By David R. Schleper
In the spring of 1940, Shakopee decided to erect a modern municipal water tank. They located it at Holmes Street and Prairie Avenue (now known as Tenth Avenue).
A new 250,000-gallon, all-steel welded water tower was hailed at that time as the largest in the world, according to Popular Mechanics. The globe top water tower was erected by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works Company. It took 115 tons of steel plates to build, and it stands 130 feet tall. The shining ball atop the steel shaft is 43 feet in diameter and has a capacity of 300,000 gallons.
The tower became a shining monument in Shakopee, and could be seen from miles around. Because the surface was covered with aluminum paint, it was easy to see.
On September 18, local sign painter Ed Fonnier climbed the 130-foot tank and painted SHAKOPEE in letters 4 feet, 8 inches high. When completed, the lettering stretched 28 feet across the sphere.
As Fonnier climbed down he said, “That tank is plenty high!”