x
Breaking News
More () »

Hey Heidi: What are those Miss. River castles?

This story is part of KSDK's "Our Beautiful City" series. If you have a suggestion on where we should go next, send an email to photos@ksdk.com, or post it to our Facebook wall. Enjoy!

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - This week's question for Heidi Glaus took her and photojournalist Randy Schwentker on quite an adventure.

It's a question she's actually gotten from a few of you; Pyle, Brenda, and Holly to be exact. They want to know what these castles in the middle of the Mississippi River are.

In the middle the Mississippi, just south of the Chain of Rocks Bridge is a solid piece of St. Louis history. They're stone buildings not many have a clear path to. But Ed, Pat, Ray, Mike and Curt do.

It's an interesting journey through more than just muddy water. An adventure with a least one bump, a few swats, several steps and lots of "ooohs" and "ahhhs."

Curt Skouby is the director of public utilities, the water commissioner, and our tour guide.

"It was built between 1913 and 1915," said Skouby. "It was used as an intake tower to bring in water from the Mississippi into the Chain of Rocks."

And back then someone was often here to operate the gates.

"This is a coal bin where coal was kept, still is in there and it was used to help heat the building when someone was out here living or working," said Skouby.

It is three stories of cool rusty hinges, tarnished knobs, and decaying doors.

"Every time I come in here is amazing. Just thinking how they built it, the craftsmanship they actually used to build this, I'm astonished," said Skouby.

A place even these guys rarely get to visit.

"We get out here two times, maybe three times a year," said Skouby.

But they have renewed appreciation for the castle like structures every time they do.

"This was built in the time when having good drinking water, safe drinking water was something that the citizens bragged about and not all cities had it," said Skouby.

Intake water tower No. 1 is across the swift water, closer to the Missouri side. It was built in the early 1890s.

"They're similar in layout, but they're both unique," said Skouby.

They are magnificent structures, city landmarks that catch our attention from afar, but are even more impressive up close.

Neither of the intake towers are in use these days, but they are still very cool.