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What is a standpipe and what does it look like?

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Does anyone know what a standpipe is? This is mentioned in several descriptions here in Illinois and I'm just curious what they are and what to look for. Thanks for any help on this.

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In datasheet descriptions, the term "standpipe" usually denotes a cylindrical water tank set directly on the ground, without legs. They were used as stations to be observed, not occupied, and since the ascendancy of GPS, professionals don't use them any more. The NGS is no longer interested in hearing about them if they are in good condition. If their destruction can be documented, NGS will gratefully remove them from the database. Of course as long as they are in the database here, we suppose they continue to count, if you're counting.

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A standpipe can be a number of different things, however the term as used in benchmarking generally refers to a tall cylindrical structure used to store water. It can be made out of metal, and most were constructed from concrete or block or brick. There were even some wooden ones.

 

A photo of a neat one is HERE.

 

They were used in some areas as an elevated water tank. Water was pumped up to the top, then taken off the bottom to supply the water under pressure.

 

Then there is the dry standpipe, usually used by firefighters to supply water to upper floors in multi-floor structures. When water is needed to fight a fire, it is pumped into the bottom under pressure, taken off at various levels going up. Not what you're looking for in benchmarking.

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Read a bit more on that webpage referenced in my post above. It claims to be the only standing municipal standpipe in existence in the US today. A quick check showed it to be a benchmark, ED2088

 

If the claim about being the last municipal standpipe is correct, then we'll have to go to western South Carolina to claim it. Sounds like a nice trip.

Edited by GrizzFlyer

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Just to confuse things, KU3973 is a standpipe, eight sided, and of stone. It was built in the 1870's, and has not been used for decades. Perhaps ED2088 is the only one still being used?

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Although the South Carolina standpipe is unique, it is far from being the only remaining one in the United States. I have found and photographed many of them. Some are fairly new.

 

By contrast, a modern water tank is simply a conventional standpipe with a storage vessel on top. Additional equipment is needed for control and recirculation, and the weight of the water (for large water tanks) is distributed by a series of legs.

 

-Paul-

 

The photo below is a typical standpipe built in the early 1900's. The objects on top are celluar antennas.

 

78395096-eb20-43dc-affd-7d465922e7d2.jpg

FY2815 in Henderson, North Carolina

 

This photo shows how a modern water tank is constructed. The tall center column is called the standpipe.

76b39608-62a9-43d2-bebd-10595ab1ba22.jpg

Cary, North Carolina. February 10, 2007.

 

Edited to resize photo and add text.

Edited by PFF

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After reading the replies from Harry Dolphin and PFF, I recalled reading benchmark logs for another municipal standpipe in Ypsilanti, just up the road (50 miles) from me. It is benchmark NE1475. Cool looking one too, going to have to get around to logging that one soon.

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Clearly, the older standpipes had more "class" than the modern, no-frills versions! Thanks for posting the interesting photos and links.

 

The Old Water Tower in Raleigh, NC had a brick exterior. It is still standing, and it has been converted into offices. Appropriately, the occupant is the Institute of Architects.

 

Standpipes are like cars. (You never notice a particular make/model until you purchase one. Then you see them everywhere!) Now that awareness has been raised, standpipes will pop up wherever you look. :blink:

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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Sometimes, all that remains of an older standpipe is the base, as is the case with the Sanford (NC) Municipal Standpipe [EZ3346]. It must have been very distinctive on the horizon, because it was used as an aerial intersection point for numerous triangulation stations, out to a distance of 18 miles.

 

-Paul-

 

9d9ff087-83d9-4c07-8e93-a06d91838455.jpg

Cement base of EZ3346.

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Around here, standpipes are no where near as massive as they are in other parts of the country. Standpipes are used primarily (exclusively) for irrigation purposes and are found all over the ag lands. Most are cylindrical concrete, although I have seen a few square ones. They range from 30"-60" in diameter, and between 3'-8' high.

 

A small pump fills the pipe, usually from the top, and the weight of the water carries it through the irrigation pipes to the fields.

 

GU3377

89938430-M.jpg

Link to Big Pic

 

GU3381

89938436-M.jpg

Link to Big Pic

 

This is an irrigation control structure that works similar to a standpipe. This one has benchmark GU1017 mounted onto the side of it.

