Crews remove Andersonville water tower after rough winter

Crews remove Andersonville water tower after rough winter

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Workers atop Andersonville water tower. (FOX 32's Joanie Lum via @JoanieLum) Workers atop Andersonville water tower. (FOX 32's Joanie Lum via @JoanieLum)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A water tower teetering on damaged legs will be dismantled Thursday and removed from the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville after standing tall for 87 years.

Streets were closed around Clark and Foster on Thursday as crews worked to remove the signature neighborhood structure at 5211 N. Clark St. The tank bearing the colors of the Swedish flag has been on top of the museum since 1927.

This move came at the suggestion of several consultants, according to the museum's website. The winter froze the water and damaged the container, which is not your ordinary tank.

"With the severe winter weather Chicago has experienced this year, the museum's Water Tower has sustained damage," according to a statement from the museum.

The historic tower could prove to be dangerous if it isn't taken down. In the last year in Chicago, other water towers have buckled. One leaked in River North, sending water pouring into the building. Another crashed down in Lakeview, injuring three people.

"There's been a great deal of support to keep this treasured symbol," Alderman Harry Osterman (48th Ward) told FOX 32. "But it has to be taken down safely and that's what has to be done today."

Museum officials told FOX 32 News the water tower was replaced in the 1950s, then painted blue with the yellow cross about 15 years ago. They discovered the damage just before the day of the 2014 primary election and had to move the polling place to another location.

The Andersonville water tower is warmly regarded by area residents.

"We've lived here four years," LEL told FOX 32. "It's like something's missing from that picture."

Museum officials hope to build something resembling the structure once the tank is removed.

"We want to put back up something that looks like the tank," Swedish American Museum's Karin Abercrombie said.

The Swedish American Museum has to pay for this emergency operation and hopes to raise enough money to repair and restore the water tower to its original position.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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