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.
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.