THE WITCH’S HAT WATER TOWER TURNS 100
One of the most recognized and notable structures in Minneapolis is the Witch’s Hat Water Tower, located in the Prospect Park Neighborhood. It is one of only three remaining original water towers in the city, and this past weekend the tower celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of it’s dedication.
It rained on Saturday of the anniversary weekend . . .
. . . so the line to enter the tower was especially long on Sunday.
Norwegian born architect Fredrick William Cappelen designed the tower, and its construction took place in 1913, on the highest natural land area in Minneapolis. Many years prior, there had been a tower on this hill (most likely in the years 1825-1870) that served as a military sentry tower, to oversee caravans of oxcarts, used for trading, that would gather near the river crossing at St. Anthony Falls and then continue east on Territorial Road to St. Paul.
The view of the Minneapolis downtown before the Metrodome was torn down.
A view of St. Paul in the distance.
The tower is designed in the Romanesque Medieval style and originally had windows lining the winding stairs inside. The windows were later removed or covered over during a 1955 restoration. That same year the tower was struck by lightening and the city decided that it should be torn down. The neighborhood residents did not agree, and started an intense, and successful, campaign to “save the tower,” and in 1997 the Water Tower and its surrounding Tower Hill Park were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Witch's Hat Water Tower seen here in 1914 (Minneapolis Historical Society photo) . . .
. . . and today, one hundred years later, in 2014.
The Water Tower and its surrounding park were placed
on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1997.
With the one-time exception of its hundredth anniversary, the tower is only open to the public one day each year, on the Friday following Memorial Day, as part of the Pratt School Ice Cream Social. If you are in Minneapolis on that Friday, I highly recommend that you visit the Witch’s Hat Water Tower. It’s a view not to be missed!
***Some photo in this post are from our archives.