The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

This Week in History (Raising of the Standpipe)

Posted by iusbvision on November 6, 2006

This week in History highlights the raising of the standpipe, which would provide the city of South Bend with water that could be piped directly into homes and provide water for fighting fires. Production began on Friday, November 14, 1873.  The plan of constructing a standpipe (or water tower) was set by the Holly Water Works Company.

When the standpipe was pumped full of water the pressure (or weight) on the water mains throughout the city would be equal (there would be equal water pressure throughout the city).  The leader in support of the standpipe was Leighton Pine, the superintendent of Singer Sewing Machine Company (which had just recently moved to the East Race on Mr. Pine’s invitation). A huge debate between Mr. Pine and supporters of a reservoir-type water system raged for months. The standpipe finally won majority support in 1872 and Mr. Pine’s plan would be put into action. After the construction of the standpipe it had to be lifted into place. The undertaking of lifting this mass of iron from the ground to a perpendicular was the greatest engineering feat ever attempted in this part of the country. A similar attempt in Toledo, Ohio resulted in the falling and breaking of the stand pipe when it had been lifted half way up.

On Saturday, November 15, the raising continued until 4 p.m. when the standpipe reached an elevation of 70 degrees. The standpipe was left in that position all of that night. Rising continued throughout the day on Sunday and finally the standpipe was placed into its footing at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 17, 1873.  The great standpipe never cracked or bent and stood 200 feet perpendicular from its rocky base.  The standpipe was torn down in the 1920s.

Carlie Barr

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