Another Chicago Partners in Preservation Project is Complete – Bohemian National Cemetery Water Tower

Posted on: October 28th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments
Work on the restoration began by replacing the deteriorated decking surrounding the tank, providing the work crew with a stable platform for the roofing replacement and tank repairs.

Work on the restoration began by replacing the deteriorated decking surrounding the tank, providing the work crew with a stable platform for the roofing replacement and tank repairs.

The Bohemian National Cemetery on Chicago’s north side is the final resting place of over 114,000 people, many of Bohemian, Czech and Slavic descent. In addition to an amazing collection of buildings and funerary statuary, the grounds also boast a historic wooden water tank, which was constructed on the grounds in 1898 to draw water from the North Branch of the Chicago River for irrigation of the 122 acres of landscaped property in the Cemetery. Severe deterioration of the roofing and wooden staves of the tank had comprised its ability to draw and hold water, and the damaged platform surrounding the tank made it difficult and dangerous to access it for repairs.

The restoration was finished earlier this month when the historic signage on the exterior of the tank was repainted in its original colors. (Photo: Bohemian National Cemetery Association)

The restoration was finished earlier this month when the historic signage on the exterior of the tank was repainted in its original colors. (Photo: Bohemian National Cemetery Association)

Earlier this summer Carlson Tank Sales & Service Company -- one of the few surviving companies that still repairs Chicago's hundreds of historic wooden water tanks -- reconstructed the platform to provide safe and secure access. The roofing was replaced and the staves of the wooden tank were repaired.

The final step of repainting the historic signage on the exterior was completed earlier this month, restoring the Bohemian National Cemetery Water Tank to its position of prominence as a neighborhood landmark.

– Christina Morris

Christina Morris is a program officer in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest Office.

Learn more about the Partners in Preservation program here.

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National Trust for Historic Preservation

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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2 Responses

  1. Russell D. James, CA

    October 28, 2008

    I have never heard of wooden water tanks. I’ll bet there could be quite a trip throughout whatever part of the U.S. has them (just Chicago?) much like the ones taken to see historic barns or historic covered bridges. How neat!

  2. BARBARA HERRING

    October 28, 2008

    Hi
    I was delighted to see that this water tank had been refurbished. I am a local artist who has become enthralled with the tanks in this city. For the past two years, I have searched for them and rendered them in my paintings. I have done about 30 and found just over 100. Look for this tank in the Bohemian Cemetery to be included in this series.