Now there are precious few left. Most have been dismantled. Some have been converted into platforms for cell phone antennae. A few years ago there was a proposal to turn them into giant art projects and make Chicago into a city of LED-illuminated water towers.
Looking out into the skyline, you can see that didn't happen. But there are still a few remarkable water towers left.
There's one in the Streeterville area that's been painted red and has some kind of swirly company logo on it.
And then there's this gem behind 800 North Clark Street. Unlike nearly all of its fallen brothers, this one didn't reach its height standing on the shoulders of tall buildings. It's tall in its own right.
Standing in the corner of a surface parking lot over by Moody Bible Institute on the Near North Side, it continues to defy the demolition crews that have made such structures so rare. And for all we know, it may still be supplying water to buildings in the neighborhood.