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Historic Havana Water Tower Ranked Among Illinois' Most Endangered Landmarks

Courtesy Landmarks Illinois
Kevin L. Miller
Courtesy Landmarks Illinois

A historic preservation group ranks a Central Illinois landmark among the state's most endangered.

Landmarks Illinois says the 132-year-old Havana Water Tower is at risk. It needs extensive — and costly — repairs.

"It could cost the city as much as $1.2 million to restore the landmark, and to return it to a functioning water tower," said Landmarks Illinois CEO Bonnie McDonald. "Finding that funding is a challenge for a small city that is home to 3,200 people."

Built in 1889, the tower needs tuck pointing to stabilize its octagonal base, a coat of paint or sealant to prevent rusting, and reinforcement of the retaining walls. The 50-foot tall tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

The group believes structures like the water tower could be eligible for funding under President Joe Biden's proposed infrastructure bill.

"We are talking, as a country right now, about infrastructure. And it's a wonderful position to be in, when we're talking about our existing infrastructure in Illinois," said Landmarks Illinois Springfield director Frank Butterfield. "Whether it's an old depot, or we're talking about Havana's water tower. That water tower was part of the infrastructure of that community."

Other endangered structures on the group's list include the state-owned Thompson Center in Chicago, and the remaining Green Book sites still standing along old Route 66.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.