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Public Art

Compton Hill Reservoir Water Tower

By Harvey Ellis
Category: Miscellaneous


The Compton Hill Water Tower, the newest of the City’s three towers, is located at Grand and Russell Boulevards in South St. Louis. The tower, built on the 36 acre Reservoir Park, was completed in 1898 after a design by Harvey Ellis at a cost of $48,000.

The 179-foot tower is made of rusticated limestone, buff-colored brick and terra cotta. Its walls are adorned with carvings of mythical animals and leaf patterns. Inside, spiral steps take visitors to the top of the tower where an observation deck under a bell-shaped roof of terra cotta tiles offers a 360-degree view of the City of St. Louis. During the World’s Fair in 1904, as many as 5,000 people visited the tower and promenaded in carriages through Reservoir Park.

The Compton Hill Water Tower was taken out of service in 1929 when the Stacy Park Reservoir went into service. Although it was no longer in service, the tower was occasionally opened for public tours. The tower was closed, however, in 1984. For more than ten years, the tower stood unused and deterioration began to take over. In 1995, the City of St. Louis Water Division embarked on an extensive renovation project to rebuild the Compton Hill Reservoir, which included the restoration of the Compton Hill Tower. The renovation of the Compton Hill Water Tower was completed in 1999.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis Water Division.

Dimensions: 179′
Year Completed: 1898
Material: Limestone, brick, terra cotta
Owner: City of St. Louis

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