9/28/2017

The Leaning Tower of Niles

The Leaning Tower of Niles Illinois

The Leaning Tower of Niles

The Leaning Tower of Niles has been a favorite curiosity of mine for many years. It is a very realistic looking half scale replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is set in a small landscaped park which has always been empty during the many times I've visited over the years. It's situated on the side of a wide suburban boulevard surrounded by anonymous looking commercial and industrial buildings and parking lots. It is completely out of place. The visual/contextual dissonance makes it a striking or perplexing feature but it seems like most people just ignore it. The tower was built in 1934 by an industrialist for his employees. I wonder if they would have preferred a raise instead. It did function as a water storage/pressurization tower. It was then donated to the local YMCA in 1960. The YMCA has had trouble with the expense of maintaining it so the city of Niles recently purchased it with plans to preform necessary repairs. The Leaning Tower of Niles is easy to get to and find and definitely worth stopping at if you happen to be in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago.


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