Digest>Archives> April 2002

Colony Tower to Come Down


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Due to the high cost to repair Detroit’s 75-year old Colony Tower overlooking the St. Clair River it may soon be coming down.

Built in 1925 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works, this steel-framed water tower was the main water supplier for “The Colony on the Ste. Claire,” a secluded residential community established in Clay Township during the 1920’s.

Efforts are underway to raise the $200,000 need to repair the tower, but supporters state it is unlikely that the money can be raised. The Colony Towers Home Owners Association, which owns the tower, said it will only cost $25,000 to tear it down.

The Colony Tower marked the entrance to the Will St. John Estate, the home of the real estate developer who founded The Colony Subdivision. The 136-foot tower once housed a 60,000-gallon water tank. Constructed with curtain walls and steel-plates to resemble a lighthouse, it demonstrates the early twentieth-century penchant for disguising the utilitarian function of a highly visible structure.

A light shone from atop the tower, aiding boat and aircraft from 1925 until 1937 when the light was extinguished.

This story appeared in the April 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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