Throwback Thursday: A Chicago water tank that was actually saved

161 East Grand water tank

The water tank atop 161 East Grand Avenue used to have a bulls-eye painted on it. Coincidence?

Since last year, when the Commission on Chicago Landmarks made it easier to tear down water tanks rather than maintain them, the vessels have been dropping from the skyline on a regular basis. But at least one Chicago water tank remains despite what appeared to be certain doom.

The entire building at 161 East Grand Avenue in Streeterville was destined for a date with the wrecking ball. Miraculously, it was removed from the Demolition Delay List. Of course, that didn’t necessarily mean the water tank itself would survive. But sure enough, in October of 2015, the city filed a permit for the structural repair of the tank. And another piece of history was preserved.

Now, this is just my own theory, but that white circle on the fire-engine-red tank sure did look like a bulls-eye. Was it painted over as a symbolic gesture of no longer being the target of demolition? If I’m wrong, don’t tell me. I’d rather believe it’s the truth.

161 East Grand water tank

The building was removed from the Demo Delay List, the tank was repaired, and the bulls-eye was gone.

161 East Grand water tank

The permit for repair of the water tank.

161 East Grand water tank

The 2015 Demolition Delay List, showing East Grand’s removal.

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