Help Make Johnson Outboards Water Tower a Historical Landmark Petition-Waukegan

Home Forum Ask A Member Help Make Johnson Outboards Water Tower a Historical Landmark Petition-Waukegan

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Avatar crosbyman 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • outboardnut
    outboardnut
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 500
    Topics: 369
    #186569

    Let’s start with a bit of history-
    The Johnson Brothers of South Bend Indiana started making outboard motors in 1922. After a few years the Johnson Brothers out grew their facilities and in 1926 built a manufacturing plant and water tower in Waukegan Illinois. In 1929 the stock market crashed and the Johnson Motor Company declared bankruptcy in 1932. In 1935 Outboard Marine Corporation purchased the Johnson Outboard Motor Company. Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) consisted of Evinrude, Elto and Lockwood Outboard Motor companies. Once OMC acquired Johnson OMC made Waukegan Illinois its base of operation. Fast forward to the year 2000 – OMC declared chapter 11. In 2001 Bombardier Recreational Products (a Canadian Company) purchased OMC. In 2007 BRP dropped the Johnson name .BRP used the Waukegan plant until 2013.In 2015 BRP sold the land, plant and water tower to the City of Waukegan. The City of Waukegan demolished all the buildings except for the 93 year old Johnson Outboard Motors Water Tower.
    The water tower now sits on a hundred acres of vacant land.
    Now to present day-
    Every Fall I fish Waukegan harbor for Salmon.
    I watched year after year the demise of the OMC plant. This year is the first year the water tower stands alone. I wondered what was to become of the deteriorating Johnson Water Tower. So I called the City Hall of Waukegan. I got in contact with a very helpful person and here is the short version of what’s going on.
    In one of the 2017 Waukegan city council meetings the subject of making Johnson Water Tower a historical landmark was brought up.
    After some discussion the subject was tabled. So now the water tower sits rusting.
    For 93 years the water tower has stood watching Johnson and Evinrude outboard motors being built. The OMC plant housed engineering, manufacturing, marketing, accounting, training and executive offices. The OMC plant provided hundreds of jobs over decades. At one time the OMC plant had three shifts going twenty four hours a day to keep up with demand. In 1952 the Waukegan plant made its one millionth motor.
    During World War Two the Waukegan facility produced bomb fuses, aircraft engines, and firefighting equipment.
    Johnson and Evinrude outboard motors once dominated over the market of recreational boating. Thousands of people across the United States have had their recreational lives enhanced by taken a ride in a boat powered by a Johnson /Evinrude outboard motor. If the Johnson Outboards water tower is ever taken down there will be no sign that OMC has ever existed there.
    After reading the above. I’m sure you would agree that the Johnson Outboards Water Tower should be made a historical landmark. To show future generations that a great American manufacturing company once stood there.
    The first step on saving the Johnson Water Tower is to have the City of Waukegan make the water tower a historical landmark.
    Thank You for Reading
    Al
    Please sign the petition.

    https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/make-johnson-outboards-water-tower-a-historical-landmark-waukegan-illinois.html

    Interesting videos (not done by me) click on link or put title in YouTube
    The History of OMC Plant 1 | OMC Waukegan 1926 – 2017
    30 minutes

    OMC Waukegan 2017 | OMC Plant 1 After Demolition
    23 seconds

    OMC Waukegan 2016: This is the End – Outboard Marine Corporation
    33 seconds

    Put the title in Facebook search bar or click on link
    Outboard Marine Corp water tower
    1 minute
    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=968937983451197

    As-the-water-tower-is-today

    Picture-of-how-logo-looked

    old-picture-of-OMC-plant

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by outboardnut outboardnut.
    • This topic was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by outboardnut outboardnut. Reason: link did not work
    Attachments:
    bobw
    bobw
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 670
    Topics: 28
    #186576

    Al, great story- thanks for posting this. I’ve always hoped the City would save the water tower. I would sign the petition but the petition link doesn’t seem to work.

    Bob

    1954 Johnson CD-11
    1956 Johnson RD-18
    1958 Johnson QD-19
    1959 Johnson QD-20

    outboardnut
    outboardnut
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 500
    Topics: 369
    #186577

    I don’t get it. The link works everywhere else like facebook
    https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/make-johnson-outboards-water-tower-a-historical-landmark-waukegan-illinois.html
    if the above link does not work
    go to https://www.gopetition.com/
    and search
    Make Johnson Outboards Water Tower a Historical Landmark Waukegan Illinois

    Buccaneer
    Buccaneer
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 3208
    Topics: 889
    #186594

    Looks like it should be repainted, but with1920’s Logo.

    Prepare to be boarded!

    bobw
    bobw
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 670
    Topics: 28
    #186596

    Ok got it done now. Thanks again for starting the petition.

    Bob

    1954 Johnson CD-11
    1956 Johnson RD-18
    1958 Johnson QD-19
    1959 Johnson QD-20

    Avatar
    fleetwin
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 2770
    Topics: 35
    #186626

    Thanks for your efforts, found the link and filled it out…. OMC was such a big part of Waukegan for so many years, fixing up a water tower seems like a great tribute that won’t cost too much.

    Avatar
    vintin
    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 567
    Topics: 17
    #186668

    Has anyone looked into the average yearly cost of maintaining a water tower?

    I bet it is some pretty big dollars.

    bobw
    bobw
    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 670
    Topics: 28
    #186669

    If the tower is not functional I would think the yearly upkeep would be limited to paint touch up and corrosion inspection. Initial restoration of this tower will likely be pricey as there would likely be some structural repairs required. After the restoration I think the biggest challenge will be keeping the gang bangers, thugs and other trouble makers from spray painting their graffiti all over the new work.

    Bob

    1954 Johnson CD-11
    1956 Johnson RD-18
    1958 Johnson QD-19
    1959 Johnson QD-20

    Avatar
    crosbyman
    Canada Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 1270
    Topics: 166
    #186781

    remove 30 feet on the ladder access and grease the rest of the support legs 🙂

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