Water Towers

Posted on in Architecture

Once part of a local ordinance, water towers are a vanishing species. To disassemble and remove them is quite expensive, but so is having them frequently repainted after they’re tagged with graffiti. Most of the steel frames have been repurposed as microwave towers:

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One response to “Water Towers”

  1. To the uninitiated, the reasoning for water towers is that factories and industrial buildings at the turn of the century were notorious for gouging the local neighborhood water supply (think open fire hydrants). So, to appease residents, the City of Chicago required industrial buildings and hotels to build and use water towers. The city water supply was accessed late at night and stored in these towers.

    I grew up in a three story apartment building across the street from the old American Tag Company on the South Side. When I was a small child, my mother would entertain us in the afternoons and sing to the American Tag Company’s water tower — a chant for it to safely deliver my dad home from work. We truly believed the water tower knew all and saw all.