4. The Highbridge Water Tower Was Used to Increase Water Pressure
The Highbridge Water Tower was completed in 1872, 24 years after the bridge was built. The original purpose of the water tower was to increase the water pressure following the development of the upper areas of Washington Heights and the emergence of the flush toilet. The result was an overall improvement in the water system’s gravity pressure. The water tower is approximately 170 feet and rises 200 feet above sea level on one of the highest points in Manhattan. When it was still in use, it had a 47,000-gallon water tank and a pumping engine that forced water up the tank.
During World War I, the tower was shut down due to a sabotage scare, and it was completely removed from service in 1949. Now, following a $5 million restoration, the Highbridge Water Tower is once again open for tours. Stay tuned for an announcement about an upcoming tour for Untapped New York Insiders.