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Chicago Water Tower

Posted by
Steven (Chicagoland, United States) on 20 October 2011 in Architecture and Portfolio.

The Chicago Water Tower is a contributing property in the Old Chicago Water Tower Landmark District. It is located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile shopping district in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. Located adjacent to Loyola University Chicago's downtown campus, the water tower serves as one of the Chicago Office of Tourism's Official Visitor's Centers. The Chicago Water Tower is the second-oldest water tower in the United States, after the Louisville Water Tower in Louisville, Kentucky.

The tower, built in 1869 by architect William W. Boyington from yellowing Joliet limestone, is 154 feet tall. Inside was a 138-foot high standpipe to hold water. In addition to being used for firefighting, the pressure in the pipe could be regulated to control water surges in the area. The tower gained prominence after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While some incorrectly believe that the tower was the only building to survive the fire, a few other buildings in the burned district survived along with the tower. But the water tower was the only public building in the burned zone to survive, and is one of just a few of the surviving structures still standing. In the years since the fire, the tower has become a symbol of old Chicago and of the city's recovery from the fire. In 1918, when Pine Street was widened, the plans were altered in order to give the Water Tower a featured location.

The structure has not been universally admired. Oscar Wilde said it looked like "a castellated monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it," although he did admire the arrangement and movement of the pumping machinery inside. The Water Tower's castle-like style inspired the design of many White Castle restaurant buildings. The Tower was named an American Water Landmark in 1969.

Photo captured August 31, 2011.

NIKON D7000 1/250 second F/8.0 ISO 100 18 mm

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Spotlight Images

Shaahin Bahremand from Tehran, Iran

so exclusive angle

20 Oct 2011 7:15am

Othersideblue from Kerman, Iran

looks like a beautiful painting with all those delicate details

20 Oct 2011 7:17am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

A far better view than your earlier version for sure, we get to see the remarkable Disney like characteristics of the building, with better scale of the tower behind. Wonderful processing, as always.

20 Oct 2011 7:54am

Ralf Kesper from Attendorn, Germany

Fantastic colores and well made processing of this amzing building!

20 Oct 2011 8:48am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Fantastic shot.. and excellent processing.

20 Oct 2011 9:17am

Roman from Thiersee, Austria

stunning HDR work and a great perspective.
well done!

20 Oct 2011 9:32am

Florence from Paris, France

Monumental ! What a strange but yet interesting combination of architecture ! Your tonal range process just fits perfectly here.

20 Oct 2011 12:14pm

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Great find. I love the tower! Looks at its best surrounded by this modern architecture.

20 Oct 2011 12:41pm

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

I have always loved this building and oddly enough it has always been a visual reference point for me amidst all the other taller building.

20 Oct 2011 3:07pm

JCJ from Troyes, France

amazing architecture and also an amazing processing

20 Oct 2011 3:57pm

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

ah a tour of my favourite sights and my favourite city begins again...BRILLIANT!

20 Oct 2011 7:11pm

@Ted: You should see Tuesday's shot! :-)

franz from Baden, Austria

wonderful image and treatment, and a very interesting story! however - as to the aesthetic properties of the tower, i side with oscar wilde, the old cynic ... ;-))

20 Oct 2011 7:19pm

Elaine Hancock from Rockville, United States

This is beautiful. Gorgeous architecture and what an interesting history. Beautiful composition!

20 Oct 2011 8:47pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

Superb! This is one great looking building.

20 Oct 2011 10:24pm

Jason Politte from Conway, AR, United States

Wow, what a remarkable structure - it looks so out of place amongst the skyscrapers surrounding it. Well done Steven!

21 Oct 2011 1:11am

Phil David Morris 2011 from Saskatoon, New York, Canada

I think those pepper pot crenulated towers are especially awesome and stand tall
next to the modern building. Your treatment has bonded this link beautifully !~

22 Oct 2011 3:14pm