to provide interpretive signage for visitors to the park. The industrial complex has been registered as an archeological site (40DV635).
The Historic Valve House Trail opened on National Public Lands Day: September 29, 2012, as part of Tennessee State Parks 75th Anniversary Celebration.
In 2016, the Valve House was reconstructed by The Porch Company with the help of local volunteers. This much needed reconstruction helps to highlight and preserve the main valve, which has survived since its original installation.
Visit the Historic Valve House Trail (.2 mi) to see Radnor Lake’s industrial complex and to learn more about its function during the era of the steam engine.