Chicago Water Tower

Type: Architecture, Historic Sites

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10Best Says

The Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, is certainly a fairy tale design for something that was merely dressing for a 135 foot iron standpipe. Not only pretty and rather mysterious in a Gothic Revival way, the old gal survived the great Chicago fire of 1871. It's legend that the Water Tower was the only building left standing after the fire. Much of the south and west sides were intact, however, the Water Tower's castle-like looks helped it become a symbol for Chicago rising from its ashes. The Water Tower and pumping station across the street were designed by William Boyington and constructed from blond Joliet limestone. One of the city's most familiar landmarks, the building is now home to City Gallery showcasing the work of local artists.


800 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Map / Directions
(312) 742-0808


Expert Tips by Jacky Runice

Chicago Local Expert

Historic Sites: "Although the Tower gets all the drama with regard to the fire, you can still see char marks on the bell tower of St. James Cathedral at Wabash and Huron."

Best for Historic Sites Because: The Water Tower was chosen by the American Water Works Association as the first American Water Landmark in the US.

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