Saturday, February 18, 2006

Compton Hill Water Tower

The Compton Hill Water Tower, located on Grand Avenue just south of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

This tower was completed in 1898 and was not for water storage, but instead is a standpipe. The giant steam pumps of the Victorian era produced tremendous water pressure during a part of the pumping cycle, and these standpipes moderated the flow. Modern turbine pumps produce an even flow of water. Of the six standpipe water towers remaining in the United States, three are in Saint Louis.

The tower was designed by legendary architect and furniture designer Harvey Ellis, who was known for his imaginative and romantic designs in the Romanesque and American Queen Anne styles. He was also a severe alcoholic, and eventually a Catholic convert, dying in 1904 at the age of 52.

I took this photo from Compton Hill, one of the highest points of the City and home to water storage tanks, hidden behind a decorative wall.

Click here for a history and for photos of the other towers:

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