Topping off the new Huson Tower in style

CALL IT THE SWEET cherry on top of a scrumptious ice cream sundae. The new Huson Water Tower was topped off last week with a replica of the windmill that sat atop the historic structure for half a century or so.

Indeed, the Eclipse windmill was even older than the historic tower.

Henry Huson, the second mayor of the city of Plymouth, built the windmill and pump on the bluff above the south bank of the Mullet River, across the street from his Collins Street home, sometime in the 1870s to provide water for the sheep and horses he grazed on the river bank.

The tower that served as a landmark atop Yankee Hill for more than century was built around the pump and windmill in 1881. The windmill was removed at some unknown time half a century or so later.

The tower was donated to the city by Huson’s descendants in 1965, with the area designated as a city park in 1974. The refurbished tower and park were officially dedicated in 1976 – the Bicentennial year.

Four years later, the tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places – one of only three such landmarks in the city.

Unfortunately, all of that history came burning down a little less than two years ago when the tower was destroyed in an arson fire.

The perpetrators of that heinous deed are behind bars, but the damage they did could not be undone.

Fortunately, city officials and the Plymouth Historical Society joined forces to do the best thing possible under the circumstances. Combining the insurance settlement money with city and society funds, they were able to build a replica of the tower to take the place of the lost structure.

Thanks to the historical society stepping up, that restoration includes the replacement of the longlost original windmill.

The replica tower was built by MZ Construction of Linden, which installed it on a new, stronger foundation last fall.

The final piece went on last week.

An authentic replica of a 19th-century wooden Eclipse windmill – which were designed and built right here in Wisconsin – was painstakingly and beautifully created by windmill restorer Ron Hartman of Sheboygan.

Hartman, with the help of a crew from MZ Construction, assembled the windmill and placed it atop the tower.

It makes the new tower even more of a landmark than it was before, if that’s possible. It was always a picturesque attraction and highlight of downtown Plymouth, but it is even more so now.

The tower, with its graceful twin-tailed wooden windmill, should draw even more viewers and provide a fitting backdrop for a charming downtown.

All that is left of the tower restoration project is some final painting and touchup work, which should lead to a dedication of the new landmark sometime this summer.

At that time, all those involved in the planning, production and placement of the new historic Huson Water Tower will be able to take a well-deserved bow for a job well done.

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