Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

Sixteenth Avenue and Twentieth Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
Sixteenth Avenue and Twentieth Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Monroe Water Tower
Reference Number:05001290
Location (Address):Sixteenth Avenue and Twentieth Street
Monroe Water Tower
16th Avenue and 20th Street
Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin
Date of construction: 1889

Progressive civic and business leaders in Monroe were quick to accept Beloit businessman W. H. Wheeler's proposal to install a waterworks system for the city in 1889. Part of that system included the construction of this historic water tower. During the 1880s, many small cities debated the usefulness of such systems, but, in Monroe, local businessmen and influential citizens easily convinced the city council to authorize Wheeler's company to proceed with construction of the works. Wheeler's company dug a well, built a pump house and a water tower, and laid four miles of water mains by the end of 1889. They tested the new Monroe waterworks in January and February of 1890 and placed it in service.

Many water towers in the 1880s were built of stone, but the Monroe Water Tower is constructed of cream brick. It also has another, smaller, cream brick tower structure inside the larger tower. This inner tower provides additional support for the tank, which was originally wooden.

In 1906, the city acquired the waterworks system and, in 1913, replaced the old wooden tank on the water tower. A new pre-fabricated steel tank, manufactured by the Des Moines Bridge and Iron Company, was put into service in 1914 and remained so until 1993.

Centuries of development in the conveyance of clean water resulted in the waterworks systems of the 1880s. Small communities in the state adopted systems of deep wells, pumping stations, underground pipes, and water towers. Many communities chose the masonry tower and tank reservoir, like the Monroe Water Tower, and they built these types of towers throughout the state.

The Monroe Water Tower is a fine and well-preserved example of this type of water tower. It represents the era of important public improvements in Wisconsin's communities and the willingness of Monroe's leaders to take a chance that this modern technology would benefit their city.

Period of Significance:1889-1955
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Community Planning And Development
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Industry/Processing/Extraction: Water Works
Architectural Style:No Style Listed
Resource Type:Structure
Architect:Des Moines Bridge and Iron Company
Architect:Monroe Water Works
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:11/15/2005
State Register Listing Date:07/15/2005
Number of Contributing Buildings:0
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:1
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:1
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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