Leaning Tower YMCA
The 'Other' Leaning Tower of Pisa
I know, you're asking yourself, 'When did they put a reflecting pool in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa?' Weird question, with an even weirder answer. This tilted structure is located in Niles, IL and is a recreational park for employees of the Ilg Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company. Constructed in 1934 by industrialist Robert Ilg, the Leaning Tower Plaza is exactly half the size of the actual building in Italy. Some speculate that the tower was built to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the one in Pisa, but others say it was just a nice way of covering up a water storage tank for outdoor pools, which is the functional purpose of the tower. To make the story even stranger, it also sits directly in front of the local YMCA, which is sometimes called the Leaning Tower YMCA. But maybe the real reason is that Niles' sister city is Pisa, Italy and this is their way of feeling connected. I 'lean' towards that as an answer.
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
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