City of Brainerd

Brainerd Historic Water Tower

Saving the City’s Beacon

Brainerd’s historic water tower has served as one of the community‚Äôs most significant icons for decades. Built over 100 years ago using an innovative, but untested, reinforced concrete construction method, the tower has always been as complex to maintain as it is stunning to behold. Due to its importance to the community, the decision to continue its maintenance has always been one to receive enthusiastic public support.

LHB, in partnership with New History, initially provided a historic structures report and condition assessment that prioritized the rehabilitation needs of the water tower in 2016. In 2019, our team designed phased documents to implement the recommendations outlined in the Historic Structures Report and developed construction drawings, specifications, and a cost estimate for a replacement roof for the water tower. The first phase of this work was completed in December 2022. Our Integrated Design Team is currently working with the structural engineers from our Bridge group on the next phase of design to completely rehabilitate the exterior of the tower.

Project Type Historic Preservation / Architecture
Location Brainerd, MN
Completion Date Phase 1 - December 2022
Bowl_Interior_150530 (2)
The water tower bowl was originally poured in October 1919.

Process Started Years Ago

This process started in 2014, when the city noticed that some stucco had started falling from the water tower. They hired LHB and consultant New History to perform a study of the historic water tower to determine the cause. When the roof was removed in the 1970s, it allowed water to permeate into the concrete causing damage

Water_Tower_Roofing_Groundbreaking_190190 (2)
An exciting day at the Historic Water Tower with roof construction ready to begin. The large crane will bring materials up and over the bowl of the water tower

The Water Tower Roof Construction Breaks Ground

After four years of hard work and dedication by the City of Brainerd and passionate community members, a groundbreaking was held to kickoff the start of construction to add a roof to the historic water tower on October 17, 2022. LHB provided plans and specifications for the roof design with Hy-Tec Construction, a local Brainerd firm serving as the general contractor.

The roof for the Historic Water Tower was completed in time for the first cumulative snowfall! The inside of the bowl will now be protected from further erosion. Thanks to the City of Brainerd for this video!