MAGNIFICENT WATER TOWER
IN ST. LOUIS
Before water towers were nothing more
than "tanks on towers",
there was a time (in the 19th century)
when "stand pipe" water towers
were built in the French Romanesque style,
of lime stone with grand Victorian flair.
The Compton Hill Water Tower
was an engineering masterpiece,
built in the late 19th century on Grand Avenue
on the highest point in St. Louis,
as part of the Compton Hill Reservoir.
The reservoir project was an important part
of the city's public water supply system.
Steam pumps circulated water throughout
the city's pipes to homes and businesses.
Occasionally, pumps created dangerous surges in water pressure.
To equalize the pressure, a standpipe
(measuring 5' wide x 100' tall) was built.
This magnificent tower was designed and built
to cover and camouflage the stand pipe,
and let the water level surge up and down, freely.
Even though the stand pipe was discontinued
some 90 years ago, the tower remains as a landmark today.
(Included in the National Registry of Historic Places.)
Interestingly, only 7 "stand pipe" water towers
remain standing in the U.S. today.
3 of them are located in the city of St. Louis
(Bissell, Grand and Compton.)
Each one is architectually unique.
(Tours are available to climb the 198 iron steps
to the top, for a wonderful view of the city.)