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OPINION: Why the Hose Tower Matters

OPINION: Why the Hose Tower Matters

OPINION: Why the Hose Tower Matters

by | Oct 24, 2015 | 7 comments

The Hose Tower is more than just an old building,
it reflects the community values the Village was founded upon.


Let me get it out right up front. I am long-time member of the Greendale Historical Society’s board of directors. However, I am not writing this on behalf of the Society. It is simply what I believe. So, let’s get to it.

On Thursday, at an event for major donors to the Hose Tower project, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the (finally) completed renovations at the historic building. It was a significant, cross-generational, community event.

The moment I walked through the doors, it felt like a big step forward for the Village. I encourage you to tour the completed renovations on Sunday, October 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. and then decide for yourself. There will be a brief ceremony at 2 p.m. Hey, its a Packer bye week.

As noted preservationist, Donovan Rypkema once said, “Buildings can have meanings. Important buildings are symbols. Buildings can reflect values.”

The Hose Tower is more than just an old building. The renovated Hose Tower clearly reflects the community values the Village was founded upon.

Catalyst is another great word for describing the role of historic preservation. I, along with many, believe the Hose Tower could serve as a important catalyst for a re-energized downtown. Experts agree that historic preservation is a vital tool for economic development and it is a cost-effective “green” approach.

Of course, I am biased. I played a small role in the project as a board member of the society. The real heavy-lifters over the past couple of years were society board members Ted Mainella and Bob Prindiville along with Village Manager Todd Michaels and Village President Jim Birmingham.

Former Historical Society Board members Bill Kewan and Lyle Dorow also played important planning roles as have all past and present society board members, including Sally Chadwick. Our Department of Public Works and Robbie McFaul have been a big help. Village Inspector Scott Satula lent his expertise and even rescued photographs that now hang on the walls of the building. The project couldn’t have been completed without the commitment to the vision by the Village trustees and the investment of Layton State Bank — not to mention the generous donations of families, individuals, community organizations, businesses, volunteers and in-kind contributions.

There are literally too many people to thank. Think hundreds. As Ted Mainella eloquently said this week, the reinvention of the Hose Tower was a hand-made community project with real people touching every aspect of the renovation — down to screwing in the lightbulbs and laying the carpet.

Only school board insider and GreendaleNOW troll Jason Patzfahl went out of his way to publicly bash the project days before the community grand opening when he posted to the Historical Society’s Facebook page on October 20 stating, “$700,000+ of tax payer $ and donations so the Historical Society can coffee clutch and spread rumors in style.”

Patzfahl’s post has since been deleted. Perhaps, for fact-checking.

Finally, I agree with those who say people want a sense of living and working in someplace, not just anyplace. I second the idea that most people are not interested in living in a town that is “a sad hodgepodge of cookie-cutter housing tracts, cluttered commercial strips and bleak or non-existent downtowns.” I believe that Greendale must preserve its historic center … in order to save its soul.

This week, the supporters of the Hose Tower project presented the residents and families of Greendale an incredible gift by transforming a neglected municipal building into a new community gathering place. It is now up to the community and Village leaders to decide how they want to use it. I am in the camp that says the Hose Tower will touch thousands of people for generations to come.

P.S. Here is a blind item … rumors are swirling that a big, red, 10,000 pound piece of Greendale’s original history is rolling back to the Village at this very moment. Stay tuned.

Listen to the Crowd

This is what a full house sounds like at the Hose Tower from the major donor event on October 22.

About The Author

Bill Attewell

Bill Attewell is the editor and publisher of Everything Greendale. He has over 20 years experience as an award-winning newspaper editor, writer and publisher. His work has been read in in over 50 publications across the U.S. and abroad. Bill is a long-time resident of Greendale and a Greendale High School alum. Go Panthers!


  1. Ted Mainella

    Thank you to the hundreds of Greendale residents (past and present) that have stepped forward to bring the Hose Tower back to community use. All are welcome to join us on Sunday, October 25th from 1-3 p.m. at the Hose Tower as we celebrate the completion of this project. There will be a re-dedication and plaque unveiling at 2:00 p.m.

    The Society and the Village along with many partners in the public and private sector are proud to have completed this project for $553, 620. (2010 projected costs were $519,00)

    This building is now ready for use by the entire community, It is a special place with unique features that Greendale can be proud of. Please visit and see for yourself.

  2. Joe

    Let’s see … the village gives the historical society $200K and we get a community building. The school board donates $200K to John Tharp and we get …. ????

    • John

      We get to pretend that everything is ok in the school district when the school board are an embarrassment in Greendale and to themselves. no prescription one of any substance will run for the job because they don’t want to become a loser fool.

  3. James Strange

    I am also very excited to hear of the 10,000 present coming back to the Village as I spent many hours with Her
    in her service to the Village.

    • MJR

      The grand opening today was great! Awesome job by all!!! It was nice to see all the Village trustees, State Senator Mary Lazich (dressed in green) and Jeff Stone and along with a nice crowd of young and old. I saw TV cameras and photographers. Not there? School board president Joe Crapitto along with Vicky McCormick and Tom Slota. I guess they forgot they live in the community too. They were probably in Franklin at the Rock hanging out with the GreendaleNOW troll.

  4. James Strange

    Yes Bill the Hose Tower Building was /is a very important part of our community and it’s History. I became acquainted with the building in 1958 when I was hired as a part time summer employee at 17 years of age. The building at that time was used as the DPW, containing an office for the Director, a storage locker, a mechanics shop and stored a sewer machine, two dump trucks a pick-up and the Water Department’s panel truck. Naturally the Hose Tower portion was used as a hose tower until December 15, 1967 when the Fire Department moved to it’s current location.

    I was reunited with the building in August of 1959 when I became a full-time employee of the DPW we eventually moved to the Industrial Loop location in the early 1960s. At that time three of the Fire Department vehicles and various equipment such as Oxygen and Air bottle manifolds and various smaller pieces of equipment were stored. At that time the Police Department also used the building for storage and property storage. In 1967 the PD also stored squad car’s there.

  5. Richard

    This is what Greendale is about restoring the hose tower and returning it to the people for their use. We acknowledge everyone that contributed including from their private funds and from the taxpayers purse.

    Anyone against the Hose Tower doesn’t understand the Greendale Way. No wonder the school trusties are rudderless. Their insiders are the fringe element. What does the troll think of the $200,000 the trusties paid out for a mistake they have never admitted to?

    Great event today Historical Society and Village. Great event.


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