“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
Not to be confused with Water Tower Place, the large shopping center nearby, the Chicago Water Tower across the street was built in 1869 by William Boyington and named an American Water Landmark in 1969.
The building gained notoriety after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as it was one of the buildings to survive the destruction, and turned into a symbol of the city's strength. The rumor that it was the only building to survive the fire is incorrect, however, it was the only public building to survive, and is one of a few still standing. Chicago’s Water Tower is the second-oldest in the United States; only Louisville, Kentucky’s is older. Now, instead of holding a water pump, it is an office of tourism center and an art gallery called the City Gallery. Oscar Wilde disliked the water tower, calling it "a castellated monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it," but others have loved the design. Some loved it so much, in fact, that it inspired some of the designs for some White Castle buildings.
The Water Tower has been known for its paranormal activity. According to the legend, the man who was working the pumps during the Great Fire and stayed until the flames became unbearable. He then proceeded to hang himself rather than die by fire. Many locals and tourists have claimed to see the ghost of the hanging man in the upper windows.