Name: Water Intake Tower #2 Chain of Rocks
Architectural Firm/Architect: Roth and Study
Property Type Codes: Tower, intake
Designation: City Landmark
This intake tower was built to supplement the earlier tower, which was built in 1894, in case of an operational failure. An unusual event occurred during the construction of tower #2 in June 1914, when a part of its cofferdam was struck by the excursion boat "Majestic," causing the boat to sink near the tower. This resulted in the relocation of the steamboat channel from between the two towers to a course further out in the river.
Use of the towers has been limited since about 1930, when a shore intake tower was placed in operation. Access to the towers is more difficult since the erection of a government low water dam, which raised the river level considerably. Homer´s dike, formerly used for access from the shore to Tower #1, is now completely submerged. Until the late 1920s, water division crews spent two week stints in the towers, living under rather primitive conditions. They operated and maintained the intake ports and tunnels from the towers to the Chain of Rocks water works. Intricate drawings that are still in the files of the St. Louis Water Department show details for carving stones, giving minute specifications for the depth of indentation, and the types of materials and tools to be used . There are also drawings giving detailed instructions for iron work, mooring rings, anchor posts and windows.
One interesting feature of the two towers is the variations in style used for two structures with identical purposes. Before the closing of the Chain of Rocks Bridge, the two towers provided motorists with a superb visual experience. Today, traffic uses the new 270 bridge and the towers are more difficult to see.
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and