By Johnny Saville

Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast, the Chicago Water Tower is one of the city’s most familiar and treasured landmark.

It stands as a beacon at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Pearson Street, a sentinel at the northern end of the Magnificent Mile shopping district.


Constructed between 1867 and 1869, it was created for Chicago’s municipal water system, and originally housed a 135 foot iron standpipe used to regulate water pressure.

It gained special significance as one of the few buildings to survive the destructive path of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Both the Water Tower and Pumping Station to the east were designed by William W. Boyington, one of Chicago’s most prolific architects of the mid-nineteenth century.

Now the Water Tower is a popular gathering place for tourists and passersby who want to enjoy its classic architecture, relax by its fountain or smell to flowers blooming in the adjoining gardens.

“This is a lovely place. One of my favorite places in Chicago,” said Sarah Sounder, 34, an accountant from Burbank. “I try to come here every day on my lunch hour to enjoy the sites.

The City of Chicago estimates that 5 million people visit the Water Tower each year, making it one of the most popular attractions in Illinois.

“What a wonderful attraction,” said Hans Franz, 44, a carpenter from Berlin, Germany. “I enjoy buildings made of wood. But this stone building is impressive.