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Arvada Olde Town Water Tower

  • Published
  • Updated
  • by City Manager

The City has explored a lighting solution for the Olde Town Water Tower since the previous lighting system failed in September 2018. The tower's new lighting system is now in place and includes the ability to program specific colors for special occasions. The City team is developing a process for identifying special lighting programs, but in the meantime, during the week of July 1, look for the tower to display display a patriotic theme.

The Water Tower in Olde Town Arvada first functioned for very utilitarian purposes--water storage. It later became a navigational tool for people unfamiliar with the area to locate the heart of Arvada. Today it stands as Arvada's most recognizable and photographed landmark.

Water Tower Specs and History

The Olde Town Arvada Water Tower was built in 1910 as a water storage system to aid with the growing population's demands for water. The tower is 152 feet tall, 42 feet high and 25 feet in diameter. It is supported by six columns arranged in a hexagonal pattern. When in use, it held 150,000 gallons of water. It was decommissioned in 1977. 

Once decommissioned, the water tower fell into disrepair, sectioned off by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire. The base around it became filled with trash and wild vegetation. In 1998, Arvada Urban Renewal (AURA) temporarily took ownership of the site removing the fence and cleaning up the base. The water tower was inspected to ensure proper structural integrity and then redesigned, restored and painted. In addition, accessibility to the tower and a pocket park were added, presenting the park and unique plaza beneath the tower along with the great views of the mountains as a gathering place for weddings, picnics and photo opportunities. In 2006, AURA returned the water tower parcel to the City of Arvada to ensure its preservation. In 2015, the Tower got a facelift which included spot cleaning rust and rivets, construction of concrete retaining walls on the Tower’s base shoes, cleaning and painting all metal work, staining concrete and polishing the center platform.

The Water Tower Today

When the Tower's lighting system failed in the fall of 2018, identifying a lighting system that would meet all of the Tower's lighting requirements (such as conforming to the City’s lighting ordinance and accommodating the curved surface of the tower tank using the latest generation of LED lights) proved a challenge. It took until early summer 2019 for all the necessary components to be in one place, ready to be assembled, installed and tested. As of June 26, 2019, the lights on the Tower are again shining brightly! They also save energy compared to the previous system: the new system uses just 16 lights at only 50 watts per fixture for a total average usage of just 240 kWh per month. Additionally, the new system is specially equipped with themed lighting for special events!  

Residents' Water Tower Photos

Over the years, Arvada residents have shared their love of the Water Tower through photographs in all seasons on various platforms, including the City's Facebook page. Take a look at some of those we've collected at arvada.org/arvada-residents-share-their-water-tower-photos.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to see a larger version of it.