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[graphic] Pipestone Water Tower
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[photo] The Pipestone Water Tower, now known as the Concrete Water Tower, can be seen from several miles away
Courtesy of Lorraine Draper

Since its completion in 1921, Pipestone's concrete water tower has been a visible landmark of the city, rising high above the countryside and marking the city to travelers from several miles in the distance. Designed by L. P. Wolff of St. Paul, the structure is one of only two known water towers designed by Wolff in the United States and is significant for its poured concrete construction. The other tower is located in Brainerd, Minnesota. Campbell Construction Company built the tower from 1920 to 1921 for a cost of $24,610. The tower is 132 feet tall and approximately 25 feet in diameter. The interior of the supporting column is open and punctuated by a spiral series of windows. The concrete bowl atop the tower holds 150,000 gallons of water. At the time of construction, a 500,000-gallon underground reservoir was created at the base of the tower. With no natural glacial lakes in the area and sporadic rainfall, the tower is necessary to store the precious moisture taken from the soil. The tower draws water up from the earth through a pump and then gravity allows the water to flow when needed.

The structure is unusual in that there are windows and an interior stairway. The water tower began serving the city

[photo] The Pipestone Water Tower was designed by L. P. Wolff
National Register Collection
October 26, 1921, replacing an aging steel standpipe erected in the late 1880s. The concrete water tower continued to supply the city with water until 1976, when a newer, larger water tower was built. A restoration project was undertaken in the spring of 1990 with matching funds from "Celebrate Minnesota 1990." Along with the restoration of the tower, a wayside rest area was established. The restored tower became the focal point of an annual community celebration, the Water Tower Festival, which is held the last weekend in June.

The concrete water tower is located in the 500 block of 2nd St., NE., Pipestone. The tower is not open to the public but the rest area is open from spring to fall.

[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone County History [graphic] Link to essay on Downtown Revitalization[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone: The Rock

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