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Water Tanks quilt square
#21 on Map

Lucile Walker BeanLucile Walker Bean, granddaughter of Des Moines pioneer Elizabeth Farrell, who owned a hotel in Des Moines in 1916, was a member of the first Camp Fire Girls group in Des Moines. Sometimes on foggy days she stood on the Des Moines dock beating a triangle to guide the mail ship into the dock. She earned the highest award for community service from the Lorraine Rebekah Lodge and was one of the earliest members of the Christian Science Church. She made the quilt square depicting the old wooden water towers.

First Des Moines Water Tanks of 1936-55

Despite Des Moines’ reputation as the “Waterland” community, water has been a source of concern for its residents for a long time. In 1926 the Des Moines-Zenith Improvement Club tried to formulate a community water plan, but the resulting plan was deemed too expensive. By 1933 the community was in desperate need of clean water, but it wasn’t until 1937 that the first community well was drilled. The first wooden storage tanks were built in 1951, the second well was drilled in the early 1950s, and a third well was drilled in 1957. The wooden storage tanks, whose capacities were quickly outdistanced by the community’s needs, were replaced in 1969 by a 275,000 gallon metal container, and the land on which they stood was sold to the King County Parks Department.

—paraphrased from One Hundred Years of the “Waterland” Community: A History of Des Moines, Washington

Water Tanks photo

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