North Point Water Tower
Between 1872 and 1875 the Milwaukee Water Works built a series of structures meant to move and maintain the water supply for the quickly growing city of Milwaukee. The water tower that you see in front of you, the North Point Water Tower, is one of the few remaining structures. It was put into operation in 1874 to relieve city water mains of pulsations caused by the pumping from the engine house located down the bluff on the shore of Lake Michigan. The water tower was only in operation for a few years as engineering advancements soon made the water tower’s technology obsolete.
A prime example of Victorian Gothic architecture, the North Point Water Tower, has evolved from a practical city utility into a Milwaukee landmark. In 1973, the North Point Water Tower was added to the National Historic Register.
The water tower is not the only historic structure that you can view from this site. There are also two significant sites of medical history just beyond the water tower. Behind the water tower is the site of the original Saint Mary’s Hospital. The hospital was originally named Saint John’s Infirmary. When it was moved to this site in 1858 from a location downtown the name was changed. Saint John’s holds the distinction of being the first public hospital in the state of Wisconsin when it opened in 1848.
Behind the water tower is also the site of the Saint Mary’s School of Nursing. The School of Nursing opened at St. Mary’s Hospital in 1894. By the time the school dissolved in 1969, 1,913 nurses had graduated from St. Mary’s.