According to his own account, the architect who designed the Washburn Water Tower, Harry Wild Jones, was attacked by a giant eagle while clearing the land for his home in Tangletown. The birds ringing the tower are purported to be actual size. Mr. Jones sounds like a bit of a character, but it’s the sort of story that, as the late Sean T. Kelly would say, “deserves to be true.”
The tower was the site of tragedy on March 7, 1950, when a Northwest Orient Airlines Martin 2-0-2 crashed when trying to land at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. According the report, the plane struck a flag pole at the Fort Snelling cemetery. There had been power failures at the airport due to a snow storm; the storm had in fact re-routed the plane from Rochester to Minneapolis.
Flight 307 careened over the city, lost its damaged wing over the water tower, and crashed into a house on Minnehaha Parkway. The crash killed the three crew members and ten passengers, and two people in the house. After this crash, the Martin 2-0-2’s days were numbered; passengers refused to board them, and pilots refused to fly them. The tower, then 18 years old, continues to stand unscathed by time and tragedy.