8. Robert Moses Saved It from Destruction

Robert Moses
Robert Moses, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tower’s water system operations ended on December 15, 1949 when it was made obsolete by a new electric powered pumping station at 179th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. The City’s Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity planned to raze the old structure, which had become a target of vandals.

In stepped Robert Moses to the rescue. Yes, really. As the New York Herald Tribune reported in 1951, “the Parks Department said it was the intention of Commissioner Robert Moses to save the 170-foot structure as a historical landmark.” The City formally transferred the Tower to the Parks Department in 1955, along with the High Bridge, also removed from water service in 1949, and a section of the Old Croton Aqueduct.