I was driving along the St. Clair River near Algonac when I could see what looked like a lighthouse in the distance. I was surprised to see it since I know where all of the lighthouses are located in Michigan in my efforts to visit every one of them. When I got up to the tower I could make out the words “The Colony” on the face of it and I realized it was a water tower. Thankfully a Michigan Historical Marker stands next to it to tell the story, it reads:
Built in 1825 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works, this steel-framed water tower was the main water supplier for the “The Colony on the Ste. Claire”; – a secluded residential community established in Clay Township in the early 1920s. 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 functions of highly visible structures. A light shone from atop the tower, aiding boat and aircraft navigation from 1925 until 1937, when the light was extinguished due to its high operating costs.
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