The original wooden Water Tower was erected in 1897 as part of the campus water
distribution system. Well water was too salty and the Kanawha River contained excessive iron sediment (from the
West Virginia Board of Control Second Biennial Report - 1912). A second tower with tank was added and filtration system
developed to provide sufficent water for the school in 1912.
The photographs Water Tower 1 and 13 display an early tower between East Hall (at its original location) and the first
Fleming Hall 1 (1892). Image 15 displays the two wooden towers to the left and right of the A.B. White Building.
In 1920 the two towers were replaced by the current 154 foot forged steel tower/tank (with greater water pressure). The current
tower supplied college water until 1969 when the West Virginia Water Company installed a pump station.
While no longer functional as a water tower, the tower has been used as a college landmark for over a hundred years. In the 1980's
the tower was in dire need of repair and a consultant recommended the it be dismantled. A "Save Our Tower" motto rallied students,
faculty, staff, alumni and friends to raise money for the tower's renovation and refurbishment.
The West Virginia State University Water Tower is a monument which evokes strong feelings of loyalty in alumni. President
John W. Davis (1919-1953) and Director of Trade and Technical Education Professor James C. Evans wrote a slogan for the Tower:
The Tower Tank, adorned with the insignia of aviation, rises majestically above the campus of West Virginia State
College. A landmark for travelers by auto and train, by boat and plane, it is a symbol of the mission of the College in leading youth
to acquire vision for service.
Water Tower 1897-1920 Wooden structure; Water Tower 1912-1920 Wooden tower; Water Tower 1920- Steel tower.
In total, there have been three towers supplying water to the campus since 1897.
In a February 26, 2018 email to students, West Virginia State University President Anthony Jenkins announced:
Since 1897, West Virginia State University has had a water tower stretching high above the campus. In fact, over the course of our rich
history three water towers have been built to supply the campus with water. The current water tower was built in 1920 and has stood over our campus
for 98 years. During this time, many students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends have come to view the water tower as an unofficial symbol
of State, which we all share a special affinity toward.
Despite our affection for this structure, deferred maintenance, weather and aging is requiring me to lower the tower. Based on a recent
structural assessment, the water tower is in need of major repair; therefore, I will have the tower lowered on March 5, 2018. Professional
contractors will oversee the lowering of the water tower.
Once this is completed, it is my plan to once again raise the existing tank, but as a monument standing approximately 20 feet of the ground.
We will erect a plaque explaining the tower's significance to ensure that Yellow Jackets for generations to come understand what this structure
has meant to so many...
High winds and snow delayed the
lowering of the tower. The crane was in position with straps in place on March 15, 2018, but high winds delayed the cutting of "legs" until
the next day. On Friday, March 16, 2018, the crane was repositioned, straps were re-secured, guide wires were attached, and the construction
workers began cutting the legs in order to free the water tank. At approximately 10:45 a.m. the water tank was detached from the support legs
and the crane had the water tank suspended in midair. At approximately 10:50 a.m. the water tank was on the ground near the demolition site.
Water Tower 15
Water Tower 5
Water Tower 7
Water Tower 8
Water Tower 3
Water Tower 10
. . . Water Tower 14 (left) and Water Tower 9
Water Tower 6
Water Tower 11
. . . Water Tower March 15, 2018-1 (left) and Water Tower March 15, 2018-2 (right)
. . . Water Tower March 15, 2018-3 (left) and Water Tower March 16, 2018-4 (right)
. . . . . .
Water Tower March 16, 2018-5 (left), Water Tower March 16, 2018-6 (middle), Water Tower March 27, 2018-7 (right)