The Mt. Airy Water Towers Are Reminiscent of a Fairytale Castle

The 15 towers share a medieval style that differentiates them from the balloon-shaped reservoirs dominating the country.

Photograph by Justin Schafer

On the highest point in Cincinnati sit the Mt. Airy Water Towers, castle-like structures that look more likely to hold knights’ armor than more than 8 million gallons of water. The 15 towers, located at the corner of North Bend Road and Colerain Avenue, share a medieval style that differentiates them from the balloon-shaped reservoirs dominating the country. Cincinnati Water Works Superintendent J.A. Hiller was reportedly inspired by the Elsinore Arch in Eden Park when he designed the towers, which have provided clean water to the west side community since their completion in 1927. However, over 90 years of use, the castle has deteriorated. In 2018, Greater Cincinnati Water Works proposed demolition, but the Mt. Airy community fought back. “The people in Mt. Airy, in general, are very proud of them,” says Margo Warminski of Cincinnati Preservation Association. “They wanted them to be saved.” In an effort spearheaded by longtime Mt. Airy resident Kevin Flynn, the community won historic landmark status for the towers, virtually blocking any future demolitions. Today, the beloved castle stands secure on its hill.

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