Top of page

Photo, Print, Drawing Western Springs Water Tower, 914 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs, Cook County, IL

[ Drawings from Survey HABS IL-332  ]

More Resources

[ Data Pages from Survey HABS IL-332  ]

About this Item


  • Western Springs Water Tower, 914 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs, Cook County, IL


  • Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
  • Hill, Thomas Clarkson
  • Page, William
  • Peck, Phillip F. W.
  • Williams, Edgar
  • Williams, Benezette
  • Collins, Charles
  • Collins, Ruth
  • Chicago and Naperville Stone Company
  • Western Springs Historical Society
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago, sponsor
  • Pipal, Charles, faculty sponsor
  • Kennealy, Erin, project assistant
  • Baum, Patricia, field team
  • Biggers, Sarah, field team
  • Chircop, Michelle, field team
  • Del Bel Belluz, Elissa, field team
  • Fisher, Elizabeth, field team
  • Garner, Fleming, field team
  • Hartzell, Kris, field team
  • Horton, Sarah, field team
  • Kanch, Kerryann, field team
  • Oliveri, Dana, field team
  • McPartland, Mary, transmitter

Created / Published

  • Documentation compiled after 1933


  • -  water towers
  • -  water supply
  • -  conical roofs
  • -  stone buildings (limestone)
  • -  brick
  • -  water tanks
  • -  offices
  • -  police stations
  • -  jails
  • -  courthouses
  • -  Illinois--Cook County--Western Springs

Latitude / Longitude

  • 41.809791,-87.900896


  • -  2013 Charles E. Peterson Prize, Entry
  • -  Significance: The village of Western Springs, a suburb about 15 miles west of Chicago's Loop, which is currently bounded by Willow Springs Road, Ogden Avenue, Interstate 294, and 55th street, is situated along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, originally the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The Potawatomi tribe originally inhabited this land. However after the Black Hawk War in 1832, the last of the Native Americans in Northeastern Illinois region ceded their land opening up the potential development of the Chicago area. The land during the mid-19th century consisted of mainly flat prairie with marshy terrain along the western boundary, and contained natural springs from which it takes its name. After the Native Americans fled the area, farmer Joseph Vial settled there in a log cabin, which served as a stagecoach depot, hotel, general store and post office for the region. As the population grew over the next fifty years, a railroad station was in high demand. It was then, in 1863, that the Chicago, Burling and Quincy Railroad built the line through Western Springs. Through this process much of the swamp areas were filled in, creating more surface area to expand the population. This was an ideal time to invest in the area, and in 1870 the Western Springs Land Association seized the opportunity. The group consisted of four men, Thomas Clarkson Hill, William Page, and two sons of Phillip F. W. Peck, who bought the three tracts of land, which comprise the entire area of the village for the. price of $105,000. Two years later, Hill, a Chicago resident, decided to move out to the area to begin organizing the community to promote the area and thus attract more residents. As the population continued to grow, the area became more established and the makings of a true town began to emerge. A schoolhouse was built in 1872 and a post office in 1873. Just over a decade later, on February 30, 1886, the village of Western Springs was incorporated and Hill was elected President. The town continued to flourish over the next twenty years, as a result their water source, the natural spring, dried up. The village hired a team. of engineers to create a waterworks system for the area. The team, which consisted of two brothers, Edgar and Benezette Williams, constructed an extensive water system, which included a well, pipes, and a water tower for storage. It is this water tower that would become an icon of the area. The water tower was built on a triangular plot of land; known then as "Block A" and now was the Tower Green. Charles and Ruth Collins donated the land and the water tower was constructed in 1892. The total cost of the water works project, the water tower and the sewer system combined, was $79,119.10. For the construction of the water tower, 156 carloads of stone were ordered from the Chicago and Naperville Stone Company. Once delivered, each stone was hand cut and shaped individually on site. Plans for the cylindrical tower stated that it would be 112.5 feet tall with a diameter of 36.5. feet. Constructed of a combination of limestone and brick, where currently the limestone base measures roughly 61 feet high, and the brick on top, measures roughly 35 feet in height. The conical roof, measures roughly 13.5 feet in height. The limestone walls at the base. of the tower measure 6 feet thick, and get thinner as they move up, measuring about 3 feet thick at the top of the stone. The brick is quite a bit thinner measuring only 1.5 feet thick. The original tank was designed to hold 113,000 gallons of water. The top brick portion of the building housed the water tank, which acted as the villages water storage until 1962 when a new tank in Spring Rock Park became the water storage facility. Village offices, police department, jail, and magistrate court occupied the bottom limestone portion of the structure from its competition until 1968, when all moved to a new administration building located at 740 Hillgrove Avenue. The building now houses the Western Springs Historical Society and acts as a history and children's museum. The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, for its architectural and engineering design and remains to date an iconic structure in the village.
  • -  Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N2387
  • -  Survey number: HABS IL-332
  • -  Building/structure dates: 1892 Initial Construction
  • -  National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 81000219


  • Measured Drawing(s): 10

Call Number/Physical Location

  • HABS IL-332

Source Collection

  • Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)


  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Control Number

  • il1003

Rights Advisory

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not license or charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material.

