North Point Water Tower to get facelift

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:05 pm

The city of Milwaukee will be giving its iconic North Point Water Tower a facelift.

The historic landmark, at 2288 N. Lake Drive, is in need of some exterior façade work, according to a report commissioned by the city.

Based on the report’s findings, the city will need to spend up to $300,000 to repair and restore the tower.

The tower was built in 1873 to relieve Milwaukee’s water distribution mains of water surges and water pulsations resulting from the early steam driven pumps used for water supply.

The tower is 175 feet tall with a base diameter of 14 feet. Inside is a spiral staircase leading to an interior observation platform near the top of the tower. In 1968, the water tower was designated a Milwaukee landmark and selected as one of five landmarks in the country by the American Water Works Association in 1969. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The last work done on the tower was in October 2013 when a finial was removed.

“The North Point Water Tower has been a Milwaukee icon since 1875 – a part of our City’s skyline, our culture and our infrastructure,” said Ghassan Korban, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of Public Works. “The Department of Public Works is committed to maintaining this landmark, and the restoration work planned for the tower is indicative of that commitment.”

According to the report, prepared by Chicago-based US Services Inc., the interior evaluation of the tower showed the building is in satisfactory condition.

Future maintenance could include ensuring windows in the tower are water tight, as moisture has been the cause of previous masonry damage.

The evaluation of the tower’s exterior found peeling paint across the entire surface, several instances of cracked or loose stone and mortar, and a missing buttress. Because of the loose stone, some of the areas were deemed severe or hazardous.

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission will hear recommendations for repairs on Sept. 15. If the commission approves the repairs, the matter does not need to go to the city council.

Upon approval, the city  anticipates bidding the project in late September, with work beginning in Spring 2016.

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