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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue58 (December 2017)

HISTORIC LANDMARK: Old Fresno Water Tower (1894)


The Old Fresno Water Tower is a historic water tower in Fresno, California. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by George Washington Maher, the tower was completed in late 1894. It ceased operation in 1963 and has served as a visitors' center since 2001.

Chicago architect George Washington Maher was commissioned in 1891 to design a new water tower for Fresno in the Tower District. His design was influenced by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; the fire destroyed the Chicago Public Library but not the Chicago Water Tower, which then acted as a temporary library. Maher's original design called for a library and a third floor to be built within the tower, but neither was executed. Construction finished in November 1894, and the water tower remained in use until 1963 when its pumping equipment had become inadequate. The water tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 14, 1971. It was designated an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association in 1972.

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