Huson Water Tower rises in new glory

IT’S NO LONGER HISTORIC, but at least it’s a landmark again. And it looks great.

Almost a year and a half after a senseless and tragic arson fire destroyed the landmark 19th Century Huson Water Tower, it is back on the city’s skyline.

The completed replica was placed on the site of the former tower last week and work continues on finishing the structure – putting in windows and a door, painting and more.

The new tower was built by MZ Construction of Linden in Iowa County and they couldn’t have done a better job of replicating the historic structure.

While it’s built of modern-day materials and firmly secured on a new foundation, it has the look, the feel and most importantly the charm of the building it replaces.

The successful effort to replace what was lost began with city officials and local interested parties, who went to work immediately to rebuild and replace the tower.

City officials immediately committed to rebuilding the Huson Water Tower, including using the insurance proceeds toward the cost of the project. They could have opted to use the funds for another purpose, or just added it to the city’s general funds, but instead they showed their commitment and care for the city’s history and heritage by pledging right away to rebuild.

While obviously no original blueprints for the building – constructed in phases in the 1870s and 1880s – still exist , there were enough pictures and even measurements recorded when the tower was maintained and repaired about a decade ago that the team led by architect Mark Pfaller could give the workers at MZ a precise plan for the duplication.

And thanks to the generosity and support of the Plymouth Historical Society, the new tower will eventually be better and more complete than the one that burned down.

That’s because the society funded the replacement of the historic cupola and windmill that had been removed sometime in the 1940s or later – and thus were not covered in the city’s insurance settlement for the arson fire.

Those features are ready to go on and, if the weather cooperates, should be in place before the end of the year.

The final touches should be completed next spring and the brand new old tower should be ready for a re-dedication sometime next year.

Then the Huson Water Tower will again be the singular feature that it was for so many years in downtown Plymouth.

The historical society has plans for displays and information inside the tower that will help tell its story to the many visitors and sightseers it is sure to draw. They are even making plans to keep the windmill working – and turning – during much of the year.

That will make it an even greater attraction than it was for so many years.

As Plymouth Historical Society President Dan Buckman commented when the reconstruction of the tower was being planned, “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.”

It was a huge tragedy when the original Huson Water Tower was needlessly destroyed. But the new tower will stand as a testament to the resiliency and spirit of the city it represents.

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