portable saw

Thomas Hill Standpipe

Thomas Hill Standpipe, which holds 1,750,000 gallons of water, is a riveted wrought iron tank with a wood frame jacket located on Thomas Hill in Bangor, Maine, United States. The metal tank is high and in diameter.


Built in 1897, it's the district's oldest standpipe and has been in use since its construction. Its purpose is the same today as when it was built, to help regulate Bangor's water pressure in the downtown area and to provide water storage for emergencies.

A.B. Tower of Holyoke, Massachusetts, designed the structure and in 1897 the New Jersey Steel and Iron Co. assembled the high and diameter steel tank atop Thomas Hill. The land had been owned previously by brothers James and Charles Thomas. James M. Davis of Bangor, who had recently built the original Bangor Auditorium in only 22 days, set up a portable sawmill at the standpipe's site

Originally, the exterior was painted dark gray with the pillars and lattice work painted white. During World War II, the standpipe was painted olive drab for camouflage purposes, but was repainted white in 1949. While once open to the public, it was closed in the 1940s following an accident in which an 11 year old boy was killed when he fell while climbing on the beams under the stairway.

Bangor Water District assumed ownership of the standpipe in 1957 when a quasi-municipal (separate from the city) water district was formed.

Recently, a fire detection system and a "dry" sprinkler system which can be filled from an outside hydrant were added to protect the landmark structure.


The standpipe is really two structures in one. The standpipe itself consists of steel plates riveted one outside the other. The building which enclosed it is in diameter and high.

The 24 main posts which extend up past the observation deck begin at the base of the structure. Made of hard pine, they measure 12x12 inches and are long. The entire structure has a stone foundation high and 3 1/2 feet thick at the base. The sill atop the foundation is made of bent pine planks and is thick.

Along the interior wall of the façade is a winding staircase which leads to the promenade deck encircling the top of the building. The deck is wide and in circumference. To erect the wooden part of the structure took of hard pine and 22,000 cedar shingles. When constructed, the contractor employed 22 men and erected a portable saw mill and blacksmith shop on the site.

The entire project took about six months to complete.

Tour Schedule

Currently the standpipe is opened up four times a year to visitors, once every season.

Landmark Status

The standpipe is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. It is also designed an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association.


The Standpipe is located at and is above sea level.

Popular Culture

Widely regarded as the inspiration for the haunted standpipe in the Stephen King novel It. King's house is within walking distance.

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