the year 1871 the City of Chicago experience
a fire that made 90000 people homeless.
Before the fire the city was made of a
mishmash of wooden houses, which had been
hastily thrown up to make room for the
new immigrants. After the fire, perhaps
ironically, one of the few buildings left
was the water tower; the city was rebuilt
out of concrete, stone, and steel, but
the old water tower remains. It now houses
a visitor information center and has become
one of the major tourist attractions in
Constructed out of big limestone blocks,
the tower is designed in a castellated-Gothic
Revival style. The tower represents a
fanciful interpretation of a medieval
fortress or, in a quote attributed to
the famed critic Oscar Wilde, a "monstrosity
with pepper boxes stuck all over it."
It is located on/near the Loyola University
Campus, and was originally built to house
a 138-foot standpipe. The height of the
tower is 154 feet (47 meters).
Local rumour has it that the ghost of
a man who perished there during the fire
haunts the tower. This heroic worker stayed
behind as the fire came closer, manning
the pumps instead of fleeing for his life.
Just before the flames reached him, he
hanged himself in the structure rather
than be burned to death. This ghost has
been seen signalling people, waving, and
even dangling from one of the windows.