Historic Water Tower Design Enhances Skyline

This story was originally posted in the Fair Hill Foundation’s July 2020 Newsletter

Recent visitors to Fair Hill are delighting in the sight of a soaring new water tower standing guard over the park on Rt. 273 across from the new Fair Hill turf track and iconic grandstand. Visible for miles and thoughtfully designed to evoke the era when William du Pont, Jr. first created Fair Hill as a foxhunting and steeplechasing paradise in northeastern Maryland, the new water system has been in the works for nearly a decade, and the design of the tower for well over a year.

“The tower is part of a State capital improvement project separate and distinct from the racetrack and cross-country course work,” Rachel Temby, Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Park Manager said. “The project is overseen by the Maryland Environmental Service and the water lines are fed from existing wells on the property,” she added. “We are replacing a system that dates back to the 1930s, was prone to regular leaks and failures, and did not accommodate year-round use or fire suppression needs.”

Planners insisted on a vintage “witch’s hat” style design rather than the standard modern center-support “blue bulb”. “We were unyielding in our desire to preserve the property’s historic aesthetic,” Temby continued. “At one point, we explored the salvage and reinstallation of a decommissioned tower, but ultimately it was determined that a new tower would need to be fabricated to look old.”

The graphic design on the tower represents the essence of Fair Hill – a nondescript horse and rider inclusive of all equestrian sports pays homage to the property’s history. The design also includes an iconic barn and community gathering place, the rising or setting sun depending on how the viewer chooses to see it, and rolling hills and a silhouetted treeline representing the natural beauty of the park. Numerous stakeholders made comments before final selection was made and colors were chosen to complement the buildings in the park.

“The new tower will serve as an inspiring sentinel for years to come to all who love this spectacular place,” Jack S. Griswold, Chair of the Proud Past*Infinite Future Campaign for Fair Hill said. “We are grateful to the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Environmental Service, and Watek Engineering, M2 Construction Company, Phoenix Tank Fabricators, and JEB Design for their painstaking work on this project.”