Frederick Graff learned engineering and design in the office of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, after whose departure from Philadelphia he supervised the replacement of Latrobe's steam-powered waterworks at Centre Square, a technological marvel but an engineering fiasco. Steam power was also used at Fairmount Water Works to pump water to an immense reservoir where the Art Museum now stands, but the steam engines twice exploded, leading to the switch to the more dependable and economical water-powered pumps engineered by Graff. In 1811, Graff designed the Georgian-proportioned but severely detailed Steam Engine house based on Latrobe's teaching, and eight years later built the immense stone mill house facing the river with its Greek Revival pavilions. This formed part of the conversion to water-powered pumps.
In 1835, with the shift to water-powered turbines, the steam engine house was converted into a restaurant and beer garden that made the site one of the first man-made tourist attractions. On his 1842 tour through the United States, Charles Dickens reported that “the Water-Works, which are on a height near the city, are no less ornamental than useful, being tastefully laid out as a public garden. The river is dammed at this point and forced by its own power into reservoirs, whence