the Colaborative Inc

Freemont, Elkhorn & Missouri Railroad Water Tower

Client: Wyoming Recreation Commission

Site: Lusk, Wyoming

The Lusk Water Tower was built during the expansion of the Freemont, Elkhorn & Missouri Railroad into central Wyoming in 1886. The water tower is a redwood tank supported on massive timber columns. The Wyoming Recreation Commission believes that it is the only remaining wood water tower in Wyoming. The tower was originally located near the train station in the center of Lusk. When the station was rebuilt in 1919, the tower was moved to its present location east of town where it continued to supply water to steam locomotives until they were replaced by diesel locomotives. The water tower then began to deteriorate until it appeared that it was in danger of collapse. An emergency was declared and the State of Wyoming retained the firm to evaluate the entire structure, determine its condition and causes of deterioration, and to prepare plans to stabilize and preserve the structure. Various options were developed in the Historic Structure Report, and subsequently, the state legislature provided money to complete the plans and specifications and the construction. An interesting technical problem was determining a way to retain the shape of the tank without the benefit of outward pressure from the water. The solution was the creation of an internal truss that could be built from inside the tank. To retain what original material remained, timbers were saturated with epoxy, and the concrete column bases were capped using epoxy fortified-concrete.