It was built in 1893 and it towers over the intersection of route 15 and Susie Wilson road in Essex. "From the top it's really a great old building -- over 100 years old -- one of two of its kind in the country," said Tim Jerman with the Essex Community Historical Society.
But the Fort Ethan Allen Water Tower has been closed to visitors since 2008 due to safety concerns over the narrow wooden staircase. Now an effort is underway in Essex to raise an estimated $250,000 through grants, private donations and $50,000 in matching funds from the town that is needed to rehab the tower and open it once again to the public. "The Historical society has been interested for a while in bringing the tower back. For years school kids were able to come here and walk up in the tower when it was safe. The last few years it has deteriorated to the point where it is not safe, so we would really like to bring it back to the point where people could go back up in it and enjoy the view," Jerman said.
Currently, it is just the pigeons that get to enjoy the view. Now if you really want to know about the history of the tower, or for that matter all things Fort Ethan Allen, stop by the museum and ask for Bill Parkinson, who runs the organization. For years he conducted tours for school groups and individuals, and the highlight, he says, was climbing the tower -- 105 steps up to the observation deck, 80 feet above the ground. Channel 3 was only allowed in the tower after we agreed it was at our own risk.
"A lot of people ask what the tower was for. It has the observation deck here but its true purpose was a water tower -- one of the first things built here at the Fort because they needed water as they were coming in," Parkinson said.
The tank is in the middle of the tower. At one time it held 50,000 gallons of water -- enough to supply 8,500 men and 1,800 horses. "It took the well digger almost a full year and he had to dig two wells to come up with that amount of water. One is 375 feet deep and one is 310 feet deep," Parkinson said.
But it is the view from the top, Parkinson says, that visitors talk about most. "You see Burlington; you see the new Lowes, Winooski River, mountains in New York. The kids really had a great time here," he said.
And it is hoped enough money will be raised to make sure more school groups and visitors get the chance to once again climb to the top of the Fort Ethan Allen Water Tower.
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:43 GMT
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year. For J.R. Adams, decorating his home elaborately with lights, music, and Santa Claus on a motorcycle is a childhood dream come true. "IMore >>
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:06 GMT
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver. They say Wednesday afternoon an older model red Subaru wagon driving north on Route 14 in Williamstown crossed into oncoming traffic, enteredMore >>
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:12 AM EST2013-12-05 06:12:17 GMT
Santa is looking for a few helpers to brighten the holidays for senior citizens across our region. Home Instead Senior Care is collecting gifts as part of its "Be a Santa to a Senior Program." The group'sMore >>
Santa is looking for a few helpers to brighten the holidays for senior citizens across our region.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:11 AM EST2013-12-05 06:11:32 GMT
The battle over a new methadone clinic in South Burlington continues. Wednesday night the South Burlington School board voted to pursue an appeal with the state supreme court to keep the clinic away fromMore >>
The battle over a new methadone clinic in South Burlington continues.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>