Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to get inside the majestic, fairytale-esque North Point Water Tower, located on an 80-foot bluff between North Lake Drive and Lake Michigan.
Unfortunately, the public is not permitted inside anymore – not even pesky OnMilwaukee.com reporters who beg and plead – but the Milwaukee Water Works folks were kind enough to share information and photos of the water tower with me.
So, here's the deal. Charles A. Gombert designed the 175-foot, Victorian Gothic style water tower, which was built in 1873 and cost $50,892. It is made from cream-colored "Wauwatosa cut" limestone and Cream City bricks.
The North Point Water Tower was constructed as an essential component of the system. The standpipe it covered relieved the pulsations caused by the pumping engines, which, in turn, reduced pressure on the water mains and minimized breakage.
However, by 1963, modern pumping equipment replaced the system and the water tower was taken out of service. The original pump station – as well as the "new" one constructed in 1963 – is at the base of the hill just below the tower.
In 1968, the Milwaukee Landmark Commission identified the tower as an official landmark.
Today, it continues to serve as a night beacon for lake shipping. It remains one of Milwaukee's most recognizable structures as well as a symbol of our precious, abundant water supply. I have not completely given up on getting inside the tower someday to fulfill some sort of Rapunzel fantasy, but for now, I am satisfied to enjoy it – in all of its Gothic splendor – from the outside.
Preferably, from the lakefront with a dish of custard in my hand.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.