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Two Years Ago We Lost The Andersonville Water Tower, Fundraising Nears $150,000 Replica Goal

Water town in Andersonville. Credit: Jeremy Bressman

Credit: Jeremy Bressman

It was two years ago on March 20, 2014 that Andersonville lost a symbol of the community. The iconic water tower, which was painted blue and yellow like the Swedish flag, was perched atop of the Swedish American Museum at 5211 N. Clark.

Unfortunately, the tower which was erected in 1927, fell victim to harsh winter elements. A thick layer of ice formed, cracking the base of the structure causing water to leak onto the museum’s roof. The museum performed routine maintenance on the water tower just a couple years prior, but that was no match for harsh Chicago weather.

Though they contemplated repairing the water tower, engineers advised against. It was then decided to build a replica instead, thus beginning an organized community effort to raise funds to once again erect the tower.

Unbelievably, the museum is only $20,000 short of their $150,000 goal. Swedish American Museum Executive Director Karin Moen Abercrombie said, “We are both thankful and grateful for all the support we have gotten so far. We are hoping that we will meet our goal by the end of the year.”

The whole process has been a bit of a journey for the Museum. Abercrombie admitted there is a lot of back and forth between the manufacturer, engineers and architects in order to achieve the best results. Abercrombie said, “Every step takes longer than you thought it would. We knew quickly that we wanted it to be constructed with fiberglass, but then it took time to find the best company to produce it.”

As soon as the final decision is made on the company selected to build the replica water tower and all required city permits are acquired, the Swedish American Museum will begin constructing it. The museum promises that they will have new information for the public soon, possibly in the next couple weeks.

Abercrombie said, “We find the support of the neighborhood as a whole truly inspiring. Everyone identified the water tower as a part of their community.” She added, “People have not lost interest in asking us questions about where the project is at. It is wonderful that no one really has forgotten about the water tower.”


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