 

GU1017

89936664-M.jpg

Link to Big Pic

 

89936665-M.jpg

Link to Big Pic

 

- Kewaneh

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very interesting seeing photos of the different types of standpipes. In the Rochester NY area, the standpipes look like this:

 

This is Mark NB2100

8e102687-422a-4d0a-a3f2-d993b2d111f1.jpg

 

And another nearby standpipe:

d9820279-c81b-497d-81fa-7df1d1680524.jpg

 

They often times have a Water Authority logo painted on them. (a W above an A with a water drop as the center of the A). As a comparison, the Water Towers in the area have 4-6 legs holding them 80-110 feet off the ground.

 

Thanks for sharing your standpipe photos, they definitely were more interesting looking in the past.

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KU3973, Highbridge Tower, is marked on the datasheet as a standpipe. Today the NYC Parks Dept. held a tour up inside the tower. I've admired this structure for years and today I got to go and see the insides. This surely must be the most attractive structure for a standpipe.

 

The original structure had a 47,000 gallon tank at the top inside the stone tower with two cast iron pipes, one for input and one for output, leading up to the tank from below. The tower, built in 1872, had a steam engine powered pump house nearby - now gone. Water was pumped up to the reservoir (where the present swimming pool is located) and thence up to the tank. This two step process was to insure an adequite supply and sufficient water pressure to supply the uptown neighborhoods. The tank was removed years ago, but the rest of the inside structure is intact. Here's a link: Highbridge Tower link

 

The pictures show the tower with an outline of where the tank was. The inside pictures show the pipes leading up and the old I-beams which were cut whe the tank was cut up and removed years ago. The visitors platform is about where the middle of the original tank was. Imagine how they managed to build the tower with the tank inside! Now imagine how they managed to get the tank out of there!!

 

The tower with an outline showing the approximate positions of the structures inside.

 

d2645d03-455d-4cc2-91b4-e62b66351566.jpg

 

The intake and outlet pipes seen from the bottom. Note the spiral stairs winding around and around.

 

f5d5b019-4cae-4d15-a875-b8d29e008738.jpg

 

The top of the pipes. This was where the bottom of tha tank was. A cut off I-beam in the wall (which supported the tank) is visible near the grafitto. The platform on the left and the stairs in the back are modern. The tank would have originally filled most of this area.

 

d1315c57-c68a-4dd7-9577-db87cace7bef.jpg

 

For more pictures and views out the windows, see my log.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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Hi, Papa. Ditto for the previous comments. Makes me want to jump in the car and go see it!

 

They certainly don't build 'em like they used to! I spotted this MODERN STANDPIPE in the gallery. It is in Oklahoma.

 

-Paul-

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Hi, Papa. Ditto for the previous comments. Makes me want to jump in the car and go see it!

 

-Paul-

Hi Paul

 

Don't just drive up, note that the tower is only open to the public on certain days, generally on Sunday every month or so. Phone number: (212) 304-2365.

 

Of course you can see the tower (the outside) any day any time. It's a thing of beauty.

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Thanks very much for all the examples, references and information. Turns out we have one around central Illinois and I didn't know what it was called. Unfortunately, it's not listed as a benchmark. :D

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Here's a theory: If you consider that a standpipe only needs to have enough water reserve for one day, there are times you could make it shorter. (Some applications only require a small capacity.)

 

A standpipe could be built so it is only as tall as needed to hold, say, 10,000 gallons. The downside, however, is that if it is shorter, it might not develop sufficient water pressure.

 

[Drum Roll!] So, let's put the shorter standpipe atop a four-legged metal support. This gives the height needed to develop pressure, but it is less expensive than building a full-sized standpipe. Frankly, I think that's a very clever idea!

 

Wait! I've just been handed a bulletin. Somebody already came up with this concept and built such a tower. In 1925.

 

 

a480eebe-177e-448a-bf30-37c394fce14d.jpg

 

The Falls Community School water tank, Raleigh NC

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This one's my favorite:

e45cebef-1da9-4301-a4c9-4c9c3b7b3065.jpg

WM11V9

 

..if I remember correctly, it even pre-dates 1925 !

 

(not a benchmark, tho' - it's on the grounds of a mansion once owned by the Masland Carpet family. At one time, their carpets were in just about every US-made GM car)

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