The Iconic Water Towers of New Jersey

by Alondra Cabrera
NJ water towers

Water towers, found in nearly every municipality, serve to store and distribute water to communities. They also help maintain water pressure, ensuring a steady supply for daily needs and emergencies. There’s various styles, including pedestal-style, fluted column, standpipe, and multi-leg water tower. Water towers typically carry thousands to millions of gallons of water in a raised tank. This elevated position creates potential energy that allows gravity to generate water pressure in the distribution system. 

They began as basic wooden structures, supplying water to nearby communities. With population growth and urban expansion, the demand for them increased. Initially, construction shifted to sturdier materials like brick and mortar, suitable for the era. However, today’s water towers are predominantly crafted from steel and reinforced or prestressed concrete. This allows for more durability and reduced maintenance costs.

These water infrastructures offer fascinating insights into design, history, and art. Some simply bear the name of the municipality they serve, while others are unique and serve as excellent subjects for photography. Many places are now embracing the trend of painting and personalizing their water towers. They can help you indicate that you’ve either arrived home or reached your vacation destination. Water towers possess a captivating allure, prompting people to pause and admire their beauty. Their varied shapes, sizes, and custom designs make them iconic landmarks within their communities.

Notable Water Towers

Longport Water Tower

Perched above beautiful homes, beaches, and the bay, a massive smiley face painted on a bright-blue sphere prompts you to smile back. The Longport Water Tower stands tall at 125-feet high, and has the capacity to store one million gallons of water. It graces the intersection of 31st and Devon Avenues, and radiates the skyline. Constructed in the 1960s, this iconic landmark received its iconic smiley face in 1982. It remains a beloved symbol for the Longport community.


Willingboro Water Tower

In Willingboro, NJ a water tower is adorned with gold font, boldly displaying the township’s namesake. It’s a can’t-miss landmark when driving through the South Jersey community.

Water tower - Willingboro NJ

Wildwood Water Tower

You can’t miss this vibrant beach ball when you’re in Wildwood, NJ. It has become a cherished landmark, situated above the renowned boardwalk and amusement piers. It perfectly captures the lively and vibrant essence of the area, prompting people to snap pictures of it. The vivid, saturated colors convey the city’s energetic atmosphere. In 2020, the water tower was transformed from a basic blue to this colorful beach ball, becoming an iconic feature of Wildwood’s skyline.

Wildwoods Beach Ball Water Tower 2024-04-02

The Union Watersphere

Known as the world’s tallest water sphere, the Union Water Sphere in Union, NJ, towers at a height of 212 feet. It stands by the busy intersection of the Parkway and Routes 22 and 82, visible to millions of drivers each year. Built in 1964 by Chicago Bridge and Iron Industries, this self-supporting structure holds 250,000 gallons of well water. It undergoes inspection and draining every other year. The spherical top helps maintain water pressure and resists asymmetrical pressures from wind, rain, and gravity. Originally owned by Elizabethtown Water and Gas, the tower is now owned by American Water Company.

The Union Water Tower

Mystic Islands Standpipe

The Mystic Islands Standpipe in Little Egg Harbor Township, NJ, has become a source of pride for the local community. Positioned on Radio Road, the tower boasts a vivid and colorful design that embodies the lively spirit of Ocean County. Featuring beach-themed elements such as a compass, a beach chair, and an umbrella, as well as footprints scattered on the sand leading to a lovely starfish. This artistic enhancement has transformed the water tower into a prominent and picturesque landmark for Mystic Islands.

Transistor Water Tower

Located in Holmdel, NJ, the Transistor Water Tower features a unique design resembling Humpty Dumpty’s lower half with an extra leg. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the 60-foot tall tower is modeled after the transistor, which was invented at Bell Labs in 1947 by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain. Built in 1961 during the opening of the Bell Labs facility (now Bell Works), the unique transistor-shaped tower is a landmark symbolizing the lab’s significant contribution to technology. 

Transistor Water Tower

Washington Township Standpipe

Located in Sewell, New Jersey, this standpipe stands out with its bright neon blue color, adorned with American flags and a slogan honoring veterans. It serves as a proud symbol of the community’s appreciation for its service members. 

NJ Water Towers

Photo via Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Little Egg Harbor Water Tower

In Little Egg Harbor, NJ, this tower, positioned off Frog Pond Road adjacent to the Sea Oaks development, features a nature-themed design adorned with flowers, grass, birds, butterflies, and dragonflies against a serene baby blue backdrop. This marks a significant improvement from its previous appearance, characterized by a dull blue color reading “Little Egg Harbor MUA” and covered in rust. While the painting process is ongoing, visible progress is evident, promising a stunning finished product.

Coast Guard Water Tower

The water tower at the United States Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ, is a symbol of the Coast Guard’s enduring presence. It’s situated at Sewell Point, which is an area with a rich naval history dating back to the American Revolution. The tower stands as a reminder of the region’s importance. Originally established by the Navy in 1917 as a training and support base, the site later transitioned to Coast Guard control in 1924. Since then, it has served as a key training facility and the primary entry point for enlisted personnel into the Coast Guard. The tower was built during World War I and continues to be a significant landmark for the training center. It serves as the sole entry point for the entire enlisted workforce of the Coast Guard.   

Coast Guard Water Tower

Holly Lake Harbor Standpipe

Located in Little Egg Harbor, NJ, this water tower on Great Bay Boulevard has a beautiful painting of a forest. The trees are perfectly detailed and blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. It adds a unique and artistic touch to the community’s scenery.

NJ Water Towers

Water towers play a crucial role in our communities, providing us with essential water supply and serving as recognizable landmarks. They stand tall, ensuring water pressure and accessibility for all. Moreover, NJ water towers are pieces of art–each with unique value and a story behind it.

About the Author/s

All posts

Alondra Cabrera is the Editorial Assistant at New Jersey Digest. She recently graduated from Montclair State University with a degree in Communication and Media Studies. During her time at school, she discovered her passion for journalism and content creation. In her free time, she loves to create and edit videos for her corgis, Rafi and Toffe, and indulge in culinary adventures with her friends. Alondra also enjoys traveling, cooking, and working out. She is excited to embark on her professional journey in media and looks forward to contributing her skill and creativity to her role here at New Jersey Digest.

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1 comment

Kathy June 5, 2024 - 9:47 pm

This is a wonderful article. I loved learning about each of the water towers and seeing their beautiful pictures. Water towers are something you look at, but don’t necessarily see. I will definitely be on the lookout for them now. Thank you.


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