Old Woonsocket water tower is taken down

water tower pic

DESPITE SOME pretty nasty winds Thursday, a crew from Michigan disassembled the old water tower in under 12 hours.

The early-1920s era Woonsocket water tower was disassembled last Thursday following months of discussion among the City Council, city maintenance workers and insurance providers.
The water tower, which has stood empty for at least six years, towered over the south end of Woonsocket’s main street. It’s shadow also loomed over the town’s fire hall, substation, telephone cooperative and residential housing.
The threat of a windstorm bringing the empty, rusted-out tower down on any of these buildings had become a big liability. The City held insurance on the tower for its cash value of $265,000 and liability insurance of up to $2 million. Replacement cost on the tower is estimated at half a million dollars.
Woonsocket has gotten its water from a new tower on the southeast edge of town for roughly 15 years. That tower holds 265,000 gallons of water, much more than the town uses.
The old tower held 65-70,000 gallons, when it was functional. For a few years, the city continued to use the old tower as well, filling, emptying and refilling it, as it would freeze up in the winter.
Research was done 10 years ago on the feasiblity of renovating the tower and at that time the cost would have been around $80,000, which did not include any work on the pillars. The cement holding in the pillars had already been deteriorating at that time.
The fire whistle that was attached to the tower and blew for fires and at 7 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day is also in need of repairs. The whistle is also roughly 80 years old. One of the tower’s pillars is being repaired and will be replaced with the repaired whistle.
Work on taking down the tower began at 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning by a team out of Michigan. Just two companies in the country disassemble water towers. The City’s cost to tear down the tower was $28,000 and was finished by Thursday afternoon.
The solid steel ball that sat at the top of the tower was kept and will be preserved.

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