The Pumping Station
The Water Tower and Pumping Station were the only public buildings left standing after Miss O’Leary’s cow allegedly knocked over a lantern and ignited the greatest fire in Chicago history in 1871. In just three-and-a-half hours, the destruction was unfathomable: 90,000 homeless residents and more than $200 million in property damage. Although the Gothic-castle-like Water Tower is no longer operational, the pumping station still provides the city’s water.
Tip: Today, the Water Tower houses the city’s official photography gallery of Chicago-themed photos.