Millstadt tower restoration begins

Pictured, a worker climbs the Millstadt water tower as prep work begins on a restoration project organized by Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, expected to be completed in November.

After nine years of working toward a common goal, the Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower will finally see the village water tower get its makeover.

Maguire Iron of South Dakota, an elevated tower painting company, recently began preparations for giving Millstadt’s “Tin Man” a new look. 

Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower President Betty Keller Timmer told the Republic-Times initial work includes removing antennae and other appendages  from the structure before preparing a “containment unit” which will surround the tower.

Timmer explained the containment unit is necessary to prevent the spread of debris during the required sandblasting and subsequent painting process.

She expects the restoration project to be completed sometime in November.

“The fact that there’s no water in the tower makes it easier,” Timmer added.

Once completed, the tower exterior will retain its original silver/gray color and the Millstadt village logo.

The project is funded by the Friends organization through fundraising events, personal donations  and grants,  including a Preservation Heritage Fund Grant from Landmarks Illinois for $5,000 in January 2021 and a matching donation from the Millstadt Historical Society in March.

The total fundraising goal for the project was $280,000. 

The 100,000-gallon steel tower was built in 1931. Landmarks Illinois recognized the tower’s importance, adding it to its list of the “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places for 2014.”

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