The History of the Chicago Water Tower

The History of the Chicago Water Tower

Shoreline Sightseeing specializes in sharing fascinating details about the Windy City’s history, and our Chicago architecture tour is full of information about renowned historic sites and the oldest structures. The Chicago Water Tower is considered by many to be one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions. It stands as both a symbol of the city’s industrious birth and a modern-day cultural beacon of perseverance in the face of disaster. Read on to learn more about the history of the Chicago Water Tower.

The Chicago Water Tower

Chicago Water Tower

First assembled in 1869 and currently residing on North Michigan Avenue, the Chicago Water Tower was used for a variety of purposes. At its core, the water tower was simply used to hold water, and the pressure inside the tower’s pipe regulated water surges in the neighborhood. When the 1871 Great Chicago Fire occurred, the Chicago Water Tower was the only public works building to survive in the burned district and is one of the few structures still standing from the late 1800’s.

However, the Chicago Water Tower required two renovations over the years, and the first one occurred between 1913 and 1916 to replace eroded limestone on the exterior. The second renovation took place in 1978, and the majority of the changes were made inside the building with minor exterior alterations.

The Old Chicago Water Tower District

Centered entirely around the Chicago Water Tower itself, the Old Chicago Water Tower District is located along the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue with the equally famous Water Tower Place building looming above it to the north. There are three major Chicago landmarks in this city district: the Chicago Water Tower itself, the adjacent pumping station, and Chicago Fire Department Station No. 98. The tower and pumping station were both registered to the National Register of Historic Places at the same time in 1975, and for good reason. They survived the Great Chicago Fire and act as symbols of Chicago’s thriving industry pushing ever onward.

Learn More with a Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

If you’re looking for a great way to find out more about the Chicago Water Tower and other historic landmarks, Shoreline Sightseeing has you covered. You can check out our online tour schedule to learn which time works best for your group, and you can buy your tickets ahead of time.