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Water Reservoirs and Towers Washington, D. C.

  • Year Built: 1903, 1929

In 1899, a water reservoir was built at Fort Reno to serve the growing population of the far northwest section of the city. 

The site was chosen for its high elevation.  The original 5.5 million gallon reservoir was open to the elements, surrounded by a fence, and protected by guard day and night.

In 1903, a cylindrical water tank was built, along with a brick residence for the supervising engineer at the tower’s base.

In 1916, a second reservoir was built.  This reservoir, which held 5.4 million gallons, was paved over and covered with sod.

As the population increased in the early 20th century, so too did the demand for water services. 

In 1928, a new underground reservoir with a 20-million gallon capacity was built south of the earlier reservoir, displacing a few Reno residents. 

In 1929, a second water tower was completed.  This tower, with a capacity for 160,000 gallons, was built of stone to resemble a French Norman castle.

The third tower at Fort Reno does not hold water.  It is a 1960s era government communications tower known as Cartwheel.

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