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Washburn Water Tower's Protective Knights and Eagles

Posted November 19, 2020 @ 7:47pm | by Doug

~~~ Tour Guide Notes ~~~

This gnarly, old oak has seen a lot in its lifetime.

Until 1880, it was a placid member of a hilltop forest at the highest point of an expanding, encroaching southside of Minneapolis.  An ideal place for a water tower.

It was also home to a large eagle who took exception to the workmen clearing its forest.  It attacked them, and in the melee its wing was broken.  The captured bird was brought down into the village where it was an unwitting spectacle. In 1932, when a replacement tower was built, it would be honored by eight concrete likenesses surrounding the top rim.

Nearby Minnehaha Creek was to provide the water, but its purity was iffy.  Typhoid fever.  Eventually the water supply was connected by pipeline to the city’s primary source, the Mississippi River and filtration facility on the distant north end of the city.

However, to assure the neighbors that the piped in water was safe, eight giant knights with swords, called “Guardians of Health,” also adorned the tower.

During a March blizzard in 1950, a Northwest Airlines plane came apart above the tower, dropping a wing upon the hill.  The remainder of the plane came down on a nearby Minnehaha Parkway home.  15 people died, including two children in the home, plus 13 passengers and crew.

Today, on an unseasonably warm November day, an old tour guide takes a photo of an old oak tree and a water tower.

 
 
 
 
 

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