A three-story, historic water tower near the Ocean Township library will see renovations under a $25,000 improvement project funded partially with a $12,500 grant.
“This grant will go a long way to preserve the water tower- it has been an eyesore for years,” Township of Ocean Historical Museum President Paul Edelson said.
The $12,500 grant comes from the 1772 Foundation and it has to be matched by the museum, for a total of $25,000.
“A local contractor is going to scrap, repair and paint the tower and we expect to begin in the near future. We are trying to get it to look nice again,” he said.
The water tower is located on what was once the Ira and Florence Haupt estate and it was already there when they purchased the property in 1931.
“We do not really know when it was built but we know it was there in 1930 when he purchased the property,” Edelson said.
The estate remained a farm until World War II and Haupt’s second wife, Enid, is believed to have used it to water her gardens and flowers, including her orchid greenhouses. The property is now part of Joe Palaia Park.
“Yes, it is it really is a water tower and the building was created as an attractive facade to cover it. It was based on a New English lighthouse and the estate was really a summer gentleman’s farm,” Edelson said.
Water for Enid’s gardens and flowers was eventually provided from the municipal water supply and the water tower began to fall into disrepair. During World War II, the three-story tower was used as a lookout post by the Army.
Edelson said a small house adjacent to the tower is being renovated by the museum and there are no plans for renovations to the interior of the water tower right now.
There were a few vandalism problems at the house and tower over the years, he said, but since then sensory lights and a surveillance system have been installed.