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Helen Betts | all galleries >> Rediscovering Home >> Washington Rediscovered: Year 2 >> ‘Roadside Attractions’ at the US Botanic Garden > Leaning Tower of Niles Water Tower, Niles, Illinois
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Leaning Tower of Niles Water Tower, Niles, Illinois

We visited the US Botanic Garden’s annual “Season’s Greenings” display titled “Roadside Attractions” featuring plant-based recreations of iconic sights from across the United States, with G gauge model trains chugging around, below, through and above the displays.

Roughly half the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Niles’ Leaning Tower is not a tower at all but a clever solution to hide a large water tank. Businessman Robert Ilg needed a mechanism to supply water to outdoor pools in the park he built, but he also wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the area. To that end, he built a water tower resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa, using reinforced concrete so that its lean would stay consistent. Ilg’s outdoor pools are gone, but the tower remains as a major attraction in the city. No doubt due to shared architectural inspiration, Niles and Pisa became sister cities in 1991.

Building materials: Ash bark, birch bark, honeysuckle vine, Harry Lauder’s walking stick, cork bark, elm bark, grape vine, white stick, horse chestnut, eucalyptus pods, black walnut slices, osage orange bark, cedrela, hickory nut hulls, beechnut seeds, star anise pods, mahogany pods, wild thistle, willow, sequoia, reed

Safranbolu house, posted earlier:

Nikon D810 ,Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
1/80s f/8.0 at 60.0mm iso5000 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Liz Bickel08-Dec-2017 17:23
Looks a lot like to tower in Pisa. Very creatively done on the part of the artist and well photographed by you.
Tom Munson04-Dec-2017 17:56
This is wonderful, Helen.
bill friedlander04-Dec-2017 17:41
The tower looks great with the colorful leaves around it. V
Jeff Real04-Dec-2017 17:12
What an amazing thing to see
I love the photo, Helen
Patrick Goossens04-Dec-2017 16:48
Looks a lot like the tower of Pisa in It aly.
globalgadabout04-Dec-2017 16:21
clever indeed...the model looks good too in this leafy setting..
Jim Coffman04-Dec-2017 16:17
I have never heard of this tower before.. Nice image, Helen..