The Water Tower
|Photo from the collection of Sherry Mahady|
The first building completed at the Fort in the summer of 1893 was the water tower. Standing eighty feet high and holding 50,000 gallons of water, the tower provided a pressure head for the buildings at the Fort, most of which are two stories high. Fresh water came from a series of wells located between Route 15 and the Winooski River.
The associated pump house was finished a short time after the tower. The initial pumping system was an air line system which could supply 5,400 gallons per hour.
After removing the pumping equipment, the government turned the tower and pump house over to the Town of Essex which leases them to the Champlain Water District (CWD), a regional water supplier serving several communities.
The Water District has submitted paper work to the American Water Works Assoication to nominate the buildings for status as a National Water Landmark. CWD has no plans to use either building for water storage or transmission, but instead intends to maintain both buildings as a historic site. Current planning calls for the conversion of the pump house building to office space at some time in the future.
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Source: The Fort and the Tower: Water for a Thirsty Soldier.
Champlain Water District, 1995.