The iconic and beloved North Point Tower on the bluff above Lake Michigan is symbolic of over 140 years of service provided by the Milwaukee Water Works. It was part of the first water works that began pumping in 1874 and it remained in service until 1963. The tower, at 2288 N. Lake Dr. at North Avenue, houses an open standpipe that absorbed pulsations of water from steam-driven engines in the pumping station below the hill on the lakeshore.
Often praised for its beauty, the structure is a notable example of the Victorian Gothic style, fanciful and charming, designed by architect Charles A. Gombert. The 175-foot tower is executed in cream-colored Wauwatosa cut limestone, its rock-faced walls backed with Milwaukee Cream City Brick and trimmed with dressed limestone.
The tower has been recognized by the Milwaukee Landmarks Commission (1968), the Historic American Building Survey (1969), National Landmark of the American Water Works Association (1969), National Register of Historic Places (1973), and City of Milwaukee Historic Designation (1986).
"By virtue of its appearance and its historical association, it is symbolic of Milwaukee’s traditionally bountiful water supply. This structure possesses the integrity of original location, original workmanship, and many intangible elements of feeling and association extending back into the history of the City of Milwaukee."
-- Former MWW Superintendent Elmer W. Becker, 1974
A View From the Top
These are photos taken by retired MWW Water Plant Maintenance Supervisor John Schmidt. The 213-step steel staircase is not large enough or strong enough to handle and support heavy traffic. We hope you enjoy the view from the top.