September 2019 Month-in-Review Newsletter

Old Water Tower Celebrates 150-Year Anniversary

“Officials on Saturday, September 14, 2019 marked the 150th anniversary of Chicago’s iconic Water Tower, which has stood more than 150 feet tall in the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood for generations.

“The limestone tower, built in 1869 by architect William Boyington, is one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, making it “as much an icon of our identity as our lake or our flag, representing both our ingenuity, architectural heritage and boundless resiliency as a people,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

“Just as our city has been shaped around it, it has also shaped us, bridging our past to our present, and continuously guiding our future for generations to come,” Lightfoot said.

”It’s truly an architectural survivor that’s been an inspiration to many,” said lecturer John Maxson, former president and CEO of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.”

“We all know that it was the only municipal building in town to survive the Great Chicago Fire, but it also survived developers trying to tear it down…and the city trying to tear it down to try and straighten Michigan Avenue.” (Wittich, 9/14/19)

The Old Chicago Water Tower is a much beloved Landmark which was almost demolished multiple times during the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a miracle that it has survived and this is largely due to strong public pressure to protect it.

Read the full story at the Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s iconic Water Tower, ‘an architectural survivor,’ marks 150 years in Gold Coast; The landmark tower, built in 1869, was one of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The landmark was honored with a sesquicentennial festival on Saturday, Jake Wittich, Chicago Sun Times, 9/14/19

Table of Contents


  1. CELEBRATION: Water Tower
  2. THREATENED: Loretto Academy
  3. THREATENED: Union Station Power House
  4. THREATENED: American Taxi Service Building
  5. WIN: Clarendon Park Field House
  6. THREATENED: Bronzeville ComEd Substation
  7. WIN: James R. Thompson Center Historical Society Formed
  8. THREATENED: Salvation Army River West Site
  9. POTENTIAL WIN: Clark Street Apartment Building Hotel
  10. LOSS: Puerto Rican Community Center
  11. WIN: Protections for Pilsen Homeowners Against Predatory Brokers and Developers
  12. WIN: Little Village Loft Building
  13. WIN: St. James Methodist Church In Kenwood
  14. WIN: First Church of Deliverance
  15. LOSS: Crawford Power Station
  16. THREATENED: South Shore Nature Sanctuary
  17. LOSS: Historic Wachowski-Ray House in Jefferson Park
  18. THREATENED: 4403 S. Oakenwald
  19. THREATENED: 90-Day Demolition Delay Highlights
  20. LOSS: Spotlight on Demolition


  • RADIO: What’s That Building? Inside The Former Armour Institute Of Technology
  • RADIO: Landmark Why Chicago’s Depression-Era School Murals Sparked Debates About Art And Politics For 80 Years


  • Successful Ward Miller September Lectures
  • Successful Roseland Community Survey Event
  • Upcoming Preservation Chicago Architecture Biennial Events:
  • Chicago 7 Bus Tour, Saturday, October 5 (sold-out)
  • Benefits for All: Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing, Tuesday, October 29
  • Community, History, Place and Equity, Tuesday, November 12
  • Jazz Age Party at Glessner House
  • Volunteer for Open House Chicago 2019
  • Start Planning your itinerary for Open House Chicago 2019
  • 46th Annual Historic Pullman House Tour
  • Schweikher House Tour on Docomomo Tour Day
  • Geometry of Light by Luftwerk & Iker Gil at National Trust Historic Site Farnsworth House
  • James R. Thompson Center Historical Society Tours


  • Petition: Make Chicago Vocational School a Historic Landmark!
  • Petition: Halt the Demolition of One of Bronzeville’s Historic Substations


  • Diana Court at the Michigan Square Building


  • Please Support Preservation Chicago!


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