From Prairie Sod to Campus Cornerstones

Water Tower 01
Water Tower, 1897


Built: 1897

The decision to build the Water Tower came in 1895, one year after a severe water shortage forced the cancellation of classes. It was the first elevated steel water tower west of the Mississippi. Standing 168 feet above campus, the tank itself was 40 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter and held 162,000 gallons. The use of the Water Tower was discontinued in 1978 when the university switched to a city water system. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, and in 1987, it was restored.  In 2007, the American Water Works Association presented an award to Iowa State University, naming the Marston Water Tower, an "American Water Landmark."

Additional images of the Water Tower

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Water Tower 02    Water Tower 03 Water Tower 04
Water Tower Construction,
March 22, 1897.
Water Tower, no date. Water Tower, no date.

History of Campus Buildings at Iowa State University

Comments: University Archives
Created by: Andrea Reis, Research/Technical Assistant & Jill Osweiler Schaefer, Special Collections Librarian

Updated by: Michele Christian, University Records Analyst