National Register of Historic Places in Fresno County

National Register #71000139: Old Water Tower in Fresno, California
25 June 2006
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National Register #71000139
Old Fresno Water Tower
2444 Fresno Street
Built 1894

The Fresno Water Tower, approximately one hundred feet high with a storage capacity of 250,000 gallons, was completed in 1894.

The Romanesque structure is built of ordinary red bricks, each layer smaller than the one below, to produce a beehive effect. The tower has an inner wall over two feet thick and an outer wall fourteen inches thick. Between the walls is a passage about three feet wide.

George Washington Mayer, a Chicago architect, based the design on the Chacago Water Tower. Mayer recalled that the Chicago fire of 1871 had destroyed the Chicago Public Library but not the Chicago Water Tower which had been used as a temporary library until a permanent one was built. Mayer's original plan for the Fresno Water Tower included a public library, but this part of the plan was not adopted. The second floor of the tower was built, but the planned third floor was never added.

The Fresno Water Tower was in constant use until 1963 when the pumping machinery was no longer adequate.

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination dated 14 October 1971.

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