Anybody like old water towers? < on 3/21/2011 3:16 AM >
I love old water towers and this is the old (and still in use) water tower in Ralston Oklahoma. It has the dubious distinction of celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Built in 1911 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works company, it is a testament to the quality of the companies products that with minimal maintenance, it has withstood the test of time and Oklahoma weather.
Chicago Bridge and Ironworks still exists, and built a large number of water towers, but after WWII shifted its focus to primarily heavy oil industry projects. Though they no longer build bridges or water towers, they invented the water towers as we know them today.
This is the first "spherical bottom" water tower, the first of its kind, built by the company in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1894. It no longer exists.
They also invented the modern "spherical" water tower, with the first one built in Longmont Colorado in 1939. I'm not sure if it still stands or not, perhaps someone in the area can enlighten me.
This is the water tower shortly after it was completed in Ralston in 1911. The wooden structure below it was the fire bell.
This is the tower viewed from the North end of town at roughly the same time frame.
A water tower in these early towns was a major milestone, indicating a progressive town with modern running water and sewers.
The water tower as it stands today. The old lady is definitely in need of some TLC.
Note the old fire bell seen on the 1911 photograph, which is no longer used. It's function is now handled by a siren mounted to its right.
The tower is constructed of heavy iron and rivets. A simple float mechanism controls the water level, with an overflow when the float malfunctions, which on this old tower, is fairly regularly.
Some type of operating instructions, so faded as to be almost unreadable.
The "Automatic Water Salesman" by the Vernon Mfg Co., It seems the town once had this system installed on the tower where bulk water could be purchased directly, though it had to have been pre 1970's. The company that made the system still exists and was founded in the 1960's.
Not much, I know, but I figured the old lady deserved to be mentioned on her birthday. Just to put things in perspective, this water tower was standing...
...when the Titanic sank. ...during Babe Ruth's entire baseball career. ...through the Great Depression. ...when Amelia Earhart vanished. ...when Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic. ...when the Hindenburg exploded. ...when Sputnik was launched. ...When man landed on the moon.
Re: Anybody like old water towers? <Reply # 3 on 3/21/2011 1:50 PM >
Posted by Captain_Slow You would love my area of North Texas. Where I live there are about 7-8 tiny small towns within 10-15 miles that all have old water towers and infrastructure from the 10's and 20's.
I'll have to make a trip down and check it out. My brother lives there anyway and it will give a chance to mooch off him.
Most of the old towers in my area have been replaced or scrapped. I'm playing a hunch that this old tower is one of oldest suviving working specimens from Chicago Bridge and Iron, but they made so many, I could be wrong. I've checked out the ones in SE Arkansas and while I've found several from the company, none are older than the late teens through the early 30's.
Posted by Imbroglio Groom, Texas. It only looks like a water tower...
I'd forgotten about that one. Been awhile since I've been through Amarillo.
Re: Anybody like old water towers? <Reply # 6 on 6/28/2011 5:37 PM >
Nice pics! I'm also a big fan of old water towers, I've just always had a facination with them since I was younger. I could tell you where something is just by reference to nearby water towers. Living in the Chicago burbs, just about every suburb has at least 1-2. Chicago Bridge and Iron built a lot of the old conical style water towers from the 1900s. They are probably my favorite style, and not too many left around here. Most have been replaced by the modern "Spheroid" water tower. The first spheroid was installed in Northbrook, IL. If you rememeber the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", its actually the same water tower shown in the movie that said "Save Ferris" on it.
Its amazing how well they made those towers back in the day. With good maintenance and care those old CB&I tanks could probably last another 100 years. [last edit 6/28/2011 5:38 PM by RADIOGUY21 - edited 1 times]
Location: I explore mostly Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas! Gender: Female
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Re: Anybody like old water towers? <Reply # 10 on 6/30/2011 11:37 PM >
I know this water tower is posted somewhere else on the forum, because it's in fabulous Denison, Texas, where there are ruins all over the place. If I was a better picture taker, you could make out "White Swan" on the face of this tower.
When my son was 3, he was obsessed with water towers. We'd drive around to look at them and describe them - it was a hoot.
Location: 39.2N, 104.17W Elev. 6535ft Gender: Male
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Re: Anybody like old water towers? <Reply # 12 on 7/1/2011 11:54 PM >
The blue siren on the first tower shown likely dates back to the 1910-1940s and was made by Sterling Siren & Fire Alarm in Rochester, NY.
Sterling also produced numerous Fire Truck sirens, smaller industrial sirens, [fire alarm] call boxes, and for a short time they even made washing machines.
In 1972, the company relocated to Colorado and changed names to Sentry Siren, Inc. They're still in business 90 years later and work out of Canon City, Co.
I bet the siren still works, even!
I used to see a similar water tower, shown in photo #2 in Calhan, Colorado on a daily basis from my backyard. Ours dated from 1911-ish. Probably a Chicago Bridge & Iron product as well. [last edit 7/1/2011 11:59 PM by Twystr - edited 1 times] "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." -Ben Franklin
Re: Anybody like old water towers? <Reply # 14 on 8/21/2011 4:24 AM >
OK, here is a night shot that will make Imbroglio know for sure how pathetic my night shot skills are. But here is a shot of the water tower in my home town that I took a few weeks ago. I don't if it is a Chicago Iron & Bridge, but based on the looks, I'd say it's likely.
click to view
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