Jackson Street Water Tower Passes State Review Board

Listed on PAM’s 2011 “10 Most Endangered Historic Places,” the Jackson Street Water Tower in Elk River took another stride toward membership on the National Register of Historic Places this week. With the threat of demolition looming over (or under) the water tower since 2008, this is a big step, and a great sign for other community icons across Minnesota.

From the Elk River Star News:

Gardner said the water tower was built in 1920 by the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Co.

“The elevated tank is what is known as a hemispherical bottom, a name derived from its design which includes a half-globe-shaped bottom,” he said.

The design was common from the 1890s to about 1940, he said.

The water tower was part of an effort to protect Elk River from fire.

The village of Elk River was incorporated in 1881. Before the water tower was built in 1920, the community relied on a water tank and a length of hose belonging to the Great Northern Railway.

“The Elk River water tower was the community’s response to fire, which devastated the business district in 1898. The town experienced additional fires in 1902, 1903 and 1915,” Gardner said.

Insurance companies threatened to increase fire insurance premiums if the community didn’t install adequate fire protection and, ultimately did raise premiums. That spurred Elk River to update its fire protection system.

Five letters of support were also read. They were from Elk River Heritage Preservation Commission Chair Lance Lindberg, Elk River Mayor John Dietz, Sherburne County Historical Society Executive Director Michael Brubaker, Joshua Fox of the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River and Erin Hanafin Berg of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Hanafin Berg noted that the Preservation Alliance had named the Elk River water tower one of the 10 most endangered historic places in Minnesota in 2011. “We are extremely pleased to see that the community has pursued National Register designation,” she wrote.

The water tower is owned by the city of Elk River and was nominated for the National Register by the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission.

Read the full article here.

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