Chicago - Near North Side: Old Water Tower
Popularly claimed to have been the only surviving structure after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869 by architect William W. Boyington. While it was one of the only buildings within the fire district to survive, much of the city south of the Chicago River survived.
The Chicago Water Tower is constructed of dolomitic limestone from Joliet, Illinois. Built in a castellated Gothic architectural style, it has a 154 foot tall tower which originally hid a 138 foot tall standpipe used to keep water flowing. Though the building was designated a national landmark in 1969, there were three occasions (in 1906, 1918 and 1948) when the Chicago Water Tower's existence was threatened. In each case, the building was saved by public outcry and the legend linking it to Chicago before the Great Fire.
The design of the tower is said to have inspired the design of the exterior facade of White Castle brand restaurants.
The Old Chicago Water Tower District was designated a Chicago landmark on October 6, 1971.
Chicago Water Tower National Register #75000644 (1975)