Community Group Aims To Save Historic Fulton River District Water Tower

People use the crowdfunding site GoFundMe for some pretty weird stuff.

There’s the girl who wants to raise money to open a cat circus ($0 in the kitty). And a gentleman named Ivory who is saving up for a bottle of Hennessy Cognac ($12 raised so far—cheers). Another fellow said he was “going bald—I need hella hats” (bingo—$83 raised).

A bottle of henny, a hat and a cat museum might strike some as frivolous. To those who doubt there’s anything worth funding on GoFundMe, I draw your attention to Keith Sbiral, the condo board president of the Clinton Street Lofts. Sbiral and his group are working to preserve one of the few remaining historic water towers in Chicago, in the Fulton River District.

Clinton Street Lofts water tank

Clinton Street Lofts water tank

The Clinton Street Loft board has been maintaining the tower, but continuing to do so will naturally cost money. A special assessment to preserve the tower might not go over too well with residents, and the board, being fiscally prudent, is not planning to dun them. So, they’ve come up with an alternate plan: GoFundMe!

“Our board has decided to see if, on a voluntary basis, residents, architecture fans, and history buffs have an interest in coming together to help us save the water tower,” Sbiral said.

For vintage water tower aficionados, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The towers were not intended to be architecturally significant design elements. They were functional, and quite important. After the great fire, codes changed to require many buildings to erect water tanks to help avert potential disasters.

Hence, the Clinton Street Lofts have created a campaign to help save and preserve their water tower here.

Structural repairs for the water tower (and taking demolishing it off the table) will run about $22,000. Right now, the GoFundMe effort has raised $900. So, you water tower fans out there, or friends of Rahm with deep pockets, here’s your chance to help preserve a quaint, charming part of old Chicago. And, anyone who puts up $21,100 right now, we’ll drink a toast to you. With Henny, of course.

Clinton Street Lofts water tank


Location: 226 North Clinton Street, Fulton River Distrcit


Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

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