Wood Water Towers in NYC

I was recently surprised to see numerous wood water towers in NYC. The use of them has been abandoned here on Iowa farms, but they are still very much "alive & kicking" in NYC!

On our sheep farm in Iowa we have a broken down water tower.  Only the sandstone foundation remains.


From remnants found nearby in the granary it is obvious there at one time was a wooden tank on it.  The iron rings still lean beside the tower.

I have only seen two other wooden water towers in our area that remained standing until the last couple of years.  Since I keep my eye open for them, I was able to spot two of them. One was on highway 61 between Muscatine and Blue Grass. The other on highway 6 between West Liberty and Iowa City.

I took my cowardly bravery under my wing one day and stopped by the farm house near Blue Grass to ask about their water tower. Renters were occupying the house and their interest in the farm buildings was minimal.  Only a short time after my brave knock on their door, the water tower burned to the ground.

More recently than that the wood water tower on highway 6 has also disappeared.  Now, I know of none even standing in my immediate area.

We've lived here on this farm now for almost twenty years. During that time two men have asked if we'd give them the remaining tower foundation which is approximately fifteen feet high, like a little castle tower right here in Iowa.

One man was a friend whose wife wanted to use the sandstone blocks for a water garden.  The other was the local well man who had a great desire to have such a water tower by his place of business!

We graciously declined both requests, because you see, I am infatuated with that now defunct water tower and want to have it restored!

Imagine my complete surprise when one morning I looked out of the window of the Gershwin Hotel in NYC to see a wooden water tower in NYC and not in disuse or in need of repair but in full use!

I was shocked!  Something totally outdated on Iowa farms was still being used in sophisticated New York City?

A funny thing about human curiosity. Once you start looking for something, you seem to see it everywhere when before you started looking for it, you didn't see it at all.



My new goal during my stay in New York City was to spot wooden water towers.  I began to see them on top of fancy buildings, peeking their heads up here and there.

At times I would even forget why I came to New York City in the first place because my fascination with water tower searching overwhelmed me.

(I was in NYC for my natural pearl business.)

When I got home, through a friend of our family, I discovered that they still make these and there are artisans who specialize in making wood water towers in NYC.


I wonder if those artisans travel?

Read more about my travel adventures after water towers in NYC.