A Well Worn Witch’s Hat

The good old the Prospect Park Water Tower, better known as the “Witch’s Hat” has been a Minneapolis landmark for over 100 years. The dedication was held back in July of 1914. The park was strung with electric lights for the event. Mayor Nye, members of the city council and other officials were the guests of honor.

Over 100 people attended a lunch and 1000 showed up for a concert by Rossiter’s band. The mayor got up and spoke about the importance of combining beauty and efficiency. His speech was followed by 3 minute talks made by the president of the city council, Karl De Laittre; Thomas Voegeli, president of the Park Board; F. W. Cappelen, city engineer; William R. Young, registar of the water works and Aldermen Williams, Chase, Hawley and Hooker. A box of candy was presented to Aldermen Hawley and Chase, judged by a committee of three women to be tied for the honor of being the handsomest official present. The most beautiful woman was given a box of candy , Mrs J. D. Williams being chosen. Miss Grace Davis sang everybody a song before the sparkler display began.

The obsolete water tower is set atop what some people think is the highest elevation in the city. I happen to know the highest point in Minneapolis is up there around Deming Heights Park over Nordeast. The Witch’s Hat was built to improve water pressure in the Prospect Park neighborhood’s hills. Designed by city engineer, Frederick William Cappelen, the water tower is 30 feet and 7 inches in diameter and contains a metal tank metal take that once held 150,000 gallons of water.

The 110 foot structure rises to an octagonal Romanesque-arched cupola, crowned by a radically pitched, green tiled, conical top. The water tower was in use until 1952. Every year, Prospect Park holds an ice cream social on the first Friday after Memorial Day, The neighborhood get-together is the one time of year when the interior of the Witch’s Hat tower and the observation deck is open to the public. The Prospect Park Water Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.