Ultimately, it is the researcher's obligation to assess copyright or other use restrictions and obtain permission from third parties when necessary before publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library's collections.

For information about reproducing, publishing, and citing material from this collection, as well as access to the original items, see: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS) Collection - Rights and Restrictions Information

  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted.
  • Reproduction Number: ---
  • Call Number: HABS IL-332
  • Access Advisory: ---

Obtaining Copies

If an image is displaying, you can download it yourself. (Some images display only as thumbnails outside the Library of Congress because of rights considerations, but you have access to larger size images on site.)

Alternatively, you can purchase copies of various types through Library of Congress Duplication Services.

  1. If a digital image is displaying: The qualities of the digital image partially depend on whether it was made from the original or an intermediate such as a copy negative or transparency. If the Reproduction Number field above includes a reproduction number that starts with LC-DIG..., then there is a digital image that was made directly from the original and is of sufficient resolution for most publication purposes.
  2. If there is information listed in the Reproduction Number field above: You can use the reproduction number to purchase a copy from Duplication Services. It will be made from the source listed in the parentheses after the number.

    If only black-and-white ("b&w") sources are listed and you desire a copy showing color or tint (assuming the original has any), you can generally purchase a quality copy of the original in color by citing the Call Number listed above and including the catalog record ("About This Item") with your request.

  3. If there is no information listed in the Reproduction Number field above: You can generally purchase a quality copy through Duplication Services. Cite the Call Number listed above and include the catalog record ("About This Item") with your request.

Price lists, contact information, and order forms are available on the Duplication Services Web site.

Access to Originals

Please use the following steps to determine whether you need to fill out a call slip in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room to view the original item(s). In some cases, a surrogate (substitute image) is available, often in the form of a digital image, a copy print, or microfilm.

  1. Is the item digitized? (A thumbnail (small) image will be visible on the left.)

    • Yes, the item is digitized. Please use the digital image in preference to requesting the original. All images can be viewed at a large size when you are in any reading room at the Library of Congress. In some cases, only thumbnail (small) images are available when you are outside the Library of Congress because the item is rights restricted or has not been evaluated for rights restrictions.
      As a preservation measure, we generally do not serve an original item when a digital image is available. If you have a compelling reason to see the original, consult with a reference librarian. (Sometimes, the original is simply too fragile to serve. For example, glass and film photographic negatives are particularly subject to damage. They are also easier to see online where they are presented as positive images.)
    • No, the item is not digitized. Please go to #2.
  2. Do the Access Advisory or Call Number fields above indicate that a non-digital surrogate exists, such as microfilm or copy prints?

    • Yes, another surrogate exists. Reference staff can direct you to this surrogate.
    • No, another surrogate does not exist. Please go to #3.
  3. If you do not see a thumbnail image or a reference to another surrogate, please fill out a call slip in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room. In many cases, the originals can be served in a few minutes. Other materials require appointments for later the same day or in the future. Reference staff can advise you in both how to fill out a call slip and when the item can be served.

To contact Reference staff in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room, please use our Ask A Librarian service or call the reading room between 8:30 and 5:00 at 202-707-6394, and Press 3.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, Thomas Clarkson Hill, William Page, Phillip F. W Peck, Edgar Williams, Benezette Williams, Charles Collins, et al. Western Springs Water Tower, 914 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs, Cook County, IL. Western Springs Cook County Illinois, 1933. translateds by Mcpartland, Marymitter Documentation Compiled After. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, C., Hill, T. C., Page, W., Peck, P. F. W., Williams, E., Williams, B. [...] Oliveri, D. (1933) Western Springs Water Tower, 914 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs, Cook County, IL. Western Springs Cook County Illinois, 1933. McPartland, M., trans Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, et al. Western Springs Water Tower, 914 Hillgrove Avenue, Western Springs, Cook County, IL. trans by Mcpartland, Marymitter Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.