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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Old Tuckerton Water Tower

The August 30, 2012 Blog featured a 1890's photograph (below) of a horse drawn railroad side car with a barn and windmill in the background.

Click on the above photo to go to the 8/30/12 Blog Entry.

The windmill in the photo was the subject a few comments: 

I was just looking at the 1895 Sanborn fire insurance map for Tuckerton and see a windmill noted behind the bank (now Tuckerton Liquors) and the funeral home. There are still concrete piers there that may have been associated with the windmill. Perhaps this is the windmill in the photo? German Georgieff

Great idea to look at the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for Tuckerton; however, I don't think the windmill behind the bank is the same windmill that is in the photo. P Stemmer 

The concrete piers behind the old bank/funeral home are the base of the old TUCKERTON water tower, seen in many old town pictures. Arnold Cramer

My good history buddy, Shirley Whealton, tells me that the concrete foundation at the rear of the old bank, now a liquor store on Rt 9, is from an old water tower, not a windmill. P Stemmer

It is obvious from the comments that the windmill in the photo is not linked to the concrete foundations behind the old Tuckerton Bank Building as suggested by German Georgieff.

The old Tuckerton Bank on Rt 9 is now a liquor store.

Arnold Cramer and Shirley Whealton correctly pointed out the the concrete foundations are remnants of the old Tuckerton Water Company tower. These foundations, which look like a miniature Stonehenge, can be clearly seen in the following aerial photo.

Map courtesy of Bing Maps

Seeing the old water tower foundations got me thinking about the origins of the Tuckerton Water Company and when the tower was built. I asked some Tuckerton old timers if they knew when the water tower was built, but no one seemed to know. It's not surprising, as there are no eye witnesses of the tower being built, as I discovered, while reading some Tuckerton Beacon "Out of the Past" news articles, that it was constructed in 1898.

A series of brief Tuckerton Beacon articles chronicles the formation of the Tuckerton Water Company and the building of the tower.

The Tuckerton Water Company was granted a franchise in 1898 with the condition that it would provide 5 free fire hydrants throughout the town.

The 45,670 gallon water tank was completed by the Tippet & Wood of Phillipsburg, N.J. at the end of June, 1898

The water for the tower was obtained from the headwaters of Lake Pohatcong to ensure that the water was pure.

Half price specials were offered to induce new subscribers to hook up to the newly available water service. It sounds a lot like today's advertising.

The Everett House, a popular hotel on Tuckerton's Main Street, was the first to connect to the new water system.

Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.

The services of the new water company were so popular that plumbers were in high demand. Not having air conditioning, it seems a cool bath in the hot summer hit the spot with many residents.

Common stock was issued to raise capital for the start up costs of the water company. The stock certificates list the official name of the company as the Tuckerton Water Works Co.

The total value of the stock issued in 1898 was $12,000.00. Adjusted for inflation, that value would be about $320,000 today. That is a very modest sum to start up a water company today.

Following are a few postcards, from the Tuckerton Historical Society's collection, showing views of Tuckerton taken from the water tower. If you recognize any of the buildings or can estimate when the photos were taken, let's hear from you!

Notice the outhouses lined up like soldiers behind a group of houses and Lake Pohatcong in the background in the following postcard.

Lake Pohatcong can also be seen in the view below.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate a photo of the water tower, nor do I know when it was dismantled. If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can help me with these issues, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Pete S


  1. Dear Pete:

    Tuckerton Water Tower - Graffiti

    This commkent is not of any historical value,but received a lot of attention at the time. The water tower was very visible from the THS.When attending THS in the early 40's a prankster probabely a disgruntled student climbed the tower onto the catwalk which surrounded the tank and painted "BOYD BIG EARS",plus others that I don't remember. Mr. Boyd was a high school teacher at that time. The tank was repainted shortly after.

    Regards - Clif Brown

  2. Clif,

    Good to hear from you. It's been a while!

    It's surprising what we remember from years ago! I wonder if anyone else out in the Blog-O-Sphere can remember graffiti that appeared on the water tower?

    Pete S

  3. Pete:

    I cannot provide you with an exact date, but the old tank came down sometime between 1980 and 1982. The borough completed its new tank in 1980 and aerial photos show it removed by 1982.

    Best regards,
    Paul Schopp

  4. we discussed this on the facebook tuckerton site at 1 time about a year ago i always thought the water tank was relocated tom the rams Head inn

  5. The photo from the top of the water tower " looking north east" i believe show a house i own! It has a single dormer in the center of the roof and a porch. this porch is long gone and its snuggled up to the house next door to its right. The house was called the MAry Sprague house. its 133 east main st tuckerton. next door was frankly flowers. and it sits on the corner of Wood St. and Rt 9