A tragic and senseless loss, a reprehensible act


The Huson Water Tower, one of only three structures in the city of Plymouth listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was destroyed early Friday morning in a fire that has been termed suspicious. The tower is shown above in its restored condition after it was repainted in its historic colors in 2004. It was donated, along with the property along the Mullet River, to the city in 1964 by the heirs of original builder Henry Huson. The Huson Water Tower, one of only three structures in the city of Plymouth listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was destroyed early Friday morning in a fire that has been termed suspicious. The tower is shown above in its restored condition after it was repainted in its historic colors in 2004. It was donated, along with the property along the Mullet River, to the city in 1964 by the heirs of original builder Henry Huson. To the Editor:

While it may go unnoticed, Plymouth lost a landmark in the early morning hours of June 21st, 2015. The Huson Water Tower, on Collins Street, was destroyed by fire. A little piece of history making Plymouth one of those charming communities, is no more.

The water tower dated pre-1881. Henry Huson, 2nd mayor of Plymouth, built a Victorian home on the bluff of Collins Street in the 1870’s. Across the street, along the banks of the Mullet River, he built a barn and stable for horses and sheep, which grazed on the hill. A simple wind mill and pump provided water the animals.


This picture shows what is left of the former Huson Water Tower after the early-morning suspicious fire that destroyed the landmark last Friday. The tower was built in 1881 by Henry Huson, who served as Plymouth’s second mayor, across from his landmarked home on Collins Street. The tower became the centerpiece of a city park named for Huson that was dedicated in 1976. This picture shows what is left of the former Huson Water Tower after the early-morning suspicious fire that destroyed the landmark last Friday. The tower was built in 1881 by Henry Huson, who served as Plymouth’s second mayor, across from his landmarked home on Collins Street. The tower became the centerpiece of a city park named for Huson that was dedicated in 1976. In 1881 Henry enclosed the wind mill creating an elegant little building on the Huson homestead. Three stories tall with decorative embellishments, it included a 4-windowed tower at its peak with a wooden wind mill to pump water. In the late 1890’s, underground pipes enabled water to be pumped directly to the Huson house. Undoubtedly due to Henry’s ingenuity, water was stored in second floor copper tanks with gravity providing running water for the house, a novelty at that time.

The last Huson family member to live in the Huson House, Alice Huson Bush, passed away in 1964. The following year Henry Bush, Alice’s son and grandson of Henry Huson, donated the water tower and surrounding land to the city to be used for park purposes.

On April 30, 1974, by resolution, the city named the park in honor of Henry Huson. A 3½-year tower restoration project was undertaken, in part, in anticipation of the city’s 100th anniversary. Friends and community organizations created what was described as a “natural paradise in the middle of the city.”

On June 26, 1976, the tower and park was officially dedicated by Mayor Bill Bruhy. Wilbur Westphalen and Chuck Schumacher, of the Lions club, acknowledged all of the clubs and organizations which helped in the endeavor. They included the Kiwanis, Rotary, Garden, Junior Women’s, Jaycees, Jaycettes, Association of Commerce, National Guard, Toastmasters, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Building Tradesmen and the Industrial Development Corporation. Wayne Capelle and Al Lyng, of the original project committee, received special thanks. A copper time capsule containing the names of 118 citizens who donated $1,776 and a $50 bank note were placed in the foundation of the tower with the intention of reopening the capsule in one-hundred years. The funds were to be used to celebrate the nation’s tri-centennial celebration.

In 1980 The National Register of Historic places deemed the Huson Water Tower a historic and archeological resource, bestowing it National Landmark status. Only two other such properties in Plymouth have received this honor; 52 Stafford and the Henry Huson House.

A smaller scale restoration project was undertaken in 2004 when decaying wood was replaced and the tower was repainted to its original 1881 color scheme.

For decades the tower has provided mystique and charm. City employees and local residents have carefully tended to the tower, from cutting grass, setting field stones, planting flowers, and even gracing the front door with a Christmas wreath.

A popular tourist attraction, the tower has been frequented by local and out-of-town visitors who would stop and see this unusual and mysterious little building. If only to read the historical plaque from the street or peek in its windows, a framed building that had survived 134 years, is now a mere cement foundation. Seeing this brings a sense of sorrow and loss, as a piece of quaintness only found in our hometown of Plymouth, is now gone.

Dan Buckman

President Plymouth Historical Society


Readers Comments

Wondering if they found the
Submitted by chalberry5@gmail.com (not verified) on Wed, 2015-06-24 22:27.
Wondering if they found the cause of the fire?
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