Best known as the site of the “Witch’s Hat” water tower, Tower Hill Park is located in the Prospect Park neighborhood near the intersection of University and Malcolm Avenues Southeast. Featuring wooded, hilly terrain, the natural splendor of Tower Hill has been popular with park goers for over a century. Little has changed at the park since it was acquired in 1906.
Tower Hill Park features two tennis courts, walking paths and panoramic views of the city. Other nearby recreational attractions include the scenic walking and cycling trails of East River Parkway, and the playgrounds of Chergosky Park and Luxton Park, which also features sports courts and fields and a Recreation Center that offers youth programs and other activities.
Once known as St. Anthony Heights, the park’s name was changed to Tower Hill at the request of area residents in 1909. The name refers to a previous observation tower that once stood in the park, not the current landmark, whose medieval features have long been rumored to be an inspiration for Bob Dylan's song All Along the Watchtower.
The Water Tower
Visible from miles around, the “Witch’s Hat” water tower was designed by Frederick W. Cappelen and constructed on one of the highest points in the city. Completed in 1914, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Capable of holding 150,000 gallons of water, the tower served area residents until 1952.
The 60-foot-tall tower is topped with a 51-foot-tall steeply pitched conical roof of green tiles. The tower’s octagonal-shaped observation deck of Romanesque windows is open one day a year, during the Pratt Ice Cream Social, which is held across the street at the Pratt Community School – typically the first Friday evening after Memorial Day.
Historical Profile: More information about this and other parks is included in Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More, a richly detailed account of the histories of Minneapolis’ renown recreational system.