Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

325 East 4th Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
325 East 4th Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Neillsville Standpipe
Reference Number:13000711
Location (Address):325 East 4th Street
Neillsville Standpipe
325 East 4th Street, Neillsville, Clark County
Date of Construction – 1926

In response to a fire started by a severe 1874 lightning storm, Neillsville's citizens organized the Neillsville Fire Department and purchased a hook and ladder truck and a chemical engine. Despite these outward efforts, concerns regarding fires continued. Succumbing to public pressure, the Neillsville Council appropriated monies to build a pumping station on O'Neill Creek and purchased 1,500 feet of hose. The city informed citizens that they now could put out a fire anywhere in the city.

After the pumping station broke down in March 1889, the editor of the local paper relentlessly lobbied for the construction of a standpipe. A standpipe would hold a reservoir of water to fight a fire and it could provide constant pressure to the fire hoses.

In 1890, the first Neillsville Standpipe was built on the highest point in the city. The 100 foot metal standpipe held 150,000 gallons of water. For 36 years it provided water and firefighting needs.

Each winter a nine to twelve foot cap of ice formed in the top of the tower. On a warm day on March 20, 1926 at 1:30 in the afternoon the cap broke free from the sides of the tank and fell into the water below. This burst the sides of the standpipe, causing it to collapse and sending water and ice down the street to the houses below. Fortunately, no one was injured and property damage was minimal.

Later that year, the city constructed a concrete tower with interior piers to house a new water tank. The concrete tower recalls a medieval castle tower, with narrow slit windows and a battlement at the top. The Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company designed the hemispherical bottomed 250,000 gallon steel tank that rested on short steel legs. It was assembled inside the encasing tower. The tower’s interior 48 foot high concrete piers support the short legs of the tank, suspending the tank at a height so that all of the water inside the tank created pressure.

When a fire broke out in a commercial building in January 1939, Neillsville had water at the ready to immediately douse the burning structure and save the downtown. This unique standpipe is still in service today.

Period of Significance:1926-1968
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:Tierweiller Brothers
Architect:Pittsburgh-DesMoines Steel Corporation
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:09/09/2013
State Register Listing Date:11/16/2012
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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