Work Begins on Historic Water Tower

by Jeff Larry, Preservation Manager

Water Tower

Historical design plans and modern photograph of the water tower

Standing north of Lincoln’s Cottage is a rusticated stone water tower. It was built in 1893 when The Soldiers’ Home connected with the D.C. water system.  The 55,000-gallon capacity tank was used to supplement the water service during peak times and power loss.  By 1942 the tank, abandoned for many years, was donated as scrap metal for war munitions. A flat copper roof was put in place of the tank and today the tower plays host to the Cottage’s air conditioning equipment.

Because the air conditioning equipment releases heat, temperatures in the summer can reach up to 120 degrees inside the tower.  To maintain equipment efficiency and prevent premature wear, Wagner Roofing Company will ascend the tower in May with a 120’ articulating lift to install a safety anchor and four copper vents. The vents will allow the hot air released from the air conditioning equipment to escape from the roof.

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