Chicago Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Water Tower


Looking for something fun and unique to do this weekend, take a trip to downtown Chicago and help celebrate the anniversary of the legendary Chicago Water Tower building. This special event will be held on Saturday, September 14 starting at 10:00 AM.

The City of Chicago and a multitude of partner organizations will host a festival celebrating marking the 150th anniversary of the historic Chicago Water Tower (806 N. Michigan Ave.). The Water Tower tower was built-in 1869 by architect William W. Boyington. The Water Tower claims it was one of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. In truth, there were other buildings not claimed by the fire, but it only became the most iconic structure left standing.

This free event will include family activities, lectures, tours, theatre performances, public art, and exhibitions – plus food trucks, dining discounts and complimentary admission to nearby cultural institutions. Plus, enjoy special offers from retailers, restaurants, and other businesses around The Magnificent Mile.

Visit the park around lunchtime for a free slice of cheesecake courtesy of Eli’s Cheesecake, ‘Chicago’s Finest’ Cheesecake since 1980! The cheesecake is worth the visit.

Organizers include the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Department of Water Management, The Magnificent Mile Association, the Water Tower Arts District and its members, Lookingglass Theatre Company, AIA Chicago (also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year) and many others.

Built-in 1869, it is the second-oldest water tower in the United States, after the Louisville Water Tower in Louisville, Kentucky. The Chicago Water Tower now serves as a Chicago Office of Tourism art gallery known as the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower. It features the work of local photographers and artists and filmmakers.

The buildings were constructed with yellow Joliet limestone (same materials as the famed Joliet prison), a very popular building material in the city at the time. The Chicago Water Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower gained national prominence after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as the last building standing.

If the family chooses to not drive into the city, take the journey by the Metra Train from Elburn. There is so much to see around the Water Tower location. Visit the Water Tower shopping centre and experience the new location of the ‘Great American Doll’ store. For a unique food experience, visit Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum anchor the 7th floor of Water Tower Place on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. This venue combines to create a high-energy, 23,000 square foot complex offering dining, entertainment, Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum.

Want to keep up-to-date on events and activities in DeKalb County, northern Illinois or Chicagoland please contact Kary at and request your name be added to the e-blast from the NICE Society listing of unique opportunities and information on theater shows, concerts, sporting events, and other special events; including special invitation to premiere events and activities.

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