Well, it’s been a while since I posted an update on how the Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower were doing with their efforts to save the Tin Man.  Even though COVID-19 has slowed our fund raising, 2021 was nothing short of amazing!!

In January we received a $5,000 Preservation Heritage Grant from Landmarks Illinois.  This organization has been very helpful to us throughout our years of working on this project, and we are very grateful for their help and the grant.  In March the Millstadt Historical Society matched that amount.  Many thanks to the Historical Society.

We decided last March to host the Tin Man Half-Marathon/5K races, and they were our best fund raiser to date.  We had our returning half marathon champ from Colorado come back (he contacted us, saying he’d find a way to get back to Millstadt!!), along with a grandmother from Hawaii who happened to be in the area visiting her new grandchild.  We also had a father/daughter duo from Kentucky, and five friends from Ohio, along with a lot of runners from Illinois and Missouri.  We’re already planning the 2022 races, which are scheduled for May 22.

September saw our Rally Around the Tower Car Show, with over 80 cars registered.  We were blessed with good weather and many volunteers.  And, we are very fortunate that Mertz Motors provided the venue, again.

The St. Clair County Historical Society named the Tower one of two 2021 St. Clair County Historic Site Award recipients.  We will proudly display the plaque once the Tower is painted.

In between all of this, we contacted elevated tower painting companies for bids on the project.  Although all of the bids exceeded our original goal, we chose Maguire Iron, from Sioux Falls, SD, as the contractor for the job.  They offered terms of 50% at time of completion, with the balance payable 12 months later.  The Millstadt Village Board passed a resolution of support for the project at the December 13, 2021 board meeting.  Work will begin sometime in 2022.  Total cost of the project, including steel climbing guards on the legs, will be approximately $280,000.  (We say approximately because we cannot get a firm price on the climbing guards at this time – steel prices have been fluctuating so much that the fabricating company will only guarantee a price for 5 days!)

We have chosen silver/gray for the exterior of the Tower.  The Millstadt logo will be painted black, facing two directions.  We decided on this color scheme as it was the original colors when the Tower was erected in 1931.

And, our loyal supporters were very generous this year.  We received more than $59,000 in donations!!

So where does this leave us?  We currently, as of January 15, 2022, have $257,000.  We have fundraisers scheduled for 2022 (Bowling on March 5, 2022 and Trivia Night/Silent Auction on March 19, plus the races on May 22, and our annual bake sale on June 18), but with COVID-19, you really don’t know if indoor activities can be held.

Our organization will not “go away” after the painting is finished.  We intend to keep the Tin Man looking “good”, which means we will have to have the interior sandblasted and painted at some point.  And, then there is the next restoration, which will need to take place sometime, but we just don’t know when!  One thing about that, it will not be as expensive since we are having the lead paint removed this time.

We are still collecting empty inkjet cartridges for recycling at Millstadt IGA, 625 East Washington, Millstadt.  Our quarterly Amazon Smile donations have continued to grow throughout the years (especially since more people are shopping from home.)

Your continued support is appreciated. You can always donate by mailing checks payable to:  Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, P. O. Box 335, Millstadt, IL  62260. Or, you can go to the “Support Shop” tab on this website, and choose the “Give a Generous Gift” tab, and finally the “Donate” icon.

This has been quite an experience, with many people helping at fund raisers, attending them, buying our merchandise – basically everyone working together.  Thank you everybody!!  The Tin Man appreciates your help!!

Betty Keller Timmer

President – Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower



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