So that everybody will know what you are asking about, here is a view of the tower:
http://contaxg.com/archive/gwhiz8/chen/FortReno.JPG - From contaxg.com
Another good image here:
http://americasroof.com/dc.html - From Americasroof.com
Fort Reno Park is the highest point in the Washington, so it was
logical to locate fortifications there during the Civil War.
It was originally named Fort Pennsylvania, and was built during the
winter of 1861.
I can't quote the whole article for obvious reasons, including our own
policy - but you will find a fairly detailed history of the fort: -
http://www.nps.gov/rocr/ftcircle/reno.htm - From the National Park
You will learn that much of the fort was still intact as late as 1892
but since then most of it has been destroyed and replaced by a water
reservoir. There was a signal tower as part of the original
fortifications - However - the current tower is not part of that
original fortification. The castle-like building in Fort Reno Park
was built in the late 1920s as a water tower and is part of the Ft.
Reno pumping station. The other flat-topped brick tower on Fort Reno
may also be a water tower but it contained communications equipment.
This web page contains some information about the water tower and pumping plant:
http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/1996/96-07-05.htm - From DC Watch online magazine
I wish I could find a more "romantic" and exciting history for the
tower, but I'm afraid its story is purely utilitarian. It is a water
Search - Google
Terms - fort reno park tower, fort reno park water tower
If I may clarify anything, please ask.
Request for Answer Clarification by
30 Aug 2004 12:02 PDT
I am still having trouble trying to get some more information about
this Fort Reno and it's tower. Can you try to do a little more
investigating for me to try to tell me where I might be able call or
e-mail to get some written information about this site. What ever you
could get for me I really would apprecaite it. I guess basically I
would like some more detailed information about the Fort itself and
specially the tower.
Clarification of Answer by
30 Aug 2004 12:22 PDT
The Fort Reno site is under the jurisdiction of the National Park
Service and is associated with Rock Creek Park as mentioned in the
National Park Service link provided in the main part of the answer.
You could probably get more information by contacting them directly.
3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW
Washington, DC 20008
And if you want to contact them by email, you will need to use the
'form' found here:
In the meantime, I will see what else I can come up with.
Clarification of Answer by
30 Aug 2004 12:53 PDT
Here is another article about Fort Reno. I am including a paragraph here:
"In almost any other area, the high point would be a coveted site
because of its glorious history in the only Civil War battle to take
place in the nation's capitol. However, with so much else going on
here, it is merely dismissed on various other web sites -- The
Washington Post in profiling the Tenleytown neighborhood doesn't even
mention the summit that saved the Union and another popular site uses
it as a landmark to identify speed traps "at the bottom of a big
As you can see, for some reason, Fort Reno and the tower are virtually neglected.
However, this article does fill in some of the blank spaces,
especially about the fort.
"The Summit that Saved the Union"
A bibliographical search for Fort Reno turned up an archaeological
survey report from the Washington D.C. Historical Society and the City
Museum. It is not available online but if you are in that area, it is
document P2002 - "Lackey, Louanna M. A preliminary archaeological and
historical survey of a portion of Fort Reno Park in Washington, D.C."
More if I find it