Near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Highway 44 in St. Louis stands the Compton Hill Water Tower, built in the 1890s to improve water delivery to city residents. The “guts” of the tower is actually a 140-foot-tall, six-foot-diameter standpipe. The city found that somewhat unsightly, so the brick and limestone tower was built around it. It no longer functions as a water tower, but the 179-foot structure is on the National Register of Historic Places, and visitors who climb the 198 steps that spiral around the standpipe can get some great views of the city.
The tower is open the first Saturday of every month, and evenings during full moons. I’ve always wanted to visit, and today I finally made the climb. See the photos below for proof.
View to the south, with the Jefferson Barracks Bridge in the distance.
Detail of fountain on reservoir wall.
Wide-angle view toward downtown.
Steps up to the Compton Hill Reservoir.
Barnes-Jewish hospital complex.
An all-too-familiar stretch of road: Highway 44 at Jefferson Ave.
179-foot tower was completed in 1899.
Union Station, with the towers of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in the distance.
Under-construction: the Grand Avenue bridge over Highway 44.
St. Louis University Hospital complex.
The intersection of Grand and Russell.
“The Naked Truth” sculpture, built in 1914 to honor three German newspaper editors and St. Louis’ German heritage in general. Adolphus Busch was one of the major funders of the statue. According to a brochure of the Water Tower and Park Preservation Society, the sculpture was created “in bronze rather than white marble to minimize the nudity.”
Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
View of downtown.
Observation deck at the top, with terra cotta roof.
For more information on the tower, visit this web page run by the city of St. Louis, or the Facebook page of the Compton Hill Water Tower Preservation Society.