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Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower

Nestled among the glass and steel giants of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – surrounded by some of the world’s premier shopping and dining establishments – the Water Tower looms like a nostalgic monument from an ancient age. Indeed, the limestone and concrete tower built in 1869 to resemble a Gothic castle from a much more distant time, is one of the very few standing survivors of the great Chicago fire. The dynamic city has a past, and the nation’s first American Water Landmark, stands at the most visible symbol of its historic legacy.

The Water Tower is also a vibrant part of modern Chicago, as my Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower demonstrates. A winter twilight is deepening into night as the brilliant lights of Michigan Avenue bathe the tower’s warm limestone façade in a golden glow. The light is so radiant and so luminous, that it appears a festival could be taking place at the base of the tower.

Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower is a tourist center in the heart of the great city and a festive place at all times. Quaint hansom cabs convey tourists to and fro, and crowds of shoppers and celebrants fill the streets at all hours. It’s winter in the city; for the visitor, winter is a romantic season in Chicago, softening the city’s hard lines with its shimmering light.

  • As a tribute to his wife of twenty-two years, Nanette, Thomas Kinkade has hidden seven N’s in Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower.
  • Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower depicts one of the most celebrated landmarks of the Windy City. Built in 1869 and designed by architect William W. Boyington, the Water Tower is a masterpiece of neo-gothic architecture – styled more to resemble a medieval strong-hold than a water tower.
  • The tower’s limestone and concrete construction married with steel and copper, served not only to delight the eye but protected the building from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. One of the few buildings to survive the conflagration, the Water Tower has become known as a symbol of the city of Chicago’s strength and resilience.
  • Thom delights in honoring the great landmarks of America, as he has done in Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower. In May of 1969 – during the year of its Centennial Anniversary – the Chicago Water Tower was selected by the American Water Works Association to be the first American Water Landmark in the nation.
Title Chicago, Winter at the Water Tower
Published September 2004
Subject Location The Chicago Water Tower in the Old Chicago Water Tower District, Illinois

Image Sizes

16" x 12"
24" x 18"
34" x 25½"

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