This unique, castle-like structure was built in 1908-09 as a water tower for the City of Belton. Rising 155 feet into the air, it has long been used by pilots to pinpoint their location along the eastern seaboard.
Interestingly, the tower is not a true standpipe in that standpipes store water throughout their lengths, not just in tanks at top. Another odd fact is that, unlike a lighthouse, the “standpipe” has no stairs inside it. A ladder reaches along the exterior, and water flows through a 10-inch pipe in the tower’s center. The small windows in the wall, as seen in the interior photo below, were included to allow ventilation and visibility during construction.
The tower’s unusual shape helps to evenly distribute its weight. It is constructed from concrete which was poured in stages, giving the tower the illusion of being built of stone. Still used to store the city’s water supply, the capacity of the water tank within the tower is 165,000 gallons. It is located on McGee Way near its intersection with Campbell Street, one block from Belton’s business district.
In 1987, the first annual Belton Standpipe Festival was held to raise money for renovations needed to preserve Belton’s most distinguished landmark. The image of the standpipe is included in the design of the town seal and is found on the city’s letterhead.
Reflections on the Belton Standpipe
Contributor William H. Myers, III, shares that he “went to the 2014 Standpipe Festival just to get this picture of the inside.”