The Riverside Water Tower has been dry for nearly 20 years, but it continues to be a landmark and source of community pride.
Renowned architect William Le Baron Jenney designed the Victorian Gothic style tower, which was built in 1870. The original design included an observation balcony that afforded spectacular views of downtown Chicago.
The freestanding round well houses were added in 1898. In 1901, the new pump house was added and the east well house was rented to the Chicago Telephone Company for Riverside’s switchboard operator. On New Year’s Eve 1913 a raging fire destroyed the tower tank, roof, and pump house. The Village rebuilt the tower, adding a fully automated electric pump control system, the first in the US to be used in a water tower.
The Water Tower holds several historical distinctions. In 1969, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Water Tower was designated an American Water Works Association Landmark in 1972, one of only eight in the United States. In 1993, the Water Tower was designated as a Riverside Landmark.
The Water Tower stands at the center of the Village and has become the symbol of Riverside. Its image has been reproduced on merchandise and is used as the Village logo. You can find images of the Riverside Water Tower on many historical websites as well as Pinterest.
In 2018, Riverside TV produced a "Riverside Minutes" video about the Water Tower. Watch the video to learn a few more quick facts about Riverside from Professor C. B. Gaslight!