The success of the water supply system designed by Ellis
Chesbrough for Chicago made it a model for other cities that border large
bodies of fresh water, as well as a precedent for expansion of Chicago's
system. By 1905 when the City Engineer wrote this report and gave this
copy to the ASCE, Chicago had five cribs for taking water from the lake
and used multiple pumping stations.
The Chicago Water Tower and pumping station is a familiar
landmark at North Michigan and Chicago avenues that was completed in 1869
as part the plan for the water supply system. The tower housed a vertical
standpipe 138 feet tall that relieved excess pressure in the distribution
lines. Designed in a Gothic style by architect William Boylington and
built of stone, it was one of a few buildings to survive the great Chicago
fire of 1871, and remains today as a symbol of one of the remarkably
successful civil engineering projects of the nineteenth century.