Letter to the editor: Save the water tower

To the editor:

In your column a few weeks ago, you expressed your fascination for the old water tower found on the NE corner of Market and Bloomingdale. Built in 1911 and first put into operation in 1912, the water tower has been a fixture in downtown Vermillion ever since. The current structure replaced an earlier elevated wooden water tank located at the same spot and built in 1892.
With the growth of Vermillion came the need for the expansion of the water system for the city. Starting with the Prentis Park water tower in 1958 and now with the new water tower on the north side of town later this year, the old downtown water tower will no longer be needed for its original purpose. While not needed for water, there are many other functions that it can be used for.
As you mentioned, during the summer months the turkey vultures that hang around the bluff find the water tower as the ideal roosting spot. Located high above the bluff, the water tower allows the birds to take in the sun and soar with the thermals over the valley. Cell phone companies would also find the structure useful to them, allowing for great coverage over both the city and the valley without the cost of having to build a new tower. The 1912 water tower contributes significantly to the historical appearance of downtown Vermillion and stands like a tall sentinel on the edge of the bluff overlooking the entire area. With some renovations, the old water tower could be converted into an observation tower. All in all, the old water tower has served this city well for over one hundred years. It is a historic structure from 1912 that blends in with downtown Vermillion and it can be used for other purposes in the future. In my opinion, it would be a great loss if anything ever happened to it. Save the old water tower.
Tom Thaden
Former president – Clay County Historical Society
Former Treasurer – Clay County Historic Preservation Committee

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2 Responses to Letter to the editor: Save the water tower

  1. Dennis Navrat says:

    We vote to save the old water tower for historical and aesthetic purposes, but I can’t find the link to do so on the Plain Talk website. As subscribers for more than 20 years, we would appreciate a more direct link on your website to do so, now and in the future. Please make your website more user-friendly. How about a “Vote Here” link for all unexpired polls you encourage? Thanks.
    Dennis & Sue Navrat

  2. Sharon Gray says:

    Hi, Dennis. I think they actually left the poll open an additional week (through Feb. 8th, I believe). I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to vote. You’ll be happy to know, however, that the final tally was 193 (53%) for preserving it, 149 (44%) for tearing it down, and 12 (3%) undecided. I watched the poll closely throughout the two weeks and those percentages held pretty steady the entire time. There’s a very interesting conversation going on within the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/savethewatertower/
    Sharon Gray

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