Restored Huson tower to have windmill, cupola

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Huson Water Tower will be back before the snow flies – and more complete than it was before the arson fire that destroyed the landmark structure just over a year ago.

The Plymouth Historical Society will be able to fi- nance the addition of a cupola and windmill – original features of the structure – when the tower is rebuilt starting at the end of this month or early next month.

“It’s definitely a go,” historical society President Dan Buckman confirmed last week.

That comes after City Administrator Brian Yerges informed the City Council last week that construction on replacing the tower will begin soon.

“Probably in late July you’re going to see mobilization on the site,” Yerges said.

The contract with MZ Construction of Linden calls for the project to be completed by Nov. 1, according to Yerges.

After a pre-construction meeting with MZ representatives last week, city officials are confident that deadline will be met. “We should see most of that work done in August and September,” Yerges said.

The council approved a $164,000 contract with MZ to replace the landmark 19th-century tower as it existed last June when it was destroyed in an arson fire, utilizing an insurance settlement along with city funds to cover the $15,000 deductible.

That did not include a cupola and windmill atop the tower, which Buckman said were apparently removed sometime in the middle of the last century.

MZ quoted a cost of $35,000 for that part of the project. The historical society had requested replacement of the cupola and windmill and said it would cover the cost.

While the society has been raising funds for that, Buckman said they are still about $10,000 short. “But it gives us enough money to go ahead and finish the project now.”

To that end, he added, the society has purchased the windmill for placement atop the tower.

Buckman praised city officials for their support for restoring the tower.

“They could have just taken the insurance money, but within two or three days (of the fire) we were talking with the city and they were interested in reconstructing it,” Buckman noted. “They moved forward pretty quick.”

He noted that the windmill was the original part of the structure, built in the 1870s to supply water for the Henry Huson house across Collins Street as well as for barns along the south bank of the Mullet River that housed the Huson horses and livestock.

“The tower was enclosed in 1886,” Buckman related. “By 1905, Plymouth started getting running water installed and at that point they wouldn’t have needed the tower.”

A picture from 1939 shows the windmill still atop the tower, but it was removed some time after that, according to Buckman.

He said the society is continuing to raise money for the windmill and cupola. Those interested in donating can stop at the society museum on Mill Street, got to the society’s Facebook page, mail donations to the PHS at P.O. Box 415, Plymouth, or go to Bank First National, where a fund has been established.

When the tower is done, Buckman noted, “It should be kind of nice when people drive by and say, ‘Oh gosh, I thought that thing burned down.’ It will be nice it will be there again.”

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