The Water Tower in Chicago is a local landmark that you may have seen a picture of. Located in the Streeterville neighborhood, it is the second tallest building in Chicago. Yet it is a water tower. Learn more about this historic building and why do they call it a “Chicago icon”.
The tower was built to house a large water pump, intended to draw water from Lake Michigan.
The Water Tower was built to house a large water pump, intended to draw water from Lake Michigan. Chicago’s location on the shore of Lake Michigan made it an ideal place for people to build homes and businesses, but there were concerns about how far away the city was from this body of water.
People wanted a way to easily pump lake water into their buildings (at least until they could afford running water), so engineers designed a steam engine that would help solve this problem by pumping lake water up high into storage tanks in case of emergencies or natural disasters.
The tower was built from 1867-1869 by architect William W. Boyington as part of what is now known as City Hall Campus—a group of beautiful buildings that surround Millennium Park and serve various civic functions including government offices, museums, libraries and cultural centers.
A fire on October 8, 1871 destroyed most of the city, including the near-new waterworks.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is the most famous fire in American history. It started on October 8, 1871, and burned for two days.
The fire destroyed nearly everything on the city’s central east side — including the near-new waterworks that had just been completed in 1869.
However, one structure survived: the Water Tower Pumping Station (also known as “Chicago’s Second Best Building”), which was built by architect William Wrigley Jr.’s grandfather at about the same time as his brother Philip founded Wrigley Company to manufacture chewing gum.
Despite being constructed with thick granite walls, this building did not escape completely unscathed from this event; its roof collapsed under intense heat and flames from surrounding buildings during these turbulent times.”
The new tower was completed in 1869 at a cost of $109,000.
The new tower was completed in 1869 at a cost of $109,000. The architect of the tower is unknown, but it was built by William Boyington. It was built to be used as a water tower for the city of Chicago.
The Water Tower houses two groups within its walls: The Chicago Fire Department’s Engine Company #101 and Battalion Chief Richard (Dick) Sarfert’s office space on floors seven through ten.
He is said to have been inspired by the castle tower houses he saw during visits to Scotland.
The architect, William Boyington, was born in New York and moved to Chicago in 1866. He went on to become a civil engineer and designed the water tower in 1867. He also designed many buildings around the city including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Masonic Temple Building.
He died in 1901 at age 80 as a result of injuries sustained from being run over by a horse-drawn carriage three years earlier.
The Water Tower’s construction started later that year but was not completed until 1902 due to funding issues during that time period when there were no federal funds available for building projects like this one (thus why they relied on private contributions).
The walls are four feet thick at the base and three feet thick at the top, tapering as they rise.
The walls are made of yellow Joliet limestone, which is known for its durability and easy workability. The yellow color is from iron in the limestone.
The walls are four feet thick at the base and three feet thick at the top, tapering as they rise. The weight of the walls (about 1,100 tons) holds them together without any support from a skeleton inside like most other towers have. This makes it very strong against earthquakes or other forces that might try to topple it over.
The tower stands 154 feet tall—or about five stories up—and houses an elevator that can take you all the way up to 10 different levels! That’s more than enough space for your friends to join you on your adventure!
The old Chicago Water Tower is one of only a few buildings in the Chicago downtown area to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
The Water Tower was built in 1869, but it wasn’t the first water tower in Chicago. The original was built in 1856, but it didn’t have a clock on top.
In 1869 when this Water Tower was built they added a clock and weathervane so people could tell time and the direction of wind.
It also had to be tall enough for people living high up on Lake Michigan to see it and know if there were any storms coming so they would know when to get inside their houses before it started raining or snowing really hard outside.
Is the Chicago Water Tower Still in Use?
The answer is “no.” The water tower is no longer in use, but it still stands.
At one point, there were plans to convert the tower into a hotel or museum, but those plans never came to fruition. Instead, visitors can now tour the facility during certain times of year.
Where Is Water Tower Place in Chicago?
Water Tower Place is located at 835 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. The mall has a unique shape with a rectangular open area and two curved wings extending from the center.
Now that you have a better understanding of the Water Tower structure, you can appreciate its significance in Chicago’s history. This historic building has been an important part of Chicago’s development and growth, and we can all enjoy it today.