Tanks and towers

Chicago stop, © 2013 Celia Her City

The John Hancock and a Chicago water tank, © 2013 Celia Her City


Now dwindling in number, water tanks used to dot the skyline of the city.  These amazing rooftop cisterns came into use in the late-nineteenth century, when on-site water storage was recognized as a necessary fire-fighting measure.

Water tanks continue to be built in New York City for the ordinary purpose of maintaining the water pressure inside tall buildings with the aid of gravity.  In Chicago, however, water tanks are viewed as an anachronism.  It’s likely that these visually charming relics will disappear over time.  For now, I relish the contrast between our sleek but bland skyscrapers and these sturdy rooftop monuments.

Above Medinah Temple

From above the Medinah Temple (Credit: Celia Her City)

Drove to Nordstrom’s the other day and had a hard time finding a parking spot in its deck.  I finally found something at the very top, but it was good luck! because I was treated to this marvelous view.  The dome and minarets are those of the old Medinah Temple.  It used to belong to the Shriners.  The circus was held there every year.  Now (after a complete overhaul inside) it houses the Bloomingdale’s Home Store.  Beyond it is a rooftop garden I never knew existed.

Mature rooftop garden (Credit: Celia Her City)

Judging from the size of the trees, it’s been in existence for many years.  This garden sits atop a big parking deck.  Note the lampposts and hardscaping.  A glimpse of the pool.  It’s pretty classy.

Click images to enlarge.