Stand Pipes — Vol. 1

by Paula Bosse

For some reason I’ve recently become fascinated by late-19th- and early-20th-century stand pipes (sometimes written as standpipes) — early cylindrical water towers which were often the centerpieces of postcards and were local structures which elicited pride in the townsfolk. Aside from serving a utilitarian purpose, they were often also aesthetically appealing — and always imposing. Here are a few I particularly like.


Above, Hyannis, Massachusetts — Hyannis Water Works (see a larger image here). (All other images are larger when clicked.)


Below, Quincy, Massachusetts.



Onset, Massachusetts — with Dummy Bridge (postmarked 1920).



West Roxbury, Massachusetts — Bellevue Stand Pipe (postmarked 1893).



Lawrence, Massachusetts, ca. 1905 (via Lawrence Public Library).



Below, Bangor, Maine — during the day.



Bangor, Maine — at night.



Burlington, New Jersey (postmarked 1908).



Netherwood, New Jersey — Plainfield Water Supply Co. (postmarked 1908).



Suffolk County, New York — the somewhat whimsical Edward Larocque Tinker Estate stand pipe, with windmill (1910) (via Queens Library).



Kincardine, Ontario, Canada — a wonderfully atmospheric photo showing a dark stand pipe next to the Knox Presbyterian Church.



Easton, Maryland — with a crown (1912).



Easton, Pennsylvania, with water house (postmarked 1908).



Kutztown, Pennsylvania — next to the tennis courts on the grounds of the Keystone State Normal School.



Lancaster, Pennsylvania — this is fantastic.



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — here’s an interesting drawing showing a Philadelphia Water Works stand pipe from 1853, originally envisioned with a 16-foot statue of George Washington perched on top (more on this cool-looking tower in an interesting article by Ken Finkel on the Philly History Blog, here).



Germantown, Pennsylvania — lastly, an illustration depicting the raising of the first-ever stand pipe in the United States, on Aug. 13, 1851 (via The Library Company of Philadelphia).



But, wait! There’s more…. read “Stand Pipes — Vol. 2,” here!


Sources & Notes

Unless otherwise noted, all images were found on eBay.

An exhaustive history of stand pipes can be found at the Documentary History of American Water-works website, here.

Some of these structures are still standing — a few are listed at Wikipedia here.


Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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