Historically Katy
The Water Tower

| December 1, 2017

Firefighters rappel the tower during the Katy Rice Harvest Festival.

By Carol Adams

The rice dryers are the largest and most recognizable landmark of historic Katy. But the water tower has also been a landmark since it was built in 1950.

Early settlers dug water wells on their own property. As the town grew a few individuals had large wells and provided water to the other homes and businesses in the area. A town well was installed near the corner of First Street and Avenue C sometime before 1920. When Katy residents voted to become a municipality in 1945, one of the first things the new administration did was establish a waterworks department.

That department slowly laid water and sewer main lines. In 1950 city council created an ordinance requiring city
residents to connect to the new lines and built the water tower to supply the anticipated demand. An additional 100,000-gallon ground reserve tank was installed for firefighting.

Sixty-five years later, that tower still stands. It is 126 feet tall and holds a 100,000-gallon steel storage tank.

Over the years the tower has been painted many times. In 1954 the Katy Volunteer Fire Department began decorating it for Christmas with lights and a small wooden cross. Residents loved the cross so much that a new one was installed to remain up all year. The new cross was 16 feet tall and illuminated with neon lights. It was intended to let motorists passing through on SH-90 know that Katy was a Christian town. The cross was illuminated for the first time on Good Friday, 1957. That cross was hit by lightning in 1960 and replaced with one that had traditional bulbs that were easier to replace or repair. The cross remained for over a decade, but even after it was removed the tower had become a symbol of pride for the small community.

In the early 1980s, the Volunteer Fire Department would climb and rappel the tower as an entertainment feature for the Rice Harvest Festival. The city painted a tiger (the mascot for Katy High School) on the tank and began adding the years the team won state football championships in 1997.

The City of Katy is currently implementing a plan to redevelop the town square. The tank no longer contributes significant water to the city’s system and the ground storage tank is slated for removal. The tank will remain, however,as a reminder of our history and continue as a much-loved landmark.

Carol Adams is the author of

HISTORIC KATY: An Illustrated History


Firefighters rappel the tower during the Katy Rice Harvest Festival.

Firefighters rappel the tower during the Katy Rice Harvest Festival.

The water tower today.

The water tower today.



Category: Katy Texas History